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- For Arabs settled in Iran, see Iranian Arabs.
History and current situation
In pre-Islamic times, there were many Arabs who lived in the cultural sphere of Persia and used Persian as their written language. These are referred to as Persian Arabs (in Arabic العرب الفرس Arab al-furas).
After the rise of Islam and the Arab conquest of Persia, Persians in turn began to use Arabic as their written language alongside Persian. Many famous Islamic scientists and philosophers during the time of the Abbasid caliphat were ethnic Persians who wrote their scholarly works in Arabic while continuing to write literary works and poetry in Persian - famous examples are Avicenna and Khayyam.
The term Persian Arab is rarely used as a self-appellation. Most tend to identify more strongly as either Persian or Arab and consider themselves to be members primarily of one ethnic group, but at the same time being aware of their mixed background. For many the most important factor determining their identity is the sovereign state in which they live or from which their recent ancestors came from.
In Arab countries
There are 500,000 Persian speakers in Iraq, 400,000 in UAE, 194,000 in Qatar, 177,000 in Bahrain and 118,000 in Kuwait.
Conversely, ethnic Arabs and Arabic speakers living primarily in the Khuzestan province of Iran. Most of them self-identify as Iranian Arabs, or Ahvazis,(see Ahvaz) and consider their mother tongue to be Arabic, though almost all are bilingual in Persian and many may have a better command of written Persian than written Arabic, since the medium of education at schools in Iran is Persian. Some Arabs (e.g. those of the Khamseh clans) even use Persian as first language.