Banu Abs

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Banu 'Abs
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Saudi Arabia, Oman, Sudan, Eritrea, Jordan
Najdi Arabic
Sunni Islam

The Banu ʿAbs بنو عبس (Arabic for sons of 'Abs) is an ancient Bedouin tribe from central Arabia, they branch from the powerful Ghatafan tribes. They still inhabit the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa. Of the earliest stories concerning this tribe was the famous classical love and war story of Antar and Abla.


The Banu 'Abs originate almost 2,000 years ago branching from the Ghatafan clan, and had inhabited and still inhabit the outskirts of Hail in modern Nejd in an area called today Hurrat Bani Rasheed. The Tribe is known for its independence and bravery, as it had been called one of the Jamarat of the Arabs, or the most powerful tribes that took no allegiance to anyone but themselves. The earliest stories regard tales of war and chivalry before Islam, in the famous war of AlDahhas wil Ghabraa, between them and their cousins Bani Thibyan, which had lasted almost 40 years. The war had ended when the King Zuhair of the Banu 'Abs, had called for an end to the bloodshed, asking the wealthy merchants of both tribes to pay the losses caused by the war. Before he had died King Zuhair had predicted like many Christians and Jews before him that there will arrive a Prophet that will unite humanity under God's rule, and had advised for his tribe to follow the future Prophet with all allegiance. Soon, enough, they had willingly done so, and Islam had become their religion, and the whole tribe had humbly converted before the Hijra of the Muslims to Madinah.

After the Prophet Muhammad had died, the tribe of 'Abs, had willingly participated in the Arab conquests and their tribe members had reached the outskirts of the Middle East and North Africa, toppling dictatorships, and converting the masses under Islam. Today, many peoples from all around North Africa, and the Middle East can claim ancestry to this legendary tribe.

Throughout centuries, this tribe has had vast encounters with invaders, and conquerors attempting to invade them, in the most famous encounter with the Sassanid Empire, where the tribe of 'Abs had no more than 3000 fighters, and they were faced by the behemeth of Persia, with 20,000 warriors, and the tribe of 'Abs had won the war, although one of the largest Persian generals at the time commanded such an army against the small tribe.

Even, after many centuries, the latest migration of large amounts of the Banu Abs to North Africa, was in the strife revolving around the unification of the Second Saudi State although they demanded autonomy to themselves, as the Ottoman Empire had granted them for so long.

Antarah ibn Shaddad al Absi[edit]

Antarah ibn Shaddad al Absi (c.525-615), was one of the seven great pre-Islamic Arab poets, and the architect behind the great story Antar and Abla. Throughout this non-fiction story, he displayed Chivalry, bravery, and eloquence in the Arabic language. This earned him the name among all of the Arabs of the Peninsula as the "Complete Knight". Furthermore, he was the author of the Divan and he was a Warrior, his father was the leader of the Banu Abs Shaddad and his mother was Zabiba, an African slave who was captured in battle.


The Banu 'Abs are of the Northern "Arabized" Arabs and the tribal name leads to Adnan (father of Northern Arabs) and the full name is Abs ibn Bughaydh ibn Raith ibn Ghatafan ibn Sa'd ibn Qais Aeelan ibn Modhar ibn Nizar ibn Ma'd ibn Adnan.They are relatives to many tribes in Arabia and are far cousins of Quraysh, Banu Tamim, and Kinanah. Also part of the Ghatafan tribes close to the Banu 'Abs are the Mutair and Thibyaan. The large and prestigious Rasheed tribe is descended from the Banu Abs. The great-grandfather of the Bani Rasheed is Rasheed al Zaul of the Banu Abs tribe.

Modern times[edit]

Today, most of the politically active members of the tribe are in the Kuwaiti Parliament, here are the current Parliament members:

1. Former Parliament Member, Abbas bin Habib Al-Minawir Al-Musaylim, a very influential political figure until now, and an area in Kuwait has been named after him, Al Abbasiyah.

2. Former Parliament Member, Barrak bin Nassir kAl-Noun Al-Aouni, one of also the most influential figures in Kuwait today.

3. The president of the Arab Parliament and Current Kuwaiti Parliament Member, Ali bin Salim Al-Ajiylan Al-Diqbasi

4. Also, a rising member is Thekraa Al-Rashidi, that lives in Kuwait. As a famous lawyer, she is also a strong contender in the upcoming elections.

Also the 'Abs Universal Organization for Social Development is a non-profit organization dedicated to:

"Social, cultural, economic and humanitarian organization. It aims to improve the living conditions of Rashaida people and in particular the Rashaida people in the Sudan, Eritrea and poor areas. Also, it aims to raise the level of education and cultural knowledge for Rashaida people in the whole Arabic world."

- The organization includes some charities. The charities are going to build some schools and hospitals in some poor countries which are home to Rashidi people.

The President is Mr. Fayez Albghaili Al- Rashidi

Secretary-General is Mr. Mubarak Al-Duwailah

Deputy of Secretary-General Dr. Abdullah Saad Alawaimrai"5

Other Famous intellectuals include:

1. Dr. Basheer Alrashidi (Psychiatrist)

2. Mohammed Al-Rashidi (Journalist)

3. Dr. Mustafa al'Absi (Professor)

4. Mohammed Al-Rasheedi (Politician)

The modern Banu Abs tribe is quite large and scattered across the region. Significant populations of this tribe can be found in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Eritrea, and Jordan. In addition, branches of the tribe can be found in Palestine, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Egypt, and elsewhere in the Middle East, as well as in Europe and the United States. Members and descendants of the tribe may carry the tribal name or some variation thereof, such as Al-Absy, Al-Absi, Absy, Absi, Abzi, etc.

Banu Rasheed[edit]

Main article: Bani Rasheed

Currently, Bani Rasheed or Rashaida are sons of Rasheed Al-Zaul . Rasheed AlZual was one of Banu Ab's famous warriors, living in the 7th century, and afterwards his progeny had named themselves after them. The Banu Abs tribe are currently located in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Sudan, Eritrea, Jordan and Persian Gulf states .

Distinctive Culture[edit]

The modern Bedouins in Arabia value Ancient Arabic traditions such as chivalry, honor, bravery, honesty, nobility, hospitality, and generosity. The Banu 'Abs however are known for their unique values that greatly value very old traditions above and much more, which are distinct alongside many other tribes in Arabia, that have succeeded in preserving their traditional dress, language, and ethics although several countries around them have been Westernized. Their dialect is Nejdi, and are a mix between the Northern people of Hail, and also it is evident that they speak in a Bedouin dialect as well. They even have their own tribal emblem or symbol, which is common amongst Arab tribes.

Notable Tribe Members[edit]

See also[edit]


(Arabic Websites)