A Bedouin family in Oman
|Regions with significant populations|
|Saudi Arabia||1,532,000 (2013)|
|Arabic dialects: Hejazi • Najdi • Hassāniyya • Bedawi|
|majority adhere to Hanbali & Maliki Sunni Islam; small numbers adhere to Shia Islam and Christianity|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Bedouin (, also Bedouins; from the Arabic badw بَدْو or badawiyyīn/badawiyyūn بَدَوِيُّون, plurals of badawī بَدَوِي) are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arabian ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes, or clans, known in Arabic as ʿashāʾir (عَشَائِر).
The Bedouin form a part of, but are not synonymous with, the modern concept of the Arabs. Bedouins have been referred to by various names throughout history, including Qedarites in the Old Testament and "Arab" by the Assyrians (ar-ba-a-a being a nisba of the noun Arab, a name still used for Bedouins today).
While many Bedouins have abandoned their nomadic and tribal traditions for modern urban lifestyle, they retain traditional Bedouin culture with concepts of belonging to ʿašāʾir, traditional music, poetry, dances (like Saas), and many other cultural practices. Urbanised Bedouins also traditionally organise cultural festivals, usually held several times a year, in which they gather with other Bedouins to partake in, and learn about, various Bedouin traditions - from poetry recitation and traditional sword dances, to classes teaching traditional tent knitting and playing traditional Bedouin musical instruments. Traditions like camel riding and camping in the deserts are also popular leisure activities for urbanised Bedouins who live within close proximity to deserts or other wilderness areas.
- Etymology 1
- Society 2
- Early history 3.1
- Ottoman period 3.2
- In the 20th century 3.3
In different countries 4
- In Saudi Arabia 4.1
- In Syria 4.2
- In Egypt 4.3
- In Israel 4.4
- In Jordan 4.5
- Tribes and populations 5
- See also 6
- References 7
- Further reading 8
- External links 9
The term "Bedouin" derives from a plural form of the Arabic word badawī, as it is pronounced in colloquial dialects. The Arabic term badawī (بدوي) literally translates in Arabic as "nomad" or "wanderer." It is derived from the word bādiyah (بَادِية), which means "plain" or "desert". The term "Bedouin" therefore means "those in bādiyah" or "those in the desert". In English usage, however, the form "Bedouin" is commonly used for the singular term, the plural being "Bedouins", as indicated by the Oxford English Dictionary, second edition.
The term "Bedouin" also uses the same root-word as the Arabic noun for "the beginning"; "بداية"; "Bedaya." The Arabs believe the Bedouins to be the predecessors to the settled Arabs, and the word for the ethnicity itself may be influenced by that.
A widely quoted Bedouin saying is "I against my brother, my brothers and I against my cousins, then my cousins and I against strangers". This saying signifies a hierarchy of loyalties based on proximity of kinship that runs from the nuclear family through the lineage, the tribe, and, in principle at least, to an entire genetic or linguistic group (which is perceived to have a kinship basis). Disputes are settled, interests are pursued, and justice and order are maintained by means of this frame, according to an ethic of self-help and collective responsibility (Andersen 14). The individual family unit (known as a tent or gio bayt) typically consisted of three or four adults (a married couple plus siblings or parents) and any number of children.
When resources were plentiful, several tents would travel together as a goum. These groups were sometimes linked by patriarchal lineage, but were just as likely linked by marriage (new wives were especially likely to have close male relatives join them), acquaintance, or no clearly defined relation but a simple shared membership in the tribe.
The next scale of interaction within groups was the ibn ʿamm (cousin, or literally "son of an uncle") or descent group, commonly of three to five generations. These were often linked to goums, but where a goum would generally consist of people all with the same herd type, descent groups were frequently split up over several economic activities, thus allowing a degree of 'risk management'; should one group of members of a descent group suffer economically, the other members of the descent group would be able to support them. Whilst the phrase "descent group" suggests purely a lineage-based arrangement, in reality these groups were fluid and adapted their genealogies to take in new members.
The largest scale of tribal interactions is the tribe as a whole, led by a Sheikh (Arabic: شيخ šayḫ, literally, "old man"). The tribe often claims descent from one common ancestor—as mentioned above. The tribal level is the level that mediated between the Bedouin and the outside governments and organizations. Distinct structure of the Bedouin society leads to long lasting rivalries between different clans.
Bedouin traditionally had strong honor codes, and traditional systems of justice dispensation in Bedouin society typically revolved around such codes. The bisha'a, or ordeal by fire, is a well-known Bedouin practice of lie detection. See also: Honor codes of the Bedouin, Bedouin systems of justice.
Historically, the Bedouin engaged in nomadic herding, agriculture and sometimes fishing. They also earned income by transporting goods and people across the desert. Scarcity of water and of permanent pastoral land required them to move constantly.
In the late 19th century, many Bedouin began transition to a semi-nomadic lifestyle. One of the factors was the influence of the Ottoman empire authorities who started a forced sedentarization of the Bedouin living on its territory. The Ottoman authorities viewed the Bedouin as a threat to the state's control and worked hard on establishing law and order in the Negev.
Under the Tanzimat reforms in 1858 a new Ottoman Land Law was issued which offered legal grounds for the displacement of the Bedouin. As the Ottoman Empire gradually lost power, this law instituted an unprecedented land registration process which was also meant to boost the empire's tax base. Few Bedouin opted to register their lands with the Ottoman Tapu, due to lack of enforcement by the Ottomans, illiteracy, refusal to pay taxes and lack of relevance of written documentation of ownership to the Bedouin way of life at that time.
At the end of the 19th century Sultan Abdülhamid II settled loyal Muslim populations (Circassians) from the Balkan and Caucasus among areas predominantly populated by the nomads in the regions of modern Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel, and also created several permanent Bedouin settlements, although the majority of them did not remain.
Ottoman authorities also initiated private acquisition of large plots of state land offered by the sultan to the absentee landowners (effendis). Numerous tenants were brought in order to cultivate the newly acquired lands. Often it came at the expense of the Bedouin lands.
During World War I, the Negev Bedouin fought with the Turks against the British, but later withdrew from the conflict. Hamad Pasha al-Sufi (died 1923), Sheikh of the Nijmat sub-tribe of the Tarabin, led a force of 1,500 men which joined the Turkish offensive against the Suez Canal.
In Orientalist historiography, the Negev Bedouin have been described as remaining largely unaffected by changes in the outside world until recently. Their society was often considered a "world without time." Recent scholars have challenged the notion of the Bedouin as 'fossilized,' or 'stagnant' reflections of an unchanging desert culture. Emanuel Marx has shown that Bedouin were engaged in a constantly dynamic reciprocal relation with urban centers. Bedouin scholar Michael Meeker explains that "the city was to be found in their midst."
In the 20th century
In the 1950s and 1960 large numbers of Bedouin throughout Midwest Asia started to leave the traditional, nomadic life to settle in the cities of Midwest Asia, especially as hot ranges have shrunk and populations have grown. For example, in Syria, the Bedouin way of life effectively ended during a severe drought from 1958 to 1961, which forced many Bedouin to abandon herding for standard jobs. Similarly, governmental policies in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia, oil-producing Arab states of the Arabic Gulf and Libya, as well as a desire for improved standards of living, effectively led most Bedouin to become settled citizens of various nations, rather than stateless nomadic herders.
Governmental policies pressing the Bedouin have in some cases been executed in an attempt to provide service (schools, health-care, law enforcement and so on—see Chatty 1986 for examples), but in others have been based on the desire to seize land traditionally roved and controlled by the Bedouin. In recent years, some Bedouin have adopted the pastime of raising and breeding white doves, while others have rejuvenated the traditional practice of falconry.
In different countries
In Saudi Arabia
The Arabian Peninsula is the original home of the Bedouin. From here they started to spread out to surrounding deserts, forced out by the lack of water and food. According to tradition, the Saudi Bedouin are descendants of two groups. One group, the Yemenis, settled in the Southwestern Arabia, in the mountains of Yemen, and claim they descend from a semi-legendary ancestral figure, Qahtan (or Joktan). The second group, the Qaysis, settled in North-Central Arabia and claimed they were descendants of the Biblical Ishmael.
According to Muslim tradition, prophet Muhammad succeeded in converting most of the Bedouin to Islam before he died. The Bedouin warriors were the nucleus of the Muslim armies that invaded the Middle East and North Africa in the 7th century and later on.
A number of additional Bedouin tribes reside in Saudi Arabia. Among them are the, Enazah, Shammar, al-Murrah, Qara, Mahra, Harasis, Dawasir, Harb, Mutayr, Subaie, 'Utayba, Qahtan, and Yam. In Arabia and the adjacent deserts there are around 100 large tribes of 1,000 members or more. Some tribes number up to 20,000 and a few of the larger tribes may have up to 100,000 members.
Inside Saudi Arabia the Bedouin remained the majority of the population during the first half of the 20th century. However, due to change of lifestyle their number has decreased dramatically.
Although the Arabian desert was the homeland of the Bedouin, some groups have migrated to the north. It was one of the first lands inhabited by the Bedouin outside the Arabian desert. Today there are over a million Bedouin living in Syria, making a living herding sheep and goats. The largest Bedouin clan in Syria is called Ruwallah. Another famous tribe is `Anizzah (with two distinct groups of Hasana and S'baa inside it) who largely arrived from the Arabian peninsula in the 18th century.
Herding among the Bedouin was common until the late 1950s, when it effectively ended during a severe drought from 1958 to 1961. Due to the drought, many Bedouin were forced to give up herding for standard jobs. Another factor was the formal annulling of the Bedouin tribes’ legal status in Syrian law in 1958, along with attempts of the ruling Ba'ath Party regime to wipe out tribalism. Preferences for customary law (‘urf) in contrast to state law (qanun) have been informally acknowledged and tolerated by the state in order to avoid having its authority tested in the tribal territories. In 1982 the al-Assad family has turned to the Bedouin tribe leaders for assistance during the Muslim Brotherhood uprising against al-Assad government and Hama Blocade. The Bedouin sheikhs' decision to support Hafez al-Assad led to a change in attitude on the part of the government that permitted the Bedouin leadership to manage and transform critical state development efforts supporting their own status, customs and leadership.
Bedouins in Egypt mostly reside in the Sinai peninsula and in the suburbs of Cairo. The past few decades have been difficult for traditional Bedouin culture due to changing surroundings and the establishment of new resort towns on the Red Sea coast, such as Sharm el-Sheikh. Bedouins in Egypt are facing a number of challenges: erosion of traditional values, unemployment, and various land issues. With urbanization and new education opportunities, Bedouins started to marry outside their tribe, a practice that once was completely inappropriate.
Bedouins living in the Sinai peninsula didn't benefit much from employment in the initial construction boom due to low wages offered. Sudanese and Egyptians workers were brought here as construction laborers instead. When the tourist industry started to bloom, local Bedouins increasingly moved into new service positions such as cab drivers, tour guides, campgrounds or cafe managers. However, the competition is very high, and many Sinai Bedouins are unemployed. Since there are not enough employment opportunities, Tarabin Bedouins as well as other Bedouin tribes living along the border between Egypt and Israel are involved in inter-border smuggling of drugs and weapons, as well as infiltration of prostitutes and African labor workers.
In most countries in the Middle East the Bedouin have no land rights, only users’ privileges, and it is especially true for Egypt. Since the mid-1980s, the Bedouins who held desirable coastal property have lost control of much of their land as it was sold by the Egyptian government to hotel operators. The Egyptian government did not see the land as belonging to Bedouin tribes, but rather as a state property.
In the summer of 1999, the latest dispossession of land took place when the army bulldozed Bedouin-run tourist campgrounds north of Nuweiba as part of the final phase of hotel development in the sector, overseen by the Tourist Development Agency (TDA). The director of the Tourist Development Agency dismissed Bedouin rights to most of the land, saying that they had not lived on the coast prior to 1982. Their traditional semi-nomadic culture has left Bedouins vulnerable to such claims.
The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 brought more freedom to the Sinai Bedouin, but since it was deeply involved in weapon smuggling into Gaza after a number of terror attacks on the Egypt-Israel border a new Egyptian government has started a military operation in Sinai in the summer-fall of 2012. Egyptian army has demolished over 120 underground tunnels leading from Egypt to Gaza that were used as smuggling channels and gave profit to the Bedouin families on the Egyptian side, as well as the Palestinian clans on the other side of the border. Thus the army has delivered a threatening message to local Bedouin, compelling them to cooperate with state troops and officials. After negotiations the military campaign ended up with a new agreement between the Bedouin and Egyptian authorities.
Prior to the 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence, when the Negev became part of Israel, an estimated 65,000–90,000 Bedouins lived in the Negev. According to Encyclopedia Judaica, 15,000 Bedouin remained in the Negev after 1948; other sources put the number as low as 11,000.
In 1999, 110,000 Bedouins lived in the Negev, 50,000 in the Galilee and 10,000 in the central region of Israel.
All of the Israeli Bedouin were granted Israeli citizenship in 1954.
The Bedouin who remained in the Negev belonged to the Tiaha confederation as well as some smaller groups such as the 'Azazme and the Jahalin. After 1948, some Negev Bedouins were displaced. The Jahalin tribe, for instance, lived in the Tel Arad region of the Negev prior to the 1950s. In the early 1950s, the Jahalin were among the tribes which, according to Emmanuel Marks, "moved or were removed by the military government." They ended up in the so-called E1 area East of Jerusalem.
About 1,600 Bedouin serve in the Israel Defense Forces, many as trackers in the IDF's elite tracking units.
Famously, Bedouin shepherds were the first to discover the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of Jewish texts from antiquity, in the Judean caves of Qumran in 1946. Of great religious, cultural, historical and linguistic significance, 972 texts were found over the following decade, many of which were discovered by Bedouins.
Successive Israeli administrations tried to urbanize Bedouins in the Negev. Between 1967 and 1989, Israel built seven townships in the north-east of the Negev, with Tel as-Sabi or Tel Sheva the first. The largest, city of Rahat, has a population of over 53,000 (as of December 2010); as such it is the largest Bedouin settlement in the world. According to the Israel Land Administration (2007), some 60 per cent of the Negev Bedouin live in urban areas. As for the rest, they live in so-called unrecognized villages which are not officially recognized by the state due to general planning issues. They were built chaotically without taking into consideration local infrastructure. These communities are scattered all over the Northern Negev and often are situated in inappropriate places, such as military fire zones, natural reserves, landfills, etc.
On September 29, 2003 Israeli government has adapted a new "Abu Basma Plan" (Resolution 881), according to which a new regional council was formed, unifying a number of unrecognized Bedouin settlements - Abu Basma Regional Council. This resolution also regarded the need to establish seven new Bedouin settlements in the Negev, literally meaning the official recognition of unrecognized settlements, providing them with a municipal status and consequently with all the basic services and infrastructure. The council was established by the Interior Ministry on 28 January 2004.
Israel is currently building or enlarging some 13 towns and cities in the Negev. According to the general planning, all of them will be fully equipped with the relevant infrastructure: schools, medical clinics, postal offices, etc. and they also will have electricity, running water and waste control. Several new industrial zones meant to fight unemployment are planned, some are already being constructed, like Idan haNegev in the suburbs of Rahat. It will have a hospital and a new campus inside. The Bedouins of Israel receive free education and medical services from the state. They are allotted child cash benefits, which has contributed to the high birthrate among the Bedouin (5% growth per year). But unemployment rate remains very high, and few obtain a high school degree (4%), and even fewer graduate from college (0.6%).
In September 2011, the Israeli government approved a five-year economic development plan called the Prawer plan. One of its implications is a relocation of some 30.000-40.000 Negev Bedouin from areas not recognized by the government to government-approved townships. According to Jonathan Cook, the European Union has recently begun to call these relocations instances of forced transfer. In a 2012 resolution the European Parliament called for the withdrawal of the Prawer plan and respect for the rights of the Bedouin people. In September 2014, Yair Shamir, who heads the Israeli government's ministerial committee on Bedouin resettlement arrangements, admitted the government was examining ways to lower the birthrate of the Bedouin community. Shamir claimed that without intervention, the Bedouin population could exceed half a million by 2035, which troubles Israelis determined to preserve the Jewish character of the state.
Most of the Bedouin tribes migrated from the Arabian Peninsula to what is Jordan today between the 14th and 18th centuries. Today Bedouins make up from 33% to 40% of the population of Jordan. Often they are referred to as a backbone of the Kingdom, since Bedouin clans traditionally support the monarchy.
Most of Jordan’s Bedouin live in the vast wasteland that extends east from the Desert Highway. The eastern Bedouin are camel breeders and herders, while the western Bedouin herd sheep and goats. Some Bedouin in Jordan are seminomads, they adopt a nomadic existence during part of the year but return to their lands and homes in time to practice agriculture.
The largest nomadic groups of Jordan are the Banū (Banī laith)(they reside in petra)-- baniṢakhr and Banū al-Ḥuwayṭāt (they reside in Wadi Rum). There are numerous lesser groups, such as the al-Sirḥān (they live near the Iraqi border on the north of Jordan), Banū Ḥasan, Banū Khālid, Hawazim, ʿAṭiyyah, and Sharafāt. The Ruwālah (Rwala) tribe, which is not indigenous, passes through Jordan in its yearly wandering from Syria to Saudi Arabia.
The Jordanian government provides the Bedouin with different services such as education, housing and health clinics. However, some Bedouins give it up and prefer their traditional nomadic lifestyle.
In the recent years there is a growing discontent of the Bedouin with the ruling monarch, but the king manages to deal with it. In August 2007, police clashed with some 200 Bedouins who were blocking the main highway between Amman and the port of Aqaba. Livestock herders, they were protesting the government's lack of support in the face of the steeply rising cost of animal feed, and expressed resentment about government assistance to refugees.
Arab Spring events in 2011 led to demonstrations in Jordan, and Bedouins took part in them. But it is unlikely that the Hashemites are to expect a revolt similar to turbulence in other Arab states. The main reasons for that are the high respect to the monarch, and contradictory interests of different groups of the Jordanian society. The King Abdullah II maintains his distance from the complaints by allowing blame to fall on government ministers, whom he replaces at will.
Tribes and populations
There are a number of Bedouin tribes, but the total population is often difficult to determine, especially as many Bedouin have ceased to lead nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyles. Below is a partial list of Bedouin tribes and their historic place of origin.
- Ababda, tribe in Eastern Egypt, Northeastern Sudan and Eastern Libya.
- al-Ajman, from Eastern Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states.
- Kathiri, in the Hadhramaut region of the southern Arabian Peninsula, in what is now part of Yemen and the Dhofar region of Oman.
- `Anizzah, some tribes of this confederation are Bedouin, they live in Northern Saudi Arabia, Western Iraq, the Persian Gulf states, and the Syrian steppe.
- 'Azazme, Negev and Egypt.
- al-Balawi, a powerful tribe that lives in Northern Saudi Arabia, Southern Jordan and Israel, Egyptian Sinai, Western Iraq, Eastern Sudan.
- al-Baggara, from Syria and Iraq.
- Bani Hajer (al-Hajri or al-Hajeri), a large and powerful tribe in Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf states.
- Banu Hammed, one of the large tribes of southern Iran, now migrated to UAE, Qatar and Bahrain.
- Beni Hamida, east of Dead Sea, Jordan.
- Banu Hothail, one of the largest Adnanite Arab tribes.
- Bani Kinanah, a large tribe spanning Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco and other countries.
- Quraysh, a large clan of Bani Kinanah tribe, prophet Muhammad belongs to this tribe.
- Bani Khalid, a large tribe spanning Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Jordan.
- Bani Okal or Bani Uqayl, they reside mainly in the area between Riyadh and Al Qaseem in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Gaza strip, and Iraq.
- Bani Rasheed Rashaida in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Jordan, Lebanon, Arab States of the Persian Gulf and North Africa.
- Bani Truf in Ahwaz, which is located in the Southwest Iran near Iraqi border.
- Bani Tameem in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Qatar, Jordan, and Palestinian Territories.
- Bani Ark or Al-Arki or Al-Buarki, as known in Bahrain, is a rather small tribe that originates from Yemen but is now a minority in the country; currently the tribe is found in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Bahrain, Sudan and Egypt. The tribe is of Qahatani origin and a sub-tribe of the ancient well-known tribe Juhayna.
- Banu Yam centered in Najran Province, Saudi Arabia and Iraq
- Beni Ḥassān, one of the largest tribes in Jordan and Sudan (Hassaniya).
- Beni Sakhr in Sudan (Shokriya), Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Syria and Jordan.
- al Buainain live in the Western Persian Gulf states, especially in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain.
- al Bu Romaih reside in Qatar.
- Dulaim, a very large and powerful tribe in Al Anbar, Western Iraq.
- al-Duwasir, south of Riyadh.
- Ghamid, large tribe from Al-Bahah Province, Saudi Arabia, mostly settled, but with a small Bedouin section known as Badiyat Ghamid.
- al-Hadid, large Bedouin tribe found in Iraq, Syria and Jordan. Now mostly are settled in cities such as Haditha in Iraq, Homs & Hama in Syria, and Amman in Jordan.
- Harb, a large tribe, centered around Medina, but also extending northwards towards Tabuk and eastwards towards Al-Qassim.
- al-Howaitat, one of the largest tribes in Jordan (al-Hesa).
- al-Hajaya, one of the well-known Bedouin tribes in south of Jordan (al-Qetraanah, Muhai, al-Hamdiya, al-Abyadh, al-Jurf, al-Saddeh and al-Hesa).
- al-Khassawneh, one of the largest tribes in Northern Irbid Jordan and well known for the long history dominating the North.
- Ja'alin tribe found in north Sudan; they are Hashemite Arab tribe tracing their origin to ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib.
- al Jalahma, a family that belongs to the Utub tribe, they reside in the Persian Gulf states.
- Juhayna (tribe), a large tribe; many of its warriors were recruited as mercenaries during World War I by Prince Faisal, surrounds the area of Mecca, and extends to Southern Medina and can also be found in Sudan as the biggest Qahtani tribe.
- Khawalid in Jordan, Israel, Egypt and Syria.
- al-Majali South Jordan Majalis have long dominated Karak Bedouin society, Strongest tribe in Karak, one of the largest political power in Jordan
- Makki tribes from Banu Abdul Qays; they live in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Sudan and Oman.
- Manasir, a large tribe found in Eastern Arabia and Eastern Sudan.
- al-Mawasi, a group living on the central Gaza Strip coast.
- al-Murrah, tribe residing in Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Upper Egypt.
- Murad, a tribe living 150 miles south-east of the capital of Yemen.
- Mutair, estimated at about 1,200,000 members; live in the Nejd plateau; many families from the Mutair tribe live in the Persian Gulf states and in Iraq.
- Muzziena tribe in Dahab and South Sinai (Egypt).
- al Nuaim a large tribe in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
- Rwala, a large clan from the Aniza tribe, live in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, but extend through Jordan into Syria and Lebanon, in the 1970s, according to Lancaster, there were 250,000–500,000 Rwala.
- Shahran (al-Ariydhah), a very large tribe residing in the area between Bisha, Khamis Mushait and Abha. Al-Arydhah 'wide' is a famous name for Shahran because it has a very large area, in Saudi Arabia.
- Shammar, one of the biggest Arab tribes with 4 million members in Iraq, mainly in central and western Iraq and 3.5 million members in Saudi Arabia, and a presence in eastern Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Turkey and Iran (Ahvaz) as well.
- Subay', central Nejd.
- Tarabin - one of the largest tribes in Egypt (Sinai) and Israel (Negev). They include many families like al-Sanea'.
- Tuba-Zangariyye, Israel near Syria.
- Utaybah large tribe in western and central Saudi Arabia.
- Zahranites or the zahrani community in al Baha, Saudi Arabia, is (Arabic: زهران) a Bedouin tribe. Along with other Arabian tribes, it is considered one of the few original populations of the Arabian Peninsula. The Zahrani are one of the five largest tribes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with Ghamid, Shahran, and Qahtan.
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- Ethan Bronner, Jordan Faces a Rising Tide of Unrest, but Few Expect a Revolt, The New York Times, February 4, 2011
- Asher, Michael "Last of the Bedu" Penguin Books 1996
- Brous, Devorah. "The 'Uprooting:' Education Void of Indigenous 'Location-Specific' Knowledge, Among Negev Bedouin Arabs in Southern Israel;" International Perspectives on Indigenous Education. (Ben Gurion University 2004)
- Chatty, D Mobile Pastoralists 1996. Broad introduction to the topic, specific focus on women's issues.
- Chatty, Dawn. From Camel to Truck. The Bedouin in the Modern World. New York: Vantage Press. 1986
- Cole, Donald P. "Where have the Bedouin gone?". Anthropological Quarterly. Washington: Spring 2003.Vol.76, Iss. 2; pg. 235
- Falah, Ghazi. “Israeli State Policy Towards Bedouin Sedentarization in the Negev,” Journal of Palestine Studies, 1989 Vol. XVIII, No. 2, pp. 71–91
- Falah, Ghazi. “The Spatial Pattern of Bedouin Sedentarization in Israel,” GeoJournal, 1985 Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 361–368.
- Gardner, Andrew. The Political Ecology of Bedouin Nomadism in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In Political Ecology Across Spaces, Scales and Social Groups, Lisa Gezon and Susan Paulson, eds. Rutgers: Rutgers University Press.
- Gardner, Andrew. The New Calculus of Bedouin Pastoral Nomadism in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Human Organization 62 (3): 267-276.
- Gardner, Andrew and Timothy Finan. Navigating Modernization: Bedouin Pastoralism and Climate Information in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies 4 (Spring): 59-72.
- Gardner, Ann. "At Home in South Sinai." Nomadic Peoples 2000.Vol.4,Iss. 2; pp. 48–67. Detailed account of Bedouin women.
- Jarvis, Claude Scudamore. Yesterday and To-day in Sinai. Edinburgh/London: W. Blackwood & Sons; Three Deserts. London: John Murray, 1936; Desert and Delta. London: John Murray, 1938. Sympathetic accounts by a colonial administrator in Sinai.
- Lancaster, William. The Rwala Bedouin Today 1981 (Second Edition 1997). Detailed examination of social structures.
- S. Leder/B. Streck (ed.): Shifts and Drifts in Nomad-Sedentary Relations. Nomaden und Sesshafte 2 (Wiesbaden 2005)
- Lithwick, Harvey. "An Urban Development Strategy for the Negev’s Bedouin Community;" Center for Bedouin Studies and Development and Negev Center for Regional Development, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, August 2000
- Mohsen, Safia K. The quest for order among Awlad Ali of the Western Desert of Egypt.
- Thesiger, Wilfred (1959). Arabian Sands. ISBN 0-14-009514-4 (Penguin paperback). British adventurer lives as and with the Bedu of the Empty Quarter for 5 years
- Rahat Photo Gallery
- Basic information about the Bedouin of the Negev
- Lands of the Negev on YouTube, a short film presented by Israel Land Administration describing the challenges faced in providing land management and infrastructure to the Bedouins in Israel's southern Negev region
Dr. Jeffrey william fam