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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Group of Berber tribes.
LanguageChelha (Berber language)
ReligionIslam (predominantly)

The Masmuda (Arabic: المصمودة, Berber: ⵉⵎⵙⵎⵓⴷⵏ[1]) is a Berber tribal confederation of Morocco and one of the largest in the Maghreb, along with the Zenata and the Sanhaja.[2] Today, the Masmuda confederacy largely corresponds to the speakers of the Shilha (Tachelhit) Berber variety, whereas other clans, such as Regraga have adopted Arabic.[citation needed]


The Masmuda settled large parts of Morocco, and were largely sedentary and practised agriculture. The residence of the Masmuda aristocracy was Aghmat in the High Atlas mountains. From the 10th century the Berber tribes of the Sanhaja and Zanata groups invaded the lands of the Masmuda, followed from the 12th century onwards by Arab Bedouins (see Banu Hilal).

Ibn Tumart united the Masmuda tribes at the beginning of the 12th century and founded the Almohad movement, which subsequently unified the whole of the Maghreb and Andalusia.[3] After the downfall of the Almohads, however, the particularism of the Masmuda peoples prevailed once more, as a result of which they lost their political significance.

By the 16th century, due to the occupation of many of their former lands by the Banu Hilal and the Banu Ma'qil, the Masmuda were mostly restricted to the more mountainous regions of their former domains.[4]


Prior to the arrival of the Banu Hilal in the late 12th century, the Masmuda were divided largely into three groups: the Ghumara in the north, the Barghawata in the central part of Morocco, and the Masmuda proper in the south.[4]

The anonymous author of the Kitāb Mafāk̲h̲ir al-Barbar (roughly translates as "The Book of the Glories of the Berbers"), a work compiled in 1312,[5] lists the sub-tribes of the Masmuda as: Haha, Regraga, Warika (Ourika), Hazmira, Gadmiwa, Henfisa, Hezerga, Doukkala, Hintata, Maghous, and Tehlawa.[6]

In the north, the Masmuda were generally part of the Ghumara, along with two smaller tribes mentioned by the 11th-century writer al-Bakri: the Aṣṣada, settled between Ksar el-Kebir and Ouazzane, and another tribe settled near Ceuta.[4]

In the south, they were divided widely into two groups: the Masmuda of the plains (north of the Atlas mountains) and the Masmuda of the mountains. In the plains, the main groups were: the Dukkala, the Banu Magir, the Hazmira, the Ragraga, and the Haḥa.[4] The Masmuda of the mountains occupied the High Atlas and the Anti-Atlas mountain regions. In the High Atlas mountains, from east to west, the main groups were: the Glawa, the Haylana (or Aylana), the Warika (or Ourika), the Hazraja, the Aṣṣadan (including the Maṣfiwa, the Maghous, and the Dughagha or Banu Daghugh tribes), the Hintata (including the Ghayghaya tribe), the people of Tinmal, the Ṣawda (or Zawda), the Gadmiwa, and the Ganfīsa (including the Saksawa or Saksiwa),Banu Wawazgit (tifnoute).[4] In the Anti-Atlas and Sous regions, the Masmuda tribes included: the Saktana, and the Hargha. Other tribes are mentioned by the 12th-century writer al-Idrisi, but their names are difficult to decipher in existing manuscripts.[4]

According to Ibn Khaldun, the Haskura or Hasakira group, who were ultimately of Sanhaja origin and also settled in the Atlas mountains, were often associated with Masmuda due to their support of the Almohad cause. Their main tribes were the Zamrawa, the Mughrana, the Garnana, the Ghujdama, the Faṭwaka, the Maṣṭawa, the Hultana, and the Hantifa.[4]


  1. ^ Múrcia, Carles; Sànchez, Carles Múrcia (2021). Gramàtica amaziga: Estàndard del diasistema amazic septentrional. ISBN 9788491686583.
  2. ^ Nelson, Harold D. (1985). Morocco, a country study. Area handbook series. Washington, D.C.: The American University. p. 14.
  3. ^ Nelson 19-20
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Colin, G.S. (1991). "Maṣmūda". In Bosworth, C. E.; van Donzel, E. & Pellat, Ch. (eds.). The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Volume VI: Mahk–Mid. Leiden: E. J. Brill. pp. 741–744. ISBN 978-90-04-08112-3.
  5. ^ Bearman, P.; Bianquis, Th.; Bosworth, C.E.; van Donzel, E.; Heinrichs, W.P., eds. (2012). "Kitāb Mafāk̲h̲ir al-Barbar". Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition (online ed.). Brill. ISBN 9789004161214.
  6. ^ unknown (2005) [1312]. مفاخر البربر [The Glories of the Berbers] (in Arabic). Morocco: دار أبي رقراق للطباعة والنشر. p. 172. ISBN 978-9954-423-46-2.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)

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