Bedouins History

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The word Bedouins come from the Arabic word “badawī” meaning nomad. The Arabian Peninsula’s landscape consists of several deserts, in which conditions are harsh with little rain. The living conditions were very hard on a society, and as a result only nomads were successful in these desert regions. The Bedouins were culturally isolated as they moved from pasture to pasture, generally settling for short periods of time at oases. The people were farmers or tended to flocks and herds searching for water sources and pastures to settle down for short periods of time. Some Bedouins actually settled in oases and made a living agriculturally and through trade. This lifestyle tended to be difficult and dangerous, so the people also relied on the raiding of villages and caravans. Since raiding became a necessity it was acceptable and it wasn’t thought to be a crime. The Bedouins lived much of their existence according to tribal patterns. They had an elder leader called a “sheik”, who was elected by the heads of families of the tribes. This sheik, however, had little authority over the people, who preferred to have their freedom. In many cases members of the tribe would gather and break off to create their own tribes. The Bedouins had a code of ethics, which was the word of manly virtue or “muru’ah”. It stated men must conduct themselves with grace, restraint, loyalty obligation duty, devotion, and respect for women. Although not as dominant as males, women were allowed to be, and often were involved with business and commerce. They were permitted to live their lives as they chose with no restrictions from their husbands. Not only did they value freedom, but hospitality to strangers as well. They enjoyed simply living life a... ... middle of paper ... ...mpire weak and to be invaded by the crusaders and the Mongols in the 11th and 12th centuries. The invasion led to the destruction of all libraries and educational institutions and with that came the fall of the Abbasid Dynasty. Though the Arabs aren’t known for inventing world and life altering machines, they maintained a consistency of development which we often take for granted. They were able to maintain this consistency because they lived in a dynasty where they were allowed intellectual freedom. Not only were they so advanced in fields such as science, but they were also clearly advanced in the subjects of humanism and equality. It was one of the only early civilizations where men and women had the same rights and could work in the same environment. With all the tools they acquired through intellectual freedom they were able to better understand the world.
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