The study of Pre-Islamic Arabia is important to Islamic studies as it provides the context for the development of Islam.
Some of the settled communities in the Arabian Peninsula developed into distinctive civilizations.
Sources for these civilizations are not extensive, and are limited to archaeological evidence, accounts written outside of Arabia, and Arab oral traditions later recorded by Islamic scholars.
Among the most prominent civilizations was Dilmun, which arose around the 4th millennium BC and lasted to 538 BC, and Thamud, which arose around the 1st millennium BC and lasted to about 300 CE.
Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Hamdani had another view; he states that Arabs were called Gharab ("West") by Mesopotamians because Bedouins originally resided to the west of Mesopotamia; the term was then corrupted into "Arab".This makes them the world's second largest ethnic group after the Han Chinese.Arabs are a diverse group in terms of religious affiliations and practices.Arab tribes came into conflict with the Assyrians during the reign of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, and he records military victories against the powerful Qedar tribe among others.Old Arabic diverges from Central Semitic by the beginning of the 1st millennium BC.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.