persian cultureIs Iran an Arab Country?To those definitions, Lewis adds a more recent usage that excises religion by regarding the Arabicspeaking peoples as a nation or group of sister nations in the modern sense, linked by a common territory, language, and culture. Arab Christianswho werent designated that way until the thcenturywere particularly attracted to that version of Arab nationalism because it would make them full members of the state.
What territory do Arabs inhabit? The Arab conquests of the seventh century spread the Arabic language and civilization from North Africa to central Asia. Under the Islamic caliphate, Arabic became the language of scripture, government, law, literature, and science. Majority Arabicspeaking countries remain in southwest Asia, Egypt, and North Africa. TheArab Leagueincludes Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, the Palestine Liberation Organization, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
The answer to the second question is easy No. But explaining why Iran isnt an Arab country requires the answer to the first.
Note the absent country Iran. Alone among the Middle Eastern peoples conquered by the Arabs, the Iranians did not lose their language or their identity. Ethnic Persians make up percent of modern Iran, and modern Persian is the official language. Persian also has official status in Afghanistan, where Dari, or Afghan Persian, is one of two official languages. In addition, the majority of Iranians are Shiite Muslims while most Arabs are Sunni Muslims. So Iran ils most of the fourpart test of language, ancestry, religion, and culture.
s characterization of Iran as an Arab neighbor in adossieron the Saudi royal mily. Who are the Arabs, and is Iran an Arab country?
The easiest definition is to say that an Arab is simply someone who speaks Arabic. But thats not satisctory. Not all Arabicspeaking peoples identify themselves as Arabs.
Clickherefor a glossary of Islam, orherefor the origins ofistan.
Lewis cites two broader definitions as more accurate. A group of Arab leaders once stated that whoever lives in our country, speaks our language, is brought up in our culture and takes pride in our glory is one of us. The scholar Sir Hamilton Gibb put it this way All those are Arabs for whom the central ct of history is the mission of Muhammad and the memory of the Arab Empire and who in addition cherish the Arab tongue and its cultural heritage as their common possession.
Who are the Arabs? Its not a cile question. Historian Bernard Lewis devotes s to the subject in his introduction toThe Arabs in History. Part of the problem, Lewis warns, is that the termArabmay be used in several different senses at one and the same time, and that a standard general definition of its content has rarely been possible.
Explainer thanksThe Arabs in HistoryandThe Multiple Identities of the Middle Eastby Bernard Lewis, andEncarta Online.
Both of those definitions encompass more than just language. The first definition adds a geographic element and a cultural element, and Gibb adds religion to the mix. Encarta Online gives airly succinct definitionthat includes all four elements the ancient and presentday inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula and often applied to the peoples closely allied to them in ancestry, language, religion, and culture. Part of the problem with understanding the meaning of Arab, Lewis writes in another book, is that secular Westerners have great difficulty understanding a culture in which not citizenship, not nationality, not descent, but religion, or more precisely, membership of a religious community, is the ultimate determinant of identity.