Tribes of Arabia

The tribes of Arabia are the clans that originated in the Arabian Peninsula.

A Yemeni tribal leader from al-Awlaki clan in Shabwa

Arab genealogical tradition

The general consensus among 14th-century Arab genealogists is that Arabs are of three kinds:

  • Al-Arab al-Ba'ida (Arabic: العرب البائدة), "The Extinct Arabs", were an ancient group of tribes of prehistory that included the ‘Aad, the Thamud, the Tasm, the Jadis, the Imlaq (who included branches of Banu al-Samayda), and others. The Jadis and the Tasm are said to have been exterminated by genocide. The Qur'an records that disappearance of the 'Aad and Thamud came of their decadence. Recent archaeological excavations have uncovered inscriptions which reference 'Iram, once a major city of the 'Aad.
  • The Arab genealogies agree the original pure Arabs, "Al-Arab al-Ariba" (العرب العاربة), came from Yemen and were descended from Ya‘rub bin Yashjub bin Qahtan, a descendant of Hud and were Qahtanite Arabs.[1][2]
  • According to this tradition, ‘Adnani Arabs (العرب المستعربة) were the progeny of Ishmael, the firstborn son of the patriarch Abraham, of the Jurhum tribe. The Hawazin tribe and the Quraysh tribe are considered ‘Adnani Arabs. Much of the lineage provided before Ma'ad relies on biblical genealogy, so questions persist concerning the accuracy of this segment of Adnanite Arab genealogy.[3] According to Parolin, the Adnanites are believed to be the descendants of Ishmael through Adnan but the traditional Adnanite lineage doesn't match the biblical line exactly. According to Arab tradition, the Adnanites are called Arabised because it is believed that Ishmael was speaking Hebrew and he got married from a Qahtanite Yemeni woman and learnt Arabic from her. Therefore, the Adnanites are descendants of Abraham. According to Parolin, Modern historiography "unveiled the lack of inner coherence of this genealogical system and demonstrated that it finds insufficient matching evidence".[4]

The rules of the seventy

In Yemen there are rules and laws that are used among tribes. According to legends, in ancient times, seventy tribal leaders (Sheikhs) met with each other and came up with these rules.[5]

The Great Skulls of Arabia

According to Arab traditions, tribes are divided into different divisions called Arab skulls (جماجم العرب), which is a term given to a group of tribes of the Arabian Peninsula, which are described in the traditional custom of strength, abundance, victory, and honor. A number of them branched out, which later became independent tribes (sub-tribes). And the reason why they are called skulls is that the skull is the most important part of the body and the majority Arab tribe is a descendant from these major tribes.[6][7][8][9][10]

They are :[8]

See also


  1. Reuven Firestone (1990). Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis. p. 72. ISBN 9780791403310.
  2. Göran Larsson (2003). Ibn García's Shuʻūbiyya Letter: Ethnic and Theological Tensions in Medieval al-Andalus. p. 170. ISBN 9004127402.
  3. in general: W. Caskel, Ġamharat an-Nasab, das genealogische Werk des Hišām Ibn Muḥammad al-Kalbī, Leiden 1966.
  4. Parolin, Gianluca P. (2009). Citizenship in the Arab World: Kin, Religion and Nation-State. p. 30. ISBN 978-9089640451. "The ‘arabicised or arabicising Arabs’, on the contrary, are believed to be the descendants of Ishmael through Adnan, but in this case the genealogy does not match the Biblical line exactly. The label ‘arabicised’ is due to the belief that Ishmael spoke Hebrew until he got to Mecca, where he married a Yemeni woman and learnt Arabic. Both genealogical lines go back to Sem, son of Noah, but only Adnanites can claim Abraham as their ascendant, and the lineage of Mohammed, the Seal of Prophets (khatim al-anbiya'), can therefore be traced back to Abraham. Contemporary historiography unveiled the lack of inner coherence of this genealogical system and demonstrated that it finds insufficient matching evidence; the distinction between Qahtanites and Adnanites is even believed to be a product of the Umayyad Age, when the war of factions (al-niza al-hizbi) was raging in the young Islamic Empire."
  5. Dresch, Paul (2016-01-06), "Introduction", The rules of Barat. Tribal documents from Yemen : Texts and translation, Textes et documents sur la péninsule Arabique, Centre français d’archéologie et de sciences sociales, pp. 1–40, ISBN 978-2-909194-51-6, retrieved 2019-12-20
  6. Al Andulsi, Ibn Abd Rabuh (939). Al Aqid Al Fareed.
  7. Al-Qthami, Hmood (1985). North of Hejaz. Jeddah: Dar Al Bayan. p. 235.
  8. Ali Phd, Jawad (2001). "A Detailed Account of the History of Arabs Before Islam". Al Madinah Digital Library. Dar Al Saqi.
  9. Al Zibeedi, Murtathi (1965). Taj Al Aroos min Jawahir Al Qamoos.
  10. Al Hashimi, Muhammed Ibn Habib Ibn Omaya Ibn Amir (859). Al Mahbar. Beirut: Dar Al Afaaq.
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