Islam's History

Geography

  Three quarters of Arabia was covered by desert. Arabia also had plateaus and plains. Summer temperatures went over 120F. Winter and Nighttime temperatures can go below freezing. Annual rainfall was 3-4 inches also droughts could last for years. When it rains it is normally storms or flash floods. Was often hit by windstorms. Arabian nomads are called Bedouins. They would walk around the Desert raising livestock. They would set up tents near places to graze and drink. They moved on when the animals ate most of the grasses. The camel (ship of the desert) was the Arabian nomad's main idea of transportation. Camels could live off nothing for days and carry heavy loads. Arabian nomads would dress in loose long gowns and cotton face masks to protect them from dust heat and flies. Arabian nomads drank goats milk, made yogurt and or cheese and rarely ate meat. The animals produced materials needed for clothing, blankets and tents. To get other things they needed they traded with merchants in towns.
The desert had Oases scattered around. Oases provided fresh water, plant life and shade. Oases occur in places were water is trapped OR was trapped. Oases vary in size. Nomads travel in search for Oases. They sometimes dug holes into the ground to get more water. At Oases fruit was grown. Some examples are dates, peaches and grain. Dates were very important to Arabs. They gave material that was needed for houses and provided a source of food. Some people refer to dates as “the mother and aunt of all Arabs”. Towns were formed near or around Oases.
The Arabian coastal plain is around 45 miles inland. It ends with rocky cliffs. Rain falls regularly there and the air is damp and moist. It also has a few natural harbors. It is also suitable for farming. The Arabians built deep wells and underground pipes to irrigate the land. They also kept rainwater in reservoirs and canals. Marib Dam provided water for over 300,000 people and lasted around 1000 years until it broke in 580 CE.
The largest mountain range in Arabia divided the desert from the Coastal Plains. The mountains range from 1000-12000 feet high. The mountains get around 20 inches of rainfall a year. In the sixth century, most Druze (Mountain Dwellers) lived in the Asir Mountains. These people farmed by making step like things into a side of a mountain. They also kept rain water underground in containers. They grew fruit like melons and pomegranates. They also grew trees to make things like frankincense and myrrh.

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