The Original Black African Arabs of Arabia (Part 1)
Ogu Eji-Ofo Annu
“If one understood Arab Culture it is immediately apparent that Blackness is highly cherished conceptually and in reality. In Arab culture the best camel is the black one the best Fig is the blackest, the best eyes are black, the best olives are black, the most beautiful rock is the Black Kaaba. Any Bedouin Arab that is asked his color, would undoubtedly respond Asmar or Aswad which means Black/Brown. No Arab ever describes himself as Bidan which means White. ”
Who are the Arabs:
In today’s world, one is seducively led by the racist western media to believe that the Arabs of Arabia and Africa represent a peculiar phenotype with all other non-conforming types being somewhat alien to that concept. In this way theyÂ impose a certain central Asian phenotype as the “racial Arab” and the almost ubiquitous Black Arabs of the modern times as either descendants of slaves or immigrants.
In this way, they attempt to disconnect the linkage between the ancient Kushitic Black Arabs globally celebrated in antiquity (now reclassified as some “caucasoid” “semitics”) and their Kushitic African roots. This article is therefore another blow against the citadel of falsehood erected by the western intelligensia used to discourage, dis-empower dissipate and diffuse the energy of the Black nation. Again one notes and deplores the unrelenting effort by non-continental peoples to appropriate the history and the achievements of brilliant Black African luminaries as their own.
Much confusion attends the word “Arabs”, because it has not always been used with rigourous consistency. Moreover, in the wake of the global dominance of the Arab culture and Islamic political power in the between 7AD and 14 AD, the number of Arabs increased exponentially by the addition of many non Arab Arabized people, because acculturation and assimilation were delibrately fostered by state policy.
Today, the word Arabs does not strictly imply or designate any known racial category of people. It is an ethnic identification that has several aspect including liguistics, politics and genealogy. Its meaning is nuanced depending on the particular context.
As an ethnic identity, an Arab is someone who considers himself to be an Arab regardless of racial or ethnic origin. This definition encompasses many Africans, Indians, Indonesians and Chinese who describe themselves as Arabs.
Usually the first language of persons who claim to be Arab is Arabic. There are over 200 million people worldwide whose first language is Arabic. Again these peoples spread over a large portion of the globe spanning from central Africa to central Asia. More than 70% of the so-called Arabs in the world live physically in Africa.
Given that the Arabic language is a Semitic language, which forms part of the Afro-Asia language family, which originated in Africa, one can rightly view Arabic as an African language. Of the official languages of the African Union that include English, French, Spanish, Portugese, and Arabic, Arabic language is the only Afro-Asiatic language spoken. The rest are Euro-Aryan English, French, Spanish and Portugese. See Uwechia Jide; Hamito-Semitic Africa: http://www.africaresource.com/rasta/2006/04/10/hamito-semitic-africa-semites-of-africa-ii/. See also Peter T. Daniels, Origin of Semitic: https://listhost.uchicago.edu/pipermail/ane/2004-January/011842.html.
Viewed from a political perspective, someone who is a resident or citizen of a country where Arabic is an official or national language, or is a member of the Arab League or is part of the wider Arab world is an Arab. This definition would cover more than 300 million people. Under this definition, there are more Arabs in Africa than anywhere else in the universe. Most of those Arabs that live in Africa are Black Africans, from Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Eriteria, Kenya Tanzannia, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. Many of them trace their ancestry to Yemen.
On its formation in 1946, the Arab League defined an “Arab” as: “… a person whose language is Arabic, who lives in an Arabic speaking country, who is in sympathy with the aspirations of the Arabic speaking peoples.” The Arab League’s definition of an Arab leaves no room for any racialist twist on the meaning of Arab and Arabic. These words simply denote ethnicity. Yet again, based upon this definition, there are more Black Africans who have a legitimate claim to the Arabic ethnicity than anywhere else in the world.
According to Habib Hassan Touma (1996, p.xviii), “An ‘Arab’, in the modern sense of the word, is one who is a national of an Arab state, has command of the Arabic language, and possesses a fundamental knowledge of Arabian tradition, that is, of the manners, customs, and political and social systems of the culture.” Here again, one finds that there more Black African Arabs based on this definiton than any other regional phenotype that lays claim to that heritage.
A hadith related by Ibn Asakir in Tarak Dimashq and attributed to Islam’s prophet Muhammad states that :”Being an Arab is not because of your father or mother, but being an Arab is on account of your tongue. Whoever learns Arabic is an Arab.” < http://www.islamtoday.com/show_detail_section.cfm?q_id=266&main_cat_id=11>.
Genealogically, an Arab is someone who can trace his or her ancestry back to the original inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula. Different groups estimate the relative importance of these factors differently. Most people who consider themselves Arabs do so on the basis of the overlap of the political and linguistic definitions.
Since there are so many different phenotypes all considered as Arabs, the query posed and answered by this paper then is: who are the original Arabs? Were they Black or White or Black and White? It is posited here that the original Arabs were Black African Kushites from the Nile valley who had settled in southwest Asia in the Arabian Peninsula in ancient times.
They were Kushitic-Ethiopians, speakers of an African prototypical Semitic language who had left from an area falling between the regions bordered by modern day Dafur in Sudan and Asmara in Eriteria. They took their African genes, their African intelligence, their African culture, their African language and their African love and built the ancient and the modern civilization known as Arabic civilization. In the paragraphs that follow, one is gradually introduced to the original Black Kushitic Arabs. See Uwechia Jide; Hamito-Semitic Africa: http://www.africaresource.com/rasta/2006/04/10/hamito-semitic-africa-semites-of-africa-ii/. See also Peter T. Daniels, Origin of Semitic: https://listhost.uchicago.edu/pipermail/ane/2004-January/011842.html.
Black Arabs and Classical Literature
Up to a century and a half ago our information concerning Arabia was based mainly on Greek and Latin writers, such as Herodotus (Histories), Diodorus Siculus (Bibliotheca Historica), Strabo (Geography, Book XVI), Pliny, Ptolemy, and others. All those writers reported without any equivocation that Arabia was part of the ancient Kingdom of Ethiopia Kush, extending from Africa into Solomon Islands.
Later Arabic writers and geographers, such as Hamadani’s “Arabian Peninsula,” Bekri and Yaqut’s geographical and historical dictionaries, and similar works also provide extremely valuable. However, those works are to be treated with caution because they contain fabulous and legendary traditions, partly based on native popular legends and partly on Jewish and rabbinical fancies.
From the available literature and authorities, historians have broadly divided Arabs into three classes according to their different great ancestors. They are:
The original Black Arabs who were supposedly punished by destruction and deluge because, as legend has it in the book of Quran, they disobeyed their Prophets and flouted God’s instructions; they were: Ad, Thamud, Tasam, Jadeis, Imru.
The classical Black Arabs, who are believed to have descended from Yaarub ibn Yashjub ibn Ghatan and thus called Ghataniyun. They had lived in the Yemen; they included a number of tribes and sub-tribes, two of which became historically prominent viz., Himyar and Kahlan (al’arab al’ariba).
The Arabized Arabs: These tribes immigrated into Arabia from different sections of central Asia. Many of them intermarried with the desert dwelling nomadic blemmyes – the Bejas (original Bedouin Arabs) and the Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian tribes of Africa. Their mix -blood children who adopted a mingled form of their parents cultures are known as the Arabized Arabs (al ‘arab al musta ‘riba).
Today, upon the dictates of the western intelligensia, this banch is the so-called prototypical Arabs. They are the picture boys of the white-semitic theories which seek to claim that some white or at the very least some off-white people were and remain the original and only Arabians. By employing vague and non-categorical semantics with words like “Semites,” ‘Hamites,” Ishmaelites,” “caucasiods,” the western negro-phobic intelligensia and educational establishment seek to erase every trace of black Africa from Arabia.
Nonetheless, if one understood Arab culture it is immediately apparent that Blackness is highly cherished conceptually and in reality. In Arab culture the best camel is the black one the best fig is the blackest, the best eyes are black, the best olives are black, the most beautiful rock is the Black Kaaba. Any Bedouin Arab that is asked his color, would undoubtedly respond Asmar or Aswad which means Black/Brown. No Arab ever describes himself as Bidan which means White because they all understand instinctively if not consciously that Africa is their root.
The Black Arabs as described in “Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews”:
Josephus was a soldier, priest and scholar who was born in 37 AD. His written works are seminal in western history and for many centuries were some of the most widely read and influential books of the western civilization. In the paragraphs that immediately follow, excerpts of Josephus’ commentary on the Arabs and near easterners who were contemporary to his period are reproduced. See The Catholich Encyclopadia < http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08522a.htm>
According to Josephus:
“The children of Ham (note: Ham is the archetypal ancestor Black people according to Hebrew, Arabic and Jewish legends) possessed the land from Syria and Amanus (modern Jordan), and the mountains of Libanus (modern Lebanon); seizing upon all that was on its sea-coasts, and as far as the ocean, and keeping it as their own.
Some indeed of its names are utterly vanished away; others of them being changed, and another sound given them, are hardly to be discovered; yet a few there are which have kept their denominations entire. For of the four sons of Ham, time has not at all hurt the name of Chus; for the Ethiopians, over whom he reigned, are even at this day, both by themselves and by all men in Asia, called Chusites. The memory also of the Mesraites is preserved in their name; for all we who inhabit this country [of Judea] called Egypt Mestre, and the Egyptians Mestreans.
Phut also was the founder of Libya, and called the inhabitants Phutites, from himself: there is also a river in the country of Moors which bears that name; whence it is that we may see the greatest part of the Grecian historiographers mention that river and the adjoining country by the apellation of Phut: but the name it has now has been by change given it from one of the sons of Mesraim, who was called Lybyos. We will inform you presently what has been the occasion why it has been called Africa also.
Canaan, the fourth son of Ham, inhabited the country now called Judea, and called it from his own name Canaan. The children of these [four] were these: Sabas, who founded the Sabeans (Editor’s note: the Black Arabs, the Yemenites,); Evilas, who founded the Evileans, who are called Getuli; Sabathes founded the Sabathens (Editors note: the Black Hadramutians, Sabatha was the ancient capital of Hadramut), they are now called by the Greeks Astaborans; Sabactas settled the Sabactens (note: the Black Southern Arabians also called Omanites); and Ragmus the Ragmeans (note: a Black Arab section of south western Arabia mentioned frequently in Sabean inscriptions); and he had two sons, the one of whom, Judadas, settled the Judadeans, a nation of the western Ethiopians, and left them his name; as did Sabas to the Sabeans: but Nimrod, the son of Chus (the Black ancient Iraqi Arabs), staid and tyrannized at Babylon, as we have already informed you.
Now all the children of Mesraim, being eight in number, possessed the country from Gaza to Egypt, though it retained the name of one only, the Philistim; for the Greeks call part of that country Palestine. As for the rest, Ludieim, and Enemim, and Labim, who alone inhabited in Libya, and called the country from himself, Nedim, and Phethrosim, and Chesloim, and Cephthorim, we know nothing of them besides their names; for the Ethiopic war which we shall describe hereafter, was the cause that those cities were overthrown. The sons of Canaan were these: Sidonius, who also built a city of the same name; it is called by the Greeks Sidon.”
November 26, 2006
To Be Continued in Part 2.