|c. 450 million (2011 est.)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Arab League 430,000,000|
|Significant Arab diaspora|
(including partial ancestry)
|Canada||380,620 (2011 Census)|
Historically: Arabian mythology(Druze · Bahá'í Faith)
(Hubal · al-Lāt · Al-‘Uzzá · Manāt · Other Goddesses)
(Sunni · Shia · Sufi · Ibadi · Alawite)
Sizable minority: Christianity
(Greek Orthodox · Greek Catholic)
Smaller minority: Other monotheistic religions
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other Afroasiatic-speaking peoples|
a Arab ethnicity should not be confused with non-Arab ethnicities that are also native to the Arab world.
b Not all Arabs are Muslims and not all Muslims are Arabs. An Arab can follow any religion or irreligion.
c Arab identity is defined independently of religious identity.
Arabs (/; Arabic: عَرَب ISO 233 ‘arab, Arabic pronunciation [ˈʕarab] ( listen)) are a population inhabiting the Arab world. They primarily live in the Arab states in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and western Indian Ocean islands. They also form a significant diaspora, with Arab communities established around the world.
The Arabs are first mentioned in the mid-ninth century BCE a tribal people in eastern and southern Syria, and the north of the Arabian Peninsula. The Arabs appear to have been under the vassalage of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–612 BCE), and the succeeding Neo-Babylonian (626–539 BCE), Achaemenid (539–332 BCE), Seleucid and Parthian empires. Arab tribes, most notably the Ghassanids and Lakhmids, begin to appear in the southern Syrian Desert from the mid 3rd century CE onward, during the mid to later stages of the Roman and Sasanian empires. Tradition holds that Arabs descend from Ishmael, the son of Abraham. The Arabian Desert is the birthplace of "Arab", as well other Arab groups that spread in the land and existed for millennia.
Before the expansion of the Rashidun Caliphate (632–661), "Arab" referred to any of the largely nomadic and settled Semitic people from the Arabian Peninsula, Syrian Desert, North and Lower Mesopotamia. Today, "Arab" refers to a large number of people whose native regions form the Arab world due to the spread of Arabs and the Arabic language throughout the region during the early Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries and the subsequent Arabisation of indigenous populations. The Arabs forged the Rashidun (632–661), Umayyad (661–750), Abbasid (750–1517) and the Fatimid (901–1071) caliphates, whose borders reached southern France in the west, China in the east, Anatolia in the north, and the Sudan in the south. This was one of the largest land empires in history. In the early 20th century, the First World War signalled the end of the Ottoman Empire; which had ruled much of the Arab world since conquering the Mamluk Sultanate in 1517. This resulted in the defeat and dissolution of the empire and the partition of its territories, forming the modern Arab states. Following the adoption of the Alexandria Protocol in 1944, the Arab League was founded on 22 March 1945. The Charter of the Arab League endorsed the principle of an Arab homeland whilst respecting the individual sovereignty of its member states.
Today, Arabs primarily inhabit the 22 Arab states within the Arab League: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The Arab world stretches around 13 million km2, from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeast. Beyond the boundaries of the League of Arab States, Arabs can also be found in the global diaspora. The ties that bind Arabs are ethnic, linguistic, cultural, historical, identical, nationalist, geographical and political. The Arabs have their own customs, language, architecture, art, literature, music, dance, media, cuisine, dress, society, sports and mythology. The total number of Arabs are an estimated 450 million.
Arabs are a diverse group in terms of religious affiliations and practices. In the pre-Islamic era, most Arabs followed polytheistic religions. Some tribes had adopted Christianity or Judaism, and a few individuals, the hanifs, apparently observed monotheism. Today, Arabs are mainly adherents of Islam, with sizable Christian minorities. Arab Muslims primarily belong to the Sunni, Shiite, Ibadi, and Alawite denominations. Arab Christians generally follow one of the Eastern Christian Churches, such as the Greek Orthodox or Greek Catholic churches. Other smaller minority religions are also followed, such as the Bahá'í Faith and Druze.
Arabs have greatly influenced and contributed to diverse fields, notably the arts and architecture, language, philosophy, mythology, ethics, literature, politics, business, music, dance, cinema, medicine, science and technology in the ancient and modern history. Arab people are generally known for their generosity and hospitality as well as their beliefs and family values.