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And Ishmael and his sons, and the sons of Keturah and their sons, went together and dwelt from Paran to the entering in of Babylon in all the land towards the East facing the desert.
And these mingled with each other, and their name was called Arabs, and Ishmaelites.
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.
The most popular Arab account holds that the word "Arab" came from an eponymous father called Ya'rub who was supposedly the first to speak Arabic.
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".
Arab Muslims primarily belong to the Sunni, Shiite, Ibadi, Alawite, Druze and Ismaili denominations.
Arab Christians generally follow one of the Eastern Christian Churches, such as the Maronite, Coptic Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic or Chaldean churches. The earliest documented use of the word "Arab" to refer to a people appears in the Kurkh Monoliths, an Akkadian language record of the ninth century BC Assyrian conquest of Aram, which referred to Bedouins of the Arabian Peninsula under King Gindibu, who fought as part of a coalition opposed to Assyria.
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.Other ancient Greek historians like Agatharchides, Diodorus Siculus and Strabo mention Arabs living in Mesopotamia (along the Euphrates), in Egypt (the Sinai and the Red Sea), southern Jordan (the Nabataeans), the Syrian steppe and in eastern Arabia (the people of Gerrha).Inscriptions dating to the 6th century BCE in Yemen include the term "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.
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.