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Saturday, October 11, 2008


During the emergence of Islam in the sixth century (until early in the sixteenth century) Bahrain referred to the wider historical region of Bahrain stretching on the Persian Gulf coast from Basrah to the Strait of Hormuz. This was Iqlīm al-Baḥrayn, i.e. the Province of Bahrain, and the Arab-Iranian inhabitants of the province were descendants of the Arab tribe Bani Abd al-Qais. This larger Bahrain comprised three regions: Hajar (present day Al-Hasa in Saudi Arabia), Al-Khatt (present day Al-Qatif in Saudi Arabia) and Awal (present day Bahrain). The name Awal remained in use, probably, for eight centuries. Awal was derived from the name of an idol that used to be worshipped before Islam by the inhabitants of the islands. The centre of the Awal cult was Muharraq.

Bahrainis were amongst the first to embrace Islam. Mohammed ruled Bahrain through one of his representatives, Al-Ala'a Al-Hadhrami. Bahraini embraced Islam in 629 (the seventh year of hijra). Al Khamis Mosque, founded in 692, was one of the earliest mosques built in Bahrain, in the era of Umayyad caliph Umar II.

The expansion of Islam did not affect Bahrain's reliance on trade, and its prosperity continued to be dependent on markets in Mesopotamia. After Baghdad emerged as the seat of the caliph in 750 and the main centre of Islamic civilization, Bahrain greatly benefited from the city's increased demand for foreign goods especially from China and South Asia.

Bahrain became a principal centre of knowledge for hundreds of years stretching from the early days of Islam in the sixth century to the eighteenth century. Philosophers of Bahrain were highly esteemed, such as the 13th Century mystic, Sheikh Maitham Al-Bahrani (died in 1299). (The mosque of Sheikh Maitham together with his tomb can be visited in the outskirts of the capital, Manama, near the district of Mahooz).

Buyyid dynasty of Iran, reunited much of the country including Bahrain, after controlling Abbasid caliphs at Baghdad, and remained part of Iranian realm until 1522 when Portuguese invaded the Island and overthrown the Governor called Jaboor. In 1602 at the time of soaring power of Safavid dynasty, Iranian forces defeated Portuguese in ports and islands of Hormoz and expelled them from Bahrain and reunited the islands with the mainland once again.[5]

During this period Bahrain was administered by the tribes of Iranian origin of “Havāleh” in Zebāreh In northern of Qatar Peninsula, when Zebareh was herself under the rule of Government of Fars. Towards the end of Safavid periods though Zebareh Government was ruled namely by Iran, but mostly it was an obstinate and inattentive Government to the centre.

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