Banu 'Akk

Banu 'Akk (Arabic: بنو عك pronounced [ˈbanuː ʕak], Ancient South Arabian:𐩲𐩫𐩣 lit. ʿkm, ʿAkkum; Greek:’Αχχιται) or simply 'Akk, was one of the main pre-Islamic Arab tribes. The tribe inhabited Yemen in the Jahiliyyah.

Banu 'Akk
بنو عك
Banner of Banu 'Akk
NisbaAl-'Akki العكي
Descended fromAl-Dith ibn Adnan
BranchesBanu Ghafiq
ReligionArabian Paganism, later Islam

Traditional Arab genealogy

According to Ibn Hisham the members of the Banu 'Akk tribe are descendants of a man called Al-Dith ibn Adnan (Arabic: الديث بن عدنان) or also known as 'Akk. Akk dwelt in Yemen because he took a wife amongst the Banu Ash'ar and lived with them.[1] The Banu Ash'ar were descended from Nabat ibn Udad ibn Zayd ibn Yashjub ibn Arib ibn Zayd ibn Kahlan ibn Saba'. While regarding the Banu 'Akk lineage, there seems to be a dispute between scholars in determining their origins. For example, According to al-Sam'ani they are of Adnanite origin.[2] On the other hand, Ibn Hazm writes that they were descendant from Qahtan, hence, Qahtanite Arabs.[3]

The mother of Madh'hij, who is the founder of the Madh'hij tribe, is said to be from 'Akk.

The tribe of Banu Ghafiq from which the general Abd al-Rahman al-Ghafiqi descended, is a branch of Banu 'Akk.


Pre-Islamic period

The Arab tribes were known to go on a pilgrimage to the temples of the pagan deities of Arabia. Banu 'Akk tribesmen would travel from Yemen to Mecca to perform the pilgrimage to the deity Wadd. According to Kitab al-Asnam (The Book of Idols) of Ibn al-Kalbi, The Banu 'Akk had a unique chant and rituals to Wadd. The tribe would bring two young African slaves of theirs in front of the tribesmen, and the slaves proceed to shout: "We are the crows of 'Akk!" The tribesmen reply and shout: "'Akk to you submits, Your worshippers from Yemen. May we once more make this pilgrimage!"[4][5]

Islamic period

The Banu 'Akk participated in many battles and conflicts. Under the Rashidun Caliphate, Amr ibn al-'As entered Egypt with an army that included approximately 3,000 to 4,000 men from the tribe of Banu 'Akk.[6]

In 817 AD, the Banu 'Akk participated in a revolt alongside Banu Ash'ar against Abbasid Caliph al-Ma'mun's governor of Yemen[7]

See also


  1. Hishām, ʻAbd al-Malik Ibn; Isḥāq, Muḥammad Ibn; Guillaume, Alfred (1997). The life of Muhammad: a translation of Isḥāq's Sīrat rasūl Allāh. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195778281.
  2. Al-Sam'ani. Al-Ansab (in Arabic).
  3. Ibn Hazm. Jamharat Ansab al-'Arab (in Arabic).
  4. Ibn al-Kalbi (2010-01-01). Kitab al-Asnam (in Arabic). Dar Al Kotob Al Ilmiyah دار الكتب العلمية. ISBN 978-2-7451-6850-4.
  5. Hamidullah, Muhammed (1995). ISLAM – A GENERAL PİCTURE. İnkılâb Basım Yayım. ISBN 978-975-7560-42-5.
  6. Anthony, Sean (2011-11-25). The Caliph and the Heretic: Ibn Sabaʾ and the Origins of Shīʿism. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-21606-8.
  7. History of al-Tabari Vol. 32, The: The Reunification of the 'Abbasid Caliphate: The Caliphate of al-Ma'mun A.D. 813-833/A.H. 198-218. SUNY Press. 2015-07-01. ISBN 978-0-7914-9720-3.
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