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Hagarenes (Greek: Ἀγαρηνοί Agarenoi, Syriac: ܗܓܪܝܐHagráyé or ܡܗܓܪܝܐ Mhaggráyé), is a term widely used by early Syriac, Greek, Coptic and Armenian sources to describe the early Arab conquerors of Mesopotamia, Syria and Egypt.

The name was used in Christian literature and Byzantine chronicles for "Hanif" Arabs, and later for Islamic forces as a synonym of the term Saracens. The Syriac term "Hagraye" can be roughly translated as "the followers or descendants of Hagar",[1] while the other frequent name, "Mhaggraye", is thought to have connections with the Arabic "Muhajir",[2] other scholars assume that the terms may not be of Christian origin.[2] Patricia Crone and Michael Cook claim in their book Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World was introduced by the Muslims themselves who described their military advance into the Levant and Jerusalem in particular as a Hijra.[3]

The name, used interchangeably with Ishmaelites, came also to mean any Muslim. An example of its current usage is Ahryani (Aхряни), a name used for Bulgarian Muslims in colloquial Bulgarian - although this term has also been explained as paralleling the spread of Balkan Islam with anti-trinitarian Arianism.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Hoyland 1997, p. 123
  2. ^ a b Hoyland 1997, p. 180
  3. ^ Crone & Cook 1977, p. 1977


Hoyland, Robert G. (1997), Seeing Islam as others saw it: a survey and evaluation of Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian writings on early Islam, Darwin Press, ISBN 978-0-87850-125-0