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Eventually Arabia united again, this time under the leadership of the Midianites. The Qur'anic and Biblical records clearly remember when the Arabs united under Midianite leadership and challenged the nations outside of Arabia. This time they met their defeat in the Levant.
Many centuries later, the tribes of Ishmael take leadership, this time under the direction of the Nabataean tribe, descendants of the eldest son of Ishmael. This empire would be different, for the backbone of this empire was trade not military force. The Qur'an calls them the people of Thamud, meaning after 'Ud. The Jews called them Nabataeans, and the Romans simply refer to them as Arabs. In 106 AD the northern part of their kingdom was absorbed into the Roman Empire and eventually they faded from view.
It was not until 600 AD that the Arabian Peninsula was again united, this time under the flag of Islam. Once again the tribes of Arabia burst from the deserts challenging the surrounding nations. This time they would not be easily defeated, and their armies marched to China in the east, Spain in the west, and Vienna in the north.
But there is more to this book than a study of the four times when the Arabs demonstrated their greatness. This book also examines the geographical references in the Qur'an cross-referencing them with historical locations. The surprise comes when Gibson examines the Holy City of Islam, known as Mecca. Here Gibson finds evidence that the original Holy City was in northern Arabia in the city of Petra. He theorizes that during an Islamic civil war one hundred years after Muhammad, the Ka'ba was destroyed and the Black Rock was moved to its present location. Gibson examines archaeological, historical and literary evidence that support this theory and addresses many questions and objections that readers may have.
This book contains many references, as well as some useful appendices including a 32 page time line of Islamic history from 550 AD - 1095 AD, and a 20 page annotated selected bibliography of early Islamic sources in chronological order from 724 AD - 1100 AD plus a list of many early Qur'anic manuscripts. Fully referenced with many illustrations and photos.
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