By D. W. Reynolds
"Now, of these Bethlehemites, in common with the other descendants of Salma, it is said they are Kenites, sprung from the house of Rechab." Henry Browne, 1844, Ordo Saeclorum: A treatise on the Chronology of the Holy Scriptures.
Ancient Judaeans from the town of "Lachish" taken into captivity by Assyrians in the time of Sennacherib.
It so happens the historical Minaeans were the biblical Mehunim or Me'unim associated with Salmah or "Shalmai" of Judah. They are mentioned living in Edom, and east and south of the Dead Sea in 1:Chron. 4:41 and, 2Chron. 26:7 of the Bible, which is the same region as the ancient "Solymi" of Josephus and Tacitus ( Merrill, E. H., 2008, p. 359, fn. 63). The name of the Me'unim is sometimes transcribed Ma'on or Maonian in the Bible . As shown in Part I, some of the ancient "Solymi" of Homer and Tacitus were also said to have been called "Maeonians", confirming once again that the Minaeans or Me'unim and the Solymi of the coasts of the Aegean were one and the same people.
Today many scholars tend to de-emphasize the part played by the early Arabs in the makings of the early Mediterranean and Aegean worlds, and even in the Levant. Mention of this apparent influence is usually met with the scoffing and sardonic cynicism or comments about “pseudolinguistics” and/or ”pseudohistoric” connections.
Yet, so far, we have seen with the past few blogposts that the people of the Torah or Bible, originally called Nabataeans, Kenites, Solymi, Salma or Salmaeans, Minaeans, Midianites, Kaleb or Calebites, Shelah, Kenizzites, and Hivites, appear to have been a group of closely related peoples whose "Sudanic"-looking descendants under the same names still occupy some of their traditional territories in Hijaz and Jordan extending to the Dead Sea.
In Asia they once stretched into the modern Israel/Palestine in the North. They currently extend to Central Arabia, Mesopotamia and Iran in the East, and to Tihama and countries of the region of Aden and Hadramaut in theYemen. In these places, such indigenous Arabian people as the Harb, and the Huwayt’at (or Haweitat) who recognize themselves until today as descendants of the “Nabataeans”, still possess names like Banu Salim, Sulaymiyyan, Sulaymat and Soleimani. The latter have shown themselves to be the modern names of the historical Salmaeans or Salmanaeans, and Solymi, who were the biblical Salmah and Shalmai, children of Korah “the Levite”.
The Salmaeans, as we have seen, were historically a "sister-tribe" or clan of the Nabataeans, and spoken of as Kenites, Rechabites, Kedarites and Hivites in the Targums and western Rabbinical commentaries. All these peoples were ancestral to the original Huwayt’at and Harb peoples of Jordan and the Hijaz, as well as related peoples once located in Asir and Yemen.
In addition, with the aid of modern scholarship we have identified some of thse Huwayt’at and Harb clans as the medieval Arabian clans of Banu Salih or Sawalha, Kalb, Kain, Faran or Fur’an, Ferudah or Faradah, Hamaida or Ahamdah and Heiwat or Aheywat of Sinai, Jordan, the Hijaz and al Harra. These we have also shown were considered by certain scholars to be the likely names of the biblical peoples “Shelah”, “Kaleb”, “Kenites”, “Aphran”, “Ephrathites”, "Ephraimites", “Hammathites” and “Hivites”.
However, the problem for Western biblical scholarship is that all of these living Arabian clans still recall or claim - without exception - an origin from the ancient Yemen - and not Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia or Turkey, as many modern European academics would have it.
The ancient Greeks and Romans of the late classical period recognized them as a specific peoples settled amongst “white Syrians” (their words) and others in the Mediterranean and Aegean. They called them “Solymi” and “Phoenicians”, people of Minos, Belos, Cepheus, Cetimus, Danaus and Cadmus, or simply, “Ethiopians”. Nowhere is this more clearly seen then as where the Greeks refer to Minos, ruler and colonizer of ancient parts of the Aegean and Mediterranean, as the “son of a Phoenician woman” and relate his name to that of the Minaeans. Both the Greek Nonnus and Roman Pliny also mention the twin brother of Minos – Rhadamanes (or Rhadamaeans) of Rhadamanthus - a name curiously reminicent of that of the ancient and modern “Raduman” or “Radman” clan of the Maddhij (a branch of Kahlan or as others say of the Ru’ayn branch of Himyar) (Madh’aj, A. M., 1988, p.91).
Today, the popular scholarly narrative of these views of ancient writers is that there had been “confusion” over ethnonyms, i.e., the ancient peoples were naively misled because of similar sounding names in those days.
Similarly, other early mythology concerning the coming of civilization to the Mediterranean is linked to the Arabian rulers. As mentioned previously in our blog, certain Arabian legends held that a ruler named Cathim, “an Amalekite”, the “son of Madan”, son of “Jursham”, son of Abd Yaleel (Jaleel) built wondrous and “magnificent buildings” around the world (Crosthwaite, C. 1839, p. 233). The daughter of Jursham is said to have married Ma’ad, who we have already found was identified by the ancients with the Mady’an or Midianites. Cathim can be identified with the “Cethimus” of Josephus' writings. The latter said Cathim gave his name to the coasts of the Mediterranean and isles of the Aegean. His people left the name of Citius or Citium in Cyprus where “Phoenicians", like Zeno in Citium are described as “gaunt, very tall and black” (Diop, C. A., 1981, p. 39). See the classic African Origins of Civilization.
As usual, some have attempted to modify the description to “swarthy” or “dark”.
In the Torah (Bible), Cethim or Kittim is named “a son of Javan” of Japhet. In Arabian genealogy this Javan appears to be the traditional “Jawan b. al-Qadhur” (or Qedar), brother of Nabit al-Qadhur.* Meanwhile, the name of Jursham, “father of Madan”, appears affiliated with the biblical “Gershom” or “Gersam”, son of Moses, leader of the Midianites (Exodus 2:22) - which would thus connect these leaders Jursham, Madan, Ma’ad, and Cathim, to the biblical Gershom, Madan and Midian who are by all Arabian accounts connected to the Azd and other southern Arabians. Their rulers were otherwise considered Adites, Thamudites or Amalekites. These same people, or their brethren “the Asshurim” or “Surim” are those that settled by and named the Dead Sea, which Josephus claims was thus designated the “Assyrian” Lake (see previous post for references).
According to Josephus they also were the same people that had at one time “harassed”, “conquered” and named the nation of “Assyria” and after some point also settled in Africa under the historical names of Ausuriani, Austures and Saturiani (see blogposts on the Berbers), occupying the Syrtic area of Libya (or Gulf of Sidra) and troglodyte region.
In addition, we have the statement by the Greek Ptolemy (3rd c.) that the remnant of the Adites or ancient Thamud of the town of Du’umu (or Adummatu - biblical “Dumah” in Jordan) of Idumaea were in fact originated from “Phoenicians and Syrians”(Kasher, A. 1988, p. 66). They were documented historically as the Thamudaei or Thamudenioi (Houtsma, M. Th., 1993, p. 736). The Nabataeans also at one time are known to have lived in Taima (a name linked to “Tema” brother of Dumah, son of Ishmael) in the northern Hijaz. It is this area of “Dumah” modern Dumath al-Jandal ancient Du’umu in Jordan along with Taima in northern Hijaz that was designated the country of “the Amurru” in Assyrian texts of Nabonidus and which Ptolemy in his geography places in “Midian” (Mitchell, T. C. p. 417; O’Leary, L. 2013, p. 53)
|Mada'in Salih land of the Thamud tribe|
Given such assertions, we do not have to wonder why the Phoenicians whom Josephus considered Amalekite shepherds, were represented on Egyptian tomb paintings in dark copper brown tint similar to themselves, or why the Canaanites in so many ancient Syrian texts (obviously “white Syrian”) and other writings are called “black”. Nor does one need to ponder why such people as Phoenicians and Solymi or Cepheus are textually associated geographically with the name “Ethiopia” or “Ethiopians”. Least of all should it be necessary for people interested in Truth to be so intent on modifying textual descriptions of individuals like Zeno of Citium, to “swarthy” or “dark”, when clearly, black, or the dark brown, near black of modern Arabians – like the less modified Arab of the Harb, Towara, Kinanah, Dawasir and Huwayt’at clans – is meant.
The Torah or Bible and the Targums and Talmud (Jewish commentaries) recognized these same peoples as the Ishmaelites, Israelites, Canaanites, Edomites and Misraim (this last not to be confused with Pharaonic Egypt). Moshe Gil for example tells us that “the Targum calls the Kenites, sons of Jethro, Salamians: the sons of Salma’a …” (Gil, M., 2004, p. 16) - another way of saying the Kenite sons or descendants of Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro or Reul were the Solymi or “Sulaym bin Mansur” of “Midian”. We also note again that it was these Ban’ul Kain (Kenites) a historically documented clan of the medieval and modern Sulaymiyyan Huwayt’at (the same population as the Soleymi or Solymi - See Part II) among whom was first known the name of God as “Yahwe” or “Yahu”.
These “Kenites” were said to have occupied the southern part of Judah and lower Galilee (Judg. 1-16;4:11, 17; Sam. 15:6;27:10;30:29) (Gottwald, N., p.321).
We are given much valuable information in the work of Moshe Gil. He mentions many of the commentaries from Arabic sources connecting the Banu Jodham, Lakhm (Lehumim)
and related tribes with peoples of Khaibar (or “Heber”), Feiran (or “Afran”), Yashkur (Issachar) and Madi’an or Midianites, however, for whatever reasons failed to have made any significant comment on or inquiry into the numerous traditions of these groups that almost invariably make them descendants of southern Arabians from the confederations of Azd and Qudha’a - two peoples historically affiliated with the Sabaean, Minaean, Hadramaut or Red Sea regions much further south.
As we have shown, there are still other scholars that have already noted the probable connection of populations in Jordan and Sinai mentioned in Islamic texts until a fairly late period with ancient “Kenites”, “Idumaeans” and other peoples of the Old Testament. It is well-known that in classical times these regions possessed names like Midian and Idumaea and even Kush. As a consequence, Gil like many other scholars have wrongly assumed that the medieval Midian, Idumaea, and Kush of Jordan and northwest Arabia was in fact the earliest homeland of these Old Testament peoples, but as has been shown and hopefully testified to in this blog – they most certainly were not.
From what we can gather, the medieval Arab texts refer to these Kedarites, Israelites and Ishmaelites of the north who are historically “the Phoenicians” and Amurru of Syria as either the people of Amalek, Azd, Ad and Thamud, or of Himyar and Kahlan. For example, the Arab genealogical tradition and textual sources trace Banu Kalb - who we have seen are the biblical "children of Caleb", brother of Japhuneh and Kenaz - to the Qudha’a of Himyar. The Arabian clan of Jafneh, who is “Jephuneh” is a name for a tribe of the Azd (Kahlan) of Marib (Sana’a), and Qunays, who is biblical Kenaz, is named by al Tabari the full-blooded brother of Qudha’a (also written variously Qutha'a, Kudha'a, Kata'a, and other ways) by tradition, who historically include Banu Kalb (Caleb) and Banu’al-Kain (the Kenites). These same Caleb, Kenaz and Jephuneh are also called brothers in various places in the Torah or Bible.
The South Arabian clan or “house of Jafnah”- or Jephunneh - historically belonged to the historical Ghassan (Jokshan/Kushan), who were originally from the Azd in Yemen. And the latter, according to Arab tradition as we are told by al-Baladhari received their name from and were birthed at the brook of Kishn (Kishon) in Tihama, in Yemen near Hadeidah where were Ra’ima (Rema) and Zabid (Zerid or Zered of Numbers 21: 12) (see al-Baladhuri’s’statement in previous blogposting). **
We have seen that it is from the name of Jokshan or Kushan (later Ghassan of the Azd ) that north Arabians came to be called Kush, and because of it, in certain European biblical interpretation, “Midianites” were also – wrongly - thought to have been Africans.
The word Kushi, after coming to mean “an “Ethiopian”, also took on a derogatory significance in the West, which continues to this day. This word, however, like most words that have come to mean black, originally had no such meaning, and the peoples of Jokshan and Midian as we have seen were no more black than any of the indigenous tribes of the Arabian peninsula
As mentioned in previous blogpostings, early medieval writers asserted that Azd "was a name borne by the most important section of the people who inhabited the country of Saba and its capital Ma'rib, at the time of the rupture of the dyke of 'Arim and of the ruin to which that portion of Yaman was in consequence reduced. All but a small section of the Azdites abandoned the country. The chief body went to the Tihamah of Yaman inhabited by the tribes of 'Akk and Ash'ar. Here they settled in the neighbourhood of a pool named Ghassan, situated between the rivers Zabid and Rima. After a lenghthened stay, dissensions with the original occupants 'of the country compelled the Azdites to depart. A portion of the tribe established itself in Najran, in the neighbourhood of the Madhhijites who had long occupied and ruled the country" (From Yaman, Its Early Medieval History, p. 216).
Continuing our review of previous blogpostings, traditionally the Amr Muzaikiyya (the Moses of the Torah or Musa of the Quran) leader of the Azd tribe of Khuza’a or Khazaa (Hazu) who had left Marib (Meriba) near Sana’a, sent spies to the land of Canaan, originally an area south of Ta'if and perhaps inclusive of what would later be called Mecca. His wife, was a prophetess/diviner named Zarifah or Saffureh (Ziphorah) also known in tradition as Tarifa or Tarikha al Himyari. The mountain called Jabal al-Muzay’iqah in the area of Marib in Yemen must then also be named for Moses. The remnant of these Azd inhabited the Asir where they were called Azd Saarat (or Sharawat being plural) or Azd Shahara’a, and their mountains named for the back of a horse in the Asir region are the true location of the original “Edomite” and “Israelite” peoples of the Old Testament.
Among these Azd were Banu Lakhm or Lahm (from Lehumim of Keturah), whom according to archaeological discoveries founded the Syrian, Bethlehem (Bait Lakhm), some centuries after the Palestinian Isa (Jesus Pandhira) was said to have been born (Gil, M., 1997, p.132). Their brethren Banu Jodham (also written Jotham or Judham) also came to Syria/Palestine at a relatively late period as well. According to Ibn abd Rabbihu (11th c.), Sulaym were a clan found among Banu Jodham “in the Yemen” and comprised part of the Qays ibn Ailan in the North (Boulatta, 2012 p. 270). This name of Jodham or Jotham may in fact be an eponym for peoples descended from the Israelite king “Jotham”, ruler of Jerusalem.
(It should be noted here that the Jerusalem of the Sulaym spoken of would be in the region of the Asir and not the Syrian Jerusalem. Salibi noted that a town called Al-Sarim in the Assir was once and still called Uri Salim or Arwe Salam or Salaym) (Childress, D. 1989, p. 206). Al-Kharj in central Arabia is another town formerly called Salam or Hayir Sulaym.
The King named Jotham was son of Uzziah (also called Azariah) of the “House of David”, son of Amaziah, “king of Judah”, son of Johoash of Judah. At some point, this confederation derived from the Azd movement from the Yemen of Jodham, Sulaym, and Lakhm tribes settled among other Canaanite and Edomite peoples of the Asir and occupied towns they named Jerusalem (Arwe Salim) and Bethlehem (maybe the modern “Umm Lahm” as suggested by Salibi) and also Hijaz, Nejd, Jordan and Syria.
As mentioned the Jodham-related tribe of Lakhm or Lakhym is otherwise written “Lahim” or “Lahm” in texts. Tabari talks of the Banu Lahm (or Lakhym) and how the provinces of Oman, Bahrain, Yemamah and Hijaz had been entrusted to a Mundhir bin Naaman or Nu’man, the 6th century the “Lakhmid” ruler - Naaman being a common name for Azd-descended chiefs of the “Ghassan”(Jokshan) and “Lakhmids” (Lehummim), and as we have seen also the name of a “Minaean” king of Israel of the tribe of Benjamin. Interestingly, one ancient South Arabian Minaean inscription speaks of “the family of Namhan” which may be the same name as Naaman in an early South Arabian form (Pritchard, 2011, p. 316).
The “Lakhmids" that were located in Central Arabia and southern and eastern Arabia region until the medieval period are traditionally known as Azd Umman or Oman. They descend from the legendary Mehdu or Mahdad bint (daughter of ) el- Lahm or Lahim who was from the tribe of Djurhum or Djorham. The name Jorham or Jeroham is the name of at least three Israelite personages in the Torah, one of which is considered in the Septuagint the same as “Jerahme’el”. This is a name of at least 3 well known ancient Sabaean or Adite rulers as well. One of these Jorhams known to have settled in the Hijaz may thus have connection to Joraham king of Israel. Ibn Abd Rabbihu said that one of the Arabian Djorham’s that settled in Mecca was “Hadoram”.
We’ve learned the following as well. At some early point in time, the personnage Lakhym ibn Hezal (Lehumim) was sent from the Yemen to Mecca along with Al-Mirth’ad or Al-Marthad (Almodad), Afyr (Afran) and Ghafar (Jafran) by the Thamudite (Adite i.e. Sabaean) chief, Luqman, whom traditions also identify as Baalam and Bela, the first king of Edom (see previous blogposts).
And at this ancient time according to tradition the children of Al –Tawsim, otherwise called Tasm, Tasim or Djasim (who is biblical Letusim or Letushim, brother of Lehumim and Ashurim) lived in Yamamah in the southern Central Arabian Nejd, and it is (according to the Persian al-Tabari) one of their rulers that first bore the name Amalek or Amliq, ancestor of the Amalekites.
The El-Tawsim or Djasim were thus Amalekites as per al-Tabari and Arabic writers who was the biblical Letushim, and that before the coming of the Israelites to Hijaz the Amalekites were collectively named Djasim. Their tribes according to Francois Lenormant settled in the Hijaz between Mecca and Medina and included the Matar (Mutayr), Ghifar, Bodayl (Butaylah or Betawil), Azrak and Abil (Abel) (Lenormant, 1871, p. 289). These Djasim or “Joasim” are in fact mentioned by colonialists as pirates in the Persian Gulf and country of Oman who were descendants of “the Ghafiri” and Obar (Ubar or Wubar) tribes ( Taylor, R., 1856, p. 4), thus confirming once again that the so-called extinct Arabs - “Ad” and “Amlik”, the “Arab al Baedah” of medieval Middle Eastern imagination Arab, were actually never totally wiped out or made extinct in ancient cataclysms.
These Ubar or Wubar founded the old city of Ubar the Adites in the Rub al Khali in Nejd, near the frontier of Hadramaut. Thus, according to Tabari the land of “Abar” (biblical Eber) lay between Yamama and Shihr (Houtsma, M. Th., 1993, p. 1074).
We have as well seen that just as the Targums use the name Kenites for Salmaeans or Salmah, long after the Islamic era the banu’l Ka’in or al Ka’in mining clan of the Qudha’a were a documented a clan of Sulaym (or Soleymi) affiliation and ancestry. These Kenites were also called “Shechemites” by historian Josephus. Shechem was son of Hamor "the Hivite" in Genesis, whose name we saw in Part II of this blogpost was likely “Heiwat bin Ham” traditional ancestor of the Huwayt’at tribes.
The connection of the Kenites with the later Sulaym and Quda’a clan of al-Ka’in confirmed by scholars obviously supports the documented history of Judaeans or Jews in western Hijaz. The latter are described by the 12th century Spanish Jew and traveler Benjamin Tudela as settled in considerable numbers in the northern Hijaz, in places like Medina or Yathrib and Khaibar - towns traditionally named for the Kenite priests, Jeter or Jethro (also said to be “Reuel”) and Heber. In addition, Rechab or “the house of Rechab” was founded by Hobab, “the Kenite”, an ancestor of Heber, whose name may be connected with the Quda’a and Soleym clan of Habib or Hubayb (Phillips, R. J., 2009, p. 65). . Hobab who had come from the family of Hammath, is elsewhere called Hammon (see 1 Chron. 2:55 and1 Chron. 6:76). In fact Judges 4:11 states that Heber, “the Kenite”, had separated from the clan of the descendants of “Hobab”, and pitched his tent in the far north near Kedesh in or near Hammath.
By one tradition, the Jews of Medina or Yathrib (Jethro), near harrat Sulaym and harrat Khaibar (Heber) were descendants of Banu Jodham (Moshe, Gil) whom we have seen are in most genealogies considered to be from the Azd. Benjamin Tudela says of these regions (of Yathrib and Khaibar) that the Jews there were known as the Banu Rechab and were around 50,000 in number. Tudela said the clans of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh could also be found amongst these people. In addition, he made an accounting in his writings of the number of Jews in each region of the then known world and his calculations make over half of the then known Hebrew population dwellers in south Arabia.
Jehonadab or Jonadab is called the son of Rechab in 2 Kings 10 and Jeremiah 35. The name is obviously the same as that of Banu Jundub, a clan of Tayyi the "son" or "brother of Maddhij" (Boullata, 2012, p. 294). See Ibn Rabbihu's The Unique Necklace translated by Issa Boullata.
Now that we know the Haweitat and Harb are those peoples known as Sulaym and Hawazin b. Mansur or children of Mansur in the Medieval Islamic era, and that scholars have already identified the Sulaym of the Hijaz and Central Arabia with the historical Salmaeans and the latter with Kenites, Hivites or Shechemites and Midianites, one can begin to make sense of the origins of the original Jewish peoples and their faith.
As mentioned previously these Hamathites, descendants of Hammath who the biblical tradition makes son of Canaan, child of Ham, were ancestors to the Kenites (1 Chron. 2:55) or al-Ka’in, and represented by clans of Huwayt’at and Harb people. They are known in Sinai, the Hijaz region and the areas extending into Nejd (Central Arabia) as Hamādah (also written Hamada, Hammadh, al-Hamda, Ahamidah or Hamayda or Hamidah, Hamadat) (Lorimer, 1908, p. 635). Those "Hamidah" among the Harb in Hijaz are mentioned by Burton as “small, chocolate colored beings" with “mops” of “bushy hair”. And also as a bedouin people “that has kept its blood pure”. What’s more, they are part of the Maimun or Maimoun section of the Beni Salim (Lorimer P. 635) - who is likely either Shallum or Salma, son of Caleb (Kalb), son of Hur - who in turn were in the medieval period considered part of the Hawazin b. Mansur - the sister tribe of Sulaym.
The Beni or Banu Hur "brother of Jundub" of Arabia are said to be from the clan of Tayyi by Ibn Abd Rabbihu (Boullata, 2012, p. 294).
Shammar are a branch of the south Arabian Tayyi "son of Maddhij". The name of the ancient ruler "Shammar" was sometimes suspected by Orientlists to be related to "Shamma" a "chief of the Edomites" in the book of Genesis.
According also to Burton, Pliny speaks in his Natural History 6:32 of this area as, “the shore of Hammaeum (var. Mammaeum and Mamaeum, now the coast of Hamidha or El-Hamidah), in which there are gold mines; the region of Canauna: the nations of the Apitami, and the Cassani” (See Burton's, Gold-mines of Midian, 1878, p. 254, fn.). This land of Hammaeum in Arabia thus belongs to the people of Ham and Hammath, while the region of Canauna (meaning “Canaanites”) or Wadi Kanawna was the original “lowland of Canaan”, the Abida and Ghassan (Kushan) tribes from Keturah are also mentioned. Are these possibly a peoples whose celebrated deities were Mammon, and Hammon or Ammon?
In any case it is likely that the Harb are part of the peoples referred to as the Amu (translated by archaeologists as “Asiatics”) of Egyptian texts; the ‘miserable Amm”, “fighting since the time of Horus”. Incidently, the name Banu Harb means sons of “battle” or “fight”. The fact that related peoples extend into Sinai and into the eastern deserts of Africa also likely explains the use of the word Aamu or Aam ancient Egyptian rulers used for the peoples of the eastern desert of Egypt.
Some scholars studying the bedouin of Sinai have stated the “Hamada” there are miners belonging to the Aleygat-Haweitat and among the most ancient inhabitants of the southern Sinai region (Murray, G., 2012, p. 263; Leonard, William and Crawford, Michael, 2002.) It would thus make sense that, like the Hamadat or Hamayda of Nejd and Hijaz these were the “Hamathites” from which issued according to the Torah the mining peoples called Kenites (Al-Ka’in of Qudha’a) a documented clan among the Harb and Huwayt’at and early Sulaym (Salma/Shalmai).
Bedouin children of Sinai
Among the Huwayt’at noted in The Gold Mines of Midian and the Ruined Midianite Cities… also by Burton, were the “el-Rakabiyyeh” tribe (Burton, R. F., 1878, p. 153) whose name is the modern Arabic for the “Rechab” or “Rekab” of the Torah. In addition, the name of Gad and Asher, sons of Jacob, can probably be linked to the Judda and Ashayr or Ash’ar (Asher) whose names are sometimes found linked together in the Hijaz region, especially in Jiddah which they named (also written Jeddah, Jedah and Juddah) and Nejd (Muir, W., 1861, p. 107, Ali, C. p. 236). Just as the name Manasseh who ruled for decades in Jerusalem is likely linked (as previously stated) to that of Mansur (Manasse’ir or Manasir) whose children include Sulaym and Hawazin. Today, a clan called “Manash” - not surprisngly- make up part of the Masruh division of the Harb (Hamza, p. 12) .
Manas’ir is the plural of Mansur (Ibn Sasra, M. 1963, p. 108, fn, 644) and also Manase. He has apparently been identified by certain scholars as Menasi or Minse, the King of Yaudi, mentioned in Assyrian records under King Assurbanipal of the 7th century (Bodi, D., 1991, p. 49). His son said to be Machir or Makir has a name which sounds like that of the Makhir (also known as Makhar) of the modern Azd-descended tribe Dawasir. The biblical Machir had a son named Peresh, whose name is the same as that of Banu Faras the Taghlib tribe of Dawasir (Azd) affiliation.
The clan of Makhir are thus closely linked with the other Azd peoples, Banu Yasshkur (Issachar), Banu Lakhm (Lehumim) and Jodham/Jotham (Jotham?), Ma’n or Ma’in (Mehunim/Ma’on), Bilha (Bahila), Guni a branch of Bahila (or Ghunai or Ghani , "son of Bilha") from Naphtali , Khaza’a (Hazo), Barek or Bariq (Barak son of Abinoam, leader of Israel the tribe of Naphtali), Khusan or Ghassan (Jokshan), and Ma’ad (ancestral Madi'an) whose mother was a near descendant of Lahm.
We have seen (in the previous posts) that Arabian tradition holds that Solomon’s kinsmen were considered, not from Syria, but from the Azd a people from the Yemen whom in the Fut al-Sham and other texts are designated “very black” and “woolly haired”, and that Lokman or Luqman “the Ethiopian”, chief of the Thamud or remnants of “Ad”is in Hebraic tradition considered Baalim (or Bela) - the first of the kings of Edom.
Heiwat ibn Ham: Canaan’s Hivites in the Syro-Arabian Harra
The Heiwat or Aheywat are the name of an actual tribe of Sinai and Jordan. The biblical Hivites are called both Canaanites and “Horites” from Edom and one of these Horites was Zibeon or Zubyan (or Dhubiyan, Dhiaban) who has the same name as an Arabian tribe Zubyan, (also spelt Thibyaan or Dhubiyan) from Ghutayf or Ghatafan said to be of the Murad clan of Maddhij in the south and and made up part of the Qays Ailan in the North. They are more recently called Ziyabin among the Huwayt’at (Burton, 1878, 153). (We previously discussed the probable connection of the name Ghutayf or Ghatafan with the name Qatifan of Arabic tradition, otherwise known as the biblical Potiphar).
|Bedouin musician of Jordan|
Zibeon is also known as the son of Se’ir “the Horite” 36:20, and as “the Hivite”in Genesis 36:2. Some of the people of the Hivites of Canaan were also people called Gibeonites. “Among those living in the Central part of the country only the Gibeonites are described as being of Hivite origin.” It should be noted that this name Gibeon or Gabaon is very possibly the Gaba’an tribe of the Minaeans.
In the book of Joshua we read that the cities of Gaba, Gibeath or Gibeah and Gibeon or Gaba’on are called towns of Benjamin. We have previously spoken of the probable kinship of the people of Benjamin “son of Jacob” with the Minaean (Me'unim) people called Naamathites said to have been named for “Naaman”.
Belonging to the family of Benjamin is a man named Naaman, designated the son or else grandson of Benjamin through “Bela” and head of the family of Naamathites. Naaman, Bela, Bachir, Rosh or Rash are called sons of Benjamin (Genesis 46:21). Elswhere in the biblical book called Numbers 26:40 we find Naaman called “a Benjamite”.
Also, in the Septuagint the ruler ‘Zophar”, is considered a “Naamathite”, as “Minaean”. He is in fact “king of the Minaeans”. In the Samaritan codex the descendants of Naaman are called Naamanites. The name of Bela may also have some connection to that of the Baliy or Belawi clan of the Banu Qudha’a. The latter interestingly were the people once living along the Yemeni coast between locales named Nu’man and Wadi Hamdh (Murray, 2012, p. 292).
According to scholars, the Minaeans worshipped a God named Gaba, and one of their clans mentioned in their own inscriptions is the Gaba’an. Pliny in fact spoke of them as the Gebanitae. Perhaps coincidently, one ancient Minaean inscription speaks of the family of “Namhan” from the clan of Gaba’an (Pritchard, 2011, p. 316). Another stela found 20 minutes from Ma’in speaks of “a free woman of Lihyan” (p. 315). (We had discussed in a previous blogpost how the name of the Lihyanites or tribe of Lahiyan - a clan today of the black Hudhail near Mecca - was linked to the ancient Minaean presence further north at Dedan.)
Aside from the clan of Gaba’an found in the inscriptions of south Arabia there is also mention of the Minaean clans of Hawar, Qabd (Kipti?), Ganad, Amam, and Asar (Ash’ar?) (Pritchard, 2011, p. 317). This Ganad is likely the Junayda or Junayd of Arabian tradition said to be the full brother of Qudha’a, Haidan (Hadan is sometimes called son of Phut) and Qunays (Kenaz) and in some accounts of an En-Numa or An-Nu’maan. Hawar may be Hor or Hori, and Amam a name for the later Umaym or Umayim (biblical Amim or Emim?).
We can at least say the Zubyan or Dhibyan is likely the biblical Zibeon, who settled between Taima (Tema) and Hawran and in the Wadi al-Qora (Valley of Kore, the Levite?) around 7 miles north of Yathrib (Medina) at the time of the Prophet’s birth amd were originally living in the region of Zahran in the Asir. The uncle of Zubyan, known as Ashja’ is said to be from “Ashja’ bin Raith bin Ghatafan. Ashja’ is thus likely the “Ashjah” or “Ajah” of Genesis, who is called a son of Zibeon “the Horite” of Edom and “the Hivite” of the Canaanites (Muir, 1861, p. 139). Some of the tribe settled north of Medina were known as Fezara or Fazarah bin Zubyan. The name of Fezara or Fazarah probably corresponds to the biblical name Passhur or Pashur, an ancient priest of the Judaeans, living in the time of Jeremiah. The genealogy of Fazarah according to Ibn Hazm was Fazarah, son of “Zubyan bin Baghidh bin Raith bin Ghatafan” (Poonawala, Ismail K., 1990, p. 77).
In addition Ghani bin A’sur (Ghuni) and Bahilah (Bilha) are sometimes said to be from Ghatafan in some traditional genealogies.
Closely related were the ‘Abs bin Zubyan once dwelling in the harra at a place now known as Harrat banu Rashid in the Nejd. Ibn Abd Rabbu in his El Iqd el Fareed in his 6th volume said that the ‘Abs were described by an early observer as “black-skinned men”, evidently like all people of the al-Harra and Nejd before the influx of foreign mercenaries and slaves.
Thus, from these sources we know the Canaanites, Israelites and Edomites of Genesis 36 are those people now represented by the purer of the Heiwat, Huweitat, Harb and Dawasir. We have previously identified the sons of Se’ir, the Horite named most probably for the modern Sei’ar (or Siyar) tribe still extant in Hadramaut and Yemen. We find the other Horites of Genesis 36 connected to names of the historical Azd tribes mentioned by al-Tabari, whom he identified as the Banu Hamdan (Hamdan), Basman (Yashbin or Eshban), Bedaran and Badr (Ithran), Daus (Jeush), Shubayl (Shobal), Djushayn (Dishan), Humamah (Homam), Asir or Assir (Ezer) and others settled in ancient times and in fact some now Asir, Nejd and Hijaz.
The name “Horite”, as suggested by Salibi, is possibly etymologically linked to that of al-Harra and Harrat, which refers to the volcanic or black basalt regions extending from the Yemen to Syria. If this is the case the name Harra may thus be related to Khor a name used in Hadramaut and the south of Yemen for the mountains they inhabit. Hori or Khor was 'son of Lotan" in the land of Se'ir who is called by Al-Tabari, Al-Tana, an ancient Arabian chief who was "inventor of the lance". However Khor or "Kawr" apparently means a flat topped mountain. As one translator has it the Horites are, "the Chorreans in the mountains of Seir, even to the plains of Pharan, which is in the wilderness. (Genesis 14:6)" Douay-Rheims Bible.
(Another clan called Banu Hur - who may represent Hur, father of Caleb father of Salma - was, according to Ibn Abd Rabbih, derived from the Banu Tayyi.)
The Lost Lions of “Salmaean” Judah
“Now the first inhabitants who lived in their possessions in their cities were Israel, the priests, the Levites and the Nethinim. In Jerusalem lived of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin, and of the children of Ephraim and Manasseh…”
“Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel…”
|Three "Judaean chiefs" of town of Lachish said to be bowing to Sennacherib, "king of Assyria" - 7th century B.C.|
"So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: 'I have done wrong. Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me.' The king of Assyria exacted from Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold." 2 Kings 18:14.
:"...Yahweh brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh in chains and bound him with fetters and carried him to Babylon." 2 Chronicles 3:11
Just as we have found that the names of the tribes Heber, Kenites, Midianites and Israelites, among the Huwaytat-Harb peoples, descendants of the ancient Solymi or Salmaeans - the traditional inhabitants of Jerusalem, it is not unexpected to find many names of the clans mentioned among the “Judaeans” (Yhwd), or peoples of Judah.
According to scholars the name of Nethinim (or Ethanites), a community of temple servants under the Levites, is originally applied in the book of Joshua to the Gibeonites. These Gibeonites we have just seen are first spoken of as of Hivite stock (Josh ix 7 and xi 19) and as such were connected to the Hivites of Shechem or Kenites (Ka’in) and Salmaeans (Salma or Shalmai). And, from the Nathinites or Nethinim are said to come the children of “Chasupha” a name of a clan of Judaeans who were exiled and returned from captivity in Ezra 2:43. This name corresponds strikingly to that of Khasafa, the ancestor of Sulaym .b Mansur who is by tradition son of Ikrima b. Khasafa (Khanam, 2005, p. 720). Meanwhile the Tabbaoth named may be connected with the name of the Teba, Ateiyibba or Uteibah in the Hijaz and Nejd, from Hawazin child of Mansur (Manasseh) from Khasafah (Chasuphah said to be from the root Chasaf ).
The king Menasse or Manasseh of Judah lived mainly in the 7th century B.C. His father was King Hezekiah and his mother is called "Hephisba" or "Haphzbah". In Arab tradition interestingly "Khasafah" was actually originally the name of the woman who had been the foster mother whose name Khasafah took (Robertson-Smith, W.,1885, p. 257). Is Chasupha and Hephisba from the same root?
There is also Manasseh, "son of Joseph", who if he was a different individual and if he ever existed would have lived much earlier. Ikrima would probably be the same name "Kirama" (or "Cirama") mentioned next to the people of "Gaba" in the book of Ezra 5:20-21.
In any case many of the names of the Nethinim are possibly cognate to names of present villages in close vicinity in the southern Asir region (particularly in Jizan), where the Azd were once dwelling (Salibi, pp. 102-103).
Just between the passages Ezra 2:39 and 2:43 there appear to be mentioned the closely related tribes of Sulaym and Salim of Hawazin b. Mansur under the modern clan names of “Harim”, “Shallum”, “Ater”, “Talmon”, “Akkub”, “Hatita” and “Shobai” whom we have previously identified as the clan names of Salim, Atur or Utur, Uqub, Huwaytat and Subh or Sha’b of the Harb and Huweitat populations of Jordan and Hijaz. In fact, Salibi found what he thought to be these names in Hijaz as present villages in the region of Ta’if south of Mecca on the border of the Sharawat or Shahra mountain range (Salibi, p.101). This area was known to have been dominated by the tribes of Mansur (Manasseh) or Hawazin b. Mansur. The name Hawazin is plural for Hazim.
The families who came back to Israel and Judah were said to have taken strange wives (foreign wives) during their stay in Babylon. According to Salibi their names correspond to place or village names in the Asir as well. These groups of returning Jews, however, may have settled in the Syrian Israel rather than in the Israel of the Old Testament in the Asir and Hijaz with the original tribes of Israelites.
|Man from Rijal Alma in the modern Asir region. Probably not unlike the ancient inhabitants of Lachish in Judaea|
So, as in the Targums, we are told in 1 Chronicles 2:54-55 that the Salmaeans or Salma of Judah and his children were “the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the Rechabites.” These sons of Salma who are said to descend from the Calebites include “the Netophathites and the Zorites and the clans of scribes who lived at Jabez…the Tirathites, Shimeathites and Sucathites.” Then it goes on to add "The families of scribes who lived at Jabez were the Tirathites, the Shimeathites and the Sucathites. Those are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab." Thus, again we are told in no uncertain terms that the Arabians called Kenites, Salmaeans and the Judaeans were THE SAME PEOPLE. There are no ifs, and or buts about it.
Shimeathite means sons of Shemaiah. In addition were the Atroth or Ephrathites. Thus, in the 1903 Encyclopedia Biblica we read under the entry “ZERUBBABEL” the following statement:
“In 1 Chron. 2:54 (RV) we meet with a place Atroth (Ephrath)-beth-joab, whose people were sons of Salma (i.e. connected with the Salmaeans – see SALMAH).” (Cheyne, 1903, p.4345)
One of the sons of Shemaiah in 1 Chronicles 9:16 is Obadiah who was son of Galal, son of Jeduthun, and Berechiah the son of Asa, the son of Elkana also lived there. Asa and Elkana are temple singers called Levites through Korah, thus again showing the Salmaeans, Solymi or Banu Soleym or "the sons of Salma" were the peoples that originally comprised of the peoples of Israelite Judah, whose priests were called Levites and Korahites and as many of the ancients believed – settlers of Jerusalem.
The villages of the Salmaean, Netophathites were inhabited by the Levite temple singers (see 1 Chron. 9:16). Bethlehem founded by Salmah is one of their towns. Natuphah is called a town or region near the ancient Bethlehem mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:28-29 which was the home of some of the best men of David. Interestingly the name of one of these men is Mahrai or Maharai. Is this the modern name Mahra?.
Salibi identified this as al-Natif in the Asir and discovered names of many other of these places of Judah in the Asir and Hijaz extending to near Ta’if.
As for Korah whose descendants or “children” are Abiasaph and Assir and Elkanah in Exodus 6:24, it is clear this is an abridgement of a longer genealogy as Elkanah was otherwise named son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph an Ephrathite and Ephraimite in 1 Samuel 1:1 He lived in a village called “Ramathaimzophim” in mount Ephraim. Otherwise his village is called Ramah in 1 Samuel 2:11.
Zuph in 1 Samuel 1:1 is mentioned again as Zophai a son of Elkanah in 1 Chronicles 6:25. Zawf was a clan documented in Hadramaut in the early Islamic era (Mad’aj, p. 91)
Abiasaph is otherwise called Asaph. He is said to have come from Meshullam. The biblical Meshullam, Meshalamiah, Shallum and Shellamiah are alternate names for one or two Levitical individuals mostly standing for family groupings whose descendants were the “gatekeepers”, “doorkeepers” or “porters” of the temple. Thus we are informed “These are the divisions of the gatekeepers: from the Korahites, there was Meshelemiah son of Kore, of the family of Asaph.” (1 Chronicles 26:1) Then again Meshullam is called Shelemiah in 1 Chon. 26:14 and there is a Shallum in Nehemiah 7:45 who appears to have lived in the 5th century.
Biblical scholars early on have while noting the identity of the Salmaeans or Salma with the historical Sulaym, realized that the former (Salma) were the clans or peoples of Judah. Henry Browne was one wise to the fact that the biblical use of the phrase "father of" meant progenitor of, and not necessarily father in a literal sense. Thus, biblical figures could have been mentioned as sons more than one or in fact several different individuals, as in the paragraph below. After noting that Salmon is sometimes called Salma he writes:
"Salma, son of Nahson is father (or ancestor )of Boaz, who is 'a mighty man of wealth of Bethlehem, an Ephrathite'. Salma, son of Caleb, is the father, i.e. progenitor of Bethlehem, viz. of the principle family of Bethlehem, the Ephrathites. Now, of these Bethlehemites, in common with the other descendants of Salma, it is said that they are Kenites, sprung from the house of Rechab. May not this then be the meaning of the statement that Salmon (son of Nahson in one respect and of Caleb in some other, which we need not attempt to define) was the ancestor of Boaz....In this view of the case, the chronological difficulty disappears. Salmon and Rechab were the ancestors of Boaz inasmuch as they were founders or of Bethlehem, and between Salmon and Boaz we can insert as many generations as the necessity of the case requires" ( Browne, H., 1844, p. 285).It has been noted, for example, that Meshelemiah is "the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph" (or Ebiasaph) in 1 Chronicles 26:1, and is elsewhere Shallum (Shelemiah), "the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah" in 1 Chronicles 9:19, but that “in this expression, 15 or more generations are omitted between Ebiasaph or Asaph and Kore, and perhaps as many between Kore and Shallum” (Beecher, W., 1915).
Meshullam or Shallum who was high priest in the reign of Amon, father of Hilkiah (See 1 Chron. 9:11, and Nehemiah 11:11). This Meshullam is son of Zadok son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub. In 1 Chronicles 6:3-8 this same Ahitub, son of Amariah, is son of Meraioth whose lineage goes back to Phinehas son of Eleazar son of Aaron the priest and older brother of Moses.
In 1 Chronicles 9:15 we have mention of Levite(s) "Zikri" or "Zichri" son of Asaph otherwise son of Joram or Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi . Their name is reminiscent of the Zakheirat of the Harb, otherwise called Zahiri, Zawahir, Dhuheiri.
Anathoth one of the towns given to the children of Aaron in the tribe of Benjamin (Josh. 21:18) appears to be Antutah in the Jizan area of Asir. It was the hometown of the prophet Jeremiah. The father of biblical geography Edward Robinson had already identified it with the Arab town of Anata (probably wrongly) in Palestine.
All of these communities or group of family clans comprising the “temple singers” are in general sometimes simply called “Asaphites”, as Asaph was head of the fifth division of the latter (1 Chron. 25:2, 12). He is descended as well from Gershom (mentioned previously as the Arabian Jursham) the son of Levi, and their “principle leader is Ethan (“otherwise called Jeduthun)”, thus showing how the Ethanites or Nethinim were related to the Asaphites from the Korahites, who were Levites. (The name of the Azd tribe of Udthan is supposedly related to Ethan. Udthan ibn Abd Allah ibn Zahran, a clan of the Harith bin Ka’ab.) The biblical Ethan is considered to have come from a man named “Zerah” son of Judah and brother of Perez.
So, again these children of Korah include all of the children or descendants of Meshallum or Shallum, “chief of the porters” (1Chron 9:17) and Asaphites. Biblical scholars have attempted to sift through the generations encompassed between names as it has been found the phrase “son of” in the Hebrew or Arabian way of genealogy, not infrequently signifies a spread over many generations of people. (This is why even “Jesus of Nazareth” is called Jesus “son of David” – the latter being an Israelite king born, of course, many centuries earlier.)
Meshullam is mentioned with Obadiah (the descendant of Elkanah), Mattaniah (2Kings 24:18) and Akkub all Levite “gatekeepers” or “porters” in the 5th century B.C. (See Nehemiah 12:25). Mattaniah was son of Micha son of Zabdi son of Asaph.
Peoples of Judah (Lachish) shown being skewered by Assyrians
People of Judaea (Lachish) being flayed alive by Assyrians.
The children of Korah or Qorah such as Elkanah, Azarel, Joash and Joezer, the children of Azmaveth, Berakah, Jehu the Anathothite, children of Shemaah from Gibeah or the Gibeathite, Ishmaiah the Gibeonite are expert warriors skillful with the bow, but all called “relatives of Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin” in 1 Chronicles 12:2. Among these few mentioned are the tribal ethnicities and geographical names still present and ranging from the Asir and Hijaz to Jordan as well as the Yemen. They include Uzaymat, Gaba’an, Antutah, Barka, and Qarha or Qarah (Korah).
Korah may very well be that of the Qarah, a clan of the Koreish (or Quraysh), who were in alliance with the Zuhra (Zorites?) even in medieval times. (This name may otherwise correspond to Zahra and Zahran instead). There is a Bab al-Qarah in Yemen and an al-Qarha in Asir. Those children of Fazarah (Paschor or Passhur) belonging to Banu Dhibyan (Zubyan, now Ziyabin) who settled in Wadi al-Qora or Qura, who is Kore, son of Asaph, son of Korah through Melchiah or Melchijah, a son of “Harim” and otherwise a son of Rechab in Nehemiah. (This latter discrepancy may be due to the fact that “son of” may actually mean “descendant of” in one or both instances.)
The Lisaan of Ibn Mandhur (14th c.) says the Qarah were a clan of Kinana (of which Quraysh were a part) and renowned for their skill in archery. According to one fable they once formed an elite core “in the service of the kings of Yemen”, whose arrows “never missed their mark”(Makdisi,1965, p.105). Apparently there was a proverbial saying, "He who vies with al-Qarah in archery has done them justice" ( Fishbein, M., 1990, p. 156, fn. 564).
It is possible the name of these Qarah of northwest Arabia and Yemen is linked to that of the al-Qarah (also written Kara, Qarra or Gara) of the Persian Gulf and Eastern Arabia as, where there were people and a town called Carrhaeans or Gerrhae by the ancients, considered to be the Chaldaeans. The Gerrhaeans and the Minaeans were described as traders of incense, myrrh and perfume, the former both in the Persian Gulf and in Petra and the south of Palestine by ancient Greeks and Romans. Pliny, for example, wrote - “From Gerrha everybody used formerly to go on to Gabba, a journey of 20 days, and to Syria-Palestine” (Hoyland, p. 25).
The tribe of Gerrha had a town in the Persian Gulf region of Oman. Like all of the other indigenous less modified tribes of Arabia, the Kinana, Quraysh, Mahra, Sulaym, Huweytat and Harb, the Gara or Qarra have been described by British colonialists as “near black” in appearance and more specifically, “resembling the Bisharin” of Nubia.
In the Jabal Qarah a mountain or mesa in eastern Saudi Arabia named for the Qarah tribe, there is a cave locally known as Ghar Al Nashab or the Cave of the Archer (Hussain, M., Al-Khalifah, F., and Khandaker, N. I., 2006, p. 12)
"Azmaveth" is almost surely Uzaymat, at present a clan of the Harb in the al –Safra (Ziphron?) valley (Hamza, 1983). We have already spoken of Gaba’an and other Minaean clans mentioned in inscriptions, the peoples who likely founded Gibeon, Gaba/Gabba and Gibeah of the tribe of Benjamin.
This again points to a connection to the Hivites and Naamathites or Naamanites, the latter of whom even the Torah identifies with the Me’unim or Ma’onites (Minaeans). The latter are not surprisingly listed as Judaean temple servants in Nehemiah 7:52 and Ezra 2:50.
These Me’unim, Korahites, Nethinim and Levites of Israel and Judah of the Torah are thus all related people descended from followers of Moses who lived up until the time of Nehemiah. They are affiliated with the tribes of "Benjamin" and "Manasseh", and with the Kenites, Gibeonites and Hivites. They are from the Azd of Kahlan and the Quda’a who took part in an ancient exodus from Marib (Meribah) in the region of the modern Sana’a and are represented by the modern descendants of Sulaym and Hawazin bin Mansur.
Previously we have identified these generations of Judaeans from Akkub, Harim and Meshullam or Shallum coming from the Korahites or Levites as ancestors of the modern Uqub or Ukbah of the modern Harb in Jordan and their tribe of Musalimah, and specifically belonging to the Musra division. “The Uqba claim at the start of Islam the tribe was divided into Musalimah and Beni Amr…” (Hogarth, p. 38). On the Ukbah it was said by Burton, “They preserve the memory of their ancestor 'Ukbah, and declare that they come from the south…. they are borne out by the written genealogies, who derive them from “Ukbah, the son of Maghrabah, son of Heram,” of the Kahtániyyah (Joctanite) Arabs, "some of the noblest of Bedawi blood". At first called ‘El-Musalimah, ‘ they were lords of all the broad lands extending southward between Shamah (Syria) and the Wady Damah below the port of Ziba” (Burton, R.F., 1879, p. 164).
These Uqub also claim to have come from the Banu Jodham (Jotham/Judham), and that they once inhabited a place called - you guessed it - "Salima" in Arabia (Murray, G., 2012, p. 291). Ibn Khaldun in the 14th century apparently mentioned them as the Beni Uqba, son of Moghraba, son of Judham" (Murray, G., pp. 25 and 291).
Heram is mentioned by Ibn Kathir as Heram b. Samaal (Sama’al, al- Sama, Samaw’al, Samaw’al or "the heavens", is the name “Samuel” Dhu Samawi was a deity of ancient South Arabia).
Most scholars recognize Meunim as the Minaeans. The Nephisim of Numbers may be the same as the ancient Nephish (see commentary about the modern Nafisah below) mentioned as a son of Ishmael. “Nas” or “Neziah” may be the Arab el-Nass, brother of El-Yas. who may be the biblical Elias. “Mehida” may correspond to the tribal group Mahamid. The name “Hasenuah” (1 Chron. 9:7), a son of Benjamin is somehow related to the name of the Azd called "Senuah".
Biblical scholars early have noted the identity of the Salmaeans or Salma with the historical Sulaym and as well, the former with the peoples of Judah. Henry Browne in fact was wise to the fact that the biblical use of the phrase "father of" meant progenitor and not necessarily the literal father. Thus biblical figures could have been mentioned as sons of several different individuals as in the paragraph below.
"Salma son of Nahson is father (or ancestor )of Boaz, who is 'a mighty man of wealth of Bethlehem, an Ephrathite'. Salma son of Caleb, is the father, i.e. progenitor of Bethlehem, viz. of the principle family of Bethlehem, the Ephrathites. Now, of these Bethlehemites, in common with the other descendants of Salma, it is said that they are Kenites, sprung from the house of Rechab" ( Browne, H., 1844, p. 285).
Judaeans of Kahlan: In Search of the “Kalantian” Indians
“The Jews descend from the philosophers of India. The philosophers are called in India Calanians and in Syria Jews. The name of their capital is very difficult to pronounce. It is called ‘Jersusalem.’” Clearchus of Soli according to Josephus
“These Ethiopians, with their neighbours, resemble in their customs the Calantian Indians” Herodotus
As a side note, the ancient Greeks spoke of the Judaeans as the same people as the Kalantian Indians or “Kalanoi”. Every excuse has been used to to account for this seemingly far-fetched notion. The latter were said by Herodotus to resemble the troglodyte Ethiopians near Egypt in complexion and in their customs. He wrote of the Ethiopians that “they resemble in their customs the Calantian Indians: they have the same rites of sepulture”, “cooked with the same grain” and “their dwelling are subteranean”(Beloe, W., Colburn and Bentley, R., 1830, p. 85). Both the Ethiopians and the “Calantians” or Kalanoi thus lived in grottoes or ravines. They were made to bring every three years gifts of “two schoenices of gold”, “two hundred logs of ebony” and “five Ethiopian boys” and twenty elephant tusks to Cambyses of Persia (Budge, 2010, p. 105).
The "Ethiopian" trogodytes are considered to have occupied both sides of the Eritrean Sea and are also called Arabian trogodytes (Hayward, 1995, p. 192). They were considered descendants of Midian and related people whom are later called the Israelites and Judaeans. They are the Ma’adi or Midian, Lakhm (Lehummim), and Afar (Pharan and Faran) whose Kenite miners and smiths or Kalb (Calebite), and Soleimi (Salma) kinsmen were the people known as Judaeans.
A little more than a century and a half after Herodotus in the 4th century B.C. other Greeks began to comment on the resemblance between the theology of the Indian Kalani and the Jews. Megasthenes suggested that the Jews were an Indian tribe called Kalani and possessed the same religious philosophy or theology. This theology was that of the people called Brahmins in India. Interesting that all three are called the wisest and most pious of men, chosen people, “favorites of the Gods”.
Josephus wrote that Clearchus of Soli a student of Aristotle had written that the Jews were derived from the Indian philosophers “named Kalanoi…” (Against Apion Book I:180-2). He wrote that, the Jews “are descendants of the philosophers in India. The philosophers are called, so they say, Kalanoi among the Indians, but Jews among the Syrians, taking their name from the place. For the place they inhabit is called Judaea…. The name of their city is quite a tongue twistere for they call it Hierousalem”(Bar-Kochva, B., 2010, p. 46; )
In the first centuries A.D. especially, populations of southern Arabia along with Abyssinia are often called “Indians” in Byzantine and Syrian texts. Southern Arabia in particular was "India Minor" and Abyssinia called "Middle" or "Interior India" (depending on the translator) (Harrak, A., 1999, p. 76).
So as we see the reason why the Ethiopians and Kalanoi are compared may in fact be due to the connection of both with black "Arabian" trogodytes - the Azd from Kahlan whose representatives as we have seen were ancestors to the Solymi clearly viewed as connected culturally to both “Eastern Ethiopians” and Arabians, and to the Ichthyophagii or Minaean fishermen (Mehunim), Themanites (Tehama people?) and other folk on the coasts of the Arabian and Red Seas.
The Bhavishya Purana may hold the key to how such people wound up in India. They clearly imply that the Mlechhas, one of the major tribes of India, had a spiritual teacher named Musa. The King of the Mlecchas is called Nyuha, whose three sons were Sima (Shem), Hama (Ham), and Yakouta (Japhet). Hama had four sons known as Kusa, Misra, Kuja and Kanaam. The Mlecchas are considered Dasyas who are spoken of as black and dwelling in great fortresses called "purim" or Tripura. One of the Mleccha personnages called Kal Yavan or "black Yavana" may be the Jawan b al Qadhur of Arabian legend. The historical Mlecchas, whoever they were, appear to have originally settled in Baluchistan and the Central Asian area and only later in the Indian peninsula, They would have been the same colony of merchant people mentioned in Sumerian texts as Meluchhas settled in Dilmun and the Persian Gulf. Some have suggested that they were Amurru. But that is a whole other book to be written.
In the Hindu text the Mahabaratha some of the Mlechha inhabitants are described as dwelling in subterranean mountain caves, not unlike the Kalanoi and dwellers in hills. They have a king named Bhagadatta. While their warriors have heads “half shaven”, or else “covered with matted locks.”
I am suggesting the name of the Kalanti or Kalanoi may be “Kahlan” the tribe from which the Azd or followers of Muzaikiyya from Marib (the apparent biblical and Quranic Moses or Musa) were traditionally said to have derived. This name may have been carried to the peninsula of India from Persia or the region of the Medes, where according to the ancients the people of Faras (Fairouz), Seba (Siavas), Jatiar (Gether), Kabus (Kavi Usana) Sauda (Sudabeh) daughter of Chammar and Zohak/Dahhak (Daahasa) and many other descendants of the land of Haumavaran (Himyar and Saba) had first settled with their “priests” or “magians”.
(But that history and its related allegorical mythology is for a later set of blogposts.)
The name Mleccha eventually came to signify – not surprisingly – an untouchable.
|Women of the Afar people of the horn of African horn in customary attire.|
|Indian woman of the Banjara traditionally attired|
|Berber woman of Morocco|
Unfaded Tints of Kedar and the De-Arabization of the Arabs: Hagar's Children
Painting of an Arab man wearing a head covering, unlike the Arabians of the past who obviously had little reason to shade their skin from the sun
"The Arabs of the Desert between Bassora and Damascus, according to M. De Pages a French traveler, 'run with extraordinary swiftness, have large bones, a deep brown complexion, bodies of an ordinary stature, lean, muscular, active and vigorous." (William Fleming, 1838, A Gazetteer of the Old and New Testaments, p. 117 concerning the Beni Amir bin Za'za'a of the Hawazin bin Mansur.)
A colonial 19th century observer commenting on "Arabs" mentioned the "great variety" of physical complexions and physiognomies characteristic of contemporary bedouin peoples in the Syro-Arabian desert, but also made the point that the Arabs inhabiting "the middle of the Desert have locks somewhat crisped, extremely fine, and approaching the woolly hair of the negro'" (Fleming, 1838, p. 117). As we have seen from these observations and from previous blogposts, people furthest away from external influences who still look like the ancient “Phoenicians”, the Solymi or Canaanites and Israelites – what few of them are left - are still in existence in their ancient lands. At some point they came to be known to the rulers of the country of Assyria as the confederation of tribes called Qidar (biblical Kedar) and Amurru. As for the “Thamud” or “black Nabati”, their men wore “no tunics”, just “girdles to cover their loins” in Roman times and walked about with their caravans in sandals. They also probably wore cowrie shells for decoration, wore totemic tufts of hair and customary corn-rowed plaits hair as well as scarred faces - all said to have been commonly practiced in the pre-Islamic "period of ignorance".
These original "Nabataeans" worshipped the sun and the Goddess al-Uzza. They believed in the jinn and influence of ancestors in the current life. They were known as magicians, astonomers, poets and astrologers and traders in incense, bitumen and myrrh. Their men were often seen sailing the Tigris of the fertile crescent, and Jahiz, not liking to mince words, frankly refers to them as looking “ape-like” (his words), with big behinds (Taher, 1997, p.195).
And these were some of the same men whom the Torah and Targums calls Ishmaelites, Idumaeans, Canaanites and Kedarites.
The Kedarites a fairly well-documented people or confederation of tribes are found in the northwest Arabian desert as early as the 8th centuryB.C. The first of the children of Kedar or Qedar in the Arab tradition is in fact Nabit, which is the biblical Nabai-oth, said brother or son of Qedar. The writer of the Canticles book of the Bible makes the Shulamite (Sulaymi) woman say in the Song of Solomon, "I am as black as the tents of Kedar", but in fact she may have just as well have said I am as black like the tints of Kedar. As mentioned previously, another Persian Jewish commentary or Targum speaks of the people in the tents of Qedar as “Kushi” a word which for western Jews came to mean “blacks” .
But, just to give you a small example of how the modern little modified descendants of these biblical people have been virtually written out of their own history and heritage. We now turn to the remnants of Kedar in the Nejd (Central Arabia), which remained well until the medieval period for certain geographical observers part of “Bilaad es Sudan”.
Nabataeans are called “Napiati” or Nabaiti in ancient Assyrian texts several centuries before Christ. According Genesis 25:13-15 and 1 Chronicles 1:31 as “the children of Ishmael” they include Dumah (Dumath or Thamud), Kedar, Nabait and Massa. These children of “Ishmael” came from a historical confederation of tribes frequently ruled by Queens as much as by Kings. Among these tribes were the Thamud, or inhabitants of Dumath to Dumah (also known as the second A’d). Pliny later speaks of the Qudari or Qidri of Assyrian texts as the “ Cedrai” adjoining to the Nabataeans.
While Dumah is said to be the people of Dumath, i.e. the Thamud. The name of “Massa” appears to be connected with that of the historical Masei or Masa’ai named with the “Salmani” (Salmaeans) by Pliny in his Natural History 6:30.
According to one scholar the name Qudari or Qidri probably metamorphasized into the later Qudhar, the “tragic” slayer of the she–camel that brought about “the destruction of al-Hijr and the annihilation of the Thamud”. (The story of the prophet Salih or Caleh, one of the Thamud and the she-camel was mentioned in a previous blogpost). Thus he writes, “With Qudar and al-Hijr …we are thus at the Ishmaelite roots of a nation” (Stetkevych, J. 2000, p. 77). The land of Hijr (now called Mada’in Salih) was also part of “the caravan empire” of the Nabataeans (by the Neo-Babylonian period). Al-Hijr or Hujr is the name of an Azd tribe who settled near Ta’if. (Khanam, R., 2005, p. 66; Ulrich, B. J., 2008, p. 116)
Interestingly Lenormant and others inform us that that this Arabian Kudar was in fact traditionally named Kudar el-Ahmar, a famous hero, who is also Chedarlaomer “the Elamite” of the Torah. Furthermore he and others have said the district of the Thamud came to be named after the people of Hagar or Hajar. And thus it should not surprise as he is also listed as 'Ad Ahmar' by the Diwan of the Hudhail (Houtsma, M. Th., 1987b, p. 121). The Elam mentioned in the bible may thus very well be as Salibi suggested one of the Alams of the Asir region rather than the Elam of Iran.***
In the Torah and in Arab tradition, these historical Qudari (which became Qadhur, Qaydhur or Khudayr in the medieval Islamic era), Thamud and the historical Masei and Masa’ai or Mazaa’a of Assyrian, Greek, Roman texts are the “Massa” or Masih and Masikh (Muzay) of biblical and medieval Arab translators.
They are the sister tribes or kinsmen of Nafish (also called Nephish or Nafis) and Hadad or Hudud in Arabic. It is thus fascinating, to discover people with the latter two names alive and well in the northern Nejd under the name Khudar, Khudayr or Khadir, - although under – shall we say - less prodigious circumstances.
In the 9th century Jahiz who wrote about the roots of the name ‘khudar’ or ‘akhdar’ and its etymological relationship to a black, greenish iron, also claimed that “the khudar of the Ghassan belonged to the royal house of Jafna” (See Al- Fakhr al- Sudan min al-Abyadh, by Jahiz). The Ghassan’s closest cousins were Azd tribes of Aus and Khazraj of Medina/Yathrib one of their poets being in fact practically poet laureate of the Ghassan (Shahid, I, 2002, p. 56). Implying that the blacks of the Ghassan belonged to the noble and pure Ghassan in Syria.
Jahiz also wrote that “the Khudar of the Muharib tribe, draw glory from their dark color and people with a black tint are called among Arabs the Khudr.” Khudar was the collective name of the sons of Malik b. Muharib from Khasafah of the Qays Ailan wrote Ibn Abd Rabbih. They were comprised of sub-tribes Dhuhl and Ghanm.
The 13th century linguist Ibn Manzur (b. 1233) also writes, “When one speaks of ‘green (khudar) Ghassan’ …” or ‘khudar Muharib’, “one is speaking of the blackness of their complexion.” Lisaan al Arab Vol. 1
The Banu Muharib of the Nejd were a tribe belonging to Ghatafan (Ghutayf) of the Qays Ailan. Thus, it is said by the 9th century al-Tabari that the Prophet “went on an expedition into Najd directed against the Banu Muharib and Banu Thalabah, part of the Ghatafan.” The invasion of Dhi Amr in Nejd (at An-Nukhail) also known as the "Raid on Ghatafan" is well known to those who have read about the Prophet Muhammad’s early battle engagements.
Jahiz also writes about the clan of Walid ibn al-Mughira called the Khudr of the tribe of Banu Makhzum, part of the Quraish (also considered part of the related Hudhail bin Mudrika by some writers). This al-Mughira was the father of Khalid ibn al-Walid, famed general, “companion” and in fact, distant relative of the Prophet.
But, a long time after this Khalid and the Prophet lived and in fact only since the time the 15th century Ibn Khaldun and others spoke of them being zones of the Sudan, Hijaz and the Nejd (Central Arabia) had come under the rule by the Turks and have as well become a region of mainly settled by bedouin of biologically “white Syrian” affinity, much modified through intermixture. Today in Central Arabia and in the Gulf states as we shall seem the khudar term which once signified power or nobility along with blackness has today the exactly opposite significance. This is so for the descendants of the Muharib, and other clans in the northern Nejd extending to southern Mesopotamia or the modern Iraq. And it is clear that the name of Khudar, Qudar or Khudayr (as it is pronounced) has been applied to some of these darker-skinned Arabians for centuries and in some cases, thousands of years.
According to Fuad Hamza, a man commissioned to write about Saudi populations in the mid-20th century, the name “Khudayr” in Najd or Central Arabian parlance was a derogatory term for low-caste central Arabian tribes. He wrote, “this name labels a great number of tribes belonging to the Mawali Arabs who cannot trace their descent to well-known Arab tribes. They are spread in the various provinces of Najd from Wadi Al-Dawasir to Shamr mountain. You seldom find a Najdi province without people belonging to Banu Khudayr.” (Hamza, 1983, p. 14).
Recently, however, there has been another interesting passage assembled by authors who seem oblivious to the significance of the word Khudar in the Arabic language. The word Akhdar or Khudar has always literally meant green while signifying something black. One observer, J.E. Perterson in his article “The Baluch Presence in the Persian Gulf", comments about how people on the “second largest town of the islands, were known as the bani Khudayr, the people of the green stock, a derogatory term which denoted their non-tribal descent” (Peterson, J. E., 2013, p. 239)
In fact, we are told the name "Khudayr' in the Gulf has come to signify non-Arab in places like Bahrein and that any group of Omanis, “stray Arabs, who had lost tribal affiliation”, Baluchis and Africans with no Arab tribal affiliation, is so-called.
|Some modern bedouin of Oman|
Perhaps, it is now politically incorrect to publish a book about the color problem in the “Arab” lands, and that may be the explanation for why the complexion of the peoples are not mentioned by Peterson. The same writer says “because of perceptions of discrimination, some younger Baluch exhibit signs of alienation and, interestingly, sometimes identify with ‘black power’ expressions similar to African Americans and the Caribbean populations of the United Kingdom.”
More interestingly, some informed, or perhaps, more courageous writers have noted the true reason behind the now derogatory meaning of the word.
They note the "Bani Khudayr" (el-Khudair or Khadir) still comprise a good proportion of the current population of Central Arabia, and that the name was originally connected to their dark complexion.
The author of The ‘Imama vs. the ‘Iqal: Hadari-Bedouin Conflict and the Formation of the Saudi State writes:
“This is a large part of Najdi society, perhaps as much as a quarter of the population. It is not a tribe per se, but a residual category in which any person with problematic (or no) genealogy would be classified.…,It is more likely that this term has an ethnic basis and is an expression of darker complexion. In northern parts of Najd, the term is not used and is replaced by derogatory epithets such as sunna (craftsman) or abid i.e., slaves.” (Abdulaziz H. al-Fahad, p. 60, footnote 33).****Hamza named the various tribes comprising these Khudayr or Khadir. They included peoples named Hadhud, Muzay’il, Hamadat, Rabi’ah, Muharib, Jada’ah, Atiq and Nafisah (Hamza, p. 14).
The name Muharib is obviously the same as mentioned as “Khudr” or “khudar Muharib” “green Muharib” by Ibn Manzur, and by Jahiz over a thousand years ago who were called so due to their “blackness”. But the other names Hamza mentions, Nafisah, Hadhud and Muzay’il sound quite similar to the medieval Arab translations of the biblical names “Naphish”, “Hadad” and “Massa”, the brethren Kedar or sons of Ishmael mentioned in Genesis. Quite tellingly, in Arab texts these name of "Ishmaelites" - or descendants of Ismail and Hagar - are commonly written “Nafis”, “Hudud” and “Muzay”.
Muzay’il is thus Muzay son of Iwadhah (or El Uwadha = Lud) son of Iram (Aram) bin Qidar (Kedar) son of Ishmael of Arab texts. Hadhud would be Hudud or “Hadad”, and Nafisah, of course, “Nafis” (“Naphish”).
The name of the Khudar clan Hamadat is none other than that of the Hamaida or Hamada further west in Hijaz, Jordan and Sinai. The name of Atiq or Atik is that of an old Azd tribe whom the Prophet claimed as part of his maternal Sulaym line and which traditionally descends directly from Amran b. Amr Muzaikiya (Boullata, 2011, p. 284; Khanam, 2005, p. 66).
The first of his Atiq ancestress was from the tribe of the Azd. (Atikah or el-Awatek plural is possibly related to the biblical name Eltekah).
The names Rabia and Jada’ah bin Ka’b are tribal names of the medieval Beni Amer bin Sa’sa’a of the Hawazin b. Mansur, of Nejd from the Qays Ailan. They along with the Sulaym and their Syrian converts are historically classified as Qaysi or Qaysite Arabs. The same Ka’b are in fact said to make up the majority of today’s black population in the region of Iraq. The Ka’ab tribes, also called Cha’ab or Chub (or Tsiab in Iran) and their kinsmen, who were up until the 19th century in Iraq and Iran described variously as “nearly black” of a complexion similar to that of the “Abyssinians” (Rawlinson, 2002b, p. 165; Rawlinson, 2002a, p. 35) and “Bisharin” of Nubia (Burton, R.F. 2006, p. 143, n.). But they are also for the most part also documented as being “tall”, “strong limbed” and “muscular”, and of “warlike” or “martial” in character (Balfour, E. 1885, p. 636; Rawlinson, 2002a, p. 19). In the marshes of Khuzestan, Iran, where they were settled by the 18th century they are also described as “nearly naked” and “almost black” in color with their hair in long plaits “shining with grease”(Layard, H. 1894, 2002, p. 85). But by the late 19th century they have "intermarried with Persians, and have adopted the Shiah religion, as well as parts of the Persian dress ("Fortnightly Review", Vol. 53, 1890, p. 485).
We will note here, the 14th century Ibn Khaldun (an Andalusian by ethnicity), who considered the Nejd a zone of Sudan or “blacks” even in his time, wrote that the historian Ibn Hazm (11th c.) claimed, that these Beni Amir bin Sa’sa’a of the Hawazin were as numerous as the total combined population of all the other known clans of Mudar. In other words, 600 years ago, these black Khudar – the Amir b. Sa’sa’a, whose clans were Ka’b, Uqayl, Muntafik, Rebiah and Jada’h - were the most numerous people of northern Arabians – in this zone of Bilad es-Sudan. (Mudar or Muzar is a name for the northern Arabs or “Ishmaelites” in general). More numerous than the brethren tribes of Mansur, Abs, Ghatafan or El-Yas from which descended Kinaana, Hudhayl and the like.
Until the 19th century or 150 years ago these Ka’b clans of Amir bin Za’za’a (or Sa’sa’a - from Hawazin “brother of Sulaym”) were in fact described by 19th century British colonialists as “the possessors of southern Mesopotamia”(Rawlinson, p. 165). The British spoke of the Ka’b bin Rabi’a as the most considered “by far the most powerful tribe in southern Babylonia” (Houtsma, p. 678) who engaged in piracy, preying “on the ships plying to or from Basra” (Mehr, F., 1997, p. 38). They were once living on the bordering region between eastern parts of Hijaz and near Bisha in the Asir region stretching toward Aliyat Nejd (in southwest central Arabia) where they had been the nomadic people in control of the the mines and trade in the period between the 2nd to 5th centuries A.D. (Al-Juhany, 2002, p. 40)
A few centuries later or by the 8th century thousands of them had settled in Egypt, adding to the Yemenite Arabs (often called Kalbites) already present. Dwelling in the Egyptian countryside the northern Khudar or “Qaysites” (named for the ancestral Qays ibn Ailan) ultimately converted many to Islam. They were brought in mainly to help till the land, with the native fellahin. In Spain as newcomers in the 8th century they were often feuding with the Berbers and the Kalbites or tribes from Yemen who had arrived earlier. (The same Yemen that was still at that time considered part of the first and second zones of Sudan – like “Ghana” and “Nubia” by Ibn Khaldun. See previous blogposts).
The Arabian Qays became rulers of Murcia in Spain forming a dynasty called Banu Tahir in the 11th century.
The Berbers were especially unsatisfied with how they were being treated, and their revolt in the mountains where they rebelled against the Arabians who called in Syrian troops (evidently non-black) from Damascus, was the start of further revolts in Spain (Watt, W. M., ). It was this revolt that was spoken about in the “Chronica Mozaraba” or "Latin Chronicle of 754".
“ They [i.e. the Syrian Arabs] decided on their own initiative to hasten to the sea, crossing the territory of the Moors to attack Tangiers with the Swords. But the army of the Moors, realizing this immediately burst forth from the mountains to the battle naked girded only with loin-cloths covering their shameful parts. When they joined with each other in battle at the Nava river, the Egyptian horses immediately recoiled in flight, as the Moors on their beautiful horses revealed their repulsive colour and gnashed their white teeth. Despairing, they launched another attack, the Arab cavalry again instantly recoiled due to the colour of the Moors’ skin.” Cited in Ibn Garcia’s Shu’ubiyya Letter: Ethnic and Theological Tensions in Medieva Al-Andalus (Larsson, G. 2003, p. 7).These Berber men of the Riff region of Morocco are the same “Moors” St. Isidore of Seville, Spain, described about 150 years earlier as “black as night” (they were obviously not the same “Berbers” as there today). In the period before the 10th century, these “blacks” or Berbers had become the largest of the ethnic groups in the Iberian Spain. Yemenites, Qaysi Arabs and the converted peoples of Syrian, Slavic, and Central Asian (Turkish Persian extraction were in the minority).
The author of the book, Jews, Visigoths and Muslims in Medieval Spain writes the following:
“The immigration of Berbers in the eighth through twelfth centuries was so great that they were soon the majority of the Muslim population. By the end of the tenth century they were already ‘the mainstay of the government under the Amirids’ and had begun to establish independent states Toledo, Badajoz, Malaga, Elvira, Granada, Algericas. By the end of the next century as we shall see, they already controlled all of Andalus. However, the so-called ‘Arabs’ ( Syrians, etc.) generally controlled the government and made significant cultural contributions”(Roth, N. 1994, p. 45).Thus, the phrase Moorish Spain is an appropriate one, “Moor” being a term once exclusively applied to black Africans then known as Berbers. (The “Amirids” here refers to the dynasty of an Al-Mansur of the 10th century who made repeated and successful raids into Christian parts of Iberia.) The Berber influence was so pervasive in the early centuries of Muslim rule so that the word Moor came to be used for the people that looked like them, including the earliest Qays Arabs or Khudar, i.e. the black “descendants of Kedar” from the deserts of Central Arabia (Nejd).
Before leaving Arabia for Egypt and the Maghreb, Syria, and Iraq, the Ka’b section of the Beni Amir along with the Numayr division of the Amir were noted in al-Aflaj (Falaj = Peleg, an area of Nejd), (Al-Juhany, p. 40). This is the region of al-Yamamah now held by the Dawasir and other tribes. In the 7th century, the Jada’ah bin Ka’b are documented as being defeated north of al-Falaj in the southern Nejd by “Kharijites”. They, along with their brethren the Qushayr and al-Harish bin Ka’b are spoken of by Esfahan and Hamdani in the 9th and 10th centuries also in the al-Aflaj region. This region author Al-Juhany says was then a land of palm groves and “flourishing towns protected by a number of massive fortresses” and elaborate irrigation systems built by agriculturalists that preceded them in the area.
Again, the sub-tribes of the Beni Amir sons of Zaza included the Beni Hilal of Harrat Beni Hilal, Qushayr, Ka’b or Cha’b, and the Ka’b subtribes of Uqayl , Jada’h, Kilab, Kulaib and Rabi’a. The Kilab consisted of the Dibab, and a branch of Uqayl was called Muntafiq from the Bata’ih or Al Batih marshlands of lower Iraq, and another called Khafaja, from the desert borderlands of Iraq and from the Muntafiq were the Khaza’il or Khuza’il extending to Lamlun (Bosworth, C. E., 1996, p. 92).
By the end of the 10th century these Beni Amir had largely migrated from the Central Arabian region moving north to settle in Syria and Iraq where they founded several dynasties. Among the dynasties found by Amir bin Sa’sa’a were the Mirdasids of Aleppo, in Syria. (Part of Palestine came to be named the Plain of Beni Amir due to their settlement.)
The “Uqaylid” dynasty of the 10th and 11th centuries of Mosul in Iraq came to have control of much of Mesopotamia (Bosworth, 1996, p. 92). The Uqayl b. Ka’b also founded the dynasty of Usfur in Central Arabia and the Jabirid dynasty in eastern Arabia in the 15th century. In the 1600s, the al-Muntafiq branch of Uqayl “reemerged” as a power and were supposedly refreshed periodically by nomads from the Nejd who had left due to overcrowding and dessication.
By the beginning of British colonial administration in the region, their lands encompassed the area of the Shatt al-Arab, between Kuwait and Iran where was the city of Basra. In the 1994 Islamic Desk Reference, we are told under the entry “al-Muntafiq” That they belong to the Uqayl bin Ka’b are the clan of the Amir bin Sa’sa’a and that, “In recent times they dominated the country between Baghdad to Basra between the xviith to xixth c, Their might declined through increasingly centralising Ottoman policy” (Van Donzel, 1994, p. 293). Thus between the 17th and 19th centuries the Khudar or black al-Muntafiq clan of the Ka’b were in control of southern Iraq.
Early photo of the Al-Muntafik b. Uqayl clan of the Ka'b (Beni Amir bin Za'Za'a of Hawazin b. Mansur) in the Persian Gulf - "tall", "warlike" and "near black" Arabs of colonialist writings.
But, something had happened between the 19th century and now in this land of “al-Jazirah” in the Middle East, because in 2008 the Arab Press Service released the following statement concerning the Muntafiq bin Ka’b which just previous to the 20th century, in the words of the author of The Fall of Baghdad, “had ruled over most of southern Iraq for four centuries…” (Anderson, 2004).
The 2008 press service article reads as follows:
"There are two main categories of blacks in Iraq, mostly in the south, who total about 300,000: those of East African origin, numbering around 100,000; and those of who are Arab and originate from the Hejaz,… The latter are mostly from the Muntafek tribe to which 'Abdul-Mahdi belongs. But, both groups used to be far more numerous in the past centuries, many of them having inter-married with the locals and thus the colour of their skin has since been changed…”
According to other newspaper articles these "akhdar" or darker-skinned Arabs, like the Africans, are today treated like inferiors, and called “abid” and other pejorative terms, just like the khudar or Khudayr are similarly called in the northern Nejd. In fact, abid or slave and black man are virtual equivalents today in this vast region - just as equally sure that in the past khudar/khidr/akhdar signified someone of noble and especially "pure Arab" status and blackness (Stetkevich, J., 1996, p. 73).
It should be mentioned before leaving the history of the bin Za’za’a that there is in the genealogy of Judah in the book of Chronicles a “Zaza” son of “Jonathan” whose brother is named Jada (Jada'a?) descend from a Hezron and the daughter of Machir son of Manasseh, leading once again to the logical conclusion that these indigenous less modified tribes of Arabia still carry the names of the ancient peoples of Israel (Manasse/Mansur), Canaan, Salma and Judah, as much as the Ishmaelites and Edomites or Horites.
The former higher status and very dark complexion of the descendants of “Mansur” or Manasseh and other near black indigenes in the Levant, Sinai and Arabia may have left an impression on European colonizers of the 19th century, whose legacy was to leave in power populations that looked more like them than like the ancient “Khudar” (as they did in North Africa and almost everywhere else in the colonial world). But, due to greater awareness among 19th century Europeans of the relatively recent influx of Arabicized Syrians, Persians, Turks and others into the Arabian peninsula, it would seem it was at least in that period evidently easier to imagine that the Khudar or darker-skinned Arabs -now universally scorned for their blackness - were remnants of those men of whom myths were made – the peoples of Danaus, Minos, Egyptos, Cepheus, Epaphus, Daris and Cadmus, i.e. the populations who introduced many of the elements of civilization, arts and culture to the Mediterranean, Aegean, and in fact the Middle East.
Thus, the 20th century saw a complete changing of the guard where the ancient and once powerful Khudar or Kedar and in fact Israelites are concerned. We see that the once black Huwayt’at with their tribes of Ziyabin (Zibeon) and Rakabiyyeh (Rechab) still claim descent from the Heiwat bin Ham (“the Hivites”). We see the Kalb (Kaleb), Hamadh or Hamaidah (Hammath) still live near their ancient homelands of Canauna (Canaan), Gassan (Jokshan) and el-Harrah or Harrat (of the Horites). And the tribes of Manasseh (Mansur) and Kinanah also retain their ancient ethnonyms and geographical names of Solymi or Salma and al-Ka'in and Midian from which came all of the tribes of Judah. We have also seen that these populations are now the same people throughout the Arab world called abid, i.e. slaves in the Middle East, or “Huteim” pariahs and outcastes – the good-for-nothing people "without culture", and “without a proper genealogy”or place in the world of “semites”.
Supporting this rather unenlightened view of the ancient and early aborigines of the Middle East is the fact that since the 1700s the trend in the slave trade of the Islamic world was to make use of slaves of sub-Saharan descent, as the Black Sea trade had been all but cut off. Conseqently, many Middle Eastern individuals and regions have developed their own master-slave narrative where descendants of the real or originally black Arabs are now presumed the descendants of slaves, or else peoples of low-caste and outcast status. Those that live amongst fair-skinned Middle Easterners, like descendants of recent slaves brought into the Near East within the last few centuries are treated like pariahs. Even the Quraysh of the modern Israel complain that they “are too black” and need to stay out of the sun! (This was told to me by a personal acquaintance).
In fact, if truth be told, there are few ancient peoples outside of sub-Saharan Africa designated black by ancient writers, that some Western academic has not tried to turn into non-blacks. That goes for whether one is talking of “the Moors” in Mohammedan Spain, Garamantians, Berbers in the Maghreb, black Huns or Tartars in Eastern Europe, the Kara Khitai, the Kabkaz or Colchians of Georgia and the Caucasus, “Phoenicians”, “black Syrians” or “black Saracens” in the Levant, ancient Egyptians, Elamites, Daasas and Meluchhas of India, the Midianites, and even “Canaanites”. Even where those populations remain black they are pruported to be either actually “the slaves” of those early peoples just listed, or else not really black, but darkened Caucasians, - and most of all - “not Negroes”.
This also goes for mythological and semihistorical figures, such as Eurybates “the Carian”, Skraelings in Scandinavia, Moses, “the Queen of Sheba”, Sinbad,the "swarthy" David ha Reubani (from Khaibar), Memnon, Cain and Loqman, the fabulist, just to name a few. On the other hand, its possible the Devil himself might be black if we are to believe some history books. : )
This is to say that when it is accepted that historical or semi-historical individuals are "black" in the Arab world in historical writings (which usually means they are perceived as of slave origin), such as famed “ravens” or black poets of pure Arab descent, then we are told these individuals must be Zanj or some other sub-Saharan, or that their mothers were Ethiopian slave women, for as everyone knows, “Arabs aren’t black”. For example, if we are told by an ancient writer that a Roman had a Garamantian slave, what it actually means is that a Garamantian of “hamitic caucasoid” society had a black slave, or that a “Negro” (their word) that was sold to a Roman.
The 19th century American work entitled, Watson’s Biblical and Theological Dictionary entry for Kedar thus reads. “This name signifies black in the original and hence Bochart concludes that it refers to a people or tribe of Arabs who were more than others burned by the sun; but none of the Arabs are black.”
I hope you will agree that in this statement, typical of those of modern commentarists, one can hardly find more skillful maneuverings in a flying trapeze act. The balancing and psychological bolstering required in both cases are commendable. After the circus is over, however, it is usually time to go home to the real world. Unfortunately, returning to the world of empirical and historical reality (the West pretends to cherish) has proven traumatic for biblical archaelogists and historians - as this has yet to happen. As a result we are delightfully stuck on having to talk about what should be unimportant stuff like the color people were in the highly important context of the roots of three great religions that some very black people founded.
And that stuff, sad to say, will probably remain much to the chagrin, or more likely the worst nightmare of many of those now engaged in its study. For, if we are to believe certain 21st century “historians” on Africa, “there were few blacks” either slave or otherwise “outside Africa in the ancient world”(Wright, 2007, p. 13). Furthermore apparently the layman should feel relieved to be informed that even if they were black like the Ethiopians of Herodotus, it can be adduced that “the Ethiopians Herodotus mentions were probably black, but not negro” (Wright, J., p. 13). (As you might want to notice “but not negro” is unfortunately one of the misleading phrases some in Western academia still like to employ when it comes to Africans who’ve made an apparently unwanted appearance in historical texts.)
The nearly proverbial Zanj slave rebellion itself is a good example of another apparently unwarranted fabrication that has taken place as a result of the current white master/ black slave i.e. “Negro” narrative (see National Geographic for official definition and a “Tarzan” episode for more details on “Negro”) that tends to view every population of sub-Saharan African as the receiver of civilization – or, as in the case lately with some African American historians, of victimization and colonial oppression.
At the other side of the academic spectrum, certain Arab scholars themselves have recently asserted the movement commonly suggested as consisting of mainly enslaved black Africans called Zanji rebelling in the Abbasid era in southern Iraq was in fact an overwhelmingly Arab revolution.
M.A. Shaban, specialist in Abbasid history, had to say this to his peers - “To equate Negro with slave is a reflection of nineteenth-century racial theories; it could only apply to the American South before the Civil War.” He had to remind them that, “in Islamic society there were white as well as black slaves”and that slave labor was in fact, not an important “factor in the economy” of this period like it had been in Roman society. Wrote Shaban -
“All the talk about slaves rising against the wretched conditions of work in the salt marshes of Basra is a figment of the imagination and has no support in the sources. On the contrary, some of the people who were working in the salt marshes were among the first to fight against the revolt. Of course there were a few runaway slaves who joined the rebels, but this still does not make it a slave revolt. The vast majority of the rebels were Arabs of the Persian Gulf supported by free East Africans who had made their homes in the region" (Shaban, 1976, p. 101).
Thus, the blacks in rebellion for the most part were Arabians, not the imagined Zanj i.e. perennial Negro slaves of East Africa, for as Shaban states, “the Arabs from the clans of Bahila, Hamdan, Iyad, Ijl, Qays, Abdulqays and the numerous clans of Tamim were strongly represented”. They worked in allegiance with so-called “Negroes” of east Africa or Zanj.
These early blacks or khudar, comprised of the east Africans and descendants of early Arabs, doubtless ended up intermixing with descendants of Assyrian ("white-Syrian") Iraqis to the point where the people of southern Iraq were at one point described as having a “golden brown” color by some early Arab observers. Of late, the Muntafiq and other Ka’b are living amongst and intermarrying and culturally mixing with the more recent African dwellers in Iraq, just as earlier blacks did. Both dark-skinned Arab and African populations in parts of southern Iraq apparently face the same discrimination and “racial” contempt, but in fact, the east Africans in Iraq today have very little to do with the ancient “Zanj”, slave or free, and appear to have been brought mainly in the past several centuries to the region.
In any case, understanding the roots of Kedar or the Khudar northern Arabians enables us to understand the use of the word in the boast of an early 7th century Quraishite named Al Fadl ibn Abbas ibn Utbah al Hashimi al-Qurashi Akhdar al-Lahabi, mentioned by the 13th century lexicographer Ibn Mandhur.
" I am the black (khudar) one. I am well-known. My skin is black (khudar). I am from the house of the Arabs. To cross swords with me is to cross swords with one who is noble and strong." From the 13th c. dictionary - Lisaan el Arab, Vol. 4. *****.
More to come, and feel free to point out any historical misinformation. : )
* Jawn or “Jawan al-Qudhar” is mentioned by Al-Tabari.
** Ibn Kathir and Ibn Abd Rabbih mention a different tradition where the Ghassan derived their name. The latter calls it a fountain in al-Mushallal a town between Mecca and Medina.
Ibn Kathir recounts a story similar to al-Buladhari’s but says in Tafsir says “both Aws and Khazraj – were from Ghassan, from the Arabs of Yemen from Saba’, who settled in Yathrib when Saba’ was scattered throughout the land when Allah sent against them the flood released from the dam. A group of them also settled in Syria, and they were called Ghassan for the name of the water beside which they camped—it was said that it was in the Yemen, or that it was near al-Mushallal, as Hass bin Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him said in one of his poems. The meaning of his “if you as, then we are the community of the noble descendants, our lineage is Al-Azd and our water is Ghassan.”
*** The name Kudur-Laghmer “the Elamite”, thought to have been found on a tablet of Hammurabi of Babylonia, turned out to be a different name, that of “Inuhshammar”. From the entry “Chedorlaomer”, Jewish Encyclopedia.com first published in 1906 in full text.
****Speaking of craftsmen, the word Khudar incidently seems to have made an early appearance in the form of Kothar the divine craftsmen and assistant of Baal, uncovered in the pantheon at Ugarit in Syria. Kothar wa khasis was the god of smiths and building, the master metallurgist and magician. Says the author of Whisper of Stone: Natib Qadish, Modern Canaanite Religion, 2009, on p. 40, the name was "Katiru-wa-Hasīsu, Kothar-wa-Khasis, Katir, Kuthar, Kothar, Chousor. According to Phoenician thought as recorded by Philo of Byblos, pure intellect engendered Kathiru."
*****Stetkevych maintains the original connotation of khidr or akhdar was one "pure of race" and "the genuine Arab". Thanks also to Tariq Berry author of The Unknown Arabs, 2002 who most recently pointed to al-Lahabi's statement. : )
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