Al Murrah

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For the Gypsy (Nawar) population of the Levant known as the "Bani Murra" tribe, see Dom people.

The Al Murrah is a tribe descended from the well-known Banu Yam tribe. Al Murrah are a tribe of camel-herding nomads. Recently some of them have taken up permanent settlement near to traditional oases.[1] They exist in many places all over the Arabian Peninsula, but intensively in southern and eastern Arabia. Seven clans make up the Al Murrah, according to Donald Cole, an anthropologist that has studied the Al Murrah.[2][3] Travelling as much as 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) each year, the tribe comprises approximately 15,000 individuals. One of the most noted names among Al Murrah is the leader (shaikh) Sulaiman Bin Ghanim, who lived somewhere between 950-1100 AD.

They are considered to be a Sharif tribe; that is, a tribe claiming noble descent.[1]



Historically, the Al Murrah tribe made up a large proportion of Qatar's ethnic population.[4] Estimates dating back to 2005 put the figure between 5,000[5] and 10,000,[4] suggesting that they accounted for anywhere between 2.5% to 5% of the Qatari population at that time.

A majority of tribe members were strong supporters of Sheikh Khalifa Al Thani, the former Emir of Qatar who was deposed in 1995 in a coup by his son. Eight months after the coup, 119 Al Murrah members attempted to overthrow the new Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Al Thani, but failed. In February 2000, 19 of the alleged perpetrators had been sentenced to death, 33 were sentenced to life in prison, and the rest were acquitted.[5] However, none of those sentenced to death were executed.

In 2004, a sudden decision was taken by the Emir to strip all members of the Al Murrah clan of their Qatari nationality and expel them from Qatar, under the pretext that they possessed dual Qatari and Saudi citizenship.[4] Stripped of their Qatari nationality, most of them left for Saudi Arabia.


  1. ^ a b DOUMATO, ELEANOR ABDELLA. "Al-Murrah Tribe". Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Donald Cole. Nomads of the Nomads: The Al Murrah Bedouin of the Empty Quarter (1975) (ISBN 978-0-88295-605-3(
  4. ^ a b c "2012: Transformationsindex". Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Qatar’s release of Saudi prisoners likely to herald new era in bilateral relations". 26 May 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2012.