Banu Judham

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The Banu Judham (Arabic: بنو جذام‎‎, Banu Jutham or Bani Jutham) is a Yemeni tribe that emigrated to Syria and Egypt and dwelled with the Azd and Hamdan Kahlani tribes. Most Arab genealogists are not sure whether they are a Kahlani or a Himyarite tribe.

Settling in Syria and Egypt[edit]

The Judham (Jurham) tribe itself claimed Yemeni origin. They maintained an alliance with the Kalbid, Banu Amela and Azdi tribes in the Ghassanid kingdom, they mainly settled Amman, Jabal Amel, Northern Egypt and Tabuk.

Prior to Islam, Banu Judham was described as a Christian tribe[1][2] and served as foederati for the Byzantine Empire. Some sections were also inclined towards Judaism, however, few actually converted to the faith.[3]

Islamic era[edit]

During Muhammad's lifetime, Judham rejected the message and preaching of the Muslims and remained loyal to the Byzantine Empire.[4]

At the time of the Battle of Yarmouk in 636, they were combined to the Ghassanid columns that defected to the Muslims. Most the tribe converted to Islam and eventually broke off the alliance with the Ghassanids, along with the Kalbids they played an important role in the Islamization of Syria.

During the First Fitna between Muawiyah and Ali, Judham (like all other Arab tribes of Palestine and Jordan) completely supported the former. The tribe was later divided, when its leader allied with Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr in his rebellion against the Umayyads.[5]

Alliance with Kalbids[edit]

They were allies to the Umayyids, supporting the Kalb tribe against that of Qais, although not in the Battle of Marj Rahit (684). Their alliance was to cost them dearly. The Qaisi tribes gained more power after the fall of the Ummayyids and the rise of their new allies in Baghdad (the Abbasids), which led to a series of revenge wars that extended until the 18th century.

Banu Judham eventually fused with Banu Amela in the Galilee area, and in the early 11th century, they moved into southern Lebanon.[6]


  1. ^ Ian Gilman; Hans-Joachim Klimkeit (11 Jan 2013). Christians in Asia before 1500. Routledge. p. 83. ISBN 9781136109782. 
  2. ^ Smith, Gerald Rex; Smart, James R.; Pridham, Brian R., eds. (1 Jan 1996). New Arabian Studies, Volume 3 (illustrated ed.). University of Exeter Press. p. 95. ISBN 9780859894791. 
  3. ^ Moshe Gil (27 Feb 1997). A History of Palestine, 634-1099 (revised ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 18. ISBN 9780521599849. 
  4. ^ Moshe Gil (27 Feb 1997). A History of Palestine, 634-1099 (revised ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 24. ISBN 9780521599849. 
  5. ^ Moshe Gil (27 Feb 1997). A History of Palestine, 634-1099 (revised ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 76–7. ISBN 9780521599849. 
  6. ^ Kenneth M. Setton; Norman P. Zacour; Harry W. Hazard (1 Sep 1985). A History of the Crusades: The Impact of the Crusades on the Near East (illustrated ed.). Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 91. ISBN 9780299091446. 
  • Almaqhafi, Awwad: Qabayl Wa Biton Al-Arab