Prince Sultan bin Salman: Successive events in Arabia since the creation of mankind was a preparation for the emergence of Islam

Prince Sultan bin Salman: Successive events in Arabia since the creation of mankind was a preparation for the emergence of Islam
  • Islam emerged in an important time period in which Makkah was a strategic, political, economic and cultural hub.
  • History confirms that great Islam has not emerged from a land vacuous of civilizations or authentic Arab knowledge and values.
  • The massive civilizational, human and economic progressions of this blessed land throughout history demonstrates a constant movement to prepare the place and the human being there to carry this lofty message to the world.
  • It is important in the present era that Muslims find themselves confronting other cultures, to rethink our role in the future of human movement.
  • The paper was presented to a group of excavation scientists and archaeologists, and I place it at this forum for study, examination and scrutiny.
His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, President of SCTH, presented a paper entitled "Start of Islam on the Arabian Peninsula since God created Man”, at Their Highness's meeting on Wednesday (8 November 2017).  The paper was discussed by H.E. Dr. Fahad Al Samari, Advisor at the Royal Diwan, and In-charge Secretary-General of King Abdul Aziz Dara, Dr. Ali Al-Ghaban, Vice-President of SCTH and General Supervisor of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cultural Heritage Initiative.  The meeting moderated by H.E. Dr. Khaleel Ibrahim, Chancellor of Hail University, within the Meetings of the First Saudi Antiquities Convention at the King Abdul Aziz Historic Center in Riyadh. 

In this paper, Prince Sultan bin Salman emphasized that it is important in this age when Muslims find themselves in the face of other civilizations to rethink who we are and what is our role in the future human mobility. Start from a new interpretation of history of Islam that has begun since the mankind was created, and everything that has happened since then.  It was a sequence of events leading to the rise of Islam from Makkah in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula by its finest people in an important time period when Makkah was a strategic cultural, political and economic hub, as well as a crossroad of caravans that arrive for Haj and trading.  This formed it into an entity of growing political power, helping it to move the message of Islam and the Holy Quran in its lofty Arabic language.  This progression had evolved across thousands of years until the Holy Quran came down, and spread it to all the corners of the globe, confirming that great Islam did not originate from a land vacuous of civilizations, knowledge or morals or authentic Arab values.

HRH noted that Islam, which came to affirm monotheism, is the religion of all mankind and the seal of all religions.  God Almighty chose the land of the Arabian Peninsula and its people to carry this lofty message since the creation of human being.  The civilizational, human and economic succession on this blessed land throughout history signifies a constant movement to prepare the place and man to carry this lofty message to the world.

HRH explained that he had begun thinking about the preparation of this paper four years ago, stating that he had begun to take interest in antiquities and heritage since his youth and as a result of accompanying his father King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Abdullah during his tour of heritage and archaeological sites.  He said, King Salman’s passion for the heritage and history books and visits to historical sites is inherited by Prince Sultan from his father.

He added, “I used to often ask myself, does our role is confines only to digging for antiquities and go out and put them in the museums, or is it supposed to be bigger than that? What is the link between all this history and this civilizational accumulation to what we are today?"

HRH pointed out that he had put forward his paper before this meeting to a group of scientists and a group of archaeologists, and that he is presenting it at the forum to be studied, scrutinized and criticized, stressing that it contains important topics.  It is a paper that links the story of Islam to the creation of humanity and preparation of time and the place the advent of glorious guidance and goodness of Islam from Mecca.

HRH in his paper said: "In a lecture I delivered at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies in June 2010 and a lecture in 2014, I had said that Islam is the jewel of the pure unity of Allah Almighty.  It is the religion of nature chosen by Allah Almighty to mankind and its creation and that the choice the Arabian Peninsula as the cradle of Islam and the message that came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is only an extension of that divine measure.   The course of civilization on the Arabian Peninsula is linked to this most important issue in its history.

"Therefore, Islam has not descended on an empty land of civilizations, and all that has taken place on the Arabian Peninsula from the civilizational and humanitarian events and the intersections has been a front and promises of the advent of sun of Islam from this blessed land.  Caring for the antiquities of human civilizations on the Arabian Peninsula is, in my view, is to take care of the great history of Islam in a place where God has destined it to be the cradle of the greatest religion of mankind at a historic moment.  It was determined from the time of eternity by God.

"This idea led me to deduce that the history of the Arabian Peninsula and its relationship to the call for unification, through what is available so far from the information reached by archaeology, and after thinking and deliberating on this important topic with elite of Shari'ah scholars. In effect, distinguished archaeologists and historians have influenced this topic with their enlightened thoughts and observations until this paper came to being.

The Holy Qur’an, says in Sura Saad, verse 71-72, “Lord said to the angels: I am going to create man from clay, ‘When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance to him.’ Some Islamic sources say Adam (peace be upon him), when was sent by Allah to Earth met his wife Eve near Makkah. Although many people believe that Adam and Eve’s meeting near Makkah is a myth stated in the Israeli books, there is huge discussion about it in the Israeli sources. Albeit, the Holy Qur’an says, “Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Bakka - full of blessing and of guidance for the worlds”. (Al Imran – verse 96).

“Some interpreters say Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) when Allah ordered him to go to Makkah in eighteenth century BC, in the 18th century BC, he rebuilt the Kaaba and Its foundations were buried under the ground in a small place in the middle of the valley.  It means it was built earlier by Prophet Ibrahim.  This is inferred in the Holy Qur’an, saying, “Ibrahim and Isma'il raised the foundations of the House.” (Al Baqrah- verse 127). which means the foundations were existing before Prophet Ibrahim and that he had just rebuilt the House.  

"Allah Almighty wanted Islam that descended on Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to be the last religion and the conclusion of all religions when the Holy Qur’an says Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but is God's Apostle and the Seal of all Prophets.” (Al-Ahzab- verse 40).

“When Prophet Mohamed is the seal of all the prophets (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), his is a comprehensive religion for all mankind and for all times. This fact calls us to answer two things, why did Allah Almighty choose to descend Islam in Makkah on the Arabian Peninsula. Moreover, why did Allah Almighty put the first house of worship in Mecca in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula as well? Between the two events, which is not merely a coincidence, Allah Almighty says “Everything is before His sight and in (due) proportions.” (Ar-a’d verse 9). Perhaps Allah Almighty wanted the message of Islam to be completed where it began, and Allah Almighty knows better. 

"Archaeological studies and pre-history research on the Arabian Peninsula began and later included in the archaeological research in East Africa and many other sites in the world while in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia it is relatively new. However, the results of archaeological surveys and researches conducted by Antiquities and Museum Sector in SCTH in cooperation with Saudi universities and national and international experts indicated to the existence of human settlements in many locations in the kingdom dating back to the Paleolithic and Neolithic ages, covering the period of time from 350,000 BC to 7000 BC.

"In general, different parts of the Arabian Peninsula has never been empty of life and population, but has been one of the ancient areas of human settlement in the old world, as deduced from the scientifically documented archaeological evidence.

“Recently we have witnessed archaeologists specializing in anthropological studies from all over the world focusing their research on the Arabian Peninsula. This tendency led by famous archeologists from Europe and USA and the Kingdom and GCC counties who undertake study of passageways of early humanitarian migration of ancient mankind through the Arabian Peninsula before its spread across the world. Discovery of archeological evidence on ancient mankind migration in the Arabian Peninsula specifically and in a number of GCC countries and Yemen has great impact on transforming the question of early human migration from a hypothesis to concrete scientific reality.

"On the other hand, joint international archaeological missions, more than 34 teams, in addition to the cooperation of SCTH with a number of scientific and research institutions, such as Saudi Aramco, Saudi Geological Survey, several Saudi universities, and King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), Science and partnership under Green Arab Project with Oxford University the Arabian Peninsula was home to vast green plains and rivers.  More than 10,000 dry lakes have been discovered in the Empty Quarter and in the northern of the Kingdom so far.

"Archaeological research has also shown that the Arabian Peninsula has experienced different periods of desertification and a humid climate, and it was rich in rivers and lakes prior to the recent desertification dating back to 10,000 year ago. Archaeologists now see these evidence as recognized facts which confirm Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) “The last hour will not descend before the wealth becomes abundant and overflowing, to the point where the man takes zakaah from his possessions and finds no one to accept it from him and until the land of Arabia becomes meadows and rivers.

"After studying the early corridors in Arabian Peninsula, a recent study conducted by Cornell University in the United States of America applied on the indigenous inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula, has proved that, the original settlers of Europe and Asia have descended from the Arabian Peninsula.  

“In addition, taking a closer look at the history of the Arabia will make you realize that the history of this place is based on monotheism since Almighty God has placed his House in the heart of the Peninsula. Even the old nations like A’ad and Thamood that lived in the Arabian Peninsula and mentioned by the Holy Qur’an and the immortal message concluded in the same place confirm by it. All the early or subsequent events were the preparations for the world to welcome the greatest event, the descending of the Holy Qur’an on Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

“What had been done by the Father of the Prophets, Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and the messages and religions that descended after him in the Middle East, they were renewing the monotheistic faith and were the early preparations for the rise of the sun of Islam and the land of the Arabia Peninsula. Despite the time difference between Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the Prophet Ibrahim is more than 24 centuries, and during this period many Arab kingdoms occurred on the Arabian Peninsula they include Median, Dom, Gidar, Al Motwasita, Sabi, Lahyan, Maien, First Kunda, Al Anbat, Al Mtakhera, Al Ghasasnah, Manazrah and Second Kunda, which is the most famous. 

“The major potentials of the Arabian Peninsula were based on ancient trade routes and Haj routes, benefiting from the distinguished geographical location of the Arabian Peninsula as the meeting point of civilizations of the Eastern and the Western ancient worlds, which led to the emergence of these kingdoms and civilizations, resulting in huge economic and cultural interaction.  Military powers to protect international trade prepared the residents of the Arabian Peninsula through the time culturally, economically, militarily and socially to accept such a great mission - to receive the great message of Islam and deliver it to the whole world.   

"Development of Arabic language was one of the major steps in the preparation for the advent of Islam. The superiority of the Arabic language was seen in the rhetoric, poetry and Mualaqat, where in the Haj seasons and Arab souks, especially Souk Okaz, contributed to the flourishing of Arabic literature and rhetoric, along with Hajj and trade caravans have contributed to the spread and dominance of Arabic language.

"In the seventh century BC, these essentials reached the peak in Makkah, which was one of the most important political, military and cultural power in the Arabian Peninsula at the time. After emergence of the Islam and the unification of the Arabian Peninsula to contribute to the spread of the Islamic message, which was the first ever unification of the Arabian Peninsula throughout its entire history.

“Different nations of the Arabian Peninsula supported Prophet Mohamed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in his effort to unify the region and spread the Islamic message, as well as establish the great Islamic state, which subsequently took place inside and outside the Arabian Peninsula. 

"Then the Arabian Peninsula witnessed the establishment of States and small emirates and passed through political and social conflicts as everyone knows even until the emergence of the blessed Saudi state in the in the eighteenth century, which reunited large parts of it politically, geographically and socially as well as created a deep rooted entity based on Islam.  Achieved security, stability and prosperity besides contributing to the future of all mankind, in addition to people’s pride, welfare, dawa of monotheism (advocacy), and serving the Two Holy Mosques and raising Islamic values.  

"Three hundred years, since the establishment of Saudi State, founder Imams of Saudi Arabia and the citizens are adherents to these values under the support of the founder King Abdul Aziz and then under the support and attention of his successive sons, the Kings of the Saudi Arabia until now and in the forefront of their mission is the service of the Two Holy Mosques”.
"There is no doubt that the future of field studies in the Arabian Peninsula in general and in Saudi Arabia in particular, which makes up two-thirds of the area, will answer the big question that many people have raised by many, “Has human life started in in Eastern Africa according to archaeologists, if yes, why?

"We look to the future with confidence in God that this nation and this blessed land are able, to build a prosperous future on this land that was home to important events across the ages, and was the crossroads of civilizations as long as this nation is adherent to the great values." 

At the end of the paper of Prince Sultan bin Salman’s paper, the session witnessed a number of discussions and participations from the audience. 

Dr. Fahad Al Samari, in this context referred to the importance of the paper of HRH, referring to the importance of continuing this elucidation to enroot this vision, adding that historians provide an explanation of history and live in periods of time without real historical and analytical knowledge of the depth of culture in this the region.

Dr. Al Ghaban, in this context said, “HRH Prince Sultan’s paper would be put into practice in the archaeological field of the Arabian Peninsula in the near future. In fact, we have many projects that lead to new results that may alter previous facts, as until recently there was no scientific evidence, which confirms that mankind had spread across the world through the Arabian Peninsula. Now we are intensifying our fieldwork on prehistory, especially the Paleolithic, and we are confident the new findings will support what was suggested by this paper and that the theoretical realities will become practical realities."

Egyptian Archeologist, Dr. Zahi Hawas, in this context said, "HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman, has presented an important vision in his paper and it is very important for the Arabian Peninsula and its civilization, as well as for linking Islam to cultural development, suggesting for the organizing of specialized conference or seminar to study this vision and support it with scientific researches."