Hināwī are one of two major tribes of Oman, the other being the Ghāfirī. Characterized as two significant divisions having distinct interests and organizations, their rivalry has been described as one section of each almost always at war with a section of the other. Several tribal groups make up the Hinawi alliance, such as the Dhowahir, Beni Yas, and the Awamir, as well as the Harasis. During the civil wars in Persia, which resulted from Nader Shah’s intervention in the 1737-38 and 1742-44, the two major tribal confederations of Hanawi and Ghafiri came into existence in Oman, though they had roots in earlier allegiances. They had a decisive role in the political history of Oman, with Omani tribes affiliating with either the Ghafiri or Hinawi alliances.
The name Hinawi is derived from "Bani Hina". The Hinawis migrated to Oman in 200 AD following the catastrophe caused by the failure of the Marib Dam. Selection of the Ibadi Imamate in 8th century Oman was secured by an agreement which included Hinawis and Ghafiri leadership. When the tribes migrated to Oman, there were two distinct groups of Yemeni descent, one was the Azdites which included Ibadi and Hinawi creeds while the Sunnis and Ghāfirī creeds belonged to the second group of Nizari (Nejdi). Frequent conflicts between the two groups came to the fore during the election of the Imamate in 1719, which was contested by one Hinawi and one Ghafiri candidate. A typical trait of the rivalry was witnessed in the support each confederation provided to ruling sultans to further their own interests. During the conflicts between the confederations, and the rivalry of the imam and the sultan, the British played an intermediary role which resulted in a stable Sultanate in Oman during the period of 1920-54. Although feuds still persist, the outburst is generally limited in the present day to football rivalry between the teams of both confederations.
Hinawi Federated Tribes
The following were recorded as Hinawi associated tribes in northern and central Oman:
- Al 'Awamir
- Al Harasis
- Al Hijariyin
- Al Hirth
- Al Wahibah
- Bani Hina
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