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This article is about the Mashriq region. For other uses, see Mashriq (disambiguation)

Map of the Mashriq.

The Mashriq or Mashreq (also in use: Mashrek) (Arabic: مشرق) is, generally speaking, the region of Arabic-speaking countries to the east of Egypt and north of the Arabian Peninsula. It is derived from the Arabic consonantal root sh-r-q (ش ر ق) relating to the east or the sunrise, and essentially means "east" (most literally or poetically, "place of sunrise"). It refers to a large area in the Middle East, bounded between the Mediterranean Sea and Iran. It is therefore the companion term to Maghreb (مغرب), meaning "west" (a reference to the Arabic-speaking countries in the west 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 unique and different from both. Thus, it 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 on account of its closer ties to the Levant (Egypt and the Levant were often ruled as a single unit, as under the Ancient Egyptian New Kingdom, the Umayyad Caliphate, Abbasid Caliphate, the Fatimid Caliphate, the Ayyubid dynasty, the Mamluks, and for a time under Muhammad Ali Pasha) and similarity between the Egyptian and near Levantine dialects. These geographical terms date from the early Islamic conquests.

Map of the Mashriq in 1600 AD under the Ottoman Empire.

This region is somewhat synonymous with Bilad al-Sham, but also includes Iraq and Kuwait. It is occasionally used as a synonym for "non-Maghreb" and in these instances includes Egypt, Sudan, and the Arabian Peninsula.

See also

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