What does it mean to be Semitic? Why are Arabs described as Semitic? Is it because they are descended from Shem, the son of Noah (peace be upon him)?
the Fatwa Department Research Committee - chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî
The term "Semitic" literally refers to the descendants of Shem, the son of Prophet Noah (peace be upon him). Abraham (peace be upon him) is recognized by history to be a descendant of Shem, and in turn all of his descendants are traditionally called Semites, including the Jews and the Arabs.
In today’s discourse, Semitic is used to designate a linguistic group within the larger Afro-Asiatic language family.
People who speak these languages are often referred to as Semitic people. These languages include Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic (in Ethiopia), and a number of other languages.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital