Banu Hilal

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Banu Hilal (Arabic: بنو هلال) is the name of an ancient Arab confederation of central Arabia.[1]


In the 11th century, reigning over Ifriqiya, the Zirids somehow recognised the sovereignty of the caliph of Cairo. Probably in 1048, the ruler or viceroy Zirid, al-Mu'izz, decided to stop this sovereignty. The Fatimids were then powerless to lead a punitive expedition.

The Banu Hilal and Banu Sulaym live in a desert between the Nile and the Red Sea and it was difficult for farmers in the region because the Bedouins sometimes came to plunder. The vizier of the caliph of Cairo chose to let go of the Maghreb and obtained the agreement of his sovereign. They set off with women, children, camping equipment, some stopping on the way, especially in Cyrenaica, where they are still one of the essential elements of the settlement, but most arrived in Ifriqiya by the Gabes region, Berber armies were defeated in trying to protect the walls of Kairouan.

The Zirids abandoned Kairouan to take refuge on the coast where they survived for a century. Ifriqiya, the Banu Hilal and Banu Sulaym spread is on the high plains of Constantine where they gradually choked the Qal'a of Banu Hammad, as they had done Kairouan few decades ago. From there, they gradually gained the upper Algiers and Oran plains, some were taken to the Moulouya valley and in Doukkala plains by the Caliph of Marrakesh in the second half of the 12th century.

In the 13th century, they occupy all the Maghreb plains with the exception of the main mountain ranges and some coastal regions which served as refuges for the natives. They gave up their old trade breeder of camels to look after the care of the sheep and oxen.

Ibn Khaldun, a Muslim historian writes:[2]

Further reading[edit]

  • Almsaodi, Abdulaziz. Modern history of Yemen


  1. ^ Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, eds. Anthony Appiah; Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Second Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 360
  2. ^ "François Decret, Les invasions hilaliennes en Ifrîqiya - Clio - Voyage Culturel". Retrieved 2015-11-21.