A Brief History Of Saudi Arabia (Brief History) by James Wynbrandt

By James Wynbrandt

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All these but myrrh are difficult for the Arabians to get . . for the spicebearing trees are guarded by small winged snakes of varied colour, many around each tree . ” (Herodotus 1995, 135). Tapped twice a year, the thick trunks yield a clear resin that hardens into a reddish or yellowish brown gum. Myrrh was used in cosmetics and perfumes and as a medicinal applied in poultices and unguents. Frankincense is the gum of bushy trees of the genus Boswellia (named for James Boswell, biographer of the English writer and critic Dr.

Camels were hunted for food prior to domestication. , they were first used as pack animals after a method of saddling them was developed. Before their use for transport, trade with Greek and Roman civilizations was limited. Arabian dhows plied the waters all around and across the Indian Ocean, but until the camel was harnessed for trade, crossing more than 1,200 miles of inhospitable Arabian desert was impossible. Domestication of the camel allowed both nomadic life and trade for the sedentary populations to flourish.

Later, Umar ibn al-Khattab, a respected young man who had previously been one of the faith’s staunchest enemies, joined their cause. These were among the Companions of the Prophet, the circle of his trusted early followers, whose accounts of Muhammad’s life are recorded in the hadith (literally, “traditions”). A complement to the Quran, the hadith became one of the cornerstones of Islamic law as the words and deeds of Muhammad that it recounted became one of the keys to defining what constituted lawful and unlawful conduct.

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