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The Mashriq (مشرق, also Mashreq, Mashrek) is the region of the Arab world to the east of Egypt. This comprises Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. Poetically the "place of sunrise", the name is derived from the verb sharaqa (شرق "to shine, illuminate, radiate" and "to rise"), referring to the east, where the sun rises.

As it refers to countries bounded between the Mediterranean Sea and Iran, it is the companion term to Maghreb, the western part of North Africa. Egypt occupies an ambiguous position: while it has cultural, ethnic and linguistic ties to both the Mashriq and the Maghreb, it is different from both and is usually seen as being part of neither; however, when it is grouped with one or the other, it is generally considered part of the Mashriq due to its closer ties to the Levant. Egypt and the Levant were often ruled as a single unit, as under the New Kingdom of Egypt, the Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid Caliphates, the Ayyubid dynasty, the Mamluk Sultanate, and, for a time, under Muhammad Ali of Egypt.

Similarly, Libya is itself bifurcated between Mashriq and Maghrib influences, with its eastern part (Cyrenaica) linked more to Egypt and the Mashriq.

These geographical terms date from the early Islamic expansion. This region is similar to the Bilad al-Sham and Mesopotamia regions combined.

As the Mashriq is home to several pilgrimage sites, some Muslims view it as a source of religious legitimacy. Mashriqi learning is also esteemed by scholars from the Maghrib.

As of 2014, the Mashriq is home to 1.7% of the global population.


Mashriq Wikipedia

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