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The terms Qahtanite
Qahtanite
and Qahtani (Arabic: قَحْطَانِي‎; transliterated: Qahtani) refers to Arabs
Arabs
who originate from the southern region of the Arabian Peninsula, especially from Yemen.[1][2] According to Islamic tradition, the Qahtanites are pure Arabs, unlike the Adnanites
Adnanites
who are "Arabized Arabs", descended from Ishmael
Ishmael
through Adnan.[3] The Qahtani people are divided into the two sub-groups of Himyar
Himyar
(Himyartes) and Kahlan (Kahlanis).[2]

Contents

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 5 References 6 Further reading

Traditional Arab genealogy[edit]

A family tree of the Qahtanites

Arab tradition maintains that a semi-legendary ancestral figure named Qahtan[1][2] and his 24 sons are the progenitors of the southern inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
known as Qahtani. Early Islamic historians identified Qahtan with the Yoqtan (Joktan) son of Eber
Eber
of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
(Gen. 10:25-29) although he was another descendant of Ishmael.[4][5] Among the sons of Qahtan are noteworthy figures like A'zaal (believed by Arabs
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
Himyar
or Kahlan, his two sons. The Qahtani people are divided into the two sub-groups of Himyar
Himyar
and Kahlan, who represent the settled Arabs
Arabs
of the south and their nomadic kinsmen (nomads).[2] 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.[2] The 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.[6] Early linguistic connection[edit] 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
Semitic languages
Minaean, Sabaean, Qatabanian, Awsanian, Hadhrami, and Himyarite.[citation needed] Ancient Semitic villages[edit] Biblical and historiographical place names that correspond with modern place names in Yemen
Yemen
and Asir
Asir
include:

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 above") Yafe'e, Mayfa'a, Ayfo'o (from the verb Y/f/a "to grow") Aden
Aden
"settled", Yahosn "lost" Thobhan, Mathbah "slaughtered" Yomin "south", Yamant "blessed" Yahir "to destroy" Yaghshom, Ghashm "to rain" Yaslih "to fix" Marbad, Arbad
Arbad
(from the verb R/b/d meaning "to spread")

Pre-Islamic Qahtani migration out of Arabia[edit] 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 Medes
Medes
and Persians, during the 7th and 6th centuries BCE respectively. Though the Semites lost geopolitical influence, the Aramaic
Aramaic
language emerged as the lingua franca of much of the Near East. However, Aramaic
Aramaic
usage declined after the defeat of the Persians and the arrival of the Hellenic armies around 330 BCE. The Ghassanids
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
Israel
& the Palestinian Territories
Palestinian Territories
and Jordan, briefly securing governorship of Syria
Syria
away from the Nabataeans. Modern historiography[edit] According to modern historians, the traditional distinction between Adnanites
Adnanites
and Qahtanites lacks evidence and may have developed out of the later faction-fighting during the Umayyad period.[3] After Islam[edit] Between the 7th and the 14th centuries, the Arabs
Arabs
had forged an empire that extended their rule from most of Spain, to western China
China
in the east. During this period of expansionism, the Arabs, including Qahtanite
Qahtanite
tribes, overspread these lands, intermingling with local native populations while yet maintaining their cultural identity. It is not unlikely to find Arabs
Arabs
of Qahtanite
Qahtanite
descent as far away as Morocco
Morocco
or Iran, and many can trace their heritage with profound accuracy. Among the most famous examples of Qahtanite
Qahtanite
Arabs
Arabs
are the social scholar Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldun
who was born in Tunisia
Tunisia
to a family that immigrated from Islamic Spain
Spain
(Al-Andalus), Al Kindi, Ibn al-Baitar. See also[edit]

Kahlan Azd Ghassanids Hakam, Yemen

References[edit]

^ 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
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
Ishmael
through Adnan, but in this case the genealogy does not match the Biblical line exactly. The label ‘arabicised’ is due to the belief that Ishmael
Ishmael
spoke Hebrew
Hebrew
until he got to Mecca, where he married a Yemeni woman and learnt Arabic. Both genealogical lines go back to Sem, son of Noah, but only Adnanites
Adnanites
can claim Abraham as their ascendant, and the lineage of Mohammed, the Seal of Prophets (khatim al-anbiya'), can therefore be traced back to Abraham. Contemporary historiography unveiled the lack of inner coherence of this genealogical system and demonstrated that it finds insufficient matching evidence; the distinction between Qahtanites and Adnanites
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
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, p.45.

Further reading[edit]

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 Were the Qays and Yemen
Yemen
of the Umayyad Period Political Parties?

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