Arabization (Arabic: تعريب "ArabDIN|Taʿrīb") describes a growing cultural influence on a non-Arab area that gradually changes into one that speaks Arabic and/or incorporates Arab culture. It was most prominently achieved during the 7th century Arabian Muslim conquests which spread the Arabic language, culture, and--having been carried out by Arabian Muslims as opposed to Arabian Christians or Arabian Jews--the religion of Islam to the lands they conquered. The result: some elements of Arabian origin combined in various forms and degrees with elements taken from conquered civilizations and ultimately denominated "Arab", as opposed to "Arabian".

Pre-Islamic Arabization

It should be noted that the Arabs were not the first Semitic peoples who migrated out of the peninsula (see: Aramaeans, Canaanites , Akkadians who branched into the Northern Semitic civilizations Assyrians, Phoenicians, Babylonians, Hebrews and Amorites ) [] part of Qahtan the origin of the Arabs. However, pre Islamic Modern Arabic script groups are mainly the Ghassanids, Nabataeans, while the Kindites used the South Arabian Musnad Script.

Post-Islamic Arabization

Early Islamic Arabization

Syria/Iraq 7th century

After Islam the Arab tribes unified under the banner of Islam and flooded into Byzantine Syria and Sassanid Assyria and Mesopotamia, within few years the major garrison towns developed into the major cities. The local Aramaic speaking population which shared a very close Semitic linguistic/genetic ancestry with the Qahtani and Adnani Muslims and were somewhat Arabized, although Neo-Aramaic speaking minorities persist to the present day.

North Africa and Iberia 7th century

Neither North Africa nor the Iberian Peninsula were strangers to Semitic culture: the Phoenicians and later the Carthaginians dominated the North African and Iberian shores for more than 8 centuries until they were suppressed by the Romans and the following Vandal and Visigothic invasion. In the Inland the Nomadic Berbers allied themselves with the Arab Muslims POV-statement|date=December 2007 and joined them in invading Spain. During this period the Arab tribes mainly settled the old Phoenician/Carthaginian towns while the Berbers remained the dominant group inland. The Inland North Africa remained partly Arabized until the 11th century; the Iberian Peninsula, on the other hand, remained Arabized, particularly in the south, until the XVI century.

Medieval Arabization

Banu Hilal in North Africa 1046Ad

The Banu Hilal, a populous Arabian tribal confedaration organized by the Fatimids in Egypt, struck first in Libya reducing the Zenata berbers (a berber clan that claimed Yemeni ancestry from pre-Islamic periods) and Sanhaja berber confederation to the small coastal towns. The Banu Hilal, as well as the Banu Muqal, Jashm and others, eventually settled modern Morocco and Algeria and had reduced the Sanhaja to isolated mountainous regions.

Banu Sulaym in North Africa 1049Ad

The Banu Sulaym another Bedouin tribal confederation from Nejd followed through the trials of Banu Hilal and helped them defeat the Zirids in the Battle of Gabis 1052Ad, and finally taking Kairuan in 1057Ad. The Banu Sulaym mainly settled and completely Arabized Libya.

Banu Kanz Nubia/Sudan 11th-14th century

A Branch of the Rabi'ah tribe settled Southern Egypt and slowly Arabized the Makurian kingdom in modern Sudan until 1315Ad when the Banu Kanz inherited the kingdom of Makuria and paved the way for the Arabization of the Sudan, that was completed by the arrival of the Jaali and Juhayna Arab tribes.

Repopulating Crusade-12th century A.D.

After the defeat of the Crusaders, the Ayyubids repopulated the reconquered towns with Arabs mainly from their southern provinces, which are today Yemen and the region of Asir in Saudi Arabia.

Banu Hassan Mauritania 1644-1674AD

The Banu Ma'qil is a Yemeni nomadic tribe that settled in Tunisia in the 13th century. The Banu Hassan a Maqil branch moved into the Sanhaja region in what's today the Western Sahara and Mauritania, they fought a thirty years war on the side of the Lamtuna Arabized Berbers who claimed Himyarite ancestry (from the early Islamic invasions) defeating the Sanhaja berbers and Arabizing Mauritania.

In general After the rise of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula, Arab culture and language spread through trade with African states, conquest, and intermarriage of the local population with the Arabs.] , Iraq and the Sudan. Also, though Yemen is traditionally held to be the homeland of Arabs, most [Nebes, Norbert, "Epigraphic South Arabian," in von Uhlig, Siegbert, "Encyclopaedia Aethiopica" (Wiesbaden:Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005), pps.335.] of the population did not speak Arabic (but instead South Semitic languages) prior to the spread of Islam.

The peninsular Arabic language became common among these areas; dialects also formed. Today, an Arab from the Levant finds the Arabic of a North African almost incomprehensible. Modern Standard Arabic functions as something of a dachsprache, allowing speakers of disparate dialects to communicate.

The influence of Arabic has also been profound in many other countries whose cultures have been influenced by Islam. Arabic is a major source of vocabulary for languages as diverse as Berber, spoken Hindi, Indonesian, Kurdish, Malay, Persian, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish, Urdu, as well as other languages in countries where these languages are spoken. For example the Arabic word for book /kita:b/ is used in all the languages listed, apart from Malay and Indonesian (where it specifically means "religious book") and Spanish (which uses the Latin-derived "libro").

Cultural context

The term "Arabised-Arabs" has historically been used to signify Arabs who are descendants of Adnan, the son of Ishmael and grandson of Abraham.Fact|date=February 2007

Modern times


In part of the Al-Anfal Campaign, Saddam Hussein's Iraqi Ba'athist regime drove hundreds of thousands of Kurdish, Assyrian, [ [ 11 ] ] [ [ Assyrian Oppression - 14/09/1993 - ADJ - NSW Parliament ] ] [ [ House of Commons - International Development - Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence ] ] and Turkmen [ [ IDPs and Ethnic Cleansing Conference ] ] families out of their homes in Kirkuk after a Kurdish revolt, and gave their homes to Arab-speaking oil field workers as well as to other non-Kurdish people whom Saddam moved from southern Iraq to the city. This violent campaign of Arabization was an attempt to transform the historically multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk into an Arab city. Kurdish families were left with no homes after being evicted forcefully by Saddam's Iraqi soldiers, and therefore had to migrate to refugee camps. After the fall of Saddam's regime, many Kurdish families came back to Kirkuk.


In Sudan, the majority of citizens are blacks of various faiths, most who self-identify as Arab on linguistic grounds. In 1983, the Muslim, Arabized Government of Sudan, which came to power in a military coup, imposed sharia law upon the largely Christian South. The result was a civil war that raged for 21 years. In other parts of the country, the Nuba for years have been subjected to an aggressive government campaign of Arabization. The government systematically has uprooted many from their lands, and by 2001, forcibly had removed 60,000 Nuba children from their parents to so-called "peace camps" to be Arabized.

The mostly Muslim Nubians in the North face imminent displacement from their lands as the regime of Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir completes the last of three dams along the Nile. Opponents of the dam charge that the government already has sold the land to Egyptian and other Arab interests in the wake of the signing between Egypt and Sudan of the Four Freedoms Agreement in 2004, giving Egyptian nationals the right freely to travel, live, work and own land in Sudan.

In the West, Janjaweed militia, who self-identify as Arab, have been in conflict with the sedentary, largely Muslim populations of the Darfur region, who do not. The Janjaweed widely are thought to be armed and supported by the Arab government, and there is some evidence of on-the-ground involvement of Sudanese military in the Janjaweed's genocidal campaign against Darfurians. The Sudanese government, while it has admitted to bombing "rebel" villages, has denied any collusion with Janjaweed. To date, at least 200,000 persons have been killed in the conflict, with some estimates as high as 400,000, and 2.5 million displaced.

Algeria and Morocco

In Algeria and Morocco, there is tension between the Berber minority groups (such as the Kabyle people) and the central Arab government and feel their culture and language are threatened by arabization. Several incidents of strikes and rioting occurred as part of cultural conflicts, for example the death of Lounes Matoub.

See also

* Arabic language
* Cultural genocide


External links

* [ Islam: The Arab Imperialism] by Anwar Sheikh

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