Anazzah (Arabic: عنزة‎, `Anizah, `Aniza) is an Arab tribe in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, and the Levant.

Map of Arabia 600 AD
Approximate locations of some of the important tribes and states of the Arabian Peninsula at the dawn of Islam 600AD, Anizah inhabited the Syrian desert between modern-day Iraq and Syria.

Genealogy and origins

Anazzah's existence as an autonomous tribal group, like many prominent modern tribes, predates the rise of Islam in the 7th century CE. The classical Arab genealogists placed `Anizzah within the large Rabi`ah branch of Adnanite (North Arabian) tribes, alongside the tribes of Abdul Qays, Bakr ibn Wa'il, Bani Hanifa, and Taghlib. In the genealogical scheme, `Anazzah's eponymous ancestor is a great uncle of all of these.

Two main branches of `Anazzah are recorded by the early Muslim scholars. One branch was nomadic, living in the northern Arabian steppes bordering Syria and Mesopotamia. The other, known as Bani Hizzan, was sedentary, living within the wadis of the district of Al-Yamama in eastern Nejd, just south of their purported cousins, the Bani Hanifa of the Bakr ibn Wa'il, who inhabited modern-day Riyadh. Families tracing their origin to `Annizah through Hizzan still exist in that area today.[1]

The other tribes of Rabi'ah were far more prominent in the events of late pre-Islamic Arabia and the early Islamic era (see Banu Hanifa, Taghlib, and Bakr). According to historians such as Al-Tabari (10th century CE), `Anazzah joined with Bakr ibn Wa'il under an alliance they called "al-Lahazim". Many of these tribes were followers of the Christian faith prior to Islam. Others such as bani Taghlib remained largely Christian even after the Islamic conquest of Mesopotamia and the Levant

Modern history

`Annazah in Syria and Iraq

Post-card of Emir Mejhem ibn Meheid, chief of the Anaza tribe near Aleppo with his sons after he was decorated with the Croix de Légion d'honneur on 20 September 1920 by General Gouraud

The modern tribe of `Annazah became prominent in the Ottoman era, as masters of the oasis towns of northwestern Arabia, particularly Khaybar and Al-Ula. Although not farmers themselves, the `Annizah levied crops from the inhabitants, and only spent the winter months in the area, while migrating northwards into southern Syria in the summer months, where they collected tribute from the inhabitants of the Hawran region. The tribute was known as khuwwa ("brotherhood"), and in exchange, the tribesmen pledged to protect the farmers from other tribes. Other clans of the tribe spread across the northern Arabian steppes as far north and east as the Euphrates. According to Encyclopedia of Islam, "it is not known whence they came", while many such as the Western travelers Philby and Anne Blunt simply assumed they had recently migrated from Nejd, having been pushed northwards into Syria by other tribes. However, the tribe does not appear in the historical or genealogical records of Nejd, and members of the tribe posit a migration from Syria and Iraq southwards to Nejd, which comports with the original lands of the Bakr ibn Wa'il. In particular, it is believed they originated from the area of Ayn Tamr in the Iraqi desert near Karbala. In the 19th century, the Swiss traveler Burckhardt and the British traveler Doughty visited the tribe in their stronghold of Khaybar and gathered from them many details of Bedouin life. Sheikh Medjuel el Mezrab of the Anizah was the husband of Lady Jane Digby.

One branch of the `Annizah in that area, centered around Al-Jouf and the valley of Wadi Sarhan and extending into Jordan and Syria, became so large and powerful that it practically developed into an independent tribe, known as the Ruwallah. The Ruwallah engaged in battle with other branches of `Annizah, and also became the arch-enemy of the large tribe of Shammar, who inhabited roughly the same area and dominated Nejd in the late 19th century after temporarily deposing the Al Saud. A 19th century oral poetic epic telling the tale of a rivalry between two heroes from Shammar and `Annizah was published in 1992.[2] The Ruwallah were among the tribes that took part in the "Arab Revolt" against the Ottomans in 1916. Another northern branch of `Annizah, the `Amarat, was centered in the deserts of Iraq.

According to the tribe's genealogists, the modern tribe in north Arabia is divided into the following branches:

  • Dhana Bishr ("children of Bishr") - which includes the `Amarat of Iraq.
  • Dhana Maslam - which includes the Ruwallah of north Arabia.

`Annazah in Nejd

The sparse chronicles of Nejd relating to the pre-Wahhabi era relate a process of penetration of the tribe into northern and western Nejd, where they began to claim pastures during the winter months.[3] One 19th-century historian, Ibn La'bun, a descendant of `Annizah who went by the tribal appellation of "Al-Wa'ili", recorded the story of the settlement of several `Annizi families in Nejd, which he placed in the 14th century CE. In the 15th century, the region of Al-Qassim in northern Nejd was being rapidly settled through migration and the majority of this activity was by members of `Annizah. In the early 18th century the Bedouins of `Annizah are recorded to have reached as far as the gates of Riyadh, killing its ruler in battle. This battle was part of a tribal war in which Riyadh and its neighboring villages took sides.

With the rise of the First Saudi State in the late 18th century, `Annizah were among the tribes that adopted a favorable attitude towards this new power, but took little active part in supporting it militarily, due to their geographical location. The royal family of Saudi Arabia Al Saud family are from the Anazzah tribe,[4] with Al Saud having ancestry from Wa'il, the region's native inhabitants as well as the migratory `Annizah.

20th century

Limited settlement of Bedouin tribesmen in nearby towns and villages has always been an ongoing process in the region. Settled families in `Annizah are to be found not only in Saudi Arabia, where they are most numerous, but also in Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Ahwaz (Iran) and the West Bank, where the village of Anzah near Jenin is reportedly named after the tribe.

The establishment of the modern borders of the Middle East dealt a severe blow to the Bedouin lifestyle of tribes such as `Annizah, which were accustomed to raising their animals over wide areas spanning many modern states. Special arrangements were made in the early 20th century for these tribes, but the vast majority ended up settling within these new states and taking Saudi, Kuwaiti, Iraqi, Lebanese, Syrian, or Jordanian citizenship. These recently settled tribesman are often distinguished from their sedentary cousins by retaining tribal appellations such as al-`Annizi or Al-Ruwaili as their surnames.

See also


  1. ^ Hamad Al-Jassir, "Hizzan", Compendium of the Lineages of the Settled Families of Nejd, pt. II, p. 889 (Arabic)
  2. ^ The social context of pre-Islamic poetry: poetic imagery
  3. ^ U.M. Al-Juhany, Najd before the Salafi Reform Movement, Ithaca Press, 2002
  4. ^ C.M. Doughty, Travels in Arabia Deserta
  • De Gaury, Gerald. Review of the 'Anizah Tribe. Kutub. ISBN 9953-417-97-0.
Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais

Abdul Rahman Ibn Abdul Aziz as-Sudais (Arabic: عَبْدُ ٱلْرَّحْمَن إبْن عَبْدُ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلسُّدَيْس‎, translit. ʻAbd ar-Rahman ibn ʻAbd al-Aziz as-Sudais; born 10 February 1960 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

is the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia; the president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques; a renowned qāriʾ (reciter of the Qur'an);

and was the Dubai International Holy Qur'an Award's "Islamic Personality Of the Year" in 2005. Al-Sudais has preached Islam's opposition to "explosions and terrorism", and has called for peaceful inter-faith dialogue,

but also been sharply criticized for vilifying non-Muslims and especially Jews in his sermons.

He has denounced the treatment of Palestinians by Israeli settlers and the state of Israel,

and called for more aid to be sent to Palestinians.

He has also been noted for identifying women's un-Islamic behavior as in part responsible for the winter 2006 drought in Saudi Arabia. In 2016, he delivered the very important Hajj sermon to a multitude of pilgrims gathered at Arafat after prayers.

Al Fadl

Al Fadl (Arabic: آل فَضْل‎, ALA-LC: Āl Faḍl) were an Arab tribe that dominated the Syrian Desert and steppe during the Middle Ages, and whose modern-day descendants largely live in southern Syria and eastern Lebanon. The Al Fadl's progenitor, Fadl ibn Rabi'ah, was a descendant of the Banu Tayy through his ancestor, Mufarrij al-Jarrah. The tribe rose to prominence by assisting the Burids and Zengids against the Crusaders. The Ayyubids often appointed them to the office of Amir al-ʿarab, giving the Al Fadl emirs (princes or lords) command over the Bedouin tribes of northern Syria. Their function was often to serve as auxiliary troops.

Starting with Emir Isa ibn Muhanna, the Al Fadl became the hereditary holders of the office by order of the Mamluk sultans and were given substantial iqtaʿat (fiefs) in Salamiyah, Palmyra and other places in the steppe. By then their tribal territory spanned the region between Homs in the west and Qal'at Ja'bar to east, and between the Euphrates valley in the north to central Arabia in the south. Isa's sons and successors Muhanna and Fadl vacillated between the Mamluks and the latter's Mongol enemies, but generally they were highly favored by Sultan an-Nasir Muhammad. During late Mamluk rule, the tribe was occupied by internal strife.

The Ottomans preserved the Al Fadl's hereditary leadership of the Bedouin tribes. By the mid-16th century, the leading emirs joined the Mawali tribe and became known as Al Abu Risha, while their rivals within the tribe were driven out towards the Beqaa Valley and continued to go by the name "Al Fadl". The Mawali dominated northern Syria until the arrival of the Annazah tribesmen in the 18th century. During that same period, the Al Fadl in Beqaa split into the Hourrouk and Fa'our branches. The latter made its home in the Golan Heights where they often fought over pasture rights with Kurdish and Turkmen settlers, and later against Druze and Circassian newcomers.

Toward the end of the 19th century, the Al Fadl became semi-sedentarized; they settled in various Golan villages, but continued to shepherd their flocks, while their emir settled in Damascus and effectively became an absentee landlord who collected rent from his tribesmen. The Al Fadl were displaced from their homes in the Hula Valley and Golan during the 1948 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars, respectively, and most settled in and around Damascus. As a result of the wars and Syrian agrarian reforms that stripped the emir of much of his land, his relationship with the tribe shifted from benevolent landlord to symbolic leader and political representative. By the 1990s, there were up to 30,000 Al Fadl tribesmen in Syria (not counting those who were affiliated with the Mawali) along with a significant population in eastern Lebanon.

Banu Bakr

The Banu Bakr bin Wa'il or simply Banu Bakr (Arabic: بنو بكر بن وائل‎ banū bakr bin wā'il) were an Arabian tribe belonging to the large Rabi'ah branch of Adnanite tribes, which also included Abdul Qays, Anazzah, Taghlib, Banu Shayban and Bani Hanifa. The tribe is reputed to have engaged in a 40-year war before Islam with its cousins from Taghlib, known as the War of Basous. The pre-Islamic poet, Tarafah was a member of Bakr.

Bakr's original lands were in Nejd, in central Arabia, but most of the tribe's bedouin sections migrated northwards immediately before Islam, and settled in the area of Al-Jazirah, on the upper Euphrates. The region of Diyar Bakr, and later the city of Diyarbakır in southern Turkey, take their names from this tribe.

The tribe is distinct from the tribe of Bani Bakr ibn Abd Manat, who lived in the Hejaz and had important interactions with Muhammad.


The Bedouin or Bedu (; Arabic: بَدْو‎ badw, singular بَدَوِي badawī) are a grouping of nomadic Arab people who have historically inhabited the desert regions in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and the Levant. The English word bedouin comes from the Arabic badawī, which means "desert dweller", and is traditionally contrasted with ḥāḍir, the term for sedentary people. Bedouin territory stretches from the vast deserts of North Africa to the rocky sands of the Middle East. They are traditionally divided into tribes, or clans (known in Arabic as ʿašāʾir; عَشَائِر), and share a common culture of herding camels and goats. The vast majority of Bedouin adhere to Islam.Bedouins have been referred to by various names throughout history, including Qedarites in the Old Testament and Arabaa by the Assyrians (ar-ba-a-a being a nisba of the noun Arab, a name still used for Bedouins today). They are referred to as the ʾAʿrāb (أعراب) in the Quran.

While many Bedouins have abandoned their nomadic and tribal traditions for a modern urban lifestyle, many retain traditional Bedouin culture such as retaining the traditional ʿašāʾir clan structure, traditional music, poetry, dances (such as saas), and many other cultural practices and concepts. Urbanised Bedouins often organise cultural festivals, usually held several times a year, in which they gather with other Bedouins to partake in and learn about various Bedouin traditions—from poetry recitation and traditional sword dances to playing traditional instruments and even classes teaching traditional tent knitting. Traditions like camel riding and camping in the deserts are still popular leisure activities for urbanised Bedouins who live within close proximity to deserts or other wilderness areas.

List of pre-Islamic Arabian deities

Deities formed a part of the polytheistic religious beliefs in pre-Islamic Arabia, with many of the deities' names known. Formal pantheons are more noticeable at the level of kingdoms, of variable sizes, ranging from simple city-states to collections of tribes. The Kaaba alone was said to have contained up to 360 idols of many gods and goddesses. Tribes, towns, clans, lineages and families had their own cults too. Christian Julien Robin suggests that this structure of the divine world reflected the society of the time.A large number of deities did not have proper names and were referred to by titles indicating a quality, a family relationship, or a locale preceded by "he who" or "she who" (dhū or dhāt).


The Otaibah (Arabic: عتيبة‎, also spelled Otaiba, Utaybah) is a tribe originating in Saudi Arabia. Many members of the Saudi royal family descend maternally from the tribe, which is distributed throughout Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. The Otaibah are descended from the Bedouin. They trace back to the Mudar family and belong to the Qays ʿAylān confederacy via its previous name, Hawazin.Research of the lineage of northern tribes may began with Adnan (instead of Ishmael), as passed on by oral tradition. He is the common ancestor of the modern Otaibah, Annazah, Tamim, Abd al-Qays, and Quraysh tribes. Although Adnan is at the head of the tribal genealogy, genealogists and poets typically refer to two of his descendants: his son Ma'ad (a later collective term for all north Arabian tribes) and his grandson Nizar, ancestor of Rabi'ah and Mudar.Mudar, the son of Nizar, fathered ʿAylān al-Nās (the ancestor of Hawazin and Otaibah). The Hawazin is another tribe related to the Otaibah.The tribe's common ancestors are Otaibah, Guzayah, Banu Jusham, Muʿāwiya, Bakr, Hawāzin, Manṣūr, ʿIkrima, K̲h̲aṣafa, Qays ʿAylān, Mudir, Nijzar, Ma'ad and Adnan of the Ishmaelites. The tribe, five or six hundred years old, is primarily found in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.


Rabīʿa ibn Nizar (Arabic: ربيعة‎) is the patriarch of one of two main branches of the "North Arabian" (Adnanite) tribes, the other branch being founded by Mudhar.

Ramadan al-Shallash

Ramaḍān Pāshā al-Shallāsh (Arabic: رمضان شلاش‎; 1879–1946) was a prominent rebel commander of the 1925 Great Syrian Revolt and, prior to that, a military officer in the Ottoman and Sharifian armies.

Shallash became a captain in the Ottoman army, serving on the Libyan and Balkan fronts in 1911 and 1912, respectively. In 1916, he joined the Arab independence movement of Sharif Hussein. Three years later, he led efforts to ensure Deir ez-Zor and its environs become part of Syria; to that end, he and his Bedouin fighters expelled the British from the city without apparent sanction from Hussein's son, Emir Faisal. He was consequently dismissed from Deir ez-Zor but continued his efforts nonetheless.

After France toppled Faisal's government and took over Syria in 1920, Shallash moved to Transjordan. He served as the intermediary between that country's emir and Faisal's brother, Abdullah, and the northern Syrian revolt leader Ibrahim Hananu. With the launch of the Great Syrian Revolt, Shallash returned to command his own rebel band. He participated in the rebels' brief capture of Damascus and later led operations in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. He was accused by rebel leaders Nasib al-Bakri and Hasan al-Kharrat of plundering Ghouta villages and dismissed from command. Not long after, he surrendered to the French and encouraged his former comrades to do the same.

Raqqa Hawks Brigade

The Raqqa Hawks Brigade (Arabic: لواء صقور الرقة‎, translit. Liwa Suqur al Raqqa), also known as Raqqa Falcons Brigade, is a primarily Arab militia, composed mostly of Raqqa natives, that is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and fights against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The unit's stated goal was to recapture its home city from ISIL, which it achieved by taking part in the Battle of Raqqa (2017). The Raqqa Hawks are considered to have sympathies for and connections with Bashar al-Assad's government.


Unaizah (Arabic: عنيزة‎ ʿUnaizah) or officially The Governorate of Unaizah (also spelled Onaizah, Onizah, or Unayzah; Arabic: محافظة عنيزة‎ Muḥāfiẓat ʿUnaizah) is a Saudi Arabian city in the Al Qassim Province. It lies south of the province capital Buraydah and north of Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is the second largest city in Al-Qassim Province with a population of 163,729 (2010 census).Historically, Unaizah was an important stopping point for Muslim pilgrims coming from Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and Persia (now Iran) on their way to Makkah. Many scientists and historians believe that Unaizah was inhabited hundreds of years before the spread of Islam, citing its reference in numerous poems from some of the most important poets of pre-Islamic Arabia such as Imru' al-Qais.

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