Socio-political situation of the Arabs in the pre-Islamic period
Shikhali Aliyev

We mostly get information about the pre-Islamic Arab history from Greek
(Byzantine), Syrian sources, as well as from the poetic works and legends of the
Islamic period. In the period of Jahiliya, relations in the Arab society with each other
were regulated mainly through consanguinity between various Arab clans, formed by
intra- and inter-clan relations, and in clan state formations. Relations were also built
on the basis of “asabiya” (principles of the clan’s advantage) This system of
relationships, although somehow is similar to the concept of the ancient Turkic tribal
system “torah”, nevertheless is different from it. Various clans, mainly migrated
from the South, created the states (kingdoms) of the Kindah, Lahmids and Gassanids
in the North of the Arabian Peninsula. These kingdoms in different periods were in
vassal dependence on neighboring empires – and at best in allied relations with them.
The Byzantine and Sasanian empires benefited by resolving security issues of a
military nature and determining the relationship between these vassal kingdoms. To
preserve and expand their influence in these kingdoms, the Byzantine and Sasanian
empires, along with the provision of various assistance and encouraging steps
(distribution of high titles, etc.), attached great importance to the religious factor.
Both empires implemented similar policy in Caucasian Albania, which existed on the
territory of Azerbaijan. As noted by Irfan Shahid, at that time the Arabs were
squeezed between large forces – the Byzantine, Sassanid empires and the state of
Himyarites. In the cultural sphere too, they were strongly influenced by these three
forces. Despite this, approximately three centuries of the pre-Islamic period were
marked by the heyday of the Arabic language, architecture and poetry. The
representative of the ruling Kinda family, the prince and poet Imru al-Qais, brought
many innovations to the Arabic poetry of that period. Some of the achievements of
the Kindah state (in the field of architecture and management) were later used in the
Islamic period.

Keywords: Jahiliyyah, Kindah, Ghassanids, Lakhmids, Imru' al-Qais, İslam