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Genealogy of the Hawazin tribe

The Hawazin (Arabic: هوازن‎‎ / ALA-LC: Hawāzin) Is an Arab tribe or group of tribes based in the Hejaz. They formed part of the larger Qaysi tribal grouping, and were the main Qaysi force that fought the Quraysh and Kinana during the Fijar War in the late 6th century. In the pre-Islamic era, the tribe often clashed with their one-time patrons, the Ghatafan, and on occasion, sub-tribes of the Hawazin fought each other. The tribe had little contact with the Islamic prophet Muhammad until 630 when they were defeated by Muhammad's forces at the Battle of Hunayn. After the battle, Muhammad treated the Hawazin chief Malik ibn 'Awf al-Nasri well, which paid dividends during the Arab tribal insurrections following Muhammad's death in 632. The Hawazin were a large group that included the sub-tribes of Banu Sa'd, Banu Nasr, Banu Jusham, Banu Thaqif and the Banu 'Amir. However, the latter two subtribes were often counted as separate groupings from the rest of Hawazin, though they remained close allies.

Origins and branches[edit]

The Hawazin were a large Arab tribe or tribal confederation whose progenitor was Hawāzin ibn Manṣūr ibn ʿIkrima ibn Khaṣafa ibn Qays ʿAylān.[1] As such, the tribe formed part of the larger Qays Aylan group (also known simply as "Qays").[1] In the traditional sources, references to the Hawazin were often restricted to certain descendants of the tribe, known as ʿUjz Hawāzin (the rear of Hawazin); these subtribes were the Banu Sa'd, Banu Nasr and Banu Jusham.[1] The founders of these subtribes were either the sons of Bakr ibn Hawazin or the sons of Mu'awiya ibn Bakr ibn Hawazin.[1] Two other major branches of the Hawazin, the Banu 'Amir ibn Sa'sa' and the Banu Thaqif, were often grouped separately from the other Hawazin subtribes.[1]


Pre-Islamic era[edit]

The Hawazin were pastoral nomads that inhabited the steppes between Mecca and Medina.[2] Beginning around 550 CE, the Hawazin became a vassal tribe of the Banu 'Abs of Ghatafan under the 'Absi chieftain Zuhayr ibn Jadhima.[1][3] When the latter was killed by the Banu 'Amir ibn Sa'sa' some years later, the Hawazin discontinued their tribute to Ghatafan.[1][3] Sporadic battles and wars occurred in the following years, often between the bulk of the Hawazin, in alliance with the Banu Sulaym, on one side, and the bulk of the Ghatafan on the other.[1] Less often, there were armed feuds among certain Hawazin subtribes, particularly between the Banu Jusham and Banu Fazara.[1]

During the Fijar War in the late 6th century, the Hawazin and much of the Qays, excluding the Ghatafan but including the Banu 'Amir, Banu Muharib and Banu Sulaym, fought against the Quraysh and Kinana tribes. The war was precipitated by the murder of 'Urwa ibn al-Rahhal of the Banu 'Amir by al-Barrad ibn Qays al-Damri of Kinana while 'Urwa was escorting a Lakhmid caravan from al-Hirah to Ukaz during the holy season; this was considered sacrilegious by the pagan Arabs, hence the war's name, ḥarb al-fijār (the war of sacrilege).[4] This incident occurred amid a trade war between the Quraysh of Mecca and the Banu Thaqif of Ta'if; the latter were both kinsmen and allies of the Hawazin.[1] The war consisted of eight battle days occurring over the span of four years.[4]

After hearing news of 'Urwa's death, the Hawazin pursued al-Barrad's Qurayshi patron Harb ibn Umayya and other Qurayshi chieftains from Ukaz to Nakhla; the Quraysh were defeated, but the chieftains were able to escape to Mecca.[4] The following year, the Hawazin were again victorious against the Quraysh and Kinana at Shamta near Ukaz.[4] The latter became the site of battle during the next year, and the Hawazin once again defeated the same parties.[4] The Quraysh and Kinana defeated the Hawazin at Ukaz or a nearby site called Sharab in the fourth major battle of the Fijar War, but the Hawazin recuperated and landed a blow against the Quraysh in the al-Harrah volcanic fields north of Mecca in the fifth and final significant engagement of the war.[4] Afterward, minor clashes occurred before peace was established.[4]

Islamic era[edit]

There was scant contact between Hawazin and the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who hailed from the Quraysh tribe.[5] However, there were generally good relations with the Banu 'Amir.[5] Also, Muhammad's wet nurse, Halima bint Abu Dhu'ayb, came from the Hawazin subtribe of Banu Sa'd.[5] It was not until Muhammad's victorious entry into Mecca, that the first major encounter between the main body of Hawazin and the Muslims under Muhammad occurred.[5] Muhammad heard that Malik ibn 'Awf of the Banu Nasr was mobilizing a large force of Hawazin and Thaqif tribesmen near Mecca, thus threatening the city and the Muslims, and prompting Muhammad's forces, including a 2,000 Qurayshi tribesmen, to confront Malik's forces at the Battle of Hunayn in 630.[5] During this engagement, the Thaqif managed to escape to Ta'if, but the Hawazin were routed and lost much of their property.[5] However, Muhammad immediately reconciled with the Hawazin by returning Malik's wife and children to him, giving him a gift of camels and recognizing his chieftainship of the Hawazin.[5] The Hawazin had to pay a sum to retrieve their captive women and children.[5]

The Hawazin discontinued the sadaqa (payment) to the Muslim authorities in Medina following Muhammad's death in 632, but unlike many other Arab tribes, did not take part in combat against Muhammad's successor Abu Bakr during the Ridda Wars.[5] This was most likely the result of their well-treatment by Muhammad and the Muslims in the aftermath of Hunayn.[5] The Hawazin ultimately returned to the Islamic fold by the end of the war.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Watt 1971, p. 285.
  2. ^ Donner 2010, p. 95.
  3. ^ a b Fück 1965, p. 1023.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Fück 1965, p. 883.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Watt 1971, p. 286.
  6. ^ Donner 2010, p. 101.


  • Donner, Fred M. (2010). Muhammad and the Believers, at the Origins of Islam. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-05097-6. 
  • Fück, J. W. (1965). "Fidjār". In Lewis, B; Pellat, Ch; Schacht, J. The Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. 2, C-G (2nd ed.). Leiden: Brill. pp. 883–884. ISBN 90-04-07026-5. 
  • Fück, J. W. (1965). "Ghatafan". In Lewis, B; Pellat, Ch; Schacht, J. The Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. 2, C-G (2nd ed.). Leiden: Brill. pp. 1023–1024. ISBN 90-04-07026-5. 
  • Watt, W. Montgomery (1971). "Hawāzin". In Lewis, B; Ménage, M. L.; Pellat, Ch; Schacht, J. The Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. 3, H-Iram (2nd ed.). Leiden: Brill. p. 285–286. ISBN 90-04-08118-6.