Some of the top poets at certain times were Arab Christians, and many Arab (and non-Arab) Christians were physicians, writers, government officials, and people of literature.Under Arab Muslim rule, Christians were protected and began to enjoy more religious freedom under initial Arab Muslim occupation, than they had under Byzantine (Eastern Orthodox Christian) rule, but they were also often a target of persecution.Later, Eusebius discusses a bishop named Beryllus in the see of Bostra, the site of a synod c. Christians existed in Arab lands from at least the 3rd century onward.Also, there were Christian influences coming from Ethiopia in particular in pre-Islamic times, and some Hejazis, including a cousin of Muhammad's wife Khadija bint Khuwaylid, according to some sources, adopted this faith, while some Ethiopian Christians may have lived in Mecca.The tribes of Tayy, Banu Abdul Qays, and Taghlib are also known to have included many Christians in the pre-Islamic period.The southern Arabian city of Najran was a center of Arabian Christianity, made famous by the persecution by one of the kings of Yemen, Dhu Nawas, who was himself an enthusiastic convert to Judaism.It is a common agreement that after the rapid expansion of Islam from the 7th century onward, many Christians chose not to convert to Islam.Many scholars and intellectuals like Edward Said believed Christians in the Arab world have made significant contributions to the Arab civilization since the 7th century AD and still do.
Their lands were divided between the new Qahtanite Arab tribal kingdoms of the Byzantine vassals, the Ghassanids and the Himyarite Kingdom, the Kindah in North Arabia.
Following the fall of large portions of former Byzantine and Sasanian provinces to the Arab armies, a large indigenous Christian population of varying ethnicities came under Arab Muslim dominance.
Historically, a number of minority Christian sects were persecuted as heretic under Byzantine rule (such as non-Chalcedonians).
Nabateans were possibly among the first Arab tribes to arrive to the Southern Levant in the very late first millennium BC.
The Nabataeans initially adopted pagan beliefs, but they became Christians by the time of the Byzantine period around the 4th century.