Most people relate Arab with the Islamic religion and southwest Asian culture. However, there are and in the past have been numerous people that were Arab Christians and Arab Jews. The Arab people began in the Arabian peninsula and the Syrian Desert before the birth of the Islamic religion.
Over the centuries with the spread of the Islamic religion by Arabic people, the Arabic language, cultural and traditions have blended as one. Across the world today there are some 300 million Arabs.
The Arabic language can be traced to the Semitic group of languages from southwestern Asia. The Arab ethnic group can be divided into two groups. First what is called the "original Arabs" of South Arabia. They came from Qahtan, which were the southern inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula, known as Qahtani. The second group are the "Arabized Arabs" of North Arabia, who came from Adnan who descended from Ishmael, the oldest son of Abraham of the Bible.
Over the centuries the Arab traditions have been assimilated by additional ethnic groups in other parts of the world. From the North African coasts to the ancient lands of Iran and Iraq to the regions along the Caspian Sea and Afghanistan. Their influence was in the Iberia Peninsula in the 15th century.
The Christian Arabs are in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria making up about 20 to 30 percent of each nation’s population. Immigrates of Christian Arabs from the Near East have relocated in the Western Hemisphere, living in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and the United States. At one time there were many individuals in the southeastern Asian region that considered themselves as Arabs of the Jewish faith and now are mostly located in Morocco and Tunisia.
Aligned with the Arab genealogy is the Arabic language. One that has various dialects from the numerous countries and traditions. The standard Arabic is different from the everyday spoken Arabic dialects in various Arab countries. The spoken Arabic is diverse in speech from written Arabic, which is much more colloquial and formal.
The majority of Arabs are of the Islamic religion (known as Muslims) so learning the Arabic language is an essential part of the curriculum for anyone attempting to become an Islamic scholar. However, to understand and study Arab genealogy, more than language and religion are needed.
Literature and the telling of stories has been a long-standing tradition in the Arab world. A popular means of relating a story was by the use of poetry. Arabic music has always been independent and very alive, with a long history of interaction with many other regional musical styles and genres. Its style is that of using melody and rhythm solely rather than harmony. Several instruments had their beginnings in the Arab culture like the lute, guitar, harp and zither.
Foods of the Arabs are based on wheat, barley, rice and meat, with little variety, and a heavy emphasis on yogurt products. A meal would have rice, incorporating lamb or chicken, with various stewed vegetables, heavily spiced, followed by hot tea.
Over the centuries the Arab people have been engaged in agriculture and herding. With living in arid to semi-arid lands, crops were rotated. Winter crops were followed by summer ones, and in some cases there were crops in between. In areas where plants of shorter growing season were used, such as spinach and eggplants, the land could be cropped three or more times a year.
There are as many differences and distinctions centered around the Arabs; the people, culture, history and traditions to label them as one type. In working on Arab genealogy or people with Arab heritage, a very complex and detailed view is needed to gasp a complete understanding of the Arab world.