A Brief History Of Saudi Arabia (Brief History) by James Wynbrandt

By James Wynbrandt

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When I was midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘O Muhummad! ’ I raised my head towards heaven to see [who was speaking], and lo, Gabriel in the form of a man with feet astride the horizon saying, ‘O Muhammad! Thou art the apostle of God and I am Gabriel’” (Guillaume 1955, 106). Muhammad’s revelation marked the beginning of Islam. The message that Muhammad said Gabriel had directed him to spread came from an eternal, heavenly tome. This is the Quran, the holy book of Islam.

Neither of the males survived infancy, and only Fatima, his most beloved daughter, had children. ) Muhammad’s work in the caravan trade took him to Syria and Palestine, where he came in closer contact with monotheistic religions, giving him a basic, though imperfect, knowledge of Christianity and Judaism. An indication of the respect Muhammad was reputed to enjoy can be inferred from one of the traditions of an event said to have occurred when he was 35 years old, or around the year 605. The Kaaba was undergoing renovations under the hands of the four leading clans of the city, each working on individual areas.

A tribe is composed of several kindred clans joined together. The leader of the tribe or clan is the sheikh. The sheikh was depended on for wise counsel. He ruled by the consent of his group, and decisions were made with the input of the tribal council, composed of individual clan leaders. Tribes observed no higher authority and were dependent on their prowess as warriors and raiders to survive and prosper. Less able tribes could buy the protection of more powerful tribes. Each tribe had its own area, called dirahs or ranges, within which they claimed exclusive rights to pasturage and use of all wells.

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