Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Imagining the ArabsArab Identity and the Rise of Islam$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter Webb

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474408264

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474408264.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

Arabness from the Qur’an to an Ethnos

Arabness from the Qur’an to an Ethnos

(p.110) 3 Arabness from the Qur’an to an Ethnos
Imagining the Arabs

Peter Webb

Edinburgh University Press

Pursuing the references to ‘Arabs’ in the Islamic-era poetry examined in Chapter 2, this chapter explores the processes by which Arab identity developed as a new form of community in early Islam. Analysis begins with the Qur’an, the first extant text to use the word ʿarabī to describe itself. It is revealed that the Qur’an’s Arabness is not a marker of ethnic identity, but it does mark key shifts which were amplified by new social processes following the Muslim Conquests. Employing models of ethnogenesis to interpret early Islam, this chapter demonstrates how the spread of Muslim communities and the centralisation of the Caliphate fostered an environment conducive to rethinking identities. The new social processes prompted early Muslims to experiment with various terms to define their community, and ‘Arab’ gradually gained traction during the later Umayyad period. The rise of Arabness as an ethnic identity thus closely intertwines with the maturation of Muslim community, but conflicting social pressures and imperfect communal cohesion meant that Umayyad-era Arab identity developed very unevenly in this formative period.

Keywords:   Arab identity, Arab origins, Qur’an, Islamic history, Identity in early Islam, ethnogenesis

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.