and Qahtani (Arabic: قَحْطَانِي;
transliterated: Qahtani) refers to
who originate from the
southern region of the Arabian Peninsula, especially from Yemen.
According to Islamic tradition, the Qahtanites are pure Arabs, unlike
who are "Arabized Arabs", descended from
Adnan. The Qahtani people are divided into the two sub-groups of
1 Traditional Arab genealogy
1.1 Early linguistic connection
1.2 Ancient Semitic villages
1.3 Pre-Islamic Qahtani migration out of Arabia
2 Modern historiography
3 After Islam
4 See also
6 Further reading
Traditional Arab genealogy
A family tree of the Qahtanites
Arab tradition maintains that a semi-legendary ancestral figure named
Qahtan and his 24 sons are the progenitors of the southern
inhabitants of the
Arabian Peninsula known as Qahtani.
Early Islamic historians identified Qahtan with the Yoqtan (Joktan)
Eber of the
Hebrew Bible (Gen. 10:25-29) although he was
another descendant of Ishmael.
Among the sons of Qahtan are noteworthy figures like A'zaal (believed
Arabs to have been the original name of Sana'a, although its
current name has been attested since the Iron Age) and Hadhramaut.
Another son is Ya'rub, and his son Yashjub is the father of 'Abd
Shams, who is also called Saba. All Yemeni tribes trace their ancestry
back to this "Saba", either through
Himyar or Kahlan, his two sons.
The Qahtani people are divided into the two sub-groups of
Kahlan, who represent the settled
Arabs of the south and their nomadic
kinsmen (nomads). The
Kahlan division of Qahtan consists of 4
subgroups: the Ta' or Tayy, the
Azd group which invaded Oman, the
'Amila-Judham group of Palestine, and the Hamdan-
Madhhij group who
mostly remain in Yemen.
Kahlan branch includes the following tribes:
Azd (Aus and Khazraj,
Bariq, Ghassan, Khuza'a and Daws), Hamdan, Khath'am, Bajilah, Madhhij,
Murad, Zubaid, Ash'ar, Lakhm,
Tayy (Shammar), and Kindah.
Early linguistic connection
The first groups of Semitic speakers that moved
northward[clarification needed] already developed the early Semitic
names derived from triliteral, and sometimes a quadriliteral verb
root. These appellations first appeared in early (now extinct) East
Semitic languages, especially Akkadian, Assyrian, and Old Babylonian.
A closer examination reveals connections with the Central Semitic
language family including: Aramaic, Phoenician, Hebrew, and Nabatean,
which is closely related to the Southern
Semitic languages Minaean,
Sabaean, Qatabanian, Awsanian, Hadhrami, and Himyarite.[citation
Ancient Semitic villages
Biblical and historiographical place names that correspond with modern
place names in
Adeem, Yadoom, Damt (from the verb D/a/m meaning "to last")
Aram, Arm, Yareem, Maryama (from the verb A/r/m meaning "to stand
Yafe'e, Mayfa'a, Ayfo'o (from the verb Y/f/a "to grow")
Aden "settled", Yahosn "lost"
Thobhan, Mathbah "slaughtered"
Yomin "south", Yamant "blessed"
Yahir "to destroy"
Yaghshom, Ghashm "to rain"
Yaslih "to fix"
Arbad (from the verb R/b/d meaning "to spread")
Pre-Islamic Qahtani migration out of Arabia
Early Semites who developed civilizations throughout the Ancient Near
East gradually relinquished their geopolitical superiority to
surrounding cultures and neighboring imperial powers, usually due to
either internal turmoil or outside conflict. This climaxed with the
arrival of the Chaldeans, and subsequently the rivaling
Persians, during the 7th and 6th centuries BCE respectively. Though
the Semites lost geopolitical influence, the
Aramaic language emerged
as the lingua franca of much of the Near East. However,
declined after the defeat of the Persians and the arrival of the
Hellenic armies around 330 BCE.
Ghassanids (ca. 250 CE) were the last major non-Islamic Semitic
migration northward out of Yemen. They revived the Semitic presence in
the then Roman-controlled Syria. They initially settled in the Hauran
region, eventually spreading to modern Lebanon,
Israel & the
Palestinian Territories and Jordan, briefly securing governorship of
Syria away from the Nabataeans.
According to modern historians, the traditional distinction between
Adnanites and Qahtanites lacks evidence and may have developed out of
the later faction-fighting during the Umayyad period.
Between the 7th and the 14th centuries, the
Arabs had forged an empire
that extended their rule from most of Spain, to western
China in the
east. During this period of expansionism, the Arabs, including
Qahtanite tribes, overspread these lands, intermingling with local
native populations while yet maintaining their cultural identity. It
is not unlikely to find
Qahtanite descent as far away as
Morocco or Iran, and many can trace their heritage with profound
accuracy. Among the most famous examples of
Arabs are the
Ibn Khaldun who was born in
Tunisia to a family that
immigrated from Islamic
Spain (Al-Andalus), Al Kindi, Ibn al-Baitar.
^ a b c Qahtan, Britannica Online Encyclopedia, 2009.
^ a b c d e
De Lacy O'Leary (2001). Arabia Before Muhammad.
p. 18. notes "Qahtan are divided into the two sub-groups of
Himyar and Kahlan".
^ a b Parolin, Gianluca P. (2009). Citizenship in the Arab World: Kin,
Religion and Nation-State. p. 30. ISBN 978-9089640451.
"The ‘arabicised or arabicising Arabs’, on the contrary, are
believed to be the descendants of
Ishmael through Adnan, but in this
case the genealogy does not match the Biblical line exactly. The label
‘arabicised’ is due to the belief that
he got to Mecca, where he married a Yemeni woman and learnt Arabic.
Both genealogical lines go back to Sem, son of Noah, but only
Adnanites can claim Abraham as their ascendant, and the lineage of
Mohammed, the Seal of Prophets (khatim al-anbiya'), can therefore be
traced back to Abraham. Contemporary historiography unveiled the lack
of inner coherence of this genealogical system and demonstrated that
it finds insufficient matching evidence; the distinction between
Adnanites is even believed to be a product of the
Umayyad Age, when the war of factions (al-niza al-hizbi) was raging in
the young Islamic Empire."
^ Maalouf, Tony.
Arabs in the Shadow of Israel: The Unfolding of God's
Prophetic Plan for Ishmael's Line. Kregel Academic. p. 45.
^ Maqsood, Ruqaiyyah Waris. "Adam to the Banu Khuza'ah".
^ Jirjī Zaydān, David Samuel Margoliouth, Umayyads and ʻAbbāsids:
Being the Fourth Part of Jurjī Zaydān, (about Islamic Empire), 1907,
John Simpson, Treasures from Ancient Yemen
Qahtan in the Arab History
The dwelling places and wanderings of the Arabian tribes, by Heinrich
Ferdinand Wüstenfeld, in German
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