Lost Islamic History | Reclaiming Muslim Civilisation from the Past
The Arabian Peninsula covers an area of over 2 million square kilometers in the southwestern corner of Asia. Situated between Asia, Africa and Europe, the land is unique in its connection with all three continents of the Old World. Despite its position, it has been mostly ignored by outsiders. The Ancient Egyptians chose to expand into the Fertile Crescent and Nubia rather than venture into Arabia’s deserts. Alexander the Great passed by it in the 300s BCE on his way to Persia and India. The great Roman Empire attempted to invade the peninsula through Yemen in the 20s BCE, but could not adapt to the harsh landscape and thus failed to annex the region. One could hardly blame outsiders for ignoring the Arabian Peninsula. Its dry climate is barely hospitable, even for the nomads who live there. Monsoon winds bring seasonal rains to the southern coast of the peninsula in the autumn, but these are stifled by the quickly rising landscape and never make it deep into Arabia’s deserts. Similarly, rains from the Mediterranean Sea barely touch upon the northern extremities of the Arabian Desert. The result is that the vast majority of the peninsula remains dry year-round. Parched riverbeds known as wadis run throughout the land, yet they are barely recognizable as rivers. When clouds gather and rains fall, they become gushing and powerful waterways, essential for the growth of the seasonal flora that manages to bloom in this dry land. Once the wet season is over, however, the wadis return to their usual, dry state, useless as sources of water.
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