1902 Encyclopedia > Arabia > Arabia - Settled Arabs, Koreysh

(Part 26)


(26) Settled Arabs. Koreysh.

Settled Arabs

From the Bedouins, or "Ahl Bedoo," we now turn to the "Ahl Hadr," or the dwellers in fixed abodes. These constitute about six-sevenths of the population of Arabia proper, and it is from them alone that a just appreciation of the Arab character and customs can be formed.

Family Divisions Among the Settled Arabs

Though the clan and the family from the basis and are the ultimate expression of the civilized Arab society, they do not, as is the case among the Bedouins, sum it up altogether; local feelings and duties the consequences of settled life, having deeply modified the character alike of the individuals and the race among all Arabs, town or country. Still, blood is the first thing taken into account; and, indeed, the possession of written records, and habits of order and reflection, enable the settled Arabs to acquire and retain a more accurate knowledge and nicer distinction of pedigree and race than could be expected or found among the unreflecting and half-barbarous Bedouins.


Throughout the peninsula, but especially on the western side, the family of Koreysh is even yet regarded as the noblest of Arab races, indeed of the world; and its members, on the strength of their connection with the Prophet, all bear the title of "Shereef," sometimes also, as in Yemen, that of "Seyyid," or "lord." Besides the advantages which naturally follow popular respect, they hold in several districts of Arabia-in Mecca itself, for example, in Aboo-Areesh, and in some parts of Yemen-the positions and emoluments of local hereditary governors. But they do not assume any regular distinctive mark, like the green turban so often worn in Turkey or Persia; nor in private life do they enjoy any immunity, either explicit or prescriptive, from the ordinary obligations of law.

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