Oral tradition says that the tribe would have left Arabia to go to Egypt. According to their legend they rebelled against the Caliph of Baghdad in the second half of the 10th century. In 1049, when the Zirid ruler of Tunisia rebelled against Egypt, nomads were sent to punish them. Ibn Khaldun, an early Tunisian historian, said they were like "a cloud of locusts" when they invaded Tunisia. The Arab poets told of their many conquests as they moved west. They were defeated in a series of battles during the 12th century by the Moroccan dynasty. They did come from the Najd in Arabia. And the Banu Hilal did control much of North Africa for over a century. The Banu Hilal were installed between Tangier and Marrakesh by the Almohads in the 12th century.
- Almsaodi, Abdulaziz. Modern history of Yemen
- 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
- Allen James Fromherz, Ibn Khaldun: Life and Times (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, ©2010), p. 142
- Medieval Islamic Civilization; an Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, eds. Josef W. Meri; Jere L. Bacharach (New York; Oxford: Routledge, 2006), p. 231
- Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, Volume 1, eds. Julie Scott Meisami; Paul Starkey (London; New York: Routledge, 2003), p. 133
- Epic Traditions in the Contemporary World, The Poetics of Community, eds. Margaret Beissinger; Jane Tylus; Susanne Wofford (Berkeley; Los Angeles; Oxford: The University of California Press, 1999), p. 156
- Ibn Khaldoun, p. 242