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Hagarenes (Greek Ἀγαρηνοί Agarenoi, Classical Syriac: ܗܓܪܝܐ Hagráyé or ܡܗܓܪܝܐ Mhaggráyé), is a term that widely used by early Syriac, Greek, Coptic and Armenian sources to describe the early Arab conquerors of Mesopotamia, Syria and Egypt.

The name was used in Judeo-Christian literature and Byzantine chronicles for "Hanif" Arabs, and later for Islamic forces as a synonym of the term Saracens. The Syriac term "Hagraye" can be roughly translated as "the followers or descendants of Hagar",[1] while the other frequent name, "Mhaggraye", is thought to have connections with the Arabic "Muhajir",[2] other scholars assume that the terms may not be of Judeo-Christian origin.[2] Patricia Crone and Michael Cook claim in their book Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World was introduced by the Muslims themselves who described their military advance into the Levant and Jerusalem in particular as a Hijra.[3]

The name, used interchangeably with Ishmaelites, came also to mean any Muslim. An example of its current usage is Ahryani (Aхряни), a name used for Bulgarian Muslims in colloquial Bulgarian - although this term has also been explained as paralleling the spread of Balkan Islam with anti-trinitarian Arianism[citation needed].


  1. ^ Hoyland 1997, p. 123
  2. ^ a b Hoyland 1997, p. 180
  3. ^ Crone & Cook 1977, p. 1977


Hoyland, Robert G. (1997), Seeing Islam as others saw it: a survey and evaluation of Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian writings on early Islam, Darwin Press, ISBN 978-0-87850-125-0