What is the Arab world and how did it develop? In this article we will talk about his culture and the development of science, history and features of the worldview. How it was several centuries ago and what does the modern Arab world look like? What modern states are considered today?
The essence of the concept of "the Arab world"
Under this concept is meant a certaingeographical region, consisting of countries in northern and eastern Africa, the Middle East, inhabited by Arabs (a group of peoples). In each of them the Arabic language is official (or one of the official ones, as in Somalia).
The total area of the Arab world is approximately 13 million km2, which makes it the second largest geolinguistic unit on the planet (after Russia).
The Arab world should not be confused with the concept of"Muslim world", used exclusively in a religious context, as well as with an international organization called the "League of Arab States", established in 1945.
Geography of the Arab world
What countries of the world are accepted to include in the Arab world? The photo below provides an overview of its geography and structure.
So, the composition of the Arab world is 23state. And two of them are partially not recognized by the world community (in the list below they are marked with asterisks). In these countries, about 345 million people live, which is no more than 5% of the world's total population.
All the countries of the Arab world are listed below, in order of decreasing numbers of their inhabitants. It:
- Saudi Arabia.
- United Arab Emirates.
- West Sahara*.
The largest cities of the Arab world are Cairo, Damascus, Baghdad, Mecca, Rabat, Algeria, Riyadh, Khartoum, Alexandria.
Essay on the ancient history of the Arab world
The history of the Arab world beganlong before the rise of Islam. In those ancient times, the peoples who are now an integral part of this world communicated in their own languages (although they were related to Arabic). Information on the history of the Arab world in antiquity, we can draw from Byzantine or Roman sources. Of course, looking through the prism of time can be very distorted.
The ancient Arab world was perceivedhighly developed states (Iran, Roman and Byzantine Empire) poor and half-savage. In their view, it was a desert land with a small and nomadic population. In fact, the nomads were an overwhelming minority, and most of the Arabs led a sedentary way of life, gravitating toward the valleys of small rivers and oases. After domestication of the camel, caravan trade began to develop here, which for many inhabitants of the world became the standard (patterned) image of the Arab world.
The first rudiments of statehood arose onnorth of the Arabian Peninsula. Earlier, according to historians, the ancient state of Yemen originated, in the south of the peninsula. However, contacts of other powers with this education were minimal due to the presence of a huge desert of several thousand kilometers.
The Arab-Muslim world and its history are goodThey are described in Gustave Lebon's book The History of Arab Civilization. It was published in 1884, it was translated into many languages, including Russian. The book is based on independent travels of the author on the Middle East and North Africa.
Arab World in the Middle Ages
In the VI century, the Arabs already accounted for a large partof the population of the Arabian Peninsula. Soon the Islamic religion is born here, after which the Arab conquests begin. In the 7th century, a new state formation began to form - the Arab Caliphate, which stretched on vast expanses from Hindustan to the Atlantic, from the Sahara to the Caspian Sea.
Numerous tribes and peoples of the north of Africa very quickly assimilated into Arab culture, easily accepting their language and religion. In turn, the Arabs absorbed and some elements of their culture.
If in Europe the era of the Middle Ages was markedthe decline of science, then in the Arab world it was actively developing at that time. This concerned many of its branches. Maximal development in the medieval Arab world was achieved by algebra, psychology, astronomy, chemistry, geography and medicine.
The Arab Caliphate existed relativelyfor a long time. In the tenth century the processes of feudal fragmentation of the great power begin. Eventually, once the single Arab Caliphate broke up into many separate countries. Most of them in the XVI century became part of the next empire - the Ottoman Empire. In the XIX century, the lands of the Arab world became colonies of European states - Britain, France, Spain and Italy. To date, they have all again become independent and sovereign countries.
Features of the culture of the Arab world
The culture of the Arab world does not seem to be withoutIslamic religion, which became its integral part. So, an unshakable faith in Allah, reverence for the Prophet Muhammad, fasting and daily prayers, as well as pilgrimage to Mecca (the main shrine for every Muslim) are the main "pillars" of the religious life of all the inhabitants of the Arab world. Mecca, by the way, was a holy place for the Arabs back in pre-Islamic times.
Islam, as the researchers say, is largely similar to Protestantism. In particular, he also does not condemn wealth, and human commercial activity is assessed from the point of view of morality.
In the Middle Ages it was in Arabicwritten a huge number of works on the history: chronicles, chronicles, biographical dictionaries, etc. With special trepidation in Muslim culture were (and are) to the image of the word. The so-called Arabic ligature is not just a calligraphic letter. The beauty of the letters written by the Arabs is equated with the ideal beauty of the human body.
No less interesting and worthy of attention is traditionArab architecture. The classical type of the Muslim temple with mosques was formed in the VII century. It is a closed (deaf) courtyard of a rectangular shape, inside of which is attached a gallery of arches. In that part of the courtyard that faces Mecca, a luxuriously designed and spacious prayer hall is built, topped with a spherical dome. Above the temple, as a rule, stands one or several sharp towers (minarets), which are designed to call Muslims to prayer.
Among the most famous monuments of the Arabarchitecture can be called the Umayyad Mosque in Syrian Damascus (VIII century), as well as the Ibn-Tulunn Mosque in Egyptian Cairo, the architectural elements of which are lavishly adorned with beautiful plant ornament.
In Muslim churches there are no gilded icons orany images, pictures. But the walls and arches of mosques are decorated with exquisite arabesques. This is a traditional Arabic pattern, consisting of geometric patterns and floral ornaments (it should be noted that the artistic representation of animals and people is considered sacrilegious in Muslim culture). Arabesques, according to European culturologists, "are afraid of emptiness." They completely cover the surface and exclude the presence of any colored background.
Philosophy and literature
Arab philosophy is very closely related toIslamic religion. One of the most famous Muslim philosophers is the thinker and physician Ibn Sina (980 - 1037). He is considered the author of at least 450 works on medicine, philosophy, logic, arithmetic and other fields of knowledge.
The most famous work of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) -"Canon of medical science". Texts from this book have been used for many centuries in various universities in Europe. Another of his work, The Book of Healing, also significantly influenced the development of Arab philosophical thought.
The most famous literary monumentmedieval Arab world - a collection of fairy tales and stories "A Thousand and One Nights." In this book, researchers discovered elements of pre-Islamic Indian and Persian subjects. Over the centuries the composition of this collection has changed, its final form it acquired only in the XIV century.
The development of science in the modern Arab world
In the Middle Ages, the Arab worldleading positions on the planet in the field of scientific achievements and discoveries. It was the Muslim scientists who "gave" the world algebra, made a huge leap in the development of biology, medicine, astronomy and physics.
However, today the countries of the Arab world are givingcatastrophically little attention to science and education. Today in these states there are just over a thousand universities, and only 312 of them are scientists who publish their articles in scientific journals. In the whole history only two Muslims were awarded the Nobel Prize in the scientific field.
What is the reason for this striking contrast between "then" and "now"?
The historians do not have a single answer to this question. Most of them explain this decline of science by the feudal fragmentation of the once united Arab state (the Caliphate), as well as the emergence of various Islamic schools, which provoked more and more disagreements and conflicts. Another reason may be that the Arabs know their own history rather poorly and are not proud of the great successes of their ancestors.
War and terrorism in the modern Arab world
Why are the Arabs at war? Islamists themselves claim that in this way they are trying to restore the former power of the Arab world and gain independence from Western countries.
It is important to note that the main sacred bookMuslims, the Koran does not deny the possibility of seizing foreign territories and imposing tribute on the conquered lands (this is indicated by the eighth sura "Dobycha"). In addition, with the help of weapons it was always much easier to spread their religion.
From the earliest times, the Arabs have become famous asbold and rather brutal warriors. With them, neither the Persians nor the Romans ventured to fight. And the desert Arabia did not attract the attention of big empires. However, Arab soldiers were gladly accepted for service in the Roman army.
After the end of the First World War and the disintegrationOttoman Empire, the Arab-Muslim civilization plunged into the deepest crisis, which historians compare with the Thirty Years' War of the XVII century in Europe. Obviously, any such crisis sooner or later ends with a surge of radical sentiments and revitalized with active impulses, returning the "golden age" in its history. These same processes are now taking place in the Arab world. So, in Africa the terrorist organization "Boko Haram" rages, in Syria and Iraq - IGIL. Aggressive activity of the latter education already goes far beyond the framework of Muslim states.
The modern Arab world is tired of wars, conflicts and clashes. But how to extinguish this "fire", while no one knows for sure.
The heart of the Arab-Muslim world today is oftenthey call it Saudi Arabia. Here are the main shrines of Islam - the city of Mecca and Medina. The main (and, in fact, the only) religion in this state is Islam. Representatives of other religions are allowed to enter Saudi Arabia, but they may not miss out on Mecca or Medina. Also, "tourists" are strictly forbidden to demonstrate in the country any symbols of a different faith (for example, to carry crosses, etc.).
In Saudi Arabia, there is even a special"religious" police, whose goal is to prevent possible violations of the laws of Islam. Religious criminals are awaiting appropriate punishment - from a fine to execution.
Despite all of the above, the diplomatsSaudi Arabia is actively working in the world arena in the interests of protecting Islam, maintaining partnerships with Western countries. Difficult relations with the state are formed with Iran, which also claims leadership in the region.
Syrian Arab Republic
Syria is another important center of the Arab world. At one time (with the Umayyads) it was in the city of Damascus that the capital of the Arab Caliphate was located. Today, the bloody civil war continues (in 2011). Western human rights organizations often criticize Syria, accusing its leadership of violating human rights, the use of torture and a significant restriction of freedom of speech.
About 85% of the inhabitants of Syria are Muslims. However, "gentiles" always felt here freely and quite comfortably. The laws of the Koran on the territory of the country are perceived by its inhabitants, rather, as a tradition.
The Arab Republic of Egypt
The largest (by population) country in the Arab worldis Egypt. 98% of its inhabitants are Arabs, 90% profess Islam (the Sunni trend). In Egypt, there is a huge number of tombs with Muslim saints, who on religious days attract thousands of pilgrims.
Islam in modern Egypt has a significantinfluence on the life of society. However, the Muslim laws are considerably relaxed and adjusted to the realities of the 21st century. It is interesting to note that most of the ideologists of the so-called "radical Islam" were educated precisely in Cairo University.
Under the Arab world means a special historical region, roughly covering the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa. It consists of 23 modern states geographically.
The culture of the Arab world is specific and very closelyis connected with the traditions and canons of Islam. The modern realities of this region are conservatism, the weak development of science and education, the spread of radical ideas and terrorism.