The Arabs and the Jews : pre-Islamic period****

Analisa hubungan Islam dan Yahudi sejak jaman Muhammad dan Islam sampai saat ini.

The Arabs and the Jews : pre-Islamic period****

Postby ali5196 » Thu Apr 26, 2007 12:55 am

http://www.hebrewhistory.info/factpaper ... eislam.htm

The Arabs and the Jews
Part I: The Pre-Islamic Period
Fact Paper 43-I

ada yg mau terjemahkan nggak yah ? Panjang sih ! Disingkat aja, diambili yg penting2 aja ... gua udah gempor nih :cry: ...
Nih, udah gua singkatin dibawah ini ...




An ongoing contact, commercial and otherwise, between these peoples can be interpolated from the biblical accounts. "Most scholars [accept] the likelihood of an Israelite presence In Southern Arabia from Solomonic times."

An Assyrian king, Shalmaneser, provided solid confirmation of the close relationship between the Jews and the Arabs that was already in existence shortly after the date of the biblical account. It is the earliest direct documentary record of a fraternal association between the two peoples.


Following the freeing of the Jews by Cyrus in Babylonia in 538 B.C.E., a substantial Judaic presence on Dilmun (now Bahrain)becomes evident.

Judaic Colonization in Arabia

Some of the Babylonian Jews freed by Cyrus returned to Judah to renew Judaic life and rebuild their sacred Temple. Most of the Jews stayed behind in Babylonia (Irak sekarang), for they had become a vibrant, productive element in the ancient Land of the Two Rivers. Great Jewish trading and banking houses developed, and triggered an expansion of Babylonian agriculture and industry, and, to an extraordinary degree, international commerce.

Jewish traders were instrumental in pioneering the so-called "Silk Route" to the Far East from the fifth century B.C.E.9 It did not take long before intrepid traders from Babylonia, having conquered the formidable Gobi desert to China's capital, Kaifeng, branched out across the equally challenging Arabian Peninsula. Bustling colonies were established at a string of oases that provided havens for caravans destined for Himyara. At these oases they continued to befriend and carry on a mutually beneficial commercial relationship with the nomadic Bedouin Arab tribes of the desert lands.

Excerpt from an ink and watercolor rendering by William Henry Bartlett of the “Principal Range of Tombs,” Petra, 1845-48. The scene might well have been depicted 2000 years earlier!
Ilustration courtesy of Aramco World, 5/6/94

Archaeological evidence indicates that both Jewish and Nabatean traders were active in the area well before the Common Era (Era Masehi). The Nabateans, of Arabic origin, whose main center at Petra is one of today's archaeological marvels, composed a viable civilization at that time. Petra lay along one of the main routes into Arabia. "The Nabateans were the immediate eastern neighbors of the Jewish people during the fateful centuries of Maccabean, Herodian, and Roman rule, and who had very close relations with the Jews, both friendly and hostile.

These Nabateans had originally been an Arab people, but adopted the Aramaic language [the lingua franca of the Jews]... In addition to their linguistic assimilation, these Nabateans settled down; and so completely were they submerged in the predominant civilization that, some centuries later, the word "Nabati," Nabatean, signified in the language of the Muslim Arabs an Aramaic-speaking peasant."

A tin of honey being proudly displayed by Islam Ahmed Ba Dhib, whose family traces its roots in Yemen back more than a thousand years. The dry climate keeps the moisture level of the honey low, making for a viscous consistency prized by connoisseurs. The date palm and the honey bee were introduced into the Arabian Peninsula by Jewish colonists and traders.
Photo by Eric Hansen, from his article in Aramco World, “The Beekeepers of Wadi Du’an,” 1/2/95

The Babylonian Jews traversed the route through Palmyra as well as through Petra and Dilmun [See map]. The evidence for both Judaic and Nabatean presence in the desert and intercourse with the Bedouins and Himyarites takes the form of graffiti found throughout the desert wasteland along the natural trade routes between the Mediterranean coast and Himyara. A typical example is a tombstone inscription of a "Yehudaya," erected in Al-Hijr, ascribed to either 45 B.C.E. or 42 C.E.11.

A number of Arabia's oases sustained enough agriculture through irrigation to make sizable sedentary communities possible. During the first few centuries of the Common Era, Judaic agricultural and artisan communities burgeoned at sites along the route to Himyara (kini YAMAN). In addition to replenishing the caravans that passed through, these colonies flourished as trading posts for the Bedouins.

In addition to Christian correspondence, much of the Arabian graffiti surviving from the first few centuries of the Common Era (such as an inscription of Simon in the year 307), are "indubitable remnants of pre-Islamic Arab-Jewish life."18

As Nabatean civilization waned, Jewish influence in Arabia grew and eventually displaced that of the Nabateans. Nabatean inscriptions themselves attest to a process by which Jewish traders had become so well established that they became the very representatives of the Nabateans in Hejaz after 300 C.E. Citing two of these Nabatean inscriptions, Werner Caskel notes that "These are the beginnings of the Jewish population [of the region], which later occupied all the oases in the northwest, including Medinah."19

The profundity of Judaic influence upon Arabian culture is evidenced by the Aramaic or Hebraic etymology of the names of tools and products among the Arabs, and by the very names of the population centers that had grown from simple trading posts at oases to sizable villages and towns. For example, a settlement referred to in Egyptian sources as Athribis, and recorded in Greek literature as Yathrib, became the Arabicized but Hebraic el-Medina (meaning "urban district").

The town of Khaibar, for another example, some 60 miles north of Medina, appears to derive from the Hebrew term heber, ("association"), referring to an association of several Judaic communities at what had evolved into a major agricultural and trading center. Alternately, an Arab writer suggested that the name derives from the Hebrew kabir, meaning strong or stronghold.

"Here in their new homeland in Arabia the Jews introduced handicrafts, the goldsmith's art, and the [date] palm, which became to the [later] Mohammedans what the potato became to the Irish. Here they founded Medina. Here they helped the Quraish convert their villages into cities. With their great numbers and twenty-five hundred years of experience the Jews gave [the future] Mecca a cosmopolitan air."

These communities were sustained agriculturally by the introduction of irrigation systems, advanced methods of cultivation, and a variety of new Mesopotamian crops. "They also developed new arts and crafts from metal work to dyeing and the production of fine jewelry, and taught the neighboring tribes more advanced methods of exchanging goods and money.

Most of the agricultural terms and names of implements recorded in pre-Islamic Arabic poetry or the Qu'ran are borrowed from their Aramaic speech. Arab traditions themselves ascribe to them the introduction of the honey bee and many new fruits, including the date. The palm tree, long glorified in Palestinian letters as a symbol of Judaism, now became the object of adulation in Arabic poetry as well. A Jewess was reputed to have brought the first [grape] vine to Ta'if near Mecca, an area later proverbial for its viticulture."

"By their irrigation systems, the observance of certain dietary rules, and especially by building their castles on hills rather than in the fever-infested valleys, the Jews pioneered also in fighting the theretofore deadly diseases. So impressed were their neighbors that, on one occasion, an Arab woman who had lost several children vowed to bring up as Jews all her future offspring."


Thousands of inscriptions have been found in Yemen, the former Himyara. Their recovery was not a simple matter, for "infidels" were, to say the least, unwelcome. The earliest research on and recovery of inscriptions had to be done surreptitiously, and it took brave men to carry it off. In 1843 a Frenchman, Thomas Arnaud entered Ma'rib, the city of the Queen of Sheba, in disguise and made the first European description of its ruins.

Arnaud was followed in 1869 by another disguised scholar, Professor Joseph Halevy, a French Jew also famed for being the first European Jew to visit the Beta Israel, the Falasha Jews of Ethiopia. and subsequently becoming an advocate for the community. Halevy smuggled out 686 forbidden copies of inscriptions.27

Halevy was followed by the Austrian, Edouard Glaser, who made three incognito trips to Ma'rib between 1880 and 1893 and brought back hundreds of artifacts and copies of over 1,000 inscriptions. A large proportion of these inscriptions, some dating back to the first century, can be identified as Judaic in origin. They clearly establish the existence of a powerful Judaic influence prior to the advent of Islam.

Judaic presence and influence throughout the region burgeoned steadily throughout the first few centuries of the Common Era. The process is substantiated by solidly sympathetic references to Jews and Judaism in pre-Islamic Arabic literature. By the sixth century, it is clear that "Jewish tribes dominated Yathrib (Medina)... Among some twenty Jewish tribes mentioned in later Arabic literature stand out the Aramaic-sounding Banu Zaghura. More important were the Banu Nadhir, Banu Quraiah and Banu Qainuqa', who between them, occupied at one time fifty-nine strongholds and practically the entire fertile countryside... Other Jewish settlements... included Dedan, Al-Hijr, Teima, Ablaq, central Arabian Yamana, Ta-if, and possibly, Mecca"

An Arab/Jewish Kingdom

Bedouin Arabs from all over the peninsula were attracted to the flourishing Judaic settlements, and many opted to settle down to a sedentary life. These Bedouins were hospitably received by the Jewish farmers, and many became proselytes. In some cases, the Bedouins were prevented from joining the Jewish community unless they converted. The Arab writer al-Bakri , for example, states that the Bedouin tribe Banu Hishna desired to become part of the Jewish community in Teima, and "were prevented by the Jews from entering their fort as long as they professed another religion, and only when they embraced Judaism were they admitted."29

A number of inscriptions, and particularly one dated 516 C.E., inform us that an important Arab chieftain, Ma'ad-Karib Ya'hur, "King of Saba and Dhu-Rhaidean, and Hadhramaut, and Yamnat, and their Arabs of Taud and Tihanat," probably professed Judaism, and that it may even reflect a sort of conversion or other type of adherence to the Judaism of some of his progenitors. What is certain is that his son, Dhu Nuwas, was a firm believer in Judaism.

Dhu Nuwas changed his name to Joseph, and assumed the role of defender of the Jews. He campaigned "to erect through Judaism a dam against advancing Christianity." He formed a coalition army to stem the incursion of the Abyssinian Christian forces when they threatened to destroy Himyara's independence.

Abyssinia (Ethiopia) lay directly across the Red Sea from Himyara (Yemen). Abyssinia came under the influence of Rome, and Christianity established a firm foothold there. The Romans sought to obtain a stronger hold upon South Arabia by supporting Abyssinian overlordship. The Abyssinian Christians were also supported by the otherwise anti-Roman Byzantines. Persia, on the other hand, sought to encourage the spirit of independence among the native Arab population.

The Abyssinians launched several campaigns to conquer the Bedouins and convert them to Christianity. Their invasion through the southern flank of the Arabian peninsula was decisively stemmed by the forces under Dhu Nuwas During these hostilities Nuwas retaliated against the "traitorous" Christians in the town of Nejran, an event that led to a spate of atrocity stories by the Christians. Nuwas was accused of brutally exterminating the Christian community of that town. The minor local affair was exaggerated into a commemoration by eastern churches of the martyrdom of the Nejran Christians on several dates. Typical of the tales told was one of a nine-year old Christian girl who was said to have spat in the face of Dhu Nuwas, saying "May thy mouth be closed, Jew, killer of his Lord."30

This and other equally spurious stories were being spread by Simeon, the Syrian Bishop of Beth Arsham , along with his insistent complaints about the support being given by the Jews of Tiberias to their Arabian coreligionists. Simeon was not averse to manufacturing stories to support his case. He reported that while on a diplomatic mission in Hira, he saw a messenger of the Arab king of Himyara "bearing a letter to the [Arab] Lakhmid king, Mundhir, which ended in the following exhortation:"

"...You may rejoice that we have not left a Christian, not one, in this land of ours, and that you may also act likewise... but as for the Jews who are in your dominion that you be their helper in everything."

How Simeon was able to read such a secret missile is left to the imagination. Simeon's accusations, whether true in their details or not, spurred Justin I to request the Patriarch Timothy III of Alexandria to enlist the Abyssinian king Elesbias to intervene in Yemen against "the abominable and lawless Jew." The Abyssinians received massive support from the Byzantines, who, despite their quarrels with the Romans, supplied the ships to transport the Abyssinian troops to southern Arabia.

Dhu Nuwas was unable to obtain equivalent support from the Persians, inasmuch as at that moment (523-25) the Sassanian empire was crumbling from unceasing internal rifts and other disastrous exigencies. The forces under Dhu Nuwas were defeated, and he was killed while trying to repel an overwhelming Abyssinian invasion. It is said that rather than surrender, "Riding his horse up a tall cliff which overlooked the sea, he committed suicide by jumping into the water."31

The Christians did not win a lasting victory, for the sympathies of the Arab tribes clearly lay with the Jews among them, both immigrant and converts. A popular liberation movement was launched against Abyssinian Christian domination under Saif Dhu Yazan, a descendant of Dhu Nuwas and likewise a professing Jew. Curiously, Saif, aware of friction between the Rome and the Byzantines, ventured to appeal to the Byzantine emperor for aid against the Abyssinians. "Byzantium had every reason also to resent Abyssinian non-cooperation in her recurrent conflicts with Persia." The ploy by Saif was disdainfully rebuked, because "'You are Jews, while the Ethiopians are Christians.'"

Saif's appeal to Persia proved more successful, and brought a Persian expeditionary force. "But the result was merely the exchange of one foreign oppressor for another. Nevertheless, Himyarite Jews, whether of Jewish or Arabic extraction, weathered the harsh Abyssinian regime.... As is well known, Yemenite Jewry continued to play a significant role in its own country, contributing to the building up of the Jewish homeland in Palestine."32

Jewish traders were also important intermediaries in the trade to the Far East through the Red Sea. A substantial colony of Jews were rooted on the island of Yotabe (now Jijban) strategically located in the Gulf of Aqaba.. The island served the traffic to Himyara and India through the Red Sea in the same way as Dilmun did on the north side of the peninsula in the Persian Gulf. In the fifth century an Arab prince and his tribe occupied half the island. The other half was a Jewish Free State that had been there from time immemorial.33 The fact that the two peoples lived and traded peacefully side by side over an extended period of time bespeaks the positive relationship that endured between them.

The island came under Persian occupation in 473, and the Jewish colony continued to carry on Red Sea trade under a semi-autonomous status. Geopolitics make strange bedfellows, and one of the strangest of associations subsequently took place on Yotabe. The Byzantine Emperor Anastasius recaptured the island in 498. At first the Byzantines, finding the Jews commercially invaluable, pragmatically tolerated their activities. In the meantime, campaigns were being launched against the Himyarites and the Jews among the Himyarites. Seven Abyssinian vessels were stationed and furbished for the Abyssinian expedition against the Himyaran co-religionists of the Jews of Yotabe.

About the year 535 Justinian annulled the autonomous status of the Jews. It is likely that he took this action because the Byzantine campaign against the Himyarites was being surreptitiously compromised by the Jews.

The Growth of Judaism in Arabia

In the year 602, however, the fortunes of the Jews again reversed for the better, for the Persians prevailed over the Byzantines, and the Jews were able to continue their land and seaborne enterprises in relative freedom as before. The settlements expanded into sizable communities, occupying "all the oases in the northwest including Medinah."

"Flourishing settlements of this type irresistibly attracted the Bedouins from all over the Peninsula. Much as the latter glorified their freedom and independence from the sedentary way of life, sooner or later they began viewing such agriculturally prosperous oases not only as fit objects for raids, but ultimately also as enviable sources of economic security. By slow infiltration several Arab tribes drifted into Medina and its vicinity, and were hospitably received by the Jewish farmers. By the sixth century, these

new arrivals, steadily reinforced from the south and unified under an able leader, Malik ibn Ajlan, eventually prevailed over their hosts... Nevertheless... vigorous Jewish tribes [in villages] in and around the center of northern Arabia, possibly constituted the majority of the settled population. Of course, they were not all of Jewish extraction. In large part they were descended from Arab proselytes, as indicated in the remarkable story of the Banu Hishna in Teima."34 The story refers to the evidence cited above by the Arab writer al-Bakri, in which a tribe of Arab Bedouins were required to convert before being admitted .to citizenship in a Jewish community.

No less significant than the economic benefits accruing to Arabia as a result of the introduction of wider-scale agriculture and industry was the cultural impact of Judaic literacy, the poems they recited and the stories they told as "The People of the Book."

The Arab tribes, being illiterate, were traditionally engaged in a rich oral tradition of story-telling and allegorical poesy. The Jews carried on a similar oral tradition. Jewish poets were particularly appreciated by the Arabs. Ka'b ibn al-Ashaf of Medina, the son of a Jew and an Arab women, lived his entire youth among the Bedouins, and his poetry reflected his experiences among them.

Some of the Jewish poetry reflected a particularly Arabic warrior flavor, such as that of Samau'al ibn 'Adiyah, who sang, "We are men of the sword, and when we draw it we exterminate our enemies." But Samau'al , the knightly lord of Al-Ablaq, near Teima, whose name soon became proverbial for faithfulness [to Judaism] in the whole Arab world, was typical of the warlike, yet economically fairly advanced Jewish settlers of the Peninsula."

Traders crossing the Arabian Desert.
Illustration courtesy of Aramco World, 7/8/00

Arabs would leave their tents and campfires to gather in the inns and communities of the Jews to "listen to the exploits of one or another biblical hero. These stories need not have clung too closely to the biblical narratives, but were often adorned with all the embroideries of the later Aggadah, or the creations of the story teller's on fertile imagination."35

The biblical stories, retold by Jewish and Arab raconteurs, found their way to a camel-driver's ears, and were eventually noted down by his listeners in the Qu'ran, that is to say, the "Telling."

The "telling" of that history is picked up in the following HHF Fact Paper no. 43-II, The Arabs and the Jews; The Arrival of Islam. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
Posts: 17309
Images: 135
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2005 5:15 pm

Return to Resource Center: Islam dan YAHUDI

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users