Ah, Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire! To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire! Would not we shatter it to bits-and then! Re-mould it nearer to the Heart’s Desire! Omar Khayyam Muslims responded to every challenge in the past in light of the eternal principles of change and struggle. That is how they conquered and then ruled in a benefitting manner the greater part of the world for centuries. They significantly contributed to the evolution of mankind in every field of life. In Islamic Arabia, the Arabs were mostly desert-dwellers. There were some city settlements, but without any developed political structures. There were only a few small settled communities such as Mecca, Medina and Ta’if. The basic features of the tribal structure were as follows: The desert dwellers, or Bedouins lived mostly as nomads in tribal settings, wherein a group of families made a clan and a group of clans made a tribe. There were numerous tribes in and around Mecca and Medina and each tribe had its own customs, rules and regulations. What could be permitted in one tribe could be prohibited in another. The various tribes were constantly at war with each other, mostly due to the scarcity of resources in the region. These inter-tribal feuds could last for generations. The Basus War in medieval Arabia was a conflict between two rival clans that erupted because of a dispute over a camel. The Taghlib and Bakr tribes fought for roughly forty years (AD 494 – AD 534), locked in a perpetual cycle of vengeance. These tribes were formed on the basis of blood and kinship. This evolved into a tribal chivalric code of honour known as Muruwah. This gave meaning to their lives and inspired courage, patience, endurance, hospitality and generosity. It also inspired revenge. The Shaikh (the chief or leader) of a tribe was selected by a council of elders as the best person for job. He was known through his intellect, maturity, courage, leadership, administration, fluency in language and acumen for business. The Shaikh was the ultimate authority controlling his people and their administrative affairs. He also protected the tribe. The Shaikh was the judge in disputes, and he was responsible for distributing possessions and goods equally. He also took care of the weaker members of the tribe. The sense of patriotism at this time was not national but tribal. Everything was subordinate to the interest of the tribe while the individuality of a person was disregarded. The pre-Islamic Arabs were known for their poetry and their poets sang of the glories of the tribe, their heroes of war and their leaders, but rarely did they sing of their gods. Poetry competitions were held at the famous Ukaz It was an annual affair held near Taif, city of Hejaz, on the first of holy month of Zul Qaida and it lasted for 21 days on an annual basis. The winner would be given much wealth and status in society. From that point on, he would be considered a leader. Each member of the tribe was fully protected but only the Shaikh or the tribe could ensure that protection. In this context there was no room for individualism; the individual was subordinate to the tribe, personal survival dependent upon the tribe. Tribal protection often involved revenge. Each tribe had to avenge the death of every member; hence, tribal feuds went on for succeeding generations, leading to a perpetual cycle of violence. There was unending competition among these tribes. The balance of power depended on raids to capture camels, cattle or goods. Wealth and fortune was the pride of tribal culture. In this social structure only the strong would survive and the weak were exploited; hence, the position of women, female babies, orphans and disabled was at risk. With the advent of Islam, the tribal structures were transformed in a radical way leading to formation of an Ummah, an ideal society: Islam transformed tribal loyalties; these loyalties were overshadowed by the ideals of Islam. The new believers continued to be loyal to their tribal leaders, but now their first loyalty was to Allah and His Prophet (PBUH). Islam approved and retained the best part of Muruwah (kindheartedness) but extended it to include all Muslims rather than just the members of an individual’s tribe. Each member was to endeavour for himself, his tribe, his fellow Muslims and humanity at large. The Arabs were used to tribal egalitarianism in the selection of the Shaikh, but weaknesses could be found, especially when it came to choosing a leader based on his reputation. The idea of selection, rather than election, was reformed to be based on piety, ability, knowledge, and a sense of service. Islam gave importance to the individual regardless of who he was or what his tribal association was. Being a member of the larger Muslim Ummah, polity became more important than mere local tribal allegiance. Allah became the ultimate judge. The Arabs had subscribed to the notion of vendetta, a practice which caused inter-tribal wars that lasted over generations like the Basus War. Islam prohibited this notion of vendetta and directed the faith and fate of believers towards the code of Allah (Sharia) to establish the doctrine of Rule of Law, instead of personal or tribal vendetta. Though the Bedouins were perseverant and hard working people, many were engaged in looting and other economic crimes. The Prophet (PBUH) encouraged their perseverance, but prohibited them from illegal and unlawful economic activities within the new system of a political economy.