Political conditions in the near East including ARABIA before the dawn of Islam

 Political Conditions:

The most notable feature of the political conditions of Arabia before Islam was the complete absence of a political organization in any form. With the exception of Yemen in the south-west, no part of the Arabian peninsula had any government at any time, and the Arabs never acknowledged any authority other than the authority of the chiefs of their tribes. The authority of the tribal chiefs, however, rested, in most cases, on their character and personality, and was moral rather than political.

The modern student of history finds it incredible that the Arabs lived, generation after generation, century after century, without a government. Since there was no government, there was no law and order. The only law of the land was lawlessness. In the event a crime was committed, the injured party took law in its own hands, and tried to administer "justice" to the offender. This system often led to the acts of horrendous cruelty.

Early life before Islam

Systems of Arabia:

If an Arab ever exercised any modicum of restraint, it was not because of

any susceptibility

he had to questions of right or wrong but because of the fear of provoking reprisals and vendetta.

Vendetta consumed whole generations of Arabs. Since there were no system of police, courts or judges, the only protection a man could find from his enemies, was in his own tribe. The tribe had an obligation to protect its members even if they had committed crimes. Tribalism or from their enemies, exposed itself to ridicule, obloquy and contempt. Ethics, of course, did not asabiyya (the clan-spirit) took precedence over ethics. A tribe that failed to protect its members form their enemies, exposed itself to ridicule,obloquy and contempt.Ethis ,of course,did not enter the picture anywhere.


Since Arabia did not have a government, and since the Arabs were anarchists by instinct, they were locked up in incessant warfare. War was a permanent institution of the Arabian

society. The desert could support only a limited number of people, and the state of inter-tribal war maintained a rigid control over the growth of population. Efernal peace held no appeal for them, and war provided an escape from drudgery and from the monotony of life in the desert. They, therefore, courted the excitement of the clash of arms. War gave them an opportunity to display their skills at archery, fencing and horsemanship, and also, in war, they could distinguish themselves by their heroism and at the same time,win glory and honour for their tribes.

In many cases,the Arabs fought for the sake of fighting.

Describing this state of continuous warfare, G. E. Von Grunebaum remarks:

"In the century before the rise of Islam, the tribes dissipated all their energies in tribal guerrilla (Classical Islam - Aq History 600-1258-1970) fighting, all against all.

According to D. S. Margoliouth enumerates: "Arabia would have remained pagan had there been a man in Mecca who could strike a blow; who would act. But many as were Mohammed's ill-wishers, there was not one of them who had this sort of courage; and (as has been seen) there was no magistracy by which he could be tried." (Mohammed and the Rise of Islam, 1931)

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