1 readers online now  |  69 million page views

Contrasting your claims with the Encyclopedia of Islam

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued
in response to reader comment: Pre-history of Islam

Submitted by zzazzeefrazzee (United States), Jul 2, 2008 at 16:00

Leonard, I took the liberty of posting the entry "al- ʿArab: The Arabs." from the Encyclopedia of Islam. You should carefully read this and contrast it with the claims you posted. If you do so, you will see that they are not to be found. You are most welcome to reply with full citations and sources (including manuscript accession numbers) used by Oaks and Oberoi. Better yet, why not determine the exact entry in Worldcat, so that everyone here can see how they can obtain a copy from the library.

"al- ʿArab: The Arabs."
[Print Version: Volume I, page 524, column 2]

Full Citation:

Grohmann, A.; Caskel, W.; Spuler, B.; Spuler, B.; Wiet, G.; Marçais, G. "al- ʿArab." Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2008.

(i) the ancient history of the arabs

(For the ethnic origins of the Arabs cf. al-ʿArab ( Ḏj̲azīrat al-), section on Ethnography, cf. also para ii, below).

The early history of the Arabs is still obscure; their origin and the events governing their early years are equally unknown to us. Probably we would know a good deal more about them, if Uranius' five books of ᾿Αραβικά, which constituted a special monograph on the Arabs, had been preserved. What we know about them is derived chiefly from the Assyrian records, the classical writers, and, as far as the history of the last three centuries before Islam is concerned, from Muslim tradition and some pre-islamic Nabataean and Arabic inscriptions .

Possibly "the Aramaean Bedouins", who in 880 B.C. interfered in the affairs of Bet-Zamāni on the upper Euphrates and helped to overthrow the local vassal of the Assyrian king Assur Naṣirpal, were predecessors of the Arabs. Their anti-Assyrian policy was subsequently followed by the Arabs, who first appear in the light of history in 854 B.C.: Gindibu, the Arab with 1000 camel troops from Aribi territory, joined Bir-ʾidri of Damascus (the biblical Benhadad II) against Salmanassar III at the battle of Ḳarḳar in which, it is said the Asyrian king was successful. Perhaps the camp of Gindibu ¶ was situated somewhere south-east of Damascus . Certainly the bedouin element of the Arabian Peninsula—for which Aram, ʿEber, and Ḵh̲abiru are probably synonyms—was to be found originally in the area which extended between Syria and Mesopotamia and which, including Syria, was the oldest centre of the Semites.

If the hypothesis, presented by F. Hommel (Ethnologie, 550), that the land of Magan corresponds to Arabic Maʿān and forms the starting point for the foundation of the South-Arabian kingdom of Maʿīn, were established—though it would be difficult to prove it—the South-Arabian tribe of the Minaeans must have detached themselves from Arab nomads settled in this country, which had already been included in the Babylonian Empire by Naram-Sin (2320 to 2284 B.C.). The traditional pro-Babylonian policy of the Arabs would, therefore, be understandable because of their old political and cultural relations with Babylonia.

The geographical position of the land of Aribi between Syria and Mesopotamia , and the rôle of the Arabs in the traffic on the commercial routes leading from the Persian Gulf to Syria, from Syria to Egypt and Southern Arabia, and along the Wādī Dawāsir through the highlands of Nad̲j̲d to Maʿīn, influenced historical events in the Near East. The struggle for the possession of these important high roads characterises the course of history during the last two millennia B.C. and the Roman period.

Already in 738 B.C., during the reign of Tiglat-Pilesar III (745 to 726 B.C.), who had occupied Gaza , the terminal point of the "incense" road from Southern Arabia to the Mediterranean Sea, Zabibē, the queen of the Aribi region, sent tribute to the Assyrian king. She probably ruled the oasis of Adumu ( Dūmat al-Ḏj̲andal ) and was high priestess of the Ḳedar tribe, to which the oasis paid tribute. In 734 B.C. Tiglat appointed the Arab Idibaʾil as his representative in the land of Muṣri (Midian and Northern Hid̲j̲az), through which the "incense" road passed, and in 732 B.C. he subdued another queen of Aribi, Samsī—who had apparently joined a coalition of the king of Damascus and several Arab tribes, among them Masʾa (Massa in Genesis xxv, 13 f.), Tema ( Taymāʾ ), Ḵh̲ayappa (ʿEfa, a Midianite tribe in the territory of Ḥesma, east of Taymāʾ ), the Badana (south-east of the oasis of el-ʿElāʾ-Daydān) and Sabʾa (the Sabaeans)—conquered two of her cities and besieged her camp, so that she sent white camels as a tribute; the aforementioned Arab tribes were also compelled to pay tribute, and Idibaʾil (the Adbeʾēl of Genesis xxv, 13), who resided near Gaza , was forced to recognise Assyrian suzerainty. In order to be sure of the loyalty of queen Samsī's land, Tiglat-Pilesar III appointed a resident at her court. As the cities subdued by the Assyrian king were situated on the caravan road in southern Ḥawrān and northern Ḥid̲j̲āz , it is obvious that the object of the struggle was the possession of the northern part of the caravan road from Mārib to Gaza ( G̲h̲azza ). Nevertheless his success in subduing these people was neither complete nor lasting, for in 715 B.C. king Sargon II (722 to 705 B.C.) again defeated the Ḵh̲ayappa as well as the Tamūdi ( T̲h̲amūd , west of the oasis of Taymāʾ ) and the Marsimani ( south of ʿAḳaba ), and Samsī, queen of Aribi, and the Sabaeans are again recorded as paying tribute. In 703 B.C. the Arabs (Yatiʾe was the queen of Aribi) helped the Babylonian king Marduk-apal-iddina against Sennacherib, king of Assyria (705 to 681 B.C.); but the Arab troops were¶ taken prisoner by the Assyrians, and Sennacherib seems to have possessed considerable influence over the Arabs, as Herodotus (ii, 141) calls him "king of the Arabs and Assyrians" (F. Hommel, Ethnologie, 574). In 689 B.C., after the defeat of Babylon , Sennacherib attacked the camps of the Arab clans subject to queen Teʾelk̲h̲unu, routed them and pursued them into the inner desert around Adummatu ( Dūmat al-Ḏj̲andal ). The settlers of this large oasis were dependent upon the Ḳedar tribe which had control over Northern Arabia (the Palmyrene). The queen and priestess of Adummatu, Teʾelk̲h̲unu, and her lieutenant Ḵh̲azaʾil, king of Aribi, had taken refuge here; the latter, after a dispute with the queen, fled into the inner desert, but was pardoned by Assarhaddon, Sennacherib's successor, who recognised him as chief of all the Ḳedar. Ḵh̲azaʾil died in 675 B.C., and his son Uaiteʾ (Yataʾ) succeeded him, paying a heavy tribute to the Assyrian king, who had sent back Teʾelk̲h̲unu's daughter Tabuʾa to Ḵh̲azaʾil as queen and priestess. In 676 B.C. Assarhaddon made an expedition against the Bāzu (Būz) and Ḵh̲azu (Ḵh̲azō) in the depression of the Wādī Sirḥān . When S̲h̲amas̲h̲-s̲h̲um-ukīn, the king of Babylon , revolted against Assurbanipal, the Ḳedar under Uaiteʾ began hostilities against him and plundered the western borders of the country between Ḥamāʾ and Edom, but were driven back to the desert; when they again plundered the Assyrian provinces, they were forced to flee to Ḥawrān , while king Uaiteʾ, expelled by his own subjects, who were enraged by the devastation of their lands during the campaign, was captured and brought to Niniveh. The Nabayati and the Ḳedar, settled in the Palmyrene and south of Damascus , and the Ḥarar in the southern Sirḥān valley were also subdued by Assyrian forces coming from Damascus , while an auxiliary detachment, which fought in Babylon on the side of the Babylonian king, was completely destroyed after the capture of that capital. Aribi and the tribes of the Nabayati and Ḳedar again recognized Assyrian suzerainty. About 580 B.C. the Ḳedar are mentioned as having been subdued by Babylon .

Strenuous efforts had been made during the Assyrian period to restore order in Arabia, but as a whole this was an impossible task. The utmost that could be achieved, was the protection of the important trade routes and the p later (539 B.C.) Arab warriors helped King Cyrus II to take Babylonia (Xenophon, Cyropaedia, vii, 4, 16; v, 13).

When the Near East was annexed to the Achaemenid Empire, the Arabs again furnished camel troops to the Great King of Persia, e.g. to Xerxes (Herodotus, vii, 86), but sometimes the Arabs also joined the kings of Asia Minor in their struggle against Persia; for instance their king Aragdes (or Maragdes, Ḵh̲ārid̲j̲a?) was a confederate of Croesus¶ (Xenophon, Cyropaedia, ii, 1, 5). The "King of the Arabs" mentioned in Herodotus (iii, 4) may be a king of the Liḥyānites (the Laianitai of Agatharchides; the latter had occupied the Northern Ḥid̲j̲āz , i.e. the colony of the Minaeans known as Muṣrān ("border-land") in the land of Midian, with the centre of Agra-Hegra, between 500 and 300 B.C., and were followed by the Nabataeans .

When Alexander the Great had conquered the Achaemenid Empire, he also subdued Arabia according to Livy (xlv 9) and Pliny (Nat. Hist. xii, 62). The Arabs now had to supply clothes and arms to the Greek army , and they participated in military actions, e.g. in the defence of Gaza (Arrian, Anabasis, ii, 25, 4, Curtius Rufus, Memorabilia, iv, 6, 30) and in the battle of Raphia (217 B.C.) on the side of Antiochus III. Although the western part of Arabia was occupied by Ptolemy after the death of Alexander , the majority of the Arabs joined Antiochus (Polybius, v, 71); presumably these Arabs are the predecessors of the Nabataeans . Arab colonies, established at the foot of the Lebanon and in Syria, mainly served the traffic on the great commercial route Petra-Damascus-Mesopotamia (Pliny, Nat. Hist., vi, 142; Strabo, xvi, 749, 755, 756), as nomad Arabs (῎Αραβες Σκηνῖται) were also settled by Tigranes with this end in view (Plutarch, Lucullus, 21; Pliny, Nat. Hist., vi, 142). In the Mithridatian war Arabs fought along side the Romans, but in the Syrian war they harassed the Roman army under Pompey and were defeated by him. Arabs served with Cassius (53 B.C.) and Crassus against the Parthians. The Roman policy of winning over Arabs as confederates and auxiliaries against their own kindred in the Arabian-Syrian desert and against the Parthians was continued and extended by the Eastern Roman Emperors. The Arabian-Syrian border-land was under the rule of the G̲h̲assānids [q.v.] as phylarchs, as was the border-land of the Euphrates in Southern Babylonia ( al-Ḥīra ) which remained under the rule of the Lak̲h̲mids [q.v.] until 602 A.D.

In the meantime Arabs had even infiltrated in the 4th century A.D. into Southern Arabia apparently in connection with camel-breeding and traffic on the "incense" road. They are mentioned in the Sabaean inscriptions as Aʿrāb and form a notable part of the population, along with the ancestral sedentary population. Their importance is emphasised by the mention of these Aʿrāb in the title and style of the Sabaean ruler. But this political position did not prevent their kindred in North-West Arabia from entering into warlike disputes with the South Arabian kings. King Amr al-Kays b. ʿAmr besieged Nad̲j̲rān , which belonged to the king S̲h̲ammar Yurʿis̲h̲, and it may have been this Amr al-Kays who put an end to the prevailing influence of South Arabia in the region of ʿAṣīr and Southern Ḥid̲j̲āz .

At the beginning of the fourth century, the aforementioned Amr Ḳays b . ʿAmr, who succeeded in gaining power over the tribes of Asad and Nizār and called himself "king of all the Arabs", put a detachment of Arab cavalry at the disposal of the Romans. This fact is clearly stated in the Nabataean inscription of al-Namāra dated 328 A.D.

From the end of the fourth century A.D. for about a hundred years the princes of the family of Dad̲j̲āʿima, the leaders of the tribe of Banū Ṣāliḥ , were vassals of the Byzantine Empire on the Syrian border, and held territories there which were gradually yielded to the G̲h̲assānids in the second half of the fifth century A.D. Unfortunately we do not learn very much about them from Arabic sources. ¶

About the middle of the 4th century A.D., the tribe of Kinda [q.v.], which after a long struggle with Ḥaḍramūt, to which it was inferior, had to leave the Yaman , and migrated to the country of Maʿadd , where it settled at G̲h̲amr Ḏh̲ī Kinda in the south-western corner of Nad̲j̲d , two days journey from Makka . Although the leaders of Kinda , as kings of the tribes of Rabīʿa and Muḍar , may have possessed a certain influence on the Bedouin tribes in Nad̲j̲d from the time when they settled there, the real kingdom of Kinda , governing a coalition of Arabian tribes in close connection with the Ḥimyarite Power in the Yaman , actually begins with Ḥud̲j̲r Ākil al-Murār. Yamanī tradition says that he was made king of Maʿadd , when Tubbaʿibn Karib invaded al-ʿIrāḳ , but possibly the attacks, directed against Persia or its vassals in al-Ḥīra , were made by the Kindites supported by the Ḥimyarites. It is further said that Ḥud̲j̲r made military expeditions with the tribes of Rabīʿa to Baḥrayn and at the head of the Banū Bakr attacked the frontiers of the Lak̲h̲mids , depriving them of their possessions in the country of Bakr, so that Ḥud̲j̲r is called "King of the Arabs in Nad̲j̲d and of the border-lands of al-ʿIrāḳ". His dominion probably comprised most of Central Arabia including al-Yamāma , and he died after a long and successful reign; he was buried in Baṭn ʿĀḳil on the road between Makka and Baṣra south of the Wādī al-Rumma. After his death about 478 A.D., the tribe of Rabīʿa denied ʿAmr al-Maḳṣūr, son of Ḥud̲j̲r , the dominions of his father; we find the tribe of Rabīʿa now under the guidance of Kulayb Wāʾil , leader of the Banū Tag̲h̲lib , and at war with the Ḥimyarites, who supported ʿAmr b. Ḥud̲j̲r . Kulayb as well as ʿAmr were killed in these struggles about the last decade of the fifth century (c. 490 A.D.). With Ḥārit̲h̲ ibn ʿAmr the dynasty of Kinda attained its greatest power. He is known to the Byzantine historians as Arethas, chief of the Saracens , and concluded an alliance with the Romans, directed against Persia and the Lak̲h̲mids of al-Ḥīra . In the struggles and expeditions against the latter, the tribes of Bakr and Tag̲h̲lib played the most important rôle (about 503 A.D.).

At any rate Ḥārit̲h̲ succeeded in uniting the tribes of the Nad̲j̲d into a great kingdom and made invasions into Roman as well as Persian territory. The statement that Ḥārit̲h̲ subjugated Syria and the G̲h̲assānid kings may be an exaggeration. The peace of 502 A.D. put an end to the war against the Romans, and in the following year (503 A.D.) al-Ḥārit̲h̲'s troops attacked al-Ḥīra , doubtless with the consent and help of the Romans. Ḥārit̲h̲ became master of all the Arabs in al-ʿIrāḳ (503-506 A.D.), and the Lak̲h̲mid Mund̲h̲ir , who got no assistance at all from his suzerain, the Persian king Ḳubād̲h̲, submitted to Ḥārit̲h̲ and married his daughter Hind . However, the domination of the Lak̲h̲mid country was not complete; according to a South Arabian tradition, by an agreement between Ḳubād̲h̲ and Ḥārit̲h̲ , the Euphrates or the canal al-Ṣarā near the Tigris not far from Bag̲h̲dād was fixed as the northern boundary of al-Ḥārith's territory, and it is said, that, after King Anūs̲h̲irwān had restored Mund̲h̲ir to power in al-Ḥīra , Ḥārit̲h̲ kept what was on the other side of "the river of al-Sawād" until 527-28 A.D. So the Kindite interregnum in al-Ḥīra may have lasted some time between the years 525 to 528 A.D., when the Persian Empire was weakened by the Mazdakite movement . It seems, that Ḥārit̲h̲ for some period even ruled¶ over al-ʿIrāḳ as far as ʿUmān , possibly as a feofee of the Persian king Ḳubād̲h̲. After the fall of the Mazdakites Ḥārit̲h̲ had to flee; he lost all his property and 48 members of his family were put to death by Mund̲h̲ir . He nevertheless could again approach the Romans and was even appointed as a phylarch of the Arabs, on the side of East-Roman Empire. In 528 A.D., the date of his death, he is mentioned in this position by Byzantine sources. With his death the second climax of the Kindite power in Arabia came to an end. Ḥārit̲h̲ had divided his dominion, comprising all Nad̲j̲d , great parts of al-Ḥid̲j̲āz , Baḥrayn and al-Yamāma , between his sons, who had been placed as chiefs over the tribes of Maʿadd . His eldest son Ḥud̲j̲r , who had a certain supremacy over the whole kingdom of Kinda , was killed in a rebellion of the tribe of Asad . Between S̲h̲uraḥbīl and Salama, ruling the tribes of Rabīʿa and Tamīm and possessing the eastern half of the kingdom of Kinda , a discord arose concerning the division of power after their father's death, and S̲h̲uraḥbīl was killed in the battle of al-Kulāb (a well between al-Kūfa and Baṣra ) a few years after 530 A.D.; it is highly probable that this dissension was caused or nourished by the intrigues of Mund̲h̲ir , whom the Banū Tag̲h̲lib as well as the Bakr joined after the expulsion of the victorious Salama. Maʿdikarib, the chief of the Ḳays-ʿAylān, went mad, or fell in the battle of Uwāra, and the fifth son of Ḥud̲j̲r , ʿAbdallāh, who ruled over the Rabīʿa tribe of ʿAbd al-Ḳays , in Baḥrayn , in not mentioned further. So the kingdom of the family of Ḥud̲j̲r Ākil al-Murār broke down, and the Kinda , or considerable parts of them, migrated to Ḥaḍramūt, where they settled about 543 A.D. according to a Sabaean inscription at the dam of Mārib . Ḥud̲j̲r's son, the famous poet Imraʾ al-Ḳays , tried in vain to regain the power of his father with the help of the Byzantine Emperor, and died in Anḳara perhaps before the year 554 A.D. A cousin of Imraʾ al-Ḳays , Ḳays ibn Salama, chief of the Kinda and Maʿadd , is possibly identical with Kaisos (Κσος), who received from the Emperor the governorship of Palestine and defeated the Lak̲h̲mid Mund̲h̲ir b . al-Nuʿmān, who died in 554 A.D.

The disputes and struggles between the nomad tribes in Arabia are listed under the well known "Ayyām al-ʿArab", and an expedition to Ḵh̲aybar in 567 A.D. is referred to in the Arabic inscription of Ḥarrān (dated 568 A.D.). That there existed "kings" of individual tribes along with those mentioned here is proved by a Nabataean inscription found in Umm al-Ḏj̲imāl and dating from about 250 A.D., in which a king of Tanūk̲h̲ is mentioned.

(A. Grohmann*)

(ii) the expansion of the arabs: general, and the "fertile crescent"

If the expansion of the Arabs is regarded as a continuous process certain permanent features can be detected: the expansion consists usually in the emigration of large or small nomadic groups, rarely in that of groups with permanent habitations; it may be military, by means of service in foreign armies or in their own army which has set out for conquest; or through the founding of trading colonies. Apart from this last case, the extent of emigration depends partly on particular coincidences, partly on a recurrent, but incalculable, factor, the increase in the pressure of population in Arabia. This is brought about by the decline of cultivation (in South Arabia also of industry ) and of the caravan trade (in Islamic times also of the pilgrim traffic); there is a corresponding increase in the nomadic population. The expansion was preceded by the immigration into the central parts of the peninsula, which had been sparsely occupied by an earlier population. It was facilitated by the taming of the camel in the second (?) half of the second millennium B.C. Nor is it likely that the occupation of South Arabia took place earlier, to judge from the philological, ethnological and archeological evidence . The forerunners of these immigrants into South Arabia were presumably traders who followed the ancient trade routes into the land of incense and myrrh. A little later the Arabs begun to expand in the North, at first in the direction of Sinai and Transjordan . The evidence of the inscriptions shows that in 853 they were present in the north of the Syrian desert, shortly afterwards on both edges of the Fertile Crescent; they were camel-breeders, oasis-dwellers, traders. This formed the chief objective of the Arab expansion. It did not, however, remain the only one, as the emigration of the Sabaeans into Ethiopia (about 400?) shows. It depended on the strength of the various states of the Fertile Crescent whether this immigration could be canalised in the form of colonisation, and, on the borders, of semi-nomadic life, or whether it led to the flooding of the cultivated land by nomads. In the 1st century B.C. the nomads (Scenites) on the near side of the Euphrates crossed the border of the arable land as far as the line Apamaea-Thapsacus, while in the Ḏj̲azīra they roved as far as the border of the arable¶ land to the south of the Ḵh̲ābūr and the Sind̲j̲ār . We cannot here examine exceptional developments, like that of the trading state of the Nabataeans which expanded in the same century, in the north to the Ḥawrān , in the south to N.-W. Arabia.

The incorporation of the Syrian part of the Nabataean kingdom in 105 A.D., and the abandonment of the Roman sphere of interest in N.-W. Arabia some sixty years later, shook the security of these countries. It is, however, impossible to discern what were the consequences of the incursions of the "Saracens" in the west and of the Ṭayyiʾ settled in the central mountain ridges of North Arabia ( Ḏj̲abal ). Different is the case of the entry of two tribes into the steppe lying between the Lower Euphrates and the sandy desert, which was perhaps originated by Ardas̲h̲īr I, the first Sāsānid (d. 241). They were the Tanūk̲h̲ and Asad (2), who came from East Arabia; and they were followed by Nizār from Middle and Western Arabia. The Nizār , with the exception of Iyād , were absorbed by the population of the Euphrates frontiers; the Tanūk̲h̲ and the Asad , on the other hand, continued their wanderings, the Tanūk̲h̲ , for the most part, to Northern Syria and the Asad to the south of the Ḥawrān . Since the 4th century these countries saw also the arrival of tribes from West Arabia. In the meantime, the recession in the incense trade (from the 3rd century?) and its extinction (at the latest in the 5th century) had led to the bedouinisation of part of the population of South Arabia . Groups of such tribes, taking part in military expeditions of the Ḥimyārite kings, reached the district of Nad̲j̲rān and also Central Arabia (e.g. Kinda ). All through the 6th century we can observe an advance into the north, sped forward initially by the campaigns of the kings of Kinda; its path lay along the northerly ʿĀriḍ = Ṭuwayḳ to the steppe on the lower Euphrates (Bakr, Tamīm), from Bīs̲h̲a to the Wādī al-Ruma ( ʿĀmir ), from the country north of Medina in the direction of Palmyra ( Bahrāʾ , Kalb ). The Tag̲h̲lib , dwelling formerly on the lower Euphrates , moved upstream and settled at the beginning of Islam in the Ḏj̲azīra to the north of the Sind̲j̲ār .

The expansion at the beginning of the Islam came about in the first place through enlistment in the armies and auxiliary troops which were sent by Medina to the Euphrates , to Transjordania and to Southern Palestine and after that conquered al-ʿIrāḳ , Syria and al-Ḏj̲azīra; later through participation in the campaigns which led, across the Persian Gulf or from the garrison cities of Kūfa and Baṣra , to Iran , from Damascus to Egypt , North Africa and Spain. It occurred further through the displacement of tribes from Transjordania to Palestine (in the north ʿĀmila and Ḏj̲ud̲h̲ām , in the south Lak̲h̲m ); the emigration of parts of Balī and Ḏj̲uhayna from the Ḥid̲j̲āz to Egypt; through continuous infiltration of families and groups into the garrison towns and the Ḏj̲azīra; and through resettlement of the people of Kūfa and Baṣra in Ḵh̲urāsān . With the enrolment of 400 families of the Sulaym and other West Arabian Ḳaysites as colonists for Lower Egypt , followed spontaneously by three times their number, the first period of expansion in Islamic times ends. The curtain between the Fertile Crescent and Arabia falls again.

It took a considerable time before the loss which the population of Arabia incurred by the emigration during and after the campaigns of conquests was made good again. The first new movement led from¶ the Ḏj̲abal towards the north-east: before the middle of the 9th century the Asad (1) began to advance along the pilgrims' road of Kūfa , and Ṭayyiʾ followed close on their heels. In the second half of the 10th century, quarrels under the Buwayhids allowed the Asad to penetrate into the cultivated land; a part of them wandered on to Ḵh̲ūzistān , where already before Islam a small Arab island (Tamīm) had been formed. In the meanwhile the campaigns of the Ḳarmaṭians of East Arabia into ʿIrāḳ (311-25/923-37), Syria and Egypt (353-68/964-78/9), had driven new waves of migration to the north: Ḵh̲afād̲j̲a ( ʿUḳayl ) moved out of East Arabia into the steppe on the lower Euphrates , followed in the 11th century by Muntafiḳ (also of ʿUḳayl ). Their place in East Arabia was filled by tribes which immigrated from ʿUmān; part of these too later moved to ʿIrāḳ . Some Ṭayyiʾ settled in southern Transjordania, and subsequently acquired the overlordship over the older immigrants of the same tribe in Palestine. The stream of tribes from South Palestine to Egypt , which began in early Islamic times, began again in the middle of the 11th century (originated by orders of the government ), until in the late Middle Ages it was brought to a halt by a movement in the opposite direction. Since the end of the 12th century there is a trickle of Ḏj̲ud̲h̲ām from Northern Ḥid̲j̲āz over Sinai to Egypt and particularly to Transjordania, until in the 17th century this source dries up. They are followed by Balī. Finally since the end of the 15 century groups of the pariah tribe of Hutaym penetrate into the same districts from the territory east of Ḵh̲aybar . Meanwhile a new expansion had begun in the Ḏj̲abal . Around 1200 the G̲h̲aziyya ( Ṭayyiʾ ) appeared in the north between Transjordania and ʿIrāḳ , the Banu Lām (also of Ṭayyiʾ ) in the south between Medina and the Ḳasīm. Since the 15th century G̲h̲aziyya camped on the Euphrates , but did not cross it for good till around 1800. The Banū Lām penetrated at the end of the 15th century to the northern frontier of the Ḥid̲j̲āz , but were repelled by the Ottomans, and following their ancient route turned in the middle of the 16th century to the east, and on to the lower Tigris and Ḵh̲ūzistān .

The last great emigration , that of S̲h̲ammar and ʿAnaza , commenced in the same district. At the end of the 17th century the S̲h̲ammar came from the Ḏj̲abal to the frontier of ʿIrāḳ . ʿAnaza (whose territory had been till that time from Madāʾin Ṣāliḥ to the Ḳasīm) penetrated at the same time, accompanied by the Banū Ṣak̲h̲r , as far as Transjordania. In the 18th century ʿAnaza , coming from S.-W. and S.-E., occupied the Syrian desert. Into the midst of this movement burst the campaigns of the Wahhābīs. In the nineties the S̲h̲ammar-Ḏj̲arbā left their homeland occupied by the Wahhābīs and went to the Euphrates . At the beginning of 1802 they crossed it with the agreement of the government and soon pushed on into the Ḏj̲azīra up to the edge of the mountains of Asia Minor. Other parts of ʿAnaza reached the Syrian Desert together with the troops of the Wahhābīs or in the course of flight from their tax-collectors.

As the result of the progress of agriculture in North Arabia since 1911 and the exploitation of the oil resources in the last two decades, the expansion of the Arabs has ended for the moment.

Some features of the expansion must still be mentioned, which it was not possible to fit into this article: the settlement on the Iranian coast of the¶ Persian Gulf (which had pre-Islamic antecedents); the foundation of trading colonies on the coasts and the islands of the Indian Ocean from the early to the late Middle Ages: Malabar , Madagascar , East Africa (Peta-Kilwa, with antecedents in the ancient South Arabian period); the more recent colonial policy of ʿUmān; the continuous emigration from Ḥaḍramawt , which in the 19th century was principally, but not exclusively, directed towards Indonesia (mercenaries in Ḥaydarābād ); and infiltration into Upper Egypt across the Red Sea.

(W. Caskel)

(iii) the expansion of the arabs: iran in early islamic times

The Arab conquest of Iran brought a part of the Arab people to that country. There appear to be two separate developments in settlement. (1) The immigration from the opposite Arab coast to the south coast of Iran along the Persian Gulf. The Arabs also spread in a south-easterly direction along the coast from the mouth of the Euphrates and Tigris . Apparently Arab settlements could be found here already in pre-Islamic times (see A. Christensen: L'Iran sous les Sassanides 2, 87, 128). The number of Arabs increased considerably here in early Islamic times; there is, for example, explicit mention as settlers of the ʿAbd al-Ḳays from the coast of ʿUmān ( al-Balād̲h̲urī , 386, 392; al-Iṣṭak̲h̲rī , 142; Ibn al-At̲h̲īr ( Būlāḳ ), iii, 49). From then on Arab settlements remained along the coast and at some places inland (e.g. Māhān, in the district of Bardsīr, 985 A.D.: al-Maḳdisī, iii, 462) until at least the times of the Mongols (B. Spuler: Die Mongolen in Iran , 2Leipzig 1955, 142, 149 f., 164). It seems reasonable to suppose that there is a connection between those settlements and the ones of today, in view of the continued migration of Arabs across the Persian Gulf and from Baṣra . (2) There was a second influx of Arab settlers into Iran from Mesopotamia . In the 7th century Arab colonies were formed in several towns such as Kās̲h̲ān , Hamadān and Iṣfahān; Ḳumm became a predominantly Arab (and S̲h̲īʿite) town, and remained so for a considerable time ( al-Balād̲h̲urī , 314, 403, 410, 426; Nars̲h̲ak̲h̲ī (Schefer), 52; Ibn al-At̲h̲ir ( Būlāḳ ), v, 15; E. G. Browne, Account of a rare ms. hist. of Iṣfahān , Hertford 1901, 27 [offprint from JRAS , 1901]; B. Spuler: Iran [see Bibl.] 179). The number of Arab settlers in Ād̲h̲arbayd̲j̲ān ( al-Balād̲h̲urī , 328, 331; al-Ṭabarī, i, 2805 f.; Ibn Ḥawḳal 2, 353; al-Yaʿḳūbī , Taʾrīk̲h̲ , ii, 446; Aghānī 1, xi, 59) was apparently much smaller.

Ḵh̲urāsān , however, remained the main goal throughout all these migrations. The actual settlement was partly made by large groups: there are reports of 25,000 from Baṣra and an equal number from Kūfa , who arrived in 52/672; a further batch reached the country in 683. On the basis of this number of men capable of bearing arms (50,000) and in view of the strictness of recruiting, J. Wellhausen (cf. Bibl.) estimates the number of Arab settlers in the begining of the 8th century at 200,000. They did not live only in the towns—where in some cases quarters were put at their disposal after the conquest—but were scattered all over the country, as for example in the oasis of Marw, where they acquired possessions and adapted themselves to the dihḳānsʾ way of living. The geographical contours of Ḵh̲urāsān suited the Arabs very well: they could easily travel across the large plains and the steppes, although they were somewhat more awkward than the natives both at crossing rivers and in the mountains (cf. Barthold, Turkestan, 182). ¶

The main body of Arabs in Ḵh̲urāsān had come from Baṣra . Of the tribes settled there, the Ḳays (especially in the 8th century: al-Ṭabarī, ii 1929) were in the majority in the west, while the Tamīm and Bakr were mixed together in the east and in Sīstān; thus the outcome of inter-tribal feuds was varied. Ibn al-At̲h̲īr ( Būlāḳ v, 6) states their numbers for 715 as follows: Baṣrans 9,000, Bakr 7,000, Tamīm 10,000, ʿAbd al-Ḳays 4,000, Azd 10,000, Kūfans 7,000 (= 47,000 which tallies almost exactly with the above mentioned number for Kūfans and Baṣrans); in addition altogether 7,000 mawālī of these tribes. (In this list the people from Baṣra and from Kūfa must stand for elements from the two towns which could not be reckoned among the tribes mentioned). The tribal divisions valid in Baṣra were taken over into Ḵh̲urāsān . On the one side were the Rabīʿ (= Bakr and ʿAbd al-Ḳays ) and the Yamanite Azd (who had arrived later), and on the other the Tamīm and Ḳays (collectively known as "Muḍar"), who were very pround of their descent [cf. articles on these]. The bloody battle between these began in connexion with the great civil war for the Caliphate in 683; a static war raged outside Harāt for one year, 64-5/684-5 between Bakr and Tamīm (al-Ṭabarī, ii, 490-6), which eventually came to an end because of internal dissensions among the Tamīm. Inspite of the fact that a neutral Ḳurays̲h̲ite became governor in 74/693-4, fighting continued until 81/700 (al-Ṭabarī, ii, 859-62). The attitude of the governor often made the difference between victory and defeat, and his attitude, in turn, depended to a great extent on the party divisions in the west (Syria and Mesopotamia ). In 85-6/704-5, the ascendancy of the Azd and Rabīʿa was temporarily checked by a change of governors. Ḳutayba b. Muslim, the conqueror of Transoxania, who was not linked to either of the powerful groups by descent, tried to remain neutral. It was thanks to him that the Arabs had the chance of spreading to Samarḳand , Buk̲h̲ārʾā and Ḵh̲wārizm, often moving into specially cleared quarters ( al-Balād̲h̲urī , 410, 421 f.; al-Ṭabarī, ii, 156; Ibn al-At̲h̲īr ( Būlāḳ ), iii, 194; Nars̲h̲ak̲h̲ī , 52). After his death the Azd resumed power under Yazīd II , until the Tamīm took over in 720. The misrule of the latter and of the Ḳays brought Umayyad rule in Ḵh̲urāsān into such disrepute that even the open-minded governor Naṣr b. Sayyār could not find a way to settle the disputes of the opposing groups after 744. The ʿAbbāsid revolution, caused largely by the behaviour of the Arabs, passed them by. Its victory in 748-50 brought about new conditions for the Arabs in the east.

A few of the Arabs had, of course, entered into friendly relations with the Iranians soon after the conquest of Ḵh̲urāsān . Some of the marzbāns and dihḳāns had come quickly to terms with the Arab rule and the Arabs frequently took part in the cultural life of the Iranians (especially the celebrations of the nawrūz and the mihragān , as, similarly, they had also done in Egypt on the occasion of Coptic festivities). There were mixed marriages (mentioned expressly only where more prominent persons were concerned, yet even more likely to have taken place among the ordinary people) and the descendants of such unions in Iran were undoubtedly inclined to attach themselves to, and disappear among, the islamicised Iranians. In addition, there were cases of Arabs (as, for instance, Mūsā b. ʿAbd Allāh b . Ḵh̲āzim in Tirmid̲h̲ ) who quarrelled with the government and joined forces politically with the natives. Furthermore, since the time of ʿUmar II¶ 717-20, there was a growing religious consciousness among some Arabs (such as Ḥārit̲h̲ b. Surayd̲j̲ ) which demanded—with increasing insistance—equal treatment for the Iranian Muslims (cf. Wellhausen, Das arab. Reich, 280). Hence the many attempts to come to a reasonable solution of the question of the personal and land taxes where converted Iranians were concerned. In any case, one has the impression that the tribal feeling was more and more superseded by a new, predominantly religious, grouping from round about 720 onwards, when a new process of assimilation began which became important for the general feeling of pan-Arab unity. From this time onwards, political events can no longer be explained as deriving their main spring from tribal feuds.

Because of this, Umayyad politics, which had been built up on the tribal structure, were doomed, and the future belonged to the ʿAbbāsid movement (and also to that of the ʿAlids connected with the former in the beginning) which worked on a different basis. The collaboration between the Arabs, who often took a leading part in the ʿAbbāsid movement , on the hand, and the Iranians on the other, went smoothly—at least until the fall of the Umayyads (nor was there much friction on a national basis subsequently). Hence the victory of the years 746-50: at that time, however, the greater part of Arabs in Abū Muslim's army spoke Persian (al-Ṭabarī, iii, 51, 64 f.).

There were, however, Arabs, who took no part in this process of assimilation. The greater part of these were pushed out of Ḵh̲urāsān in the course of the ʿAbbāsid campaign. The remaining settlers, towards whom the Iranians showed no more animosity, were politically (i.e. as Arabs) of little importance. Tribal warfare now ceased completely, although some tribes are still mentioned in the 10th century (cf. the authorities quoted below). Assimilation continued, however, without interruption so that many Arabs eventually merged completely with the Iranians: more quickly, certainly, where they lived in isolation on their estates (as for instance in the oasis of Marw). One must also take into account a further distribution of the Arab element all over the country during the ʿAbbasid period, and further immigration from the west. Consequently there were places which had a partly Arab population as late as the 11th and 12th century, though the gradual decrease in their numbers is already recognisable in the 10th century. Detailed statements regarding this are rather rare: compare for Iṣfahān : al-Yaʿḳūbī , Buldān, 274, for various places in Ḵh̲urāsān , ibid., 294; al-Iṣṭak̲h̲rī 322/323, Ibn Ḥawḳal 2, 499; al-Maḳdisī, 292, 303; for Kās̲h̲ān : Ḥudūd al-ʿĀlam , 133, and ibid. 104, 108, 216 ( Ḏj̲ūzd̲j̲ān ); al-Ḏj̲āḥiẓ , Tria opuscula, ( van Vloten), 40; Ag̲h̲ānī 1, xiv, 102, xvii, 69; Ḏj̲uwaynī , ii, 46, (read manzilgāh-i ʿArab); S. A. Volin, K istorii sredneaziatskikh arabov, (in the Trudy vtoroy sessii assotsiatsii arabistov, (Moscow and Leningrad 1941), 124; B. Spuler, Iran , 250. The family histories in Ibn al-Balk̲h̲ī, Fars-nāma, xix f. = 116 f., and Ḳummī, Taʾrīk̲h̲-i Ḳumm (Tihrānī), 266-305 ( family of As̲h̲ʿarī ) are most illuminating for the gradual assimilation of Arab families of civil servants into the Persian people.

(B. Spuler)

appendix: arabs in central asia at the present day

The origin of the Arabs living at the present day in Central Asia, and apparently also in Afg̲h̲ān Turkistān (where they speak Persian: The Imperial Gazeteer of India , V, Oxford 1908, 68; without definite mention of places) can not (or not yet) be fixed with certainty. According to their own tradition, they were brought there by Tīmūr , and they mention the Andk̲h̲uy [q.v.] district in Afg̲h̲ānistān and the nearby Aḳča (in the province of Mazār-i S̲h̲arīf ) as the site of their original settlement, and Ḳars̲h̲ī, Buk̲h̲ārā and Ḥiṣār as places through which they had passed. There is, however, no mention of Tīmūr re-settling Arabs, in the sources concerning his life, nor can his son-in-law, Mīr Ḥaydar , who is frequently mentioned in the oral tradition, be identified. On the other hand there is proof that inhabitants of Marw were transplanted to Buk̲h̲ārā , and those of Balk̲h̲ , S̲h̲aburg̲h̲ān and Andk̲h̲uy into the Zarafs̲h̲ān valley in the year 1513 ( ʿUbayd Allāh , Zubdat al-Āt̲h̲ār , in the Zap. Vostočnago Otděleniya, XV, 202 f.). We know, furthermore, that migration of "Arabs" was still possible in the first half of the 16th century between (Persian) ʿIrāk on the one side, and the areas of Buk̲h̲ārā , Samarḳand and the valley of the Kas̲h̲ka Daryā on the other ( ʿAbd Allāh b . Muḥammad al-Marwarīd: Tarassul, quoted by Volin 121-3; cf. also H. R. Roemer, Staatsschreiben der Timuridenzeit, Wiesbaden 1952, 94 f., 177, with facsimile 38b-39a [without the factual part of the document]).

Thus it appears that the Arabs living in Central Asia today are not the immediate descendants of the immigrants of early Islamic times [see above iii], although one must allow for the possibility of an association with these settlers, who had already been Iranised in the 11th and 12th centuries. In the 16th century, the Central Asian Arabs were under a mīr hazār who collected taxes for the government; they were generally known as nomads (aʿrāb) (in addition to the above mentioned document cf. also an ins̲h̲ā-collection of Samarḳand of ca. 1530, published by Volin 117-20). In the 17th and 18th centuries there is no information concerning these Arabs, but there is mention of them in the beginning of the 19th century, especially in various travel reports (quoted by Volin). Here we must distinguish two concepts:

(1) A close group marked by strict endogamy, who are, however, in their physical appearance hardly different from their Iranian neighbours; they call themselves "Arabs" but accepted the language of the country they live in. There is a group of Tād̲j̲īk and a group of Uzbek-speaking "Arabs' in the Samarḳand area. Travellers mention similar groups of "Arabs" in Turkmenistān, Ḵh̲īwa , Farg̲h̲āna and mountain Tād̲j̲īkistān . In the 19th century their number was assessed at between 50 and 60,000; Vinnikov (see Bibl.), 9, sticks to these numbers (in spite of the result of the census) in 1926. In the 19th century these "Arabs" were still under a mīr hazār, but by this time he no longer exercised any fiscal function. The figure mentioned in a Soviet census of 1926 is 28,978, that of 1939, 21,793. According to this it would appear that these groups of "Arabs" who already spoke the language of their area, were absorbed more and more into their Uzbek or Tād̲j̲īk surroundings. Their economic situation is also like that of their neighbours. As¶ survivals of the matriarchal system, however, we still find the institution of the "avunculate" (a special connection between the nephew and his maternal uncle and the marriage of first cousins), in which at least one third of these "Arabs" lived before the revolution. (Compare M. O. Kosven, Avunkulat in Sovetskaya Etnografiya, 1948, no. i).

(2) From these self-styled "Arabs" (obviously in a historical sense), we must distinguish groups which still speak Arabic . According to the above mentioned documents, it appears that this distinction goes back as far as the 16th century. This would mean that the settlement of these Arabs must have taken place some generations earlier, otherwise there could have been (in the case of nomads) no possibility of a partial linguistic assimilation. The Soviet census of 1926 gives the figure 4,655 for these Arabs, who can be divided into the dialectally different tribes of Saʿnōnī and Saʿbōnī. They live largely in Uzbekistān (2,170) and in Tād̲j̲īkistān (2,274). In 1939, Arab speaking inhabitants of Uzbekistan numbered about 1,750. It would appear that the Russian census of 1897, mentioning 1696 Arabs, had only the Arab speaking ones in mind; yet some doubt about this figure must remain, in view of the numbers mentioned in later years. Apparently this group, too, is in the process of being assimilated by its surroundings.

The language of these Arabs has developed from a Mesopotamian dialect but has (like Maltese) developed into an independent branch of Arabic , and has split in two. The Central Asian Arabic language developed p and č even in pure Arabic words, on the other hand it lost the th, dh and partly the hamza . F often disappeared, and ḳ often became g; the ā usually became å, the u in the personal suffix uh (u): ü. Stress vacillates; assimilation, inversion, and elision are frequent. The 2nd and 3rd person fem. pl. retain their endings (as in the bedouin dialects). One of the two dialects developed the prefix mi- in the imperfect tense (would this correspond to Iranian, or to Syrian and Egyptian Arabic?). A durativus praesentis developed under the influence of Turkish. As in the Caucasian languages (e.g. Old Georgian), the direct object is taken up again by a personal suffix in the verb (cf. also the Syrian development). "Kāna" is often used as an auxiliary verb (originally with a plu-perfect meaning). The infinitive ends regularly in either -aḥān or -ān. The nūnation of the nouns is almost completely absent; plurals end in īn/-āt (this also frequently in the case of masculine nouns), while broken plurals are rare. Arabic numerals have been replaced by Tād̲j̲īk ones almost completely. Status Constructus is retained, but word combinations of the Indo-Germanic type are frequent (Ḥaṭab mibīh, "wood-seller"). Usual word order: subject, object, predicate. Vocabulary largely Semitic, leaning to ʿIrāḳī and occasionally to peninsular Arabic .

(B. Spuler)

(iv) expansion of the arabs in egypt

At the end of the year 18/639, an Arab army appeared on the Syro-Egyptian frontier and commenced the conquest of Egypt . On 20 Rabīʿ II 20/9 April 641, a treaty was signed which wrested Egyptian territory or, more precisely the autochthonous population, from Byzantine domination. Alexandria still held out, and only surrendered eighteen months later. Viewed as a whole, the operations give the impression of an advance carried out no doubt with enthusiasm, but also of a carefully planned offensive. Certain papyri of this period assume particular importance. We possess requisition orders for the billeting and provisioning of Arab troops, and we learn that the expenses incurred by the villages were remitted from the taxes for the following year. From information supplied by the same documents, we see advancing into the country a well-equipped army : armoured cavalry and infantry, accompanied by a flotilla for operations in Upper Egypt . Teams of blacksmiths and armourers were formed for the repair of weapons. This information is based on Greek texts, some of which are indeed accompanied by an Arabic translation, but if the initiation of similar measures was the duty of the Coptic civil administrators, it is a fact that the Arab military leaders were fully aware of them. All this indicates training and discipline, and we may suppose that Bedouin elements did not form the major part of the Arab army . ʿAmr b. ʿĀṣ relied in the main on a first contingent of Yemenite origin, nearly all from the ʿAkk tribe, and it is apparent from the names of the districts of Fusṭāṭ that the majority of the groups were Yemenite. On the other hand, contingents of the Ḏj̲ud̲h̲ām and Lak̲h̲m tribes, who had formed part of the population of the G̲h̲assānid Kingdom and had remained neutral at the battle of the Yarmūk , had joined the army of Egypt . The largest figure recorded of the numbers of the Arab warriors is 15,000 men; this seems to be a maximum figure, but not an impossible one.

After the conquest the Arabs remained in their tribal groups: in this connexion, the names of the districts of Fuṣṭāṭ are again revealing. It may be questioned whether, in the beginning, the Arabs thought of anything but exploitation of the country by the military, who formed a de facto aristocracy which did not admit to its ranks any native of the country or mix with the inhabitants since it was forbidden to acquire land. The army of occupation was distributed between Fuṣṭāṭ, Alexandria , and various posts scattered along the Mediterranean coast, on the desert frontiers of the Delta, and on the Nubian borders. We lack any critical basis on which to form an estimate of the numbers of these garrisons, which were heavily reinforced, since in 43/663 12,000 men were needed in Alexandria alone. With a view to increasing their cohesion, these elements were organised in tribes. The members of each tribe were divided into sections of seven or ten,¶ under the control of a syndic, who received their pay, and also administered orphans' pensions under the supervision of the ḳāḍī . Every morning an official visited the tribes and registered new births.

In 109/727, the Comptroller of Finance in Egypt installed an important part of the Ḳays tribe in the region of Bilbais: the figure 3,000, which we are given, seems to include women and children. These Ḳaysites who, as camel-drivers, participated in the traffic on the Fuṣṭāṭ-Ḳulzum route, were probably liable to military service, since they were registered on the pay-rolls. These reinforcements had been to some extent necessitated by the first revolt of the Copts , which occurred in 107-725. When the Christian historian of the Alexandrian patriarchate is describing this, he writes "One tribe was situated in the eastern desert of Egypt , between Bilbais and Ḳulzum on the coast; these were Muslims, who were known as Arabs". This mode of expression seems to postulate that the indigenous Muslims, doubtless a minority of the whole population, were at that time more numerous than the Arabs.

These Arabs preserved for more than two centuries the memory of their tribe of origin, and in the majority of the funeral steles, in the cemeteries at Aswān and Fuṣṭāṭ, the name of the deceased is habitually followed by the ethnic appellation indicating the tribe. It was the Arab title of nobility, and Coptic converts were, in the beginning, second-class Muslims. Some of the latter aspired further, and a judicial scandal which took place in 194-5/810-2 proves that the Arab tribes were still strong enough to appeal to Bag̲h̲dād against the judgement of a ḳāḍī of dubious integrity which conferred on Copts the status of pure-bred Arabs. We observe that in the course of the 3rd/9th century surnames relating to tribes give way gradually to surnames of geographical significance; here, too the funeral steles are documents of the greatest value, and furnish us with toponymic surnames.

The Muslims of Fusṭāṭ , at the beginning of the 3rd/9th century, must have been mainly autochthonous elements, installed in all types of sedentary employment, in government service or in trade; the Arabs, occupied in suppressing revolts in the Delta in the course of the preceding century, were then struck off the military rolls as a result of the influx of Ḵh̲urāsānīs, and later of Turks , and had probably resumed in the country side the principal occupation of their ancestors, the raising of live-stock. At all events, from then on they are not mentioned in the towns. Descendants of former soldiers, moreover, acquired land: we find the proof of this in the fact that the government claimed from them the k̲h̲arād̲j̲ , or land tax. They thus became mingled with the indigenous population, which, at the beginning of the 3rd/9th century, was mainly Muslim; on the other hand, the Arabic language was used to an increasing extent by the Copts . The majority of the army , of Turkish stock, could not have made any distinction between the truly autochthonous elements and the descendants of Arab immigrants.

Finally, in 219/834, groups of the Lak̲h̲m and Ḏj̲ud̲h̲ām tribes rebelled in the Delta: they were easily dispersed, and no further mention is made of their rights. The Arabs re-appear, even frequently, in the history of Egypt : they remained organised in tribes, some of which retained their nomad habits. They were mobilised as reserve troops in times of crisis, for example at the time of the landing by the Crusaders at Damietta . Later governments were obliged periodically to exercise their authority against¶ them, either to collect taxes, or to suppress banditry. In general, these interventions were bloody affairs, and were virtually punitive expeditions.

The most significant events were set in train by the temporary migration, in the 5th/11th century, of the Banū Hilāl and the Banū Sulaym before their destructive onslaught on North Africa. It should not be forgotten that a group of Bedouin from the Arabian Peninsula tried to resist the advance of French troops in Upper Egypt in 1799.

Recent censuses have been vague in the extreme: it is estimated that the Bedouin scattered among the deserts of Egypt number about 50,000.

(G. Wiet)

(v) expansion of the arabs in north africa

It is extremely difficult to enumerate the Arab elements which, from the year 27/647 onwards, entered North Africa. We can only accept with the usual reservations the first number of 20,000, representing the fighting men from the Ḥid̲j̲āz , furnished by the tribes and grouped round their chiefs, reinforced by contingents taken from the army of Egypt . The first expeditions were nothing more than long-distance raids, without any intention of settling in the country. This ambition appears with ʿUḳba b. Nāfiʿ , who founded al-Ḳayrawān [q.v.] in 50/670. The death of this chief and the occupation of al-Ḳayrawān by the Berbers led to the despatch of fresh contingents. From then on, every serious failure on the part of the invaders, every Berber rising, every new phase in the arduous task of conquest occasioned the arrival of reinforcements. Under the Umayyads , elements derived from the d̲j̲und , detached from the Syrian garrisons, and constituting regiments which already had an individual character, took the place of the fighting men recruited in Arabia. Under the ʿAbbāsids , the Ḵh̲urāsān militia joined forces with the Syrians, or relieved them. All these elements, living in groups as in the East, were distributed among the towns of the conquered territory. As is well known, their haughtiness as conquerors, their demands and their lack of discipline were a source of the gravest embarrassment to the governors of Ifrīḳiya , and the Ag̲h̲labid amirs, obliged to subdue them with great bloodshed, found them employment in Sicily.

Along with the fighting men intended to effect the first occupation of the country, the Arab world sent civilian elements. Apart from the governors and their entourage, kinsmen and clients, there were men of a religious character, who, from the time of the caliphate of ʿUmar b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz (99-101/717-20), undertook the methodical conversion of the Berbers . There were also merchants hoping to prosper in fresh territory reputedly rich in resources.

These Arab immigrants constituted exclusively urban elements. The towns, where they formed a considerable proportion of the population, were centres of arabisation. By virtue of the prestige enjoyed by the conquerors, through the education given in the Ḳurʾānic schools and the mosques, and through economic relations and mutual contact in¶ the markets, the Arabic language spread simultaneously with Islam in the cities and their environs. Al-Ḳayrawān played an important part in this process, but the other garrisons of Ifrīḳiya and its western marches were also able to spread their influence over a limited area.

The Arab immigration of which the Hilāli invasion was the first phase was very different from the Muslim conquest and its consequences, both as regards those who took part in it and their role in the history of Barbary. The initial cause of this disaster was as follows:—in the middle of the 5th/11th century, the amir al-Muʿizz of the Banū Zīrī [see zīrids ] branch of the Ṣanhād̲j̲a , which governed Ifrīḳiya in the name of the Fātimid caliph al-Mustanṣir, broke with his suzerain in Cairo , and the latter, on the advice of his minister al-Yāzūrī, despatched against the rebel kingdom the Arab nomads then encamped east of the Nile, recognising in advance their title to any towns and rural districts which they could conquer.

The Banū Hilāl [see hilāl ], who formed the first wave of this "westward movement" (tag̲h̲rīb), and also the Banū Sulaym , who came on the scene later, were connected through their common ancestor Manṣūr b . Ḳays with the powerful line of Muḍar . Both had previously dwelt in Nad̲j̲d , and groups of the two families continued to live there. Brought late within the pale of Islam , they had migrated in considerable numbers to Upper Mesopotamia and the Syrian desert. Their independent nature revealed itself immediately after the death of the Prophet. The Umayyads , and the ʿAbbāsids even more, had to punish their plundering activities conducted in particular at the expense of Meccan pilgrims. In the 4th/10th century they took part in the Carmathian revolt. The Fāṭimid caliph al-ʿAzīz crushed the movement (368/978) and forced the Arabs who had supported it to transfer themselves to Upper Egypt . It was from there that they set out to conquer Ifrīḳiya .

At the moment when their first bands, which could have numbered barely a million, reached the Zīrid kingdom of al-Ḳayrawān and caused its downfall, the most powerful of the Banū Hilāl were the Riyāḥ , who occupied the plains of Tunisia . Further east, the kingdom of the Ḥammādids [q.v.] and the Zāb [q.v.] received the At̲h̲bed̲j̲. This Arab expansion, whose limits in the 6th/12th century are described by Idrīsī, caused the exodus of Ḥammādids from the Ḳalʿa to al-Bijāya and drove the Zanāta nomads towards the plains of Oran .

The arrival of fresh bands led subsequently to an extension of the territory and to alterations in the distribution of the Arabs. The most important of these waves of immigrants was, starting from the end of the 12th century, that of the Banū Sulaym , who came from Tripolitania. At first allied to the Armenian adventurer Ḳaraḳūs̲h̲, then to the Banū G̲h̲āniya who attempted to revive Almoravid power, they placed themselves at the service of the Ḥafṣids , the Almohad governors of Ifrīḳiya , who assured the fortunes of this great tribe. Thus Ifrīḳiya , the first domain of the Banū Hilāl , remained with the Sulaym , the region where the Arabs were the most numerous and most powerful. But no part of North Africa escaped what was considered by Ibn Ḵh̲aldūn to be an irreparable disaster. The quest by new arrivals for lands as yet unoccupied and for sedentary populations to exploit, the repulse of the weak by the strong, the advance of certain tribes, such as the Maʿḳil of Southern Morocco, from the western boundaries of the desert, were the quasi-normal causes of their "westward movement". To these must¶ be added the mass transfers effected by the Mag̲h̲ribī rulers within their own


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Contrasting your claims with the Encyclopedia of Islam by zzazzeefrazzee

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2021 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)