It was not until Muhammad established the religion of Islam that the Arabs found their way to the Middle East’s eastern Mediterranean section.
The Arabs had always been familiar with ancient Palestine, although primarily as artisans and itinerant traders, traveling along what is now modern-day Saudi Arabia (then, the Arabian Peninsula) into the northern part of Palestine.
The Queen of Sheba, mentioned in 1 Kgs. 10:1-10, was likely a queen from southern Arabia, although no explicit mention of them is found until Assyrian and Babylon records.
The Arabs migrated a great deal until around the 7th century A.D., when they began to take an interest in Palestine. No one really knows, however, where the Arabs came from, although it is clear that they share a common ancestry with other Semitic peoples, such as the Hebrews.
The earliest account of the Arabs is that of a group of agriculturalists and nomadic pastoralists, struggling to survive the fierce environment of the Arabian Peninsula; a piece of land connecting Arabia to modern-day Jordan and Iraq.
These were the “Bedouin.” Like their Semite siblings the Hebrews, the Bedouin were a nomadic. Having domesticated the camel, they wandered in such of oases in order to survive the desert’s bitter heat.
The camel was the Arab’s best friend. While Arabs are oftentimes associated with the camel as a source of ridicule, the domestication of the camel was a brilliant move.
While they did not set down their cultural artifacts in written word, pre-Islamic Arab poets transmitted their poetry orally from generation to generation. Some of these Arabs, particularly among the sedentary tribes, were Jewish and Christian. Most of them, however, held to pagan and animistic beliefs.
The religious climate of the Arabs would change, however, with the birth of Muhammad in 570. He was raised by his grandfather, his father having died before his birth.
His grandfather was the head of a Quraysh ruling tribe called Hashim. He was sent away to travel with the Bedouin. At age 6, his mother died, and at 8, his grandfather followed. He was raised by his uncle, who was the clan’s new head. Muhammad learned the practice of trade when his uncle, Abu-Talib, took him into Syria.
An orphan in Mecca, Muhammad eventually came across a wealthy woman named Khadija, who entrusted Muhammad to her caravan. Khadija would propose marriage to the approximately 25-year old Muhammad. Despite being 15 years or so older than Muhammad, she bore him 6 children, two of whom died in their infancy.
Muhammad is said to have entered a cave and heard an angelic vision around 610. He told Khadija, who insisted that he had received a vision from an angel of God, whom Muhammad would later identify as the archangel Gabriel.
Muhammad began preaching the content of the revelations he believed he had received around 613, to middle-class Meccans in their 20s and 30s. The Quraysh began to resent Muhammad’s presence. This, together with the death of Khadija and Abu-Talib in 619, led to his departure from Mecca.
During a pagan pilgrimage the next year, Muhammad was approached by some men from Medina, who pledged their support and promised to pave Muhammad’s way to Yathrib. By 622, Muhammad had around 70 followers.
Muhammad worked as an arbiter between disputing tribes in Medina. Lacking skill in agriculture, the emigrants would raid Meccan caravans.
Harms, Gregory; Ferry, Todd M. (2012-06-14). The Palestine-Israel Conflict: A Basic Introduction (Kindle Location 176). Pluto Press. Kindle Edition.