Academic journal article Journal of Asian Civilizations

Migrants' Climatic and Adjustment Problems: A Study of the Arab Migration to Iraq, 632-750 AD

Academic journal article Journal of Asian Civilizations

Migrants' Climatic and Adjustment Problems: A Study of the Arab Migration to Iraq, 632-750 AD

Article excerpt

Abstract

Whenever people move from one place to another, they have to free certain issues of adjustment, the nature of which can be varying according to the type of migration. The Arab migration to Iraq was not as difficult for the Arabs as modern migration is for the migrants. Being the conquerors, the Arabs had decided to inhabit new cities; thus they had freed less problems of adjustment. This study will exclusively focus on the challenges freed by the migrants during their constant journey from one place to another and shorter stays at different stations. Moreover it will highlight the different climatic conditions of Iraq which at times created trouble for the migrants and forced them to flee from certain areas of Iraq. Besides the study will emphasize upon the social structural changes that came into the Arab society by adopting urban and inter-tribal lifestyle which definitely posed another issue of adjustment. The study will conclude that the Arabs adjusted easily with all of these initial problems and well-settled at Iraq within a few years of migration.

Humans have been migrating since the earlier ages from the less resourceful areas to lands which are full of affluence. Apart from seeking material goods, there can be several other reasons as well behind human migration, for instance some people are forced to flee to other areas due to the domination of another people on their land, or due to several climatic factors like drought, flood or earthquake etc.1 The Arab migration to Iraq2 was a conscious movement of people made in the hope of gaining huge economic benefits and a high standard of life. The migration not only affected the demographic proportion of the newly conquered areas but also transformed the whole social and economic structures of the migrants. Migration studies usually explore the nature and complexity of the movement of people, cultures, ideas and objects. Looking at the experience of migration is a latest approach in social history in which the problems and the cultural transformation of the new settlers as well as the older residents are analyzed. This approach is applied extensively for the study of world history where human migration has revealed several important samples of the development of civilizations. This concept, if applied on the history of medieval ages can disclose significant patterns of development, and gradual shifts in social, cultural and economic structures of the society.

While exploring the general literature on Muslim history, it appears that the migration of the Arab tribes towards the areas of former Byzantine and Sassanid Empires was an obvious and notable event in the early Muslim history and almost all works of historiography on this period have dealt with the issue in one form or the other. However the particular framework of migration was hardly ever applied. A few of the historians who used the terminology of migration and settlements after conquests have also not actually dealt with the process of migration, and its social and cultural implications for the migrants or for the natives.3 The present study is an effort to unravel a few significant patterns of Arab migration to Iraq from the perspective of migrants.

The Arab migration was a phenomenon of medieval times in which such kind of movements were common as the pattern of empire formation was already followed by the Persians and the Romans. Romans for instance conquered different areas and settled there as conquerors (McNeese 1999: 8; Christ, 1984:17-22). Thus conquest and migration were interlinked in the medieval times. Immediately after the emergence of Islam, the Arabs had started an outward conquest movement spreading from Iraq in the East to Syria in the North and leading finally to Egypt and its neighboring areas in the West. After some initial conquests, some of the Arabs started moving from Arabia to the conquered areas of Iraq and Syria and settled there. Later on, they also moved and settled in Egypt, parts of Iran and Khüräsän. …

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