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Preislamic Arabia

            This essay will show the significant political transformation of Mecca and medina from a tribal society sprouting into a state structure in the seventh century Hijaz. It will focus on topics. First it will discuss the conditions of Arabia before Islam. It will cover such topics as pre Islamic Arab society and tribal importance. It will then focus on the normal practice and traditions the tribes used to practice for example ghazzu raids Secondly, it will discuss the prophets emergence in this disturbed land and how he was able to influence it and change it. Finally it will discuses how the concept of Umma had a great significance in transforming its political institution and ways of life through the constitution of medina.
             Introduction: .
             Islam began in an area of the Arabian Peninsula inland from the northeast shore of the Red Sea. This dry hilly area, called the Hijaz, was dominated by a number of different tribes in the latter half of the sixth century, when Mohammed was born. It was also the location of an important trade route between the Mediterranean world to the west and the "Asian" world to the east. In fact, as wars between the Roman Empire and the Persian Empire blocked the northern trade routes, the route through the Hijaz became more important and more heavily used. The tribes gained much income as traders passed through their territories. Some of this income was acquired through commercial means, such as supplying food, water and lodging for travelers and their animals, and other methods of extracting money was offering protection from raiders through payments of money. .
             The Koreish tribe was one of the strongest tribes in the Hijaz and it controlled the city of Mecca, which housed a sacred sanctuary called the Kaba. It was here where Mohammed was born and spent most of his life. (See Map #1.) The people in the Hijaz were polytheistic, worshipping many gods, and the Kaba was a shrine to over three hundred of them.

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