Saturday, February 15, 2014



 Evolution of the modern Soleymi, or Sulaym bin Mansur, in their Ancient Abodes by Dana W. Reynolds

(See also Part III now on this blog)

      Writes one the authors of The History of Israel (1874), “…the old Greek poet Choerilus describing the nationalities marching against the Greeks in the great army of Xerxes, sketches ‘a wondrous race, the Phoenician-speaking Solymi, dwelling upon the mountains and by the broad sea, with sun-burned heads, hair clipped all round, and wearing visors on them of smoke cured horse-hide.’ These Solymi Josephus tacitly assumes to be the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the neighbourhood of the Dead Sea" (Ewald, Carpenter, Martineau, 1874, p. 118). 
      Roman author Tacitus of the 1st century, made note that certain peoples in his day attributed a famous ancestry for the Jews in the Solymi who are mentioned with respect in the epics of Homer: this tribe is supposed to have founded Jerusalem and named it after themselves” (Tacitus, The Histories, Book V).
       Kamal Salibi in his controversial, The Bible Came from Arabia, made the following suggestion with regard to the naming of Jerusalem, which has up until the present been regarded as “enigmatic”. He wrote, “Most probably it means the abode of  Slym (cf. the surviving Arabic tribal name Sulaym , or slym, in the Asir highlands”. But a couple of thousand years ago, the Roman Tacitus, before mentioning that the Solymi or Solumoi were thought to have founded Jerusalem, states Many assure us that the Jews (Judaeans) are descended from those Ethiopians who were driven by fear and hatred to emigrate from their home country when Cepheus was king.” 
      Cepheus was by tradition, “king of Ethiopia”, brother of Phinehas or Phineus, husband of Casyop or Cassiopeia, and in some sources the name of Epaphus sometimes replaces the name “Cepheus” as husband of the queen Cassiopeia. Both Cepheus and and Phineus are called sons of Belos by Euripides(Ridgeway et al., 1901,  p. 217), and it will be shown in this post that most probably, the Solymi, the Ethiopians of Cepheus “ruler of Joppa/Yaffa”, a town of both Yemen and of modern Israel/Palestine (where it is now called Tell Aviv), were all one and the same Canaanite/Midianitish, i.e. Ethiopic people from Arabia.  For, while the modern world pretends the ancient Arab or peoples the ancient Levant appeared as they do now a mixed population, neither truly "white" nor "black", the Syrians and Iranians themselves at least made clear what the ancient Arabs and Canaanites and Nabataeans were - and perhaps more importantly, what they were not.    
      In the 1920s, a Scotsman named Arthur Evelyn Waugh, author of novels and travel literature logged in his diary notes on a “Negro physician” named Dr. Howie, whom he had met on tour through Glenbuchat (a glenn or narrow valley in Scotland). The diary entry was made in 1926 on the 9th of August. According to the archivist familiar with Waugh’s journal, this doctor, referred to as a “Negro”, was in fact a man born into a Howeitat bedouin clan in Arabia. (This name Howeitat is seen variously in texts as Haweit’at, Huweitat, Howeytat, Huwaytat, etc) 
       To be exact, “As a baby, Dr Howie had been found abandoned in a desert beyond the Jordan after a Bedouin tribal battle; he was saved and adopted by Scottish missionaries who named him Howie after his native tribe, the Howeitat…”

 Modern Huwayt'at/Haweitat men in Jordan
          The Howeitat or Huwayt’at - as it is often written today - were formerly a nomadic tribe stretching over several countries between the Tihama and the Dead Sea, but are now mostly settled agriculturalists. Speaking of the Wadi Damah in the country of Jordan, Sir Richard Burton mentioned, its “Huwayti owners, the Sulaymiyyin, the Sulaymat, …”. (Burton, R. F., 1879, p. 8) in his Land of Midian, and other clans. George Murray in his text, Sons of Ishmael, mentions the "Sulaymiyyan" of Burton as “the Salamiyan”, categorized as a branch of the Zuwayid or Suwayd-Huwaytat (Murray, G. W., 2012, p. 246).
       These clans of the Huwaytat-Sulaymiyyan are mentioned here because they, along with a few other predominantly dark-skinned bedouin among the Bedouin of the Transjordan and Sinai areas, assuredly represent to a large degree the least modified remnant of the early Islamic and pre-Christian peoples of the Arabian harra and Nejd (Central Arabia) called Sulaym or Soleym bin Mansur, who in turn are likely the peoples called “Solymi” -  spoken of by the ancients as of  “Phoenician” in affiliation.  Most of the Haweitat clans were so dark, Burton and certain other scholars simply thought they were Egyptian fellaheen.
         Josephus connected the Solymi to the inhabitants of the Dead Sea in Israel. Thus as Ewald stated, These Solymi Josephus tacitly assumes to be the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the neighbourhood of the Dead Sea” (Ewald, p.1874).
        Another historian noted, “Josephus, … considers the Solymian mountains as those of Jerusalem, the lake as the Dead Sea and the people, as Jews serving in the army of Xerxes”.  (Kenrick, pp. 86-87). The Dead Sea, which Josephus calls Asphaltitus  was apparently known as the “Assyrian Lake” after Ashur, the Midianitish people whom according to Josephus, had not only harassed and conquered, but ALSO NAMED the country called Assyria, along with colonizing the land of the “trogodytes” in Africa and Arabia. (See previous blogposts)
       Whether these Solymi of Josephus were an extension of the Aegean Solymi of Choerilus, Strabo and Homer may be up for debate, but it should not take a giant leap of logic or faith to presume that the modern and medieval clans of Soleymi or Sulaymiyyan-Haweitat, Sulaymat and Suleimani and their kinsmen stretching from east of the river Jordan to the region of the Dead Sea are descendants of the Dead Sea “Solymi” spoken of by Josephus.
       These Haweitat, who up until recently, dominated the Transjordan, are thought to be one of the indigenous peoples of this area (Eilon, p. 162). Philip Hitti writing in his history of Syria said “the Nabataeans are represented by the lowly Huwaytat Bedouins, who still rove where their ancestors once flourished and pitch their tents outside of their ‘rose-red city half as old as time’” ( Hitti, 2004, p. 368). Their land especially of Petra was later settled by Romans. It is doubtless such Nabataeans whom are spoken of in the 11th century Akhbar al- Zaman where it is said, “Among the children of Canaan are the NabitNabit signifies black…” (Goldenberg,2009, p. 253, fn. 23).
      Ibn al-Nadim of 10th century Baghdad, quoting a Nabataean of his time, said "the Nabataean people were 'with black complexion' and that one of their contemporary Nabataean personalities, Ibn al Wahshiya al- Kildani, had translated many Nabataean texts to the Arabic of his time" (Abulhab, S. D., 2013, p. 10). (The word al-Kildani means Chaldaean.)
     Diodours Siculus attributes the control of the collection and conveyance of asphalt next to the Dead Sea (Aphalitis) to the Nabataeans. Under the name "Nabataean", they controlled the important roads to the south of the Dead Sea (Hammond, P. C., 1959, 40). 

Sculptures of Greeks and Romans dressed in their togas dating from the period of their settlements in Jordan and the rest of the Levant can frequently be seen amongst the ruins of ancient Nabataea. Romans and the Arabian Nabataeans were, however, two separate people.
      The Haweitat were rather war-like, probably much like their Soleymi ancestors in the early Islamic period roaming between the Dead Sea, the expansive Syro-Arabian volcanic harrah and Central Arabia (Nejd) and far to the south in the Asir Tihama.
        Thus, we read in a book of the writings of Lawrence of Arabia, “The great Howeitat tribe, which roams the country between the head of the Gulf of Akaba and the lower end of the Dead Sea and Central Arabia, has more enemies, causes more trouble and takes part in more blood feuds than any other group of tent-dwellers. One can meet no more obstinate, unruly and quarrelsome people.  They seem to have no fear.  One small Howeitat boy will take a rifle and engage in battle against twenty men” (Thomas, L. 1920, p. 262).
        As mentioned, due to the often blackish complexion of many Haweitat, some authors had speculated or supposed that they were originally of Egyptian origin or mixed “with Negroes”, but in fact, their coloring and appearance is probably like that of their ancient Arabian ancestors. The Sulaym or Solaym b. Mansur. like all the bedouin inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula, had once been noted for their near black appearance. As mentioned in the previous posts, the 9th century Jahiz and others made comments on the Soleym in fact saying “ALL the other tribes of the Harrah” were as “black” like the color of the lava of their Hijazi homeland. According to Jahiz,  “the Banu Sulaym … live in the lava lands of north Arabia and are rendered black-skinned like their environment” (Swain, S. and Boys-Stones, G., 2007, p. 255).  And this appears to have been no mere exaggeration as evidenced by the still blackish appearance of many modern Sulaymi- Haweitat.
        Ibn Athir in the 11th in his Kurdish folktale makes the Sulaymi he names "Sa’ad, the black", ask Muhammad,  the Prophet of Islam - who ironically himself was of Sulaym descent maternally and probably of the same color as every other Kinahna man - whether he would be allowed into heaven with his blackness and ugliness. Muhammad had said,  “I am the son of the Awateks from the tribe of Sulaym' ('Atika Bint Hilal, 'Atika Bint Murra and 'Atika Bint El-Awkass were all women of his tribe). (See al-Saadawi, N.,1997, p. 74 ). The first of the Atikas or Al-Atik or Awatek (plural for Atika) in reality were derived from the tribe of Azd according to genealogy (Boullata, 2011, p. 284; Khanam, 2005, p. 66).

     An excerpt from the Athir's parable about  "Sa’ad al-Aswad" as told recently by a Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad appears below.  It displays the typical ignorance in much Middle Eastern literature regarding the appearance of the Arabian peoples of that period, as well as the usual attitude of aversion towards a black complexion.

“The Prophet’s Mercy enveloped Sa’ad.
“Have you married yet?”
“No one will give his daughter to a black
man. There is a girl in my uncle’s
House, but every time I make an offer, I
am repelled and thrown out of the house.
What do I have to offer when I am dark and poor?”
Hearing these words, the Messenger of Allah
said,  “Sa’ad, today I have set your marriage, go and tell your uncle.”
Sa’ad set off hurriedly. The uncle came out worried,
“How can this be your fortune? That I give my daughter to such a one as you?
Go away otherwise I will beat you!”
Sa’ad said, “I have not come at my own will, Mustafa
sent me and to him I return.”
Sa’ad came back distressed and scared. His uncle went back angry.
The daughter heard everything and asked her father,
“What is the matter? Why are you so angry?”
“Sa’ad came to my door with a proposal of marriage. He is black and poor,
Dishonoring my wealth and status. It is impossible that I give my daughter
To such a man. He cannot be my son-in-law.”
From The Love of the Female Companions
- excerpted from
Love for the Prophet

      Now, ironically this Sa’d, according to the author, himself, was of “pure Arab” lineage and was, in fact, black because of it. But, as with the parables and stories of other commentators from the Middle East and Central Asia, this is one fanciful inconsistency that arose concerning the appearance of early Arabs due to attitudes about blackness.
        Most modern bedouin in Palestine, Petra and northern Jordan in general represent a unique mixture of the early Greeks, Romans, Syrians, Turks and other populations that came to the region amalgamating with the indigenous Arab peoples. The area was settled by 13th  century with encampments of  Mamluks (“slaves soldiers” of mainly Circassian and Kurdish origin) and later Ottoman Turkish peoples brought many slaves including the much favored Circassian women into the area. The presence of these  “red” men or “Mamluks” who themselves were a result of the rampant  “white slave” trade in men and women over several hundred years, had helped modify the face of the Arab bedouin of the regions of Syria/ Palestine, Northern Egypt and Sinai.
      Genoese merchants of Italy played a major role in the “Slavic” trade from the Black Sea up until the 15th century and long afterwards when the trade became diverted to Africa.  A good portion of the slaves from this Black Sea trade also ended up in the Levant (Syria/Palestine) and North Africa.  The indigenous Arabs, however, were themselves originally almost entirely derived of Hijazi (including al-Harra), Quda’a, and other Yemenite populations.
        Here is another characteristic tale or parable possessed by the now multicolored clans of modern Sinai and published by G. Murray. It’s obvious function among the Bedouins was of explaining the differing complexions of the tribes of Terrabin and Wuheidah, two tribes which are otherwise considered closely related.

"the Terabin  were originally descended from an ancestor called Najm, who came to Sinai with a companion called el Wiheidi, ‘ a descendant of Hasan the brother of Husein’.  Both were guests of a great sheikh of the Beni Wasil, in the Sinai mountains. This sheikh had no sons, but two daughters, one with an ugly face and kinky hair, and the other beautiful girl awith fine hair.  Najm was a great hero, but an ugly man, brown in colour, while the Wiheidi was a hndsome youth with a fair complexion. The old sheikh gave his daughers in marriage to his guests, the ugly girl to Najm, and the other oto the Wiheidi; and so Najm became the ancestor of the Terabin who are famous for their ugly faces and their bravery, while Wiheidi became the ancestor of the Wiheidat, who are renowned for their good looks. Najm was the son of Sheikh ‘Atiya, who is buried in the wadi called after him near Ain Jozi”  (Murray, 2012, p. 254)

Woman of the Terabin

 The Soleym/Sulaym clans among the Harb

      As shown above, today many of the clans called Haweitat or Huwaytat in Jordan are categorized as part of the confederation known as the Banu Harb between Mecca and Medina, the Muslim “Holy Land”. It is significant to find that during the early Islamic and Medieval periods the Haweitat-related clans were known in general as Banu Sulaym or Soleymi, a people stretching between Central and Syro-Arabia including the Hijaz and as far south as the border of modern Yemen in Nejran.  The volcanic area especially in the vicinity of Al-Madina was one of the strongholds of the tribe of Sulaym (Donner, 2010, p. 96). It was called harrat Banu Sulaym.
      G. Murray also noted that the Arabian archaeologist and antiquarian David George Hogarth claimed that the Beni Sulaym were the direct ancestors to the great modern tribe of Harb further south (Murray, 2012, p. 273). And in fact, Hogarth, foremost western authority on Arabia in his time, appears to have been absolutely correct in his assessment. But, it is not only numerous clans of early Islamic Sulaym b. Mansur, but those of their brethren of Hawazin b. Mansur, and Elias (El Yas) or Kinahna and Azd that are found today among the Harb confederation. The Banu Auf of the Salim or Sulaym (depending on the translator) mentioned by Tabari are today part of the Safar, also called the Safureh or Sifra clan, belonging to the Masruh (Misra) branch of the Harb (Lorimer, p. 635, Hogarth, p. 38- 39). It was previously discussed that the name of “Zipporah, whom the Arabs call Saffurah” is associated with the Midianite followers of Muzaikiyya from Marib (Meriba of the book of Exodus, 17 of the Torah).
        The Harb were in more recent times divided into the Salim and Masruh branches. Descendants of the Sulaym included among the Harb and Haweitat peoples are the clan of Kur’an or Qura’an. Thus, Isfahani wrote that north of the Qur’an valley were the mountains of the Sulaym. Al Samhudi "similarly describes the Banu Sulaym mine as in the valley of Quran, beside Ubla', on the Najd road, about 100 miles from al-Madinah" (Phillips, Rodney, p. 64). 
       Harold MacMichael commented that “the name Kura'an also occurs in Arabia as a section of Huwaytat) (MacMichael 2011 reprint  p. 31),  while more recently the Qura’an have been described as a sub-clan of the Banu Ali or (Alawi/Alwan/Alawin) clan of Harb (Hamzah, F.,  p. 12). A group of “Kura’an-Huwaytat” are also mentioned by Richard Burton in his Land of Midian (Burton, 1879, p. 268).
      Burton also classifies the Sawaid (Sa’idi) and Alawin (Alwan)-Haweitat as belonging to the Masruh sub-group of Harb, while he calls Aulad Salim division of the Beni Salim branch of Harb, the “Salaymah”. (Burton, 1906, p. 120).   The Benu Salim he again speaks of as composed of 8 subdivisions including the “Hawazim” (Hawazin) divided into the Muzayna and Zahiri (Zawahir).
    The Miamun or Maimouna are another group listed as Harb in recent times. Hogarth indicates the Bani Salim division are also called Beni Meimun. (Hogarth, p. 39). Ibn Abd Rabbih of the 11th century mentions them as from the Beni Hilal clan of the  Hawazin writing - “ 'Amir ibn Sa'sa'a ibn Mu'awiya ibn Bakr ibn Hawazin. Of the clans of 'Amir were the Banui Hilal ibn 'Amir ibn Sa'sa'a. Of them was Maimuna “ (Boullata, 2012, p. 261). The Sobh, and Rahala are Harb in Burton's writings, while he classifies the Sawaid (Sa’idi) and  Alawi (Alwan) under the Masruh group(Burton, 1857,  p. 367).  The "Harb" entry to the  Encyclopaedia of Middle East and Central Asia, also reads “ To the B. Salim belong amongst other clans, al-Hamdaal-Subh'Amr, Mu'ara, Walad Salim, Tamim (not the celebrated great tribe of this name), Muzayna, al Hawazin, (Awazim, Hazim), …”  (Khanam, 2005, p. 265).
        Lorimer also wrote that the Zighaibat (the Zagheb were a well-known clan of Sulaym) and Aulad Salaim, belonged to the Maimun branch of Banu Salim division of the Harb in his Gazeteer of the Persian Gulf (Lorimer, 1908, p. 635). Thus, it can be seen that the tribes known as Hawazin and Sulaym b. Mansour in the early Islamic period are found as the names of the Harb and Haweitat of today. The names Aulad Salim, Banu Salim, Salaymah, Salamat, Suleymani, Salamiyyan, Musalimah are all remnant of the peoples once known as Sulaym or Soleym, and further back as Solymi in the pre-Islamic and pre-Christian eras to Greek writers as the  Solymi or Solumoi, a “race” of the Phoenicians, i.e. Ethiopians ruled by Cepheus.
       We will note here in the 9th century AD, Jahiz described the early fauna and animals of the harra (lava lands) (sheep, cattle, etc) in which the Sulaym  people were dwelling,  the camel and cattle of the peoples now called Harb are described often as very black in color, like the complexion of the people that possessed them.
       Charles Doughty also wrote in his Travels in Arabia Deserta in the late 19th century that  the camels of the Harb tribe, and adds, the great cattle of “the south and middle tribes, Harb, Meteyr, Ateyban, are commonly swarthy or black and none of them dun-colored” (Doughty, 1888, p. 281). Charles Doughty concerning the people, “Harb settlers of the full blood, in those many hot oases betwixt the Harameyn, … are blackish as Africans” (Doughty, C., 2010, p. 140)The name of Harameyn (or Haramiyyin) refers to the sacred boundaries of Mecca and Medina ). While Lorimer also writes, “In complexion the Harb are extremely dark, but they have the features of true Arabs,” and adds that their camels were nearly all swarthy or black, and some of their sheep are black also (Lorimer, p. 630).

       Burton describes the Salim and Hamidah (or Hamdah clans) among the Banu Harb in his Personal Narrative to of a Pilgrimage to al-Madinah and Mecca as “small chocolate colored beings with mops of bushy hair, stunted and thin…” and thus calls them that “great hejazi tribe that has kept his blood pure for the last 13 centuries” (Burton, 1856, p. 158). Although he compares their appearance to that of the Egyptian fellaheen, but the description of the Harb also sounds strikingly similar to that of the Beja as well
       The Banu Sulaym are mentioned in Syria as well in the 10th century A.D. when their leader Muhammed b. Ahmad is said to have led a rebellion of the Sulaym and other Arab tribes in Transjordan, which was put down by an Ethiopian regent then in charge of Egypt known as Kafur. It is not much later that the Sulaym along with the related Hawazin are said to have spread over North Africa “like locusts”  becoming the majority of early Arab inhabitants of Cyrenaica and Libya (Tripolitania). They are considered largely responsible for the Arabization of the Maghreb (northwestern African region).
       The modern day Trarza and Hassaniyya of the Maghreb (Morocco, Senegal, Mauritania) are some of the lesser modified peoples considered descendants of Sulaym and the Ma’aqil and Hilal of the Hawazin b. Mansur.  They are nowadays the people most often called “Moors” (Levtzion, 1975, p. 222). Their dwelling is from southern Morocco to Senegal and they are thought to be partly Berber in stock.


       Richard Burton also spoke of Howeitat clans called “Sulaymat”, “Sulaymiyyun” living southeast of the Suez in Sinai.  One encyclopedia reads, “The Sa'idiyyun of the depression of al-'Araba south of the Dead Sea, now a virtually independent tribe, reveal their origin in their war-cry: Subyan al- Huwaytat” (Khanam, 2005, p. 288). But the Sa’idiyyun categorized as Haweitat of Al-Arabah south of the Dead Sea are also classified as Harb further south (Lorimer, p. 634).
     In addition are the Alwan or Alawi north and east of Aqabah, Imran, also called Amran or Amareen (the bedouin clan that named Amarna in Egypt) of the Haweitat/Huwaytat (on the Suez Road and south and east of Aqabah), and the Suway’id or Suwayd, said to descend from the Huwaytat, and are equally classified as clans in the ” Harb” confederation further south (Wilkinson, J.G., 1843, p. 380). Burton mentions that Huwayt “left four sons who were “progenitors of the Midianite Huwaytat. Their names were: Imran, Alwan, Suway’id and Sa’id” ( Burton, 1879, p. 163). The Suwayid –Huweitat apparently claimed to have originated in Yemen in a valley called Lif. (p. 257).

Banu Amran (or "Ammarin") bedouin whom Burton called "Imran-Huwaytat" of "the land of Midian", lived east of Akaba and on the Suez Road


Soleymi “smith clans” of Ba'al-Kain: Or, The “Kenites” - King Solomon’s Miners

"Most of the copper and iron ore deposits were in the Arabah Rift Valley south of the Dead Sea ... mineral deposits in the Wadi Arabah were well known and mines were exploited there by the Kenites and Edomites. " Jack R. Lundbomm, Deutoronomy: A Commentary, 2013, p. 352.

       The medieval Sulaym or Soleymi, sometimes described as “a sister tribe” to the Hawazin, were great miners.  Many of the mines on the commercial and pilgrimage routes stretching from Iraq to Hijaz were under the control of the Sulaym well into the medieval period.  Many of the mines on the commercial al-Yemamah and Al Kharj in Nejd or Central Arabia were under their control as well.

“Waqidi, al-Samhudi, Ibn Sa’ad, and al-Harbi in turn, describe sites on a main medieval commercial and pilgrimage route (Darb Zubaydah) running northeastward from Makkah toward Iraq known as the Sulaym mines, ‘ and belonging to the Sulaym tribe (‘ma’adin al dhahab alati bi-ard bani Sulaym’). Actually, as al-Waqidi and other sources make clear, this operation also was not a single mine, but rather a series of mines dispersed through the region” (Phillips, 2009, p. 63).

      One tribe once classified as Sulaym genealogically are the Faran or Faran bin Baliy, who named the Wadi Faran (Valley of Faran) in Hijaz and who descend largely from the Habib clan of Sulaym (Philips, 2009, p. 64 and 65). Interestingly the Faran b. Baliy whose name betrays their connection as well to the Himyarite Qudha’a tribe were called Banu al-Kuyun or l’Kain or “sons of the smiths”.
      Ibn Abd Rabbih a man of Cordoba put it this way.  “Of Quda’a is al-Qayn ibn Jasr ibn Shay’al-Lat ibn Asad ibn Wabra” from al-Haf ibn Quda’a of the Himyarites (2012, p. 275). The tribes recorded as Kuda’a or Qudha’a in early Arab sources were “Kalb, Juhaynah, Bali, Bahra, Khawlan, Mahra, Khushayn, Jarm, Udhra, Balkain, Tanukh and Salih.” (Khanam, 2005, p. 463) The Balkain or Qayn descended from the Thaur ibn Kalb b. Wubara (or Wabra).
       This Juhaynah appears to be a clan mentioned by Abd Rabbihu, as a tribe of Quda’a to whom were related the Suwayd. He writes, “Juhayna ibn Layth ibn Suwwid ibn Aslam ibn Al-Haf ibn Quda'a - Of them is Suwayd ibn Amr ibn Judhayma ibn Sabra ibn ...ibn Juhayna.
    Of  Quda’a are [the Banu] Nahd ibn Zayd ibn Suwwid ibn Aslam ibn al-Haf ibn Quda’a, and of them is al-Sa’iq who is Jusham ibn Amr ibn Sa’d and who was the chieftain of Nahd in his time; he was short, black and ugly”( Boullatta, p. 277)
    (These "Nahd" are possibly the people of the biblical "land of Nod" associated with the "Kenites".  Thus it is written "'And Kain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod'" Genesis IV: 16)
      The Brill’s Encyclopaedia of Islam article reads that there was a place named “Ma'din Farin (called after the subordinate tribe of Faran) at the mines of the Sulaim east of Mecca. And Irfan Shahid writes, these tribes “from Bali used to work as quyun among the tribe of Solaym forging iron’ (Shahid, 1989, p. 310), and in fact it looks like earlier observers had already figured out not only their connection to the Quda’a clans of the Himyarites of southern Arabia, but the connection of their clan of BalKain or Banu’l Kain to the Kenites, who were an Edomite smith caste among the Midianite, Amalekite and Kenizzite peoples mentioned in the Torah or Bible.   
       Another entry from the Encyclopedia of Islam reads:

The Banu l’Kain formed a branch of the great system of tribes of the Kuda’a who, in origin probably South Arabian, were settled in the historical period in the upper north, in Syria, in Mesopotamia and in the ‘Irak and to all appearance had gone over entirely, or at least for the most part to Christianity there…Their tribal area – corresponding roughly to Arabia petraea – extended from the Sinai Peninsula along the Syrian frontiers far into the land east of Jordan….” (Fischer, A., 1993, p. 644)  See, E. J. Brill’s First Encyclopaedia of Islam; Volume 4.)

              The same entry continuing reads –

“Ewald …has with all reserve connected the Old Testament Kayin (= Kain) or Kenites … with our Kain.  Noldeke has followed him, at first only as a possible hypothesis but later with more confidence… The Kenites were settled in the south of Palestine in the ancient Negeb, the later Idumaea; this would actually be the region where we find the Balkain …” (Fischer, p645).
        In Arabic, the biblical word “Paran” is pronounced "Faran" or "Feiran" as in the Feiran Oasis of 
Sinai. Apparently, Ptolemy mentioned a place called Faran in Sinai as did other early Christian writers. 
And, another colonialist author  asserts “the country of the Lapis Pharanites of Pliny, which is identified 
with the modern Feiran, in the vicinity of the copper and turquoise mines, is indeed deemed by Professor
Lepsius and also by Professor Palmer to be an evident reminiscence of the ancient Biblical name Paran.” 
(See The Late Dr. Charles Beke’s Discoveries of Sinai in Arabia And/Or Midian  1878.) 
     Irfan Shahid, Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fourth Century, writes the following:

 “The sixth century tradition quoted by Anonymous of Placentia to the effect that Pharan was Midian and the Pharanites were descended from Jethro raises a number of important questions on both sides of the same gulf, Pharan in Hijaz, which belonged to the Sulaym tribe and Pharan, the oasis in Sinai. Since the Pharanites of Sinai considered themselves Midianites, the existence of another Pharan in Hijaz, Arabian Midian, could suggest some connection between the two areas that involved migration from Arabia to Sinai, and consequently two Midians” (Shahid, 1984, p. 324).

     And though Shahid was certainly correct in his association of Feiran of Sinai with the Faran of the Hijaz and the Sulaym tribe, seemingly confirming the link between Banu’l Kain and the Kenite smiths of the Midianites, and the “Afran” or “Aphran”, the said brother or son of Midian”, we are still left with the more important matter that the Baliyy branch of the Quda’a don’t appear to have arrived in those regions of modern Sinai until a relatively late period. The Quda’a clan of Baliy or Balawi from which the clan of Balkain were derived were only exiled from the Yemen only in the time of the Azdite Lakhmids (Banu Lakhm) who took control of Syrian desert
.      Thus, again the ancient Faran or “Paran” and Edom spoken of in the Torah/Bible again could not have been the Idumaea founded by the Thamud of Duma’at al Jandal settled in Jordan or in the modern Sinai, but was more probably near the other lands named  Edom, Sinai and Canaan further south. On the other hand Ptolemy stated these people “the Idumaeans were 'Phoenicians and Syrians' in origin.” and Strabo claimed in his Geography Bk 16, Chapter 2, “The Idumaeans are Nabataeans…. and shared in the same customs with the Judaeans”  thus, implying the Idumaeans (Dumah), Phoenicians, Nabataeans and the Adite Thamudenioi were all considered the same “Ethiopic” people in that period.

Sarcophagii of Eshmunezzar II - ancient Phoenician ruler of Sa'ida (Sidon) - 5th c. B.C

      The connection of the Banu Soleym/Salim tribes with the Nabataeans is possibly referred to in early biblical references to the "tribe of Kedar" and "curtains of the Solomon".  Certain recent Bible commentators such as Alfred Jeremias assure their readers that the word Solomon should be read as "Salamians". Jeremias wrote in,  The Old Testament in the Light of the Ancient Near East that the text should read "the curtains of the Salamians (not Solomon) the sister tribe to the Nabataeans... ". More recently  a Jaroslav Stetkevych commented as follows in Muhammad and the Golden Bough:
 "Within the scholarly and otherwise many-faceted literary fascination with the Song of Songs, stanza 1, verse 5, of this poetic cluster has begotten its particular share of concerns precisely because of the ambiguity of the name "Shalomoh" in it. Julius Wellhausen observes that this name's pre-exegetic reference is actually not to King Solomon but to a tribe or people known as the Salmaeans who appear in Canticles (i. 5, the tents of Kedar, the curtains of Salmah...and also as the name of a Nabataean tribe in Pliny" (Stetkevych, 1996, 137).

          To be more exact, Wellhausen states in his Prelogema to the History of Israel - "In the Targum, Caleb's kindred the Kenites are designated as Salmaeans: the name also occurs in Canticles (i.5, the tents of Kedar, the curtains of Salmah)...".
      We are informed in another Encyclopaedia that Canticles 6 in the Old Testament reads. "Now the tribes of Kedar afterwards tennanted the region appropriated by the Salmaeans, and the Salmaeans were followed by the Nabataeans. The two latter people are mentioned together in a Nabataean inscription...Pliny mentions the Salamaean et. Masei Arabs." (See under the entry "Salma" Encyclopaedia Biblica - Thomas K. Cheyne and John Black Editor, Vol. 4, p. 4246.)
       Michael Maher also points out that the Targum Onkelos and other Targums and rabbinic texts identify the Shalmaites (slmyyh)  of Numbers 24:21 as Kenites and Kenizzites. He adds, "They are Salmani, the Arabian people in or near Mesopotamia mentioned by Pliny, Nat Hist., 6, 26, #30, salmenoi of Stephen of Byzantium...". (Maher, M. The Aramaic Bible Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, 1994 
       Thus, in the time Pliny and Josephus, the Soleym or "Solymiyyan" of Arabiyya were considered affiliated with "Kenites" who have already been identifies as the Bal Kain or Quyyun miners and smiths of the Qudha'a Himyarites.
      Again Moshe Gil wrote - "The Targum calls the Kenites, sons of Jethro, Salamians: 'the sons of Salma'a. Moses father in law went up from the city of Jericho together with the sons of Judah to the wilderness of Judah which is south of Arad...Salmah is included in the lists of the sons of Judah (1Chr II) as the father of Bethlehem and perhaps also father of the Kenites who are mentioned further in those lists...much like the Christian sources mentioned above...
       In other words the Targum viewed Jethro's tribes as Arabs, " (Gil, M., 2004, p. 16).  
        All of this shows there little room for doubt that the Banu or Beni Salim, Salamat, Suleimani, Sulaym and Soleym tribes of early  medieval and modern Hijaz and Transjordan are the same people mentioned in the Targum as the  "Salamians" who founded Bethlehem", and in Canticles as "Salmaeans" and in the histories of Josephus and Tacitus as "Solymi", the said "founders of Jerusalem" living by the Dead Sea - whose kinsmen were the "Kenites" and "Nabataeans".  Under the entry "Nabataean", The First Encyclopaedia of Islam 1913-1936 published in 1993 , reads "Salamians (Arab. Sulaim;...Sulaim b. Mansur)" (See Vol. 6, p. 801).
     Again and again earlier Western scholars themselves seem always to have confirmed what more recent biblical archaeologists have long tried to deny - the undeniable. To add more confirmation however, Josephus apparently considered the Kenites a people of the tribe of Shechemites in his (Ant., VI.vii.3), and the latter were considered in the biblical book of  Numbers 26:29-31 a sub-tribe of Manasseh, whom we have shown in previous blogs was the eponym of Mansur or Manasse'ir in the Arabian traditional genealogy of the tribe of Sulaym bin Mansur. (Kamal Salibi identified the name of Shechem with a town  Suqaymah far to the south in the Asir).
     Perhaps more importantly Gil provides evidence that the authors of the Targum believed or were fully aware, rather, that these "Salamians" were full-fledged Israelites of the clan of Levi. A Targum explanation to 1 Chronicles, II. 55, mentions them as "the Salamians, sons of Sippora, who are from the tribe of Levi, of the seed of Moses..."  (Gil, p. 17, fn. 16). Salma is also mentioned as a son of Judah in I Chronicles, II. So did or did not, the Levites inhabit Jerusalem? Were not the Solymians of Tacitus the supposed builders of Uru salima?  Did or did not, the Targum say the Salamians were the Levites. If Israel ever existed, these near black Salamian (Solymi or Soleym)or Kenite people were their descendants. If a Jerusalem ever existed in the time of Moses, these people were its founders, and we have just discovered as with our last few blogpostings, exactly who these descendants are. 
      The persistent colonial reference to these Sulaymiyyan people or Haweitat and Harb as “Midianites” and from “Haweit son of Ham” is also well warranted. One of the clans named as belonging to the Masruh Harb by Lorimer is the “Abidah”, which is incidently identical to the name of Midian's son in Genesis 25 (Lorimer, 1908, p. 634).  As pointed out in the last blogpost they appear to be mentioned anciently as Apitami who lived along with the Ghassan (Jokshan) in the same region or next door to the ancient and present Hamidah or Hamdah Harb. According to Burton the 1st century Pliny wrote of  “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.).
      Burton in the same note writes that the "Cassani" is a variant of Gassanitae or the Banu Gassan or Ghassan of the Azd, and that Wady Kanunah enters the sea in N. lat. 19 degrees 8 near modern Qunfudah in the Yemen. The names "Apitami" and "Cassani" (Ghassan) refer to Abida and Jokshan or Kushan of the family of Midian in Genesis, while Hammaeum is another word for Ham which the Bible connects to the people called "Misraim", i.e. the Musra Harb.
       In this context another people of the Harb, the Lahaba, can not be anything other than the "Lehabim" who are called children of Misraim in Genesis. According to both Harold MacMichaels A History of the Arabs of Sudan and orientalist Robertson Smith "The Masruh tree splits into two great branches, Benu Auf and Benu Amur. The former is a large clan, extending from Wady Nakia near Nijd, to Rabigh and Al-Madinah.” (Burton, 1906,  p. 120). Among these clans he mentions the Lahaba, the Kassanin (Cassan) along with the Alawin, and Sawaid, who as we have seen are also considered parts of  the Haweitat in Jordan ( p. 120).
     The Harb, like the Haweitat who consider themselves descendants of the Nabataeans claim descent from the south. As suggested by Salibi the origin all of these people must have been southwest Arabia, and either within and southward of the Asir/Jizan region where so many of the clan names of the Edomites were once located (see the preceding blogposts) among the Azd confederation that left Sana'a (Marib).
       The matter is further supported by tradition that the Midianitish-Canaanite populations spoken of in the Old Testament, such as Al-Tawsim (Letushim) and  the other “Amalekites” were peoples of the Asir, south Central Arabia (Yamamah) and Yemen, (see previous posts) who brought their tribal names north in a much later period after catastrophes in the south. Salibi was probably correct in correlating the name of the tribe of “Faran” with the village of “Wafrayn” in the Asir as well, and with the name "Ephraim".
       At the beginning of the Christian era, Baliyy of the Qudha'a had settled on the Syrian border near Tema or (Taima ). By the 5th century AD, they were a Christian tribe settled in Ayla (near the Gulf of Elah - near the Elanitic or Ailanitic Gulf).  And by the early Islamic era these Baliyy also had come to look much different from the Baliyy and other Quda’a further south in Yemen and Africa due to their connections with Syria. 
      While those in the Syro-Palestinian era had become fair in complexion, those in the Arabian peninsula and in Africa remained in appearance like the Himyarite Arabs. In the 11th century Al-Idrisi mentions them as follows. 
       “This country is sometimes subject to incursions of black cavaliers known as al Baliyyun. It is said they are Rum who have professed the Christian religion since the time of the Kipt before the coming of Islam …They wander in the country of the Bedja and Abyssinians and come as far as Nubia…”  
       As in Arabia and Syria they came to be known in the Nubian region as Balau or Belawi (plural), and it has been suggested that they were the ancient Blemmyes mentioned in 3rd century sources (Palmer, R. 1870, p. 207 ; Goldenberg, D., 1998, p. 318)
          From the time of the Lakhmids, the Qudha’a tribesmen of the Kalb whose eponymic ancestor is undoubtedly Caleb of the Hebrew Bible, had been settled as far north as southern Syria. Kalb who is from Qudha'a kinsmen to Banu Kain of the Banu Quda'a or "the Kenite" was considered one of the most powerful of the tribes of northern Arabia among the Quda’a group. Those in Hijaz were later considered as belonging to the Beni Amr section of Harb by some authorities (Burton, 1906, p. 122, fn. 1).  It was said “Caleb was one of 12 men who were sent from the Desert of Paran to explore Canaan”, the land which in Arab tradition was south of Mecca. They came to inhabit the region between Syria and Mesopotamia, but only after the start Christian era. Along with the Azd descended Lakhm and Jodham/Gudham, they roved along the steppes separating Syria and Arabia by the 5th century A.D. Because of such tribes settled among the Syrians, many if not most people in Syria consider themselves “Arabs” today.

     Remnants of  Solymi or Banu Soleym, Midian and Canaani in modern Sinai

       We have shown above that the numerous clans today known as Haweitat or Huwaytat and Harb are comprised of many of the remnants of Soleym (or Sulaym) and Hawazin bin Mansur, and that their client smith tribes of Quda'a were the miners whom the Old Testament calls "Kenites". We have also established that the Soleym and earlier Solymi of the Dead Sea were likely the same population. It is the Soleym populations of the Dead Sea, Hijaz and Asir that Salibi suggested may have founded the Jerusalem of the Old Testament, probably unaware of their connection to the ancient Solymi of Josephus.
      The tribes of Harb and Haweitat are also mentioned among the clans of the “Tuwara” or Towarah” of Sinai whose name is said to have come from the mountain there which is named Tur , Thaur or Tor (meaning bull). These were the Arabs encountered in Sinai documented by many Western colonialists. 
     One German biblical historian wrote of the Sinai Arabs in a book, Travels in the East, published in 1847 saying, upon returning to my tent I found a multitude of dark brown Arabs collected in front of it.  They urged upon me that they were the true guides to Sinai, that their own domicile was upon Sinai, and that they had the most complete knowledge of every nook  and corner of the desert”” (Von Tischendorf, C., 1847, p. 70).

Sinai bedouin

        These “Tuwara” are the Arabs also spoken of by anthropologist Henry Field who citing another author wrote that “they were called Turoniani, Madianites (Midianites), and Beduins by Brocardus (Burchard) during the thirteenth century. Maundeville, writing in the following century, calls them Bedoynes and Ascopardes." (Field, H, 1952, p. 77).
       “In another passage Ritter states that Coutelle described the Towara as ‘sunburnt, very brown, almost black…their height from 4’10” – 5’4”…” ( Field, p. 77). Ritter actually claimed they were called Madianites and could be traced by to the Jodham Arabs (of the Azd) of the Prophet Muhammad’s time, on the east side of the Gulf of Akaba, which was then called Midian.
       They are divided into sections which correspond to modern Harb and Haweit’at (Huwaytat) tribes, as well as Azd. They include the Salih or Sawalihah, the Aleygat or Alaiqa, Muzayna, Aulad Suleiman, Wassil, and some include the Aulad Sa’id (Bradley, J. R.,  2009, p. 105; Ritter, C., 1866, p. 887). The Aleygat or Haliq, Salim and Saidi were considered sons of Salih (Quda’a) until recently as well (Eckenstein, L. 1921, p. 190).
     Interestingly the Prophet of Islam’s tribe, Quraysh of the Kinanah/Kinahna, is named the most powerful of the Tuwara clans by author John Wilson in his The Lands of the Bible Visited and Described (Wilson, 1847, p. 708). One observer  perhaps writes their name “Garrasheh”. They are settled in the neighborhood of the Wadi Feiran (Eickenstein, L., 1921, p. 189). While in the northern plains of Sinai lived the stronger built Atiyah (or Tiyahah),  Terrebin and the Heiwat or Uheywat, - the latter said to be ancestral to the Haweit'at as a whole.
        The Banu Salih of the tribe of Quda’a are mentioned in Sinai by the 6th century Christian writer Eutychius who considers them affiliated with the Azd tribe of Lakhm (Shahid, 1984, p. 385). The Banu Salih were “still in the nineteenth century the protectors of the monastery of Mt. Sinai carrying the same name Sawaliha” which is the plural for Salih (Shahid, p. 385, fn. 133).
       These Salih (Sawalih) of the Quda’a and Lakhm bear the name of  Saleh or Shelah, the personage of the Torah and Quran who was related to the Ishmaelite or Adite “Samud” or “Thamud” - Dumah founder of Duma’ath al-Jandal and the “Idumaeans”. Thus Shahid writes, “The patronymic suggests… they could have belonged to the group of the Prophet Salih, namely, Thamud” (Shahid, 1984, p. 385). 
     As mentioned in our previous posts this Salih is the “Shelah” of Genesis, father of “Eber”. And “Eber” is the Abir of Arabian tradition who is called the father of Thamud. The genealogy runs “Thamud b. Abir b. Iram b. Sam b. Nuh” (Crosby,  E. 2007,  p. 141), and this Iram is of course “Aram”, son of Shem (Genesis 10).

See PART III for Soleymi as ancient Judaeans of the Harrah, Hijaz and Tihama


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