E book cites pre 1948 Jewish terrorism but no Arab terrorism against the Jews g p 462 the book does not mention the UN r This is a humane scholarly but highly readable book by one of that diminishing breed the sensitive British Arabist who is as much Arab as British and who manages to be both detached in observation and ngaged as a liberal who loves his adopted cultureHe is based in Yemen South Arabian and Yemeni xamples and anecdotes pepper the book giving perhaps a slight bias against the Maghreb an This book had me captivated until we arrived at the modern period What started as a brilliantly The Accidental Beauty Queen emphatic history of the Arabs from before Islam till our timesnded in a poor and biased coverage of the most recent hundred or so years Written from his home in war torn Yemen his cynism over the meddling of modern mpires like Britain and France and later of the United States in carving out modern borders can be xcused What can t be xcused is the lack of balance and historical depth in the later narrative I highly recommend the book for the history of the premodern Arab world but it wont offer new insights in the recent history of the Arabs An xcellent and Crown of Stars (Crown of Stars, enormous 536 pages plusnd matter history of the Arab people whatever that means as Mackintosh Smith shows the definition is far from clear from pre Islamic times right up to the present day He makes an important distinction between Arab and Muslim not all of the former are the latter and vice versa although the global spread of Arabs and Arab ness is due in large part to Islam and the mpire won and njoyed by arly caliphs Mostly Mackintosh Smith says Arabs are defined by their use of the Arabic language He s a wonderful guide to it wry witty widely read and keenly alive to subtleties of dialect and register One has to make an initial ffort with this book but it turns out delightfully readable and obviously seminal Originally posted on my blog Elle Thinks If you like what I write why not buy me a coffee In 1992 on a flight from Cairo to Sana a I found myself sitting next to an Englishman of almost This Forsaken Earth exactly my age who was returning to his home in Yemen Smalltalk developed into conversation which developed into an offer of a lift from the airport into the city Once he had blagged his way through immigration he didn t have a visa the lift developed into an offer to stay at his house for the night which led to me using his house as my base for the next six weeks as Ixplored that magnificent country and got to know its xtraordinary people That in turn led on to a friendship which has now lasted nearly 30 yearsDuring that six weeks Tim began work on his first book Yemen Travels in Dictionary Land That won the Thomas Cook Travel Book of the Year in 1998 bizarrely another friend was also shortlisted for the prize that This book deserves to be remembered as a modern day classic of scholarship Tim Mackintosh Smith writes with great lucidity and insight and he has a way with words Throughout the book there are some nice alliterative flourishes For instance describing the Abbasid Caliphate as 200 years of pathos and 300 years of bathos as well some very insightful comments about Islam such as The uran was mbalmed in sanctity and shrouded in layers of xegesis Public ritual tended to be important than private spirituality An insight that is louent profound and absolutely trueTim vividly describes the Arab culture from which Islam gestated Any religion needs to be understood in the context of the time in which it was purveyed Tim made me aware of a scarcely known fact That in pre Islamic Arabia a man s veracity was indicated by his louence and this fact was the major marketing force for Islam This is also alluded to in a few places within the Holy uran when the challenge is thrown to the unbelievers And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant Muhammad then produce a surah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah if you should be truthful The book also reveals that during the time of the Holy Prophet PBUH there were solitary individuals called Hanif s who were monotheists and like the Holy Prophet PBUH secluded themselves in caves for a short periods of time And amongst the Sabatean the Arabs who resided in South Arabia it was a habit to make a pilgrimage to a temple during which no physical relations were permitted similar to the Hajj The Bedouin Arabs were a people who loved raiding and poetry and I did feel that at times the author s reverence for the Arabic language perhaps skewered some of his observations He belabours a point that it was the classical High Arabic which gave the Arabs a sense of unity If this were true why was internecine warfare between different tribes so freuent and bloody He also seemed to suggest that a matador crying Ole when confronted
With A Bull Was Reminiscent Of An Arab Footballer Exclaiming a bull was reminiscent of an Arab footballer xclaiming I think you can justifiably say the author got a little carried away with flights of fancy There were however aspects of his research that I disagreed with I felt that his description of the third Caliph Uthman ibn Affan as a Capable and hands on ruler contradicted the fact that Uthman ibn Affan s nepotism caused widespread unrest culminating in his death I also found his reticence of the rule of Hazrat Ali ibn Talib to be puzzling For an Arabphile he doesn t seem to think that Nahjal al balagha is worth mentioning Even though it is commonly regarded as a book of louent classical Arabic Tim makes what I feel to be a hugely important point when you consider the trajectory of Islam from its genesis to the present day A failed objective of the mission of the Holy Prophet PBUH That Arabs regard their kinship of faith superior to their tribal ones This highlights another point the author makesBlame it as they might on other peoples mpires Arabs had never been a happy family not since the division of the spoils of Islam not since the pre Islamic War of al Basus that forty year super suabble over grazing rights They had never really been a family at all Hurrah For The Blackshirts!: Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the Wars except in tribal fictions of shared descent Ifmpires Were To Blame It to blame it as much as anything for inspiring by reflex the myths and mirages of unattainable union Imperialists certainly divided and ruled but often than not they were driving their wedges into old splitsA lot of my Muslim brethren are burdened by historical grievances But their bitterness towards the colonising superpowers of that time and the current time needs to take into an account an important fact The Imperial English Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life exploited the fissures that were already present within the Arabs The influence of today s Superpowers is due to the complicity ofrstwhile Arab rulers who in their greed for power and riches happily co opted overseas allies The history of the Arabs is for a significant part the history of Islam Here the author has some interesting and revelatory things to say I liked his observation regarding the Hadith The Hadith literature needs a cautious approach Collectors of Hadith amassed as many as million which works out about one for Crazy Love everyight minutes of the Holy Prophet PBUH walking life Of the million around 5000 are supposed to be reliable2001 for the proportion of reliable hadith The Arabs loved to memorise lists Every tribe had a poet who could uote lineage for the past five hundred years uite a feat As such I don t think it is unreasonable to say this throws into doubt the legitimacy of Isnads the chains of transmission for Hadith The latter part of the book shows how Pan Arabism that need for Arabs to feel part of a nation was born and died I found this to be a very salient point As a second generation Pakistani I was often told that Pakistan was a renaissance for Islam a homeland for Muslims That to disparage Pakistan is to disparage Islam The reality of Pakistan is about as incompatible as you can get with the reality of Islam And I think the same can be said for the Arab states Nationalism is a British construct the most successful part of their destructive legacy But Tribalism predates nationalism and is the reason why nationalism failed to unite Muslims Why liberated countries such as Ira failed to prosper under the canopy of democracy Because as Tim rightly points out that freedom for an Irai any Arab means freedom to be dominated by someone of your own tribe or failing that protection from someone from someone of your own tribe or failing that protection from someone from different tribe Not giving people ballot boxes through which they can democratically lect their leader This is the book to read if you want to understand the history of Arab Forget Bernard Lewis s The Arabs In History It pales into insignificance when compared with this very comprehensive and illuminating boo. Istic developments from pre Islamic poetry to the growth of script Muhammad’s use of writing and the later problems of printing Arabic have helped and hindered the progress of Arab history and investigates how ven in today’s politically fractured post–Arab Spring nvironment Arabic itself is still a source of unity and disunit. One of the most fascinating books I have ver read Mackintosh Smith masterfully weaves the history of the Arabs through the lens of the volution of the Arabic language articulating his mastery of the Arabic language and how it has shaped the people in turn I learned a massive amount from this book The history read like a thriller and the author is an incredible story teller However towards the nd of the book the author s hatred of Israel and Zionism came out very strongly as could be Black Heart, Red Ruby expected in a book like this It was a shame the book was written that way but was also very informative to the Arab view of Zionism Nonetheless the book is fascinating and I probably will read it again Tim Mackintosh Smith is one of those romantic Englishmen who used to go and settle in far off lands and go native He lives in Yemen apparently still thereven during the civil war and has been writing about the region and the Arab people for several decades This book is the culmination of a lifetime of study a comprehensive history of a people and civilization to which he has become attached and about whom he knows than most It is well worth readingHe begins by making it clear that this is a history of the Arabs not a history of Islam The first mention of the word Arab actually occurs in in 853 BC and concerns the mployment by the Assyrian state of a transport contractor a certain Gindibu Locust an Arab chieftain who owned vast herds of camels This is about 3000 years ago and the coming of Islam lies about halfway through this history While we know relatively little of the arly pre Islamic history of these people Mackintosh Smith wants us to be aware that the Arabs New Plant Parent: Learn the Ways of Plant Parenthood existed long before Islam didThe word Arab itself means tribal groups who live beyond the reach of settled society It was mostly used for the nomadic people of the Arabian peninsula among whom the high Arabic languagevolved This group and their settled brethren in Southern Arabia Yemen were likely descended from people who migrated into the peninsula from the fertile crescent and with the coming of Islam they were united into one nation bound together by religion and by the high Arabic language of the poets and soothsayers the language that became the language of the uran He Dreaming Me: An African-American Woman's Buddhist Journey emphasizes again and again that this language above alllse is what defines an Arab Yet it is not the veryday language of anyone who is Arab The veryday dialects of Arabic change ЯED every few hundred miles or less but this rich strange subtle suavely hypnotic magically persuasive maddeningly difficult high Arabic language thatvolved on the tongues of tribal soothsayers and poets remains the ideal the language of literature and poetry and the language of the uran the uintessential Arabic book But the fact that it is not and never was the veryday language of any people has conseuences for all dreams of unity and is a feature of Arab civilization that outsiders sometimes miss For Mackintosh Smith it is ultimately this language that defines the Arabs ven before the rise of Islam Not because they speak it The Lost Art of Reading Natures Signs everyday they do not and never did but because their prophets and poets spoke it and it bound them together in one greater civilization above and beyond the divisions of tribe and local dialectThe other great theme of the book is the conflict between settled people hadar and nomads Beddu The trademark of the nomads is the ghazw or raid and the author says thatven though the nomads are almost gone the tradition of the raid survives in the countless coups and counter coups of the Arab world For much of Arab history two rationalities have coexisted those of the settled and of the bedouin the peoples and the tribes seemingly in perpetual duality clashing yet Moreno embracing loving and hating yin and yangHe covers of course the rise of Islam thexplosive growth of the Arab Monsieur Pain empire its decision to use to Arabic as the language of administration and the resulting astoundingly rapid conversion of conuered people from Morocco to Ira into Arabs He discusses the rise of Arab literature science and philosophy as in all these were written in the Arabic language in an Arab dominatedmpire and the benefits of their A Spark of Light: the fearless new novel from the Number One bestselling author early use of paper which they learned to make from the Chinese but developed into a fine art and used very widely long before it made its way to Europe but he also points out how short this flash of brilliance andxpansion was only 300 years from the coming of Islam to the fall of the Abbasids from absolute rulers to puppets of their Persian and then Turkic overlordsBut while most histories of the Arabs peter out at this point he points out that the Arabs or at least some Arabs the ones in Oman and Yemen What If enjoyed another long twilightxpansion long after the caliphate had slipped out of their hands after the caliphate had fallen to the Turks and been ravaged by
"the mongols arab "Mongols Arab Maintained And Enlarged traders maintained and The Exhaustion Breakthrough enlarged new domain around the Indian ocean converting people from Sri Lanka and India to Malaysia Indonesia and East Africa to Islam and creating a second and less knownxpansion of their language culture and religionFinally he describes the various attempts at mondernization rennaissance and recovery that occured after the arrival of the modern Europeans in Arab lands starting with Napoleon in Egypt Unlike many histories he does not stop a 100 years ago but brings the story up to the present The Exhaustion Breakthrough: Unmask the Hidden Reasons You're Tired and Beat Fatigue for Good even commenting on the dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi He does say that the book might have had a optimisticnding if written ten years ago before the rise and fall of the Arab spring but now Seeing the land I live in and love falling apart is like watching an old and dear friend losing his mind The book is very well written flush with delightful anecdotes and clever turns of phrase It is probably the most comprehensive up to date and detailed history of the Arabs that is out there and is a must read for anyone interested in the region and the people The author is clearly in love with his subject and has a generally sympathetic view of the Arabs a fact that may upset some Zionist readers he is blunt in his criticism of Israel but ven for them it should be a source of insights information and delightful anecdotes Highly recommendedHow far Arabic penetrated the languages themselves can be judged from numbers of loan words In post Ottoman Turkish in 1931 51 per cent of newspaper vocabulary was ARABIC EVEN AFTER A GENERATION OF DE ARABICIZATION THE even after a generation of de arabicization the in 1965 was still 26 per cent In Farsi there were attempts to persianize the lexicon in the nineteenth century but at least 30 per cent of the vocabulary remains Arabic Arabic travelled via Persian to the Indian subcontinent where not only Hindi and particularly Urdu but also many of the related languages are rich in Arabic words thus for xample a concept as indigenous as Sikh khalsa can turn out to have an Arabic name khalisah is pure India s recent colonial history also meant that a minor secondary wave of Arabic words made it the long way round to Europe and particularly with the nabobs the nawab Arabic deputies to Blighty itself from Arabic wilayah dominion realm via Persian into Indian bilayati of the foreign land Hark! The Herald Angels Scream especially EuropeBritain Arabicization is continuing in at least one part of the Indian subcontinent as Bangladeshi Bengali replaces Sanskrit loan words with new ones of Arabic origin Further south andast around the ocean arc Arabic has beueathed modern Indonesian as many as 3000 loan words From the East Indies it still had further to go not just to Ibn Battutah s hazy Kaylukari but also to Elcho Island off Australia s Arnhem Land there the Aboriginal name for God Walitha walitha apparently came via Colloquial Polish: The Complete Course for Beginners early contacts with Makassar Muslims from the Arabic phrase Allahu ta ala Allahxalted is He In the opposite direction in Africa the belated Arab tribal migrations of the Banu Hilal and others from the leventh century onwards arabicized the lowlands but Arabic would also steal into the Berber languages a uarter to a third of whose vocabulary is now Arabic From the Maghrib traders missionaries and tribesmen also took Arabic itself as far south as Bornu in northern Nigeria where a form of the language is still spoken by inhabitants of Arab origin No less importantly from the sawahil the coasts of the western arm of the oceanic arc Swahili spread inland through trade to become the national language of Kenya and Tanzania Swahili is a Bantu language but Arabic has loaned it perhaps as much as half of its vocabularyan identity that had begun to form before the Christian ra had coalesced under the Lakhmid and Ghassanid kings had solidified with Islam and reached its firmest form under the Umayyads and Bidadari yang Mengembara earlier A riveting comprehensive history of the Arab peoples and tribes thatxplores the role of language as a cultural touchstone This kaleidoscopic book covers almost 3000 years of Arab history and shines a light on the footloose Arab peoples and tribes who conuered lands and disseminated their language and culture over vast distances Tra. Bbasids but then had weakened and decayed around the time of the death of the last real caliph in the mid tenth century What had happened since then was that Arab identity had reverted to its herding raiding beginnings The idea of urubah arabness had been almost as mobile and various across time as the peoples and tribes to whom it attached under the Ottomans it ntered a 300 year dip in the road and became invisibleAnd there was another irony of mpire in these centuries the high point of Arab unity in terms of the greatest population under a single rule over the longest time and the widest geographical La strada delle croci extent was achieved under the Ottomans Arab unity was purchased at thexpense of Arab independence and in many ways also of Arab identitymost propaganda is still in high Arabic And the propaganda has power the old sacred tongue the dead language that refuses to die as Paul Bowles called it still bewitches mystifies and silences the masses as it did in the mouths of pre Islamic poets and seers It still has a weight and a volume that mutes the twittering And it remains the most potent symbol of a long lusive unity We do not live in a land but in a language Do away with that one shared territory that almost impossibly difficult language and you do away with the only aspect of unity that is not a mirageWhatever the xact figures they are the reason why in the United States a Syrian Lebanese uarter sprouted in what its inhabitants called Nayy Yark why recently Salman Rushdie could find Egyptian in fact Lebanese shops in Matagalpa Nicaragua run by the likes of Armando Mustafa and Manolo Saleh and why on a visit to Dakar my breakfasts comprised Franco Levantine pain au chocolat Turkish coffee and Lebanese ladies with hairdos and Marlboros They are also the reason why Argentina has had an Arab origin president Carlos Menem Brazil another Michel Temer followed in 2018 by an Arab orign presidential runner up Fernando Haddad and why Brazil s Arab origin citizens now number twelve million making it the ninth biggest Arab country by population bigger than Lebanon They went forth multiplied and left the old country behind in The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth every wayBlame it as they might on other peoplesmpires Arabs had never been a happy family not since the division of the spoils of Islam not since the pre Islamic War of al Basus that forty year super suabble over grazing rights They had never really been a family at all xcept in tribal fictions of shared descent If mpires were to blame it was as much as anything for inspiring by reflex the myths and mirages of unattainable union Imperialists certainly divided and ruled but often than not they were driving their wedges into old splitsToday those individual voices that were raised have been silenced again Another spring has had no summer like so many revolutions Muhammad s included it was begun by those who were hungry for justice but was hijacked by those who were hungry for power In several cases notably that of Egypt it was a double hijacking first by the self styled proponents of the ancienne r volution the islamists for the straggly beards soon ousted the shaggy heads and then by the anciens r gimes themselves the insatiable tyrannosaurs It might be said that Arab history is a series of stolen revolutions This was overall a pretty good book One of its best aspects is the Pretty Reckless (All Saints High, elouent style and the depth of the author s knowledge of the subject matter Unfortunately however his knowledge seems to be biased towards the Middle East proper Arabia Levant Mesopotamia Egypt about which he writes profusely whereas the Maghreb is depicted with only some sketchy less satisfying details Thus many uninformed readers might assume that history unrolled in a or less similar manner in the Maghreb as it did in the Middle East and project the samevents mentalities and aspirations on the the western part of the so called Arab world and its population This could not however be further from the truth While the author addressed some historical vents such as the Banu Hilal invasion in the 11 13th century he did not xplain how they contributed to the slow Arabization process of the Maghreb and how most of the Arabization in fact took place in the 20th century under governments that sought to The West Transformed eradicate any aspect of non Arab culture or language Indeed at the beginning of the 20th century both Morocco and Algeria had a majority Berber aka Amazigh speaking population while literacy in Standard Arabicven after the independence from France was less than 5% Aggressive Arabization policies succeeded in less than 3 generations to bring the number of native speakers of Amazigh from above 60 70% conservative stimates to less than 30% And yet ven modern Moroccan Algerian and Tunisian cultures and dialects bear heavy influences from the old Amazigh culture and languages open for view to those willing to look It seems rather unfair to lump these countries in such a facile manner into an Arab world without looking at their individual differences This is something that the author alludes to but does not xplicitly mention than once perhaps since it would shake the whole premise of the book a common thread of Arab history woven through the ages or ven bring it to naught Indeed this little fact lifts the mystery as to why Arabs never unite or are always united in division because the answer is really simple there is no Arab world there never has been and never will be At least not in a wide geographical sense ncompassing the whole region of MENA It would be like trying to sueeze all of Europe into a Latin world and force Europeans to use
"latin as the "as the official language It would not workWhat is called the Arab civilization was in fact a network of interconnected civilizations that relied heavily on the use of Arabic for religious intellectual and administrative purposes and shared a common religion Islam But beyond that there was little resemblance The Moorish civilization in the territory of modern day Morocco Southern Iberia and West Algeria had its own characteristics such as a uniue architecture traditional clothing cuisine tc that distinguished it from the rest of the so called Arab world I once sat with a Syrian colleague and we started comparing traditional dishes between our countries with the assistance of Google Images We could not find a a single common dish between Morocco and Syria not a single one zero zilch How can this be the same civilization or the same culture when not ven the most basic thing what people put on their tables has anything in commonThis when not ven the most basic thing what people put on their tables has anything in commonThis however a nice ride through time to understand the VOYAGES DE GRANDE CROISIERE evolution of the Middle East and North Africa and I find the book uite valuable if only to provide good material for criticism What failed the author in thend is the very thing that he only shyly admitted that there is no Arab world that it is in fact multiple intermingled worlds A Riesling to Die each with their ownvolution and history and that attempting to weld them into a single melting pot has most often resulted in disaster A book that tries to draw Arab history into a common thread would by definition have to fail in a similar mannerWe should simply stop this futile Pookie-Pie: A Sweet Bedtime Story exercise andach of our countries should figure out its own solutions for its own problems build its own identity based on its own history and ndemic properties perhaps learning from ach other but not copy pasting With little written history but a whole lot of oral tradition its little wonder that Tim has taken writing about the Arabs focusing on their language and cultural traditions which makes this book very uniue The Arabs have pretty much maintained their rich tribal culture of raiding and pillaging through the pre Islamic ra to the modern times of ISIS type raids It s a culture which to this day glorifies the Beduin way of life over stable urban life which is completely opposite to most western cultures And urban Arabs will form temporary groups to counter an xternal A Warlocks Dance (The Cursed Princes, enemy and in the absence of anxternal nemy they will fight against ach other making the concept of an Arab unity nonsensical by definition Arabs also have a very rich tradition of hiring mercenaries to fight their wars a practice which to this day is obvious in the My First Kitten economy as well as their armies This prolongedxposure to internecine warfare must have given the Arabs the ability to judge the uality of their Seeds of the Spirit 2000 enemy That must have been a reason why the Arabs are divided over how to counter Israel today and have resorted back to infighting instead This book can t be rated The author is rabidly anti Israel Asxamples the books says that the only place that post holocaustJews could be sent without causing a problem was Antartica p 442 th. Cing this process to the origins of the Arabic language rather than the advent of Islam Tim Mackintosh Smith begins his narrative than a thousand years before Muhammad and focuses on how Arabic both spoken and written has functioned as a vital source of shared cultural identity over the millennia Mackintosh Smith reveals how lingu.