Mehri people

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"Meheri" redirects here. For other uses, see Mahra.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Mehri, Soqotri, Arabic, Somali

Mehri (var. Al-Mahrah, Al-Meheri, Al-Mahri or Al-Mahra (Arabic: المهرة‎), also known as Al-Mahrah tribe (Arabic: قبيلة المهرة‎) and Arab Salah (Somali: Carab Saalax), are an ethnic group primarily inhabiting South Arabia.


Map of Yemen showing Al Mahrah Governorate.

The Mehri are one of the largest tribes in the Al Mahrah Governorate of Yemen and in the island of Socotra. Group members are also found in other countries in the Arabian Peninsula, mainly Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and UAE.[1] Additionally, the Arab Salah clan of Al Mahrah tribe resides in the Puntland region in northeastern Somalia.[2]

According to Ethnologue, there are around 115,200 total Mehri speakers. Of those, 50,000 live in Yemen (2011), 50,800 in Oman (2000), and 14,400 in Kuwait (2000).[1]


The Mehri speak the Mehri language as their native language. It belongs to the Modern South Arabian (MSA) subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic family's Semitic branch.[1]

Mehri is divided into two main dialects: Eastern Mehri (Mehriyot) and Western Mehri (Mehriyet). These idioms in turn have urban and Bedouin varieties.[1]

On the island of Socotra, the Mehri people speak the Soqotri language.

The Mehri language is most closely related to other MSA languages such as Bathari and Socotri, the latter of which is spoken on the island of Socotra. These tongues collectively share many features with the Old South Arabian languages (Epigraphic South Arabian), as spoken by the ancient Sabaeans, Minaeans and Qatabanians.[3]

Additionally, many Mehri today speak as a second language Arabic and Somali, both of which are also Afro-Asiatic languages.


The Mehri are predominantly Muslim adherents.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Mehri language". Ethnologue. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Mehri (Arab Salah)". IRBC. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Kees Versteegh, C. H. M. Versteegh (1997). The Arabic Language. Columbia University Press. p. 23. ISBN 0231111525.