Banu Abs

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Banu Abs
(Arabic: بنو عبس‎‎)
Ghatafan, Qais, Adnanite
Nisba al-Absi
Location Saudi Arabia, Oman, Sudan, Kuwait, Jordan, United Arab Emirates
Descended from Abs ibn Bughaydh ibn Raith ibn Ghatafan
Branches Banu Rasheed, Banu Rawaha
Religion Sunni Islam

The Banu Abs (Arabic: بنو عبس‎‎, lit. "sons of ʿAbs") are an ancient Bedouin tribe from central Arabia. They form a branch of the 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. Their descendants today are the Bani Rasheed located in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Jordan, and the Banu Rawaha located mostly in Oman and the UAE. Some of the Rashaida people in Sudan have intermarried with the Mahas tribe of the Butana region in Sudan (a tribe from the Banu Khazraj and from the mother's side Nubians) which makes them Azdite and Adnanite.


The Banu Abs are of the Northern Arabized Arabs, meaning they descend from Adnan. The Banu Abs descend from Abs ibn Bughaydh ibn Raith ibn Ghatafan ibn Sa'd ibn Qais Ailan ibn Mudar ibn Nizar ibn Ma'ad ibn Adnan.[1] They are related to numerous other Arabian tribes, being distant cousins of the Quraysh, Banu Tamim, and Banu Kinanah. The Banu Thibyaan and Mutayr are also descended from Ghatafan. The large and prestigious Banu Rasheed is descended from the Banu Abs; the great-grandfather of the Banu Rasheed is Rasheed al Zaul of the Banu Abs tribe.


The Banu Abs originated almost 2,000 years ago, branching from the Ghatafan clan, and inhabiting the outskirts of Hail in modern Nejd, 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 Al-Dahhas wil Ghabraa, between them and their cousins Banu Thibyaan, which had lasted almost 40 years. The war had ended when the King Zuhayr 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. Their traditions further recall 3000 of them repelling a Sasanian attack of 20000.

Absi traditions tell of their prophet Khalid bin Sinan (b. Ghayth b. Murayta b. Makhzum b. Malik b. Ghalib b. Qutaya b. 'Abs) who taught them Biblical monotheism, and the worship of God as "al-ahad al-samad", prior to Muhammad.[2] It was told that Khalid saved his tribe (accounts differ on how) and that most men of the Abs rejected this prophet at the time.[3]

During the Arab conquests some Absis remembered their prophet Khalid again; others, like Ubayy b. 'Amara b. Malik, accepted Muhammad as Prophet and are now ranked as Companions.[4] Some Absis settled at Manbij in Syria,[5] others at the Nile. In north Africa one Ka'b a close relative of Khalid (some say the son of his daughter) adopted some Berbers as clients, and spread the word of Khalid amongst them alongside that of Muhammad.[6]

As Muslims the Abs (and some Berbers) insisted on their veneration for Khalid; some have claimed that Khalid prophesied the last prophet after him, who in Islam is Muhammad.[7] Another tradition has it that King Zuhayr had predicted Muhammad, but Zuhayr is not called prophet for that.

On Khalid's status, the Muslims have historically been divided. Other Arab tribes had either suffered false prophets, as the Asad suffered Tulayha; or, like the 'Ad and the Thamud, they received the preachings of their Prophets, disbelieved, and were destroyed[8] (although some living tribes have claimed a rebirth from those dead tribes' surviving prophets, as Yemenis claim of Hud). Also if the bedouin Khalid were accepted as a prophet between Jesus and Muhammad this is constrained by Q. 12:109, which insists that Apostles must come from the towns.[9]

Antarah ibn Shaddad al-Absi[edit]

Main article: Antarah ibn Shaddad

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 a leader of the Banu ʿAbs Shaddad and his mother was Zabiba, an African slave who was captured in battle.

Modern times[edit]

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

  • 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.
  • Former Parliament Member, Barrak bin Nassir kAl-Noun Al-Aouni, one of also the most influential figures in Kuwait today.
  • The president of the Arab Parliament and Current Kuwaiti Parliament Member, Ali bin Salim Al-Ajiylan Al-Diqbasii
  • 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.
  • Sudan's current State Minister of Transport and Roads, HE Dr. Mabrouk Mubarak Salim.

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:

  • Dr. Basheer Alrashidi (Psychiatrist)
  • Mohammed Al-Rashidi (Journalist)
  • Dr. Mustafa al'Absi (Professor)
  • Mohammed Al-Rasheedi (Politician)

Some of the Rashaida people have intermarried with the Mahas people of the Butana region in Sudan. The Mahas people are a tribe that descend from the Banu Khazraj of Saudi Arabia and the Nubians, from the mother's side. It is unclear when exactly they intermarried, and which full name they would carry, back to Adnan (of the Rashaida) or Qahtan (of the Khazraj) as they are by blood Adnanite and Qahtanite.

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, Kuwait and Jordan. In addition, branches of the tribe can be found in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere in the Arab World, 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, 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]


  1. ^ Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad. The Life of Muhammad. Oxford University Press. p. 4. 
  2. ^ Ella Landau-Tasseron (1997). "Unearthing a Pre-Islamic Arabian Prophet". Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam. 21: 42–61. 
  3. ^ Landau-Tasseron, 48-49, 53.
  4. ^ Landau-Tasseron, 51.
  5. ^ Landau-Tasseron, 52.
  6. ^ Landau-Tasseron, 53.
  7. ^ Landau-Tasseron, 45 n. 16.
  8. ^ Landau-Tasseron, 46.
  9. ^ Landau-Tasseron, 45.

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