||This article possibly contains original research. (February 2012)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Bahrain||600,000 (2011 estimate)|
|Oman||10,000 (1995 estimate, based on number of speakers of Bahrani Arabic)|
|Nestorian Christianity until 7th century
Today Twelver Shi'a Islam
The Baharna (singular Bahrani, Arabic: بحراني ، بحارنة) are the indigenous inhabitants of the archipelago of Bahrain. They are all Arabic speaking. Their dialect of Arabic is known as "Bahrani" or "Bahrani Arabic," and they are overwhelmingly adherents of Shia Islam. The native inhabitants of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia are distinct from Bahranis.
The term Bahrani serves to distinguish the Bahrani people from other Shi'i in the region, such as the relatively recent immigrants from Iran who fall under the term Ajam, as well as from the Sunni immigrants in Bahrain who prefer the term Bahrayni or Ahl el-Bahrayn ("people of Bahrain"). In previous centuries, the term "Bahrani" often referred to any Arab inhabitant of the larger historical region of Bahrain.
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.
Famous Bahrani people
|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
- Introduction to the Baharna by John Jones, section 1, page 40
- peter hellyer. Nestorian Christianity in the Pre-Islamic UAE and Southeastern Arabia, Journal of Social Affairs, volume 18, number 72, winter 2011
- "Iranians in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates: Migration, minorities, and identities in the Persian Gulf Arab States". Himanshu Prabha Ray. 2008. pp. 68–69.
- "Reaching for Power: The Shi'a in the Modern Arab World". Yitzhak Nakash. 2006. p. 23.
- Lorimer, John Gordon, Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia, republished by Gregg International Publishers Limited Westemead. Farnborough, Hants., England and Irish University Press, Shannon, Irelend. Printed in Holland, 1970, Vol. II A, entries on "Bahrain" and "Baharna"
- Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. I. "Bahrayn", p. 941. E.J. Brill (Leiden), 1960.
- Room, Adrian. Origins and Meanings of the Names for 6,600 Countries, Cities, Territories, Natural Features and Historic Sites. 2006. ISBN 978-0-7864-2248-7.
- Faroughy, Abbas. The Bahrein Islands (750–1951): A Contribution to the Study of Power Politics in the Persian Gulf. Verry, Fisher & Co. (New York), 1951.
- Rice, Michael. The Archaeology of the Arabian Gulf, c. 5000-323 BC. Routledge, 1994. ISBN 0415032687.
- The 1922 Bahrani uprising in Bahrain
- Rival Empires of Trade and Imami Shiism in Eastern Arabia, 1300-1800, Juan Cole, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 19, No. 2, (May 1987), pp. 177–203
- Eastern Coast of Arabian Peninsula for DNA test