||This article possibly contains original research. (February 2012)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Bahrain||600,000 (2011 estimate)|
|Saudi Arabia||455,811 (Population of Qatif, 2010 census)|
|Oman||10,000 (1995 estimate, based on number of speakers of Bahrani Arabic)|
|Twelver Shia Islam|
The Bahrani people or Baharna (singular Bahrani, Arabic: بحراني ، بحارنة) are the indigenous inhabitants of the archipelago of Bahrain and some parts of Qatif. They are overwhelmingly adherents of Shia Islam. Most Shia Bahraini citizens are ethnic Bahranis.
The Baharna are descendants of the original pre-Islamic inhabitants of Bahrain. The people of pre-Islamic Bahrain were mainly Aramaic speakers and to some degree Persian speakers, while Syriac functioned as a liturgical language. In pre-Islamic times, the population of Bahrain consisted of Abd al-Qays Arabs, Aramean Christians, Persian-speaking Zoroastrians and Jewish agriculturalists. According to several scholars, the Baharna are Arabized "descendants of converts from the original population of Christians (Aramaeans), Jews and ancient Persians (Majus) inhabiting the island and cultivated coastal provinces of eastern Arabia at the time of the Arab conquest".
The Bahrani people speak a variety of Arabic known as Bahrani Arabic, which is very different from the dialect of Sunni Bahrainis. The Bahrani Arabic dialect has been significantly influenced by the ancient Akkadian and Aramaic languages. The Persian language has had the most pervasive foreign linguistic influence on Bahrani Arabic dialect. The dialect spoken in Bahraini rural villages has many ancient Akkadian and Aramaic influences.
The term Bahrani serves to distinguish the Bahrani people from other Shias in Bahrain, such as the ethnic Persian Bahrainis who fall under the term Ajam, as well as from the Sunni Arab Najdi immigrants in Bahrain who are called Al Arab ("Arabs").
The native inhabitants of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia ("Hasawis" of Al Hasa) are ethnically distinct from Bahranis. However, the ethnic minority of indigenous "Qatifis" in Qatif are mostly Bahranis.
In Arabic, bahrayn is the dual form of bahr ("sea"), so al-Bahrayn means "the Two Seas". However, which two seas were originally intended remains in dispute. The term appears five times in the Qur'an, but does not refer to the modern island—originally known to the Arabs as "Awal"—but rather to the oases of al-Katif and Hadjar (modern al-Hasa). It is unclear when the term began to refer exclusively to the Awal islands, but it was probably after the 15th century.
Today, Bahrain's "two seas" are instead generally taken to be the bay east and west of the island, the seas north and south of the island, or the salt and fresh water present above and below the ground. In addition to wells, there are places in the sea north of Bahrain where fresh water bubbles up in the middle of the salt water, noted by visitors since antiquity.
An alternate theory offered by al-Ahsa was that the two seas were the Great Green Ocean and a peaceful lake on the mainland;[which?] still another provided by al-Jawahari is that the more formal name Bahri (lit. "belonging to the sea") would have been misunderstood and so was opted against.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2013)|
The Baharna produced many well-known religious scholars, including Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsai (1753–1826) (founder of the Shaikhí school), Shaykh Maitham al-Bahrani (1238–1299), Shaykh Yusuf al-Bahrani (1695–1722) (one of the foremost Akhbari scholars), Abdullah al Samahiji (1675–1723), and Salih Al-Karzakani. Many religious scholars immigrated to Iran after the Bahrain islands were conquered by the Safavids in 1602 - for instance 17th century theologian and scholar, Sheikh Salih Al-Karzakani was appointed by the Shah as court judge in Shiraz, although he initially left Bahrain to work in the Shi'a Indian kingdom of Golkonda. Many students and scholars settled, and still do today, in centers of Shi'ite scholarship, especially Najaf, Karbala, and Qom.
Language and culture
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- The 1922 Bahrani uprising in Bahrain
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- Eastern Coast of Arabian Peninsula for DNA test