“Black Arab” may be a confusing concept to many people in the West, where Arabs are classified as Caucasian people. However, all uses of the word “Arab” prior to the rise of Islam in the 7th century refer specifically to people belonging to the Bedouin ethnic group. After that and leading up to the 13th century, people with no Bedouin heritage began to refer to themselves as Arabs.
Today, there are still many “Black Arab” ethnic groups, such as the Tuaregs and Nubians of North Africa to the Mahra of Southern Arabia, who are still in existence, and whose presence in the the “Middle East” predates the coming of the paler-skinned Asiatics. Today’s Arabs are a mixture of these groups, with those of darker-skin facing the typical discrimination and oppression seen by the darker peoples of the world.
Ibn Mandour, of the 13th century, writes in his well-known Arabic lexicon Lisan Al Arab, “He (Al Fadl ibn Al Abbas), ’I am pure’ because the color of the Arabs is dark”. Mandour further describes the pure Arabs by saying, “Lank hair is the kind of hair that most non-Arab Persians and Romans have while kinky hair is the kind of hair that most Arabs have.”
Take a look at some of the Black faces of Arabia below: