The Afro-Arabian Origins of the Israelites and Ishmaelites PT 1 – DANA MARNICHE

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The Afro-Arabian Origins of the Israelites and Ishmaelites – by – Dana Marniche


Regions to Know
Hejaz – western region of Arabia stretching between the region south of Sinai to the Yemen. Major cities include Mecca, Medina and Jiddah.

Nejd – Central Arabia now including Yemamah region originally stretched to the Euphrates. It is bounded by the Hejaz in the West and by Bahrein in the East and the Yemen in the south.

Tehama - Hijaz

Yemen – was the general name for all of the southern portion of Arabia.

Al Harra or Harrah – a volcanic region now encompassing northwestern Arabia once included similar region stretching into southern Syria. Medina was in the area of Harra.

Roman general Marcellinus wrote the following on the nomads of Arabia circa 4th century A.D. “Among these tribes, whose primary origin is derived from the cataracts of the Nile and the borders of the Blemmyae, all the men are warriors of equal rank; half naked, clad in colored cloaks down to the waist, overrunning different countries, with the aid of swift and active horses and speedy camels, alike in times of peace and war.” 380 A.D. The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus, Book XIV.iv.1-7. Translation by C.D. Yonge. 1894 George Bell and Sons. (The Blemmyae were a people of Nubia. )

According to Western historical interpretation the Semites were the Hebrews and Arabians, Hamites were Africans and Japhetites were either Europeans or East Asians depending on the period. The notion that Shem, Ham and Japhet were peoples of varied appearance is something that is contradicted in early Arabian genealogical sources. In Arabian tradition the descendants of Noah were Arabians who had settled various lands after the flood.

During the Middle Ages the term “Saracen” stood for any nomadic or bedouin clan of the Middle East, including Kurds and Syrians. However, a millennium earlier when Ammianus Marcellinus wrote of the Nubian origins of the Saracens, the term signified only the bedouin of Arabian stock. Among them were the historical descendants of Tamudi or Thamudenioi Equites (equestrians) of Duma’at al Jandal in Jordan (Dumah of Bible), Hagarenes or Agarenioi (Hagar daughter the people of Misrah), Naba’aiti (Nabataeans of Petra), Kedrai ( Kedar), all people of Jordan and the Palmyrenes, Ghassanitae or Kassan in Wadi Madyan (Jokshan or Kushan brother of Midian), Maddenioi or Madani (Madan, brother of Midian) all located in those times in the area between southern Syria, North and Central West (Tihama) Arabia. There were also the Macae, Makka or Makkan (of Wady Makna), Macetae, Messenians in the same region and in Oman, and Scenitae or Ascitae (Hasik or Sakun) and Homeritae (Humayr or Himyarites) in the south (modern Yemen, Hadramaut, Aden, Oman).

By the start of the Christian era and up until the Middle Ages the name of the “Saracens” were considered to have been derived from the name of Sarah, wife of Abraham. Thus as late as the 14th century the following was written of the Arabians , “Peple þat cleped hem self Saracenys, as þogh þey were i-come of Sarra” – translated, “People that called themselves Saracens, as though they were come of Sarah [John of Trevisa, transl. Higdon’s Polychronicon, 1387]

The names of the “Saracen Bedouin” are also mentioned over a thousand years before Marcellinus in the texts of Assyrian kings who often fought with them and refer to them by such names as Qidar, Tamudi, Naba’aiti Ma’asei and Kushi. The Nab’aiti in particular, occupants of Petra and Jordan were among those classified as “Amurru” or Amorites, a name which had come to mean westerner.

Children of Isma’il, son of Hagar

Dumah or Duma’at Jandal in Jordan was the major town of the Thamud (or Samud See part I on the Mahra). They were called Idumaeans descendants of the Edomites.

Jordanian Arab
Jordanian Arab

Some of the other children of Isma’il son of Hagar are according to Genesis tradition the Naba’aithi, Kedar, Massa, are called children of Ishmael son of Hagar, daughter Misraite woman. According to Achtemeier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper’s Bible Dictionary, (San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.) 1985, the term “Ishamelite” was synomous with the term “Midianites.”

Biblical book Habakkuk 3:7 speaks of Jokshan as Kushan. “The prophet Habbakuk parallels Kushan with Midian: The tents of Kushan…the dwellings of Midian ….” The identification of the children of Keturah with the children of Hagar is witnessed in Genesis 37:28 and other places where the Midianites are called Ishmaelites. “Some Midianite traders passed by, so pulling Joseph up, they (his brothers) lifted him out of the pit. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver.”

The tribes of Kushan are historically known in the works of Ptolemy. The same tribe is named by Agatharchides as Cassandreis and circa 1st century by Diodorus of Sicily “the Gasandi”. In Arabia they were originally living in an area called Wadi Madyan in Jordan and extended into Egypt where the land was named Goshen or Guzan (in the area of modern Gaza) ; they were also located southeast of Mecca and later are the early Arabian Christians called Ghassan in Syria. In Samaritan Greek translations of the Bible the word Kush is translated as “Ethiopian” because they (the Kushan) also lived in Africa under the name Kush in what was then Nubia and this was also part of Arabia of early Greek writers, like Strabo and Diodorus. “Ethiopia”, however, had become the term for all black peoples whom according to Ephorus of the 4th c. B.C. had “occupied all of the southern coasts of Asia”. Later, Greek Biblical translators saw no inconsistency in calling northern Arabians, “Ethiopians” since they were an extension of the “Kushi” in Africa south of Egypt.

The Ishmaelites or descendants of Hagar, and the Midianites or Kushites (Jokshan or Kushan) of Keturah of the Bible were unquestionably one and the same Ethiopian people. They were settled on both sides of the Arabian sea in the time of Josephus – who claimed that Keturah and the children and grandchildren were those who had settled the region of the Ethiopian trogodytae.

Ethiopia was Arabia for the Greek writers of the start of the Christian era as much as Arabia was an extension of Ethiopia, Ethiopia was considered Arabia. The name Kush in the Bible is also used for the tribes known as Kushan or Jokshan.

Saba is a child of Kush, son of Ham and is also Saba (or Sheba) who was in fact a child of Jokshan and with Dedan (or Yudadas), another descendant of Keturah) “inhabited Western Ethiopia,” see Josephus Antiquities and were no doubt partly responsible for the name of the region of Kush. Josephus and Strabo claimed the inhabitants of Meroe were “Arabians” and Sabaeans and everything east of the Nile in the troglodyte country were Arabian.

According to David Goldberg’s, The Curse of Ham, “The identity of the Arabian Kush with Midian is the key to understanding the passage in numbers that speaks of Moses Kushite wife. According to the earlier biblical narrative Moses indeed had a wife, Zipporah, who was Midianite (Ex 2:21). When the Bible says that therefore that Moses had a Kushite wife, it is referring to the same Midianite wife of Zipporah, but is using the ancient name of her people. The Kushite of Num. 12:1 is just another name for the Midianite. The identity of the names is found in Christian sources as early as a fifth century and in Jewish sources of the Hellenistic period and the later Middle Ages.” P. 28 The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity and Islam., published 2003.

In Arabian tradition Ziphorah the Kushite is called Za’afira, Zarifah or Saffureh and she is “the diviner or prophetess and wife of Amr bin Amir Ma’as Sama who was surnamed Muzaikiya or Muzaiqiya (Moses) . Kitab-alaghaniy called the prophetess of the tribe Tarikah. She is Tarikha el Himyari for her mother was a woman of the tribe of Himyar. Other sources say that Tarikha, Zarifah or Saffureh was the same as Keturah. In fact these names all appear to be etymologically related or varied spellings of the same name.

The origins of the name Jokshan or Kush (Kushan or Gassan):

“Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kishon:” Psalms 83:9

Jokshan was brother of Midian, a child of Keturah – those familiar with early Christian history are aware of the name of the Gassan tribe of “Saracen” Arabians who settled Syria in the first centuries after Christ and who were in fact among the earliest Christians. The Banu Ghassan according to Arabian tradition had received their name from a brook located in the souther Hejaz of western Arabia near Zebid.

This tradition is well known in Arabia, “From the great family of Cahlan (descendant of Cahtan) the Azdite branch supplied to Mecca the tribe of the Khaza’a, and to Medina the Aus and Khazraj, while to Syria it gave the dynasty of Ghassan.” see p. 371, Calcutta Review published, 1853.

The Khazras

The Khazras were the traditional inhabitants of the city of Medina and comprised the ansar or “companions” of Muhammed, along with their brethren the Awza or Aus. Historical descriptions of the Khazraj (sometimes written Gazras or Khazras) are telling. One such reference was with regards to the early aristocratic leader of the Khazraj tribe, Ubada bin Samit, who had been sent on a diplomatic mission to the then Byzantine rulers of Egypt:

‘“When the companion Ubada bin Samit led a delegation to Muwqaqis” the Christian Byzantine red haired ruler of Alexandria is said to have exclaimed “get this black man away from me…how can you be content that a black man be your leader.”’ See David Goldenberg, The Curse of Ham, p. 107.

Ubadah, a pure Arabian aristocrat of the Khazraj tribe was described as very tall and black as were apparently many clans of the Arabian peninsula at the time. He was literally said to have been a commander of thousands of men who were of his complexion. This has apparently caused some European political historians chagrin, as a conservative American political commentator, David Pipes, made the following statement in the article, “Slave Soldiers in Muslim Armies”, in the International Journal of African Historical Studies with regard to Ubada and his compatriots.

“I shall assume that any body of blacks refers to Africans, since it is unlikely that a group of swarthy Caucasians would band together. Thus, while Ubada bin As-Samit is quite clearly an Arabian, the thousands of blacks he commands must be African.” The International Journal of African historical Studies, Vol. 13, No. 1 (1980) pp. 87-94. Daniel Pipes.

Whatever the meaning ‘swarthy Caucasians” it is clear that Pipes, like so many other European historians haven’t made themselves familiar with Arabian histories and has been influenced by the notorious wishful thinking of their own ancestors inspired by the ridiculous notion of black and cursed “Hamites” as perennial slaves of a presumably fair-skinned, “semitic” people and imaginary fair “Japhetic” tribes. This warped view of separate differently colored “children of Noah” has often been wrongly taken as fact even by “Afrocentric” historians, causing still more unnecessary confusion.

The tribes of Ubada bin As-Samit’s homeland in Arabia’s volcanic Harrah were said to be black in complexion by al Jahiz (an Iraqi writer who appeared to have had a Zanj east African grandfather) living in the 9th c A.D. The grandfather of the prophet Mohammed, himself, named Abd al Mutallib, son of Hashim, was the son of a Khazraj woman from Yathrib. And, it has been often quoted from Jahiz that “The sons of Muttalib were massive in stature and black”. Among the most famous branches of the Khazraj were the Sulaym ibn Mansour to be discussed below. The complexion of the Sulaym tribes of al Harra and the Hejaz or northwest Arabia is said by al Jahiz to be “black” as the volcanic lava of the region. Ibn Athir also described a man of the Sulaym as “black” and called them of the “pure Arabs”.

The tribe Ubadah belonged to was the Auf bin Sulaym or belonging to the Auf branch of the Sulaym according to Tabari and others. See Last Years of the Prophet by Tabari, translation Ismail Poonawala and Ismail Husayn p. 358, footnote, or Biographies of the Prophets Companions and Successors, p. 28, fn. Translation Ella Landon-Tasseron, 1998.
Only 600 years after Ibn Athir , Muhammed Sadiq Bey (a man of Turkish ancestry of Egyptian birth) mentioned the inhabitants Medina (home of the Khazraj) in 1861. He “described Madinah and its inhabitants… The people of Madinah were of ‘a dark, almost black complexion,’ although some were ‘light-skinned, almost white.’” See “Pioneer Photographer of the Holy Cities” by John De St. Jorre, in the magazine Saudi Aramco World, Jan Feb 1999.

The Ghassan

The Ghassan were a closely related tribe of the Khazraj were the Banu Gassan or Ghassan (Jokshan) They are often described as an ancient offshoot of the tribes Aws and Khazraj whose ancestors Jafna and Thalabiyah had been followers of Muzaikiyah from Iram and Marib and who had settled in the area of Medina and the Harra before the time of Mohammed. They were the descendants of the tribe of Kahlan (brother of Himyar) that had left Marib in Saba in the time of following their leader “Muzaikiya” the sooth-sayer.

The relationship of Muzaikiyyah to Biblical Moses was discussed in Part I. Immanuel Velikovsky, author of Ages in Chaos, wrote of this Arabian tradition: “In the region of Marib was staying a tribe that had arrived there only a short time before. According to al-Masudi, the king [in other sources the ruler of the tribe] was Amr the son of Amir; he had the surname Mozaikiya. He had a divine brother whose name was Amran. The ruler had for wife a woman skilful in the art of divination; her name was Zarifah” Masudi, Murudij al-Dhabab, Vol. III, pp. 374f. Cf. Nuwairi, Chap. IV. See Sources of God and Silver in Islam , D. M. Dunlop.

The people of Amr bin Amir the soothsayer after being expelled by Akk bin Adnan disengaged and dispersed in idifferent directions. Jafna bin Amr bin Amir settled in Syria, Aus and Khazraj settled in Yathrib and Khuza’a went to Marra.

Velikovsky, wrote, “They continued on their way and came to a camp between the land of the Aharites and Akk, near a pool named Gassan, between two valleys called Zebid and Rima, and they drank the water of the pool.” Zabid is the ancient capital of Tihama which was part of the southern Hejaz. This is also a reference to the land of the Achar and Og, the Amorite ruler of the Bible.”

Of the ancestors of the Ghassan or Kushan it is written, ‘Jafna bin ‘Amr and his family, headed for Syria where he settled and initiated the kingdom of Ghassan who was so named after a spring of water, in Hijaz, where they stopped on their way to Syria.” The spring, stream or brook, pool of water the Ghassan is otherwise known in the Bible as Kishon or Kison. In Judges 5:21 of the Bible it is written, “Then Elijah said to them, Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape. So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there” and in Psalm 83:9 “the torrent of Kishon” is also mentioned.

Marib the capital of ancient Saba was evidently the Meriba of the book of Exodus. The story of Jafna, Muzaikiya and Tha’labah is unmistakably too similar to that of Jephuneh and his father Caleb in the Bible to be coincidental. (Tha’labah is sometimes written Salabiyyah.) While the Midianites at the torrent of Kishon are the people known as Jokshan or Kushan or Midianites of Habakkuk, Chronicles and Genesis. They are the same as the Kushi in the tents of Kedar and the reason Ziphorah the Midianite is named “a Kushite” woman (later translated Ethiopian). It is also said that the brethren of Jafna, descendants of “Tha‘labah bin ‘Amr left his tribe Al-Azd for Hijaz and dwelt between Tha‘labiyah and Dhi Qar. When he gained strength, he headed for Madinah where he stayed. Of his seed are Aws and Khazraj, sons of Haritha bin Tha‘labah.” And “Imran bin ‘Amr and his folks went to ‘Oman where they established the tribe of Azd whose children inhabited Tihama and were known as Azd-of-Shanu’a.

Imran bin Amr was no doubt Aaron the brother of Moses. Amr his father is thus Amram the father of Aaron and Moses. “And at the end of forty days they came to Moses and Aaron, and they brought him word as it was in their hearts, and ten of the men brought up an evil report to the children of Israel, of the land which they had explored, saying, It is better for us to return to Misraim than to go to this land, a land that consumes its inhabitants. But Joshua the son of Nun, and the son of Jephuneh, who were of those that explored the land, said, The land is exceedingly good.”

The tall black Khazraj of Medina the Harrah who were the same as the Kush or Ghassan were thus a remnant of the children of not only of the Keturah or the Midianite followers of Moses, but were in Arabian tradition the descendants of Jephuneh and Caleb brother of Kenaz who fathered Othniel the first Judge of Israel – the Kenizzites were, like the Amalekites, descendants of Eliphaz in the Bible.

Josephus replaces the word Jokshan with Jazar which is Arabic for Gezer or the Khazraj who are also called Khazara, Hazraj, Gazras in various translations.

The Fall of the Pure and Matrifocal Arabians

By the time of Muhammed, Iranians and Romans had strong influence on the both the early Afro-Arabs of Arabia and Syria peninsula. Several early writers spoke of the destruction of the matrifocal tradition and Goddess worship of the Afro-Arabians indigenous populations of the Hejaz. The authors seem to have taken particular satisfaction in the smiting of the daughters of Allah and other Goddesses worshipped by the Khazraj. According to Muslim documents these idols were accustomed to manifesting themselves as “wailing black women” with “disheveled hair” when later followers of the Prophet came to destroy their temples:

“…worshipped by the Azd, Sa’d bin Zaid Ashhal was sent to the idol temple of Menat to demolish it, this being the idol of the tribes of Aus, Khazraj and Ghusan. When Sa’d entered the temple of Menat he beheld a black woman with dischevelled hair coming out of it… but S’ad finished her with one blow of his sword. “ From Garden of Purity by Mirkhond The Rayzat – in Safa translation E. Rehatsak printed by the Royal Asiatic Society , London, 1891-1894.

Al Tabari born in Central Asia in the 9th century mentions the goddess Uzza or Azziz-lat another emanation of Allat, daughter of Allah: “‘I have destroyed it.’ he said to Muhammad. ‘Did you see anything.’ ‘No.’ ‘Then.’ Muhammad said, ‘go back and kill her.’ So Khalid returned to the idol. He destroyed her temple and broke her graven image. The shrine’s keeper began saying, ‘Rage, Oh Uzza, display one of your fits of rage.’ Whereupon a naked, wailing Ethiopian woman came out before him. Khalid killed her and took the jewels that were on her. Then he went back to Allah’s Messenger and gave him a report. ‘That was Al-Uzza,’ Muhammad said. ‘Al-Uzza will never be worshiped again.’” –

Another translation says “Khalid Ben Alwalid destroyed the idol temple of Uzza and a nude black women with disheveled hair manifested. Al walid exclaimed, ‘Thou art not to be believed, nor to be praised. Allah has humbled thee!” Uzza was venerated especially by the Shayban (belonging to the Bakr bin Wa’il) a vassal tribe of the Sulaym.

Cleodemus and Josephus claimed that aside from Jazar (Khazara) who was Jokshan, other tribes of Keturah who had entered and settled the Trogodyte area of Africa were the Midianites (of Mady’an, Sinai, Gaza) and the children of Midian and Madan, the Afran and Japhren, Abida, Anoch, Ephah and Eldad (or Yada’il) were found in Africa. Midian’s brother Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. Sheba or Saba occupied the Nile including Meroe where the tribes were also described as tall and black. The tribes of Dedan and Ashurim were occupants of Ethiopia and the Sahara. Ashurim or Surim in fact were known in Roman times, and considered as a branch of the Levathes Mauri or Maurusioi of the Sahara. They are the historical people variously called Ausuriani, Austuriani, Astrikes, Astacures or Saturiani in Roman texts named after their ancestor Ashur, Assheran or Saturn whom the Greeks called Chronus and the Mesopotamians, Zeruan or Zervan Akarene, ruler of time.

In his Book 1 Chapter 15 called “How the Nation of the Trogodytes were Derived from Abraham by Keturah” the following is written:

“Now the sons of Sous (Shasu or Shuwa)were Sabathan and Dadan. The sons of Dadan were Latusim, and Assur, and Luom. The sons of Madiau were Ephas, and Ophren, and Anoch, and Ebidas, and Eldas. Now, for all these sons and grandsons, Abraham contrived to settle them in colonies; and they took possession of Troglodytis, and the country of Arabia the Happy, as far as it reaches to the Red Sea. It is related of this Ophren, that he made war against Libya, and took it, and that his grandchildren, when they inhabited it, called it (from his name) Africa. And indeed Alexander Polyhistor gives his attestation to what I here say; who speaks thus: “Cleodemus the prophet, who was also called Malchus, who wrote a History of the Jews, in agreement with the History of Moses, their legislator, relates, that there were many sons born to Abraham by Keturah: nay, he names three of them, Apher, and Surim and Japhran. That from Surim was the land of Assyria denominated; and that from the other two (Apher and Japhran) the country of Africa took its name, because these men were auxiliaries to Hercules, when he fought against Libya and Antaeus; and that Hercules married Aphra’s daughter, and of her he begat a son, Diodorus; and that Sophon was his son, from whom that barbarous people called Sophacians were denominated.””

Josephus wrote that Dedan or Yudadas (Judah?) were settlers of “Western Ethiopia”. The name Ditanu or Tidanu according to Cyrus Gordon and later historians is the early Mesopotamian name for the south Arabian originated people known as Amorites or (Amurrim). He is also the Afro-Arabian and African nilotic deity Dedun whom the Greeks call Titan. The Sabaeans were the inhabitants of Meroe and Sabtah were the historical Astaborans along the Nile in Africa. The Titans or Sabaeans were in both legend and tradition said to be very tall statured people. The word Titan is related to that of Ad, Adad, Hadad or Shadad and Chedid all sons of descendants of Ad.

By late or Greco- Roman (Byzantine) times in Syria and the West not only the word Midianite or Kushites, but each of the names Nabit, Kedar, Canaan, Ham and Misrah had come to signify blackness – not because these peoples had come from Nubia, but because Arabians of that day were also known to the inhabitants of Syria and other places northward as black in color or “Ethiopians”.

Naba’ait, 1st son of Isma’il

David Goldberg wrote, “… al Dimashqi who lists the Nabataeans (Nbt) among the descendants of Ham together with the Copts, the BrBr (Berbers) and the Sudan … and the Akkbar al Zaman, which lists the Nabit , among the children of Canaan ” also said the word, ‘Nabit’ signifies ‘ ‘black’…” see p. 313, The Curse of Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianitym and Islam by David Goldenberg. (Al Dimashqi was a Syrian of Damascus. )

The word Nabataean came from the major African-Arabian deity Nabu or Nebo which was in the West called Mercury. It originally signified a prophet, its meaning having originally nothing to do with blackness, however, due to the African appearance of the Nabataeans also known as the “Anbat Saraceni”, the word came to signify black. Certain bedouin clans of the Nabataean regions like Petra, Wadi Rum and other areas of Jordan such as the Huwat’at or Haweitat who claim descent from the Nabataeans, are still near black in color.

One European traveler as late as 1887 wrote of a sheikh of the Haweitat tribes in the region of northwest Arabia: “The sheikh soon afterwards appeared. He was a dirty, truculent looking fellow, with very black eyes and very white teeth, a sinister expression, and complexion scarcely less dark than that of a negro.” P. Austen Henry Layard, Early Adventures in Persia, Susiana, and Babylonia: Including … pg. 32. Published by J. Murray.

The Huwaytat, are in fact, one of the many Arabian tribes still living in Jordan and Sinai that came to settle in Egypt and Sudan and make up part of the Ababdeh or Ababideh along the Red Sea coasts of Egypt and Sudan.

Circa 9th thc. A.D. the Muslim historian al Masudi from Baghdad wrote, “The Nabataeans founded the city of Babylon and were those descendants of Ham who settled in the same province under the leadership of Nimrod, the son of Cush, who was the son of Hamm…This took place at the time when Nimrod received the governship of Babylonia as the delegate of Dzhahhak.”

In Arabian tradition Nimrod of Babylon is known Nomeir, Numeiri or Numayr ibn Kasit (Casit or Qasit) (Namir or Numayr meaning panther). He is sometimes called Nomeir son of Arfakhshad (Aur or Ur Khasdim) son of Shem which links him to the people called to the historical Chaldeans. But, in the Bible Nimrod is the son of Kush, son of Ham. The suggestion is that Kush has some connection to the name of the Kasdim who were the people also called Chaldeans. Kush father of Nimrod is called child of Ham, while Arfakshad or Kasit father of Numayr refers to the Ur Khasdim and was called the first child of Shem. Kamal Salibi in the Bible Came from Arabia identifies this town with present (Maqsud or Wariyah Maqsud of southern Arabia.).

Kedar 2nd son of Ismail

Kedar the second son of Isma’il is the name of another group which also came to signify blackness. The word Kedar or Kidar was apparently related to the word Khadar or Akhdar, originally the word for a greenish iron. It, thus, came to signify strength and power or otherwise things that were either green or black. The word “green” is often used in the Arabian and Sudanese Arabic to describe individuals of dark brown complexion.
A European Targum text Song 1:5 employs the phrase “as black as the Kushi who live in the tents of Kedar.” In the tradition of Syria and in the later European Jewish or Rabbinic tradition the Kushi signified black peoples which in fact became derogatory.

Who are Biblical Massa, Tema, and Dedan – children of Hagar and Keturah?

The records of the Assyrian King Tiglath Pileser III of the 7th c. B.C. mentions the Arabian clans of the Maasaai or Mash’aai and of Tema (also written Tayma or Teima), who paid him tribute. The tribe of Maasei’ah or Maasei are mentioned together with Ishmael in the book of Ezra chapter 10, both are children of Harim and of Pashur. These are the Massa who figure among children of Ishmael in the book of Genesis.

On the summit of Jebal Ghunaym, located about fourteen kilometers south of modern Tayma in Jordan, archeologists discovered some graffiti texts mentioning the tribe Massaa, in connection with Dedan and the Neba’aith (Nabataeans). Josephus circa 1st c. connects the name of Massa with the Saracen Mesenaeans whom Ptolemy calls Masanioi living northeast of Dumah (in Jordan). These were the Masanioi who founded the Kingdoms of Mesene (Maysan) near Basra where the Tigris and Euphrates meet at the shore of the Persian Gulf. [editors note] “A substantive population of black Iraqis still live in Basra to this present day.”

Individuals of the tribe of Mash’ai living in Oman in Arabia are described and shown in a photograph in a book by Bertram Thomas. They are described as “very dark brown” in color. It is not impossible they are the remnant of the ancient Maasei/Mashaai of Assyrian records who founded the kingdom of Mesene.

Teima or Tayim received its name from the Banu Tayyi, a tribe associated with the A’d or Adites.


“‘Descendants of Kedar son of Ishmael lived long in Mecca and of them issued Adnan and his son Ma’ad and his son Nizar” .

In most Arabian genealogical tradition among the descendants of Ishmael who we have just shown were otherwise called Midianites, were the Hawazin, Sulaym and Mazin, three sons of Mansour, son of Ikrima, son of Khasafa, son of Al Nas or Qays Ailan. “From Mazin bin Mansour bin Ikrima were the Khazraj and Aus or Awza children of Tha’laba or Salebiyya and Jafna. “ The tribes of Mansour or Manasse’ir had branched off from the Ma’adi who appear to have been the origin of the Ma’adi’ah a family of priests (Levites) named in (Nehemiah 12). It will be shown that Mansour or Manasse’ir is the same as Manasseh, child of Joseph and that in genealogy of Arabia most of Mansour’s descendants figure among the children of Levi in the Bible who had been captured by Bukht al Nasir (Nebuchadnezzar) the Chaldean in charge of Babylon centuries before the Christian era.

According to the findings of Kamal Salibi, Israel and Canaan were originally names of areas of southwest Arabia. Salibi discovered the identity of the names of hundreds of villages and localities of the Biblical Judah and Israel in the Yemen, Hejaz, and Tihama regions which have yet to be located in modern Israel and Palestine. His proposal was not acceptable to modern European historians for nationalist and political reasons. Yet the early Arab writings have also showed that the tribes descended from Ismail and the Levites, Israelites, Ismaelites and Edomites were in fact one and the same. Apparently a portion of the children of Israelites otherwise or simultaneously known as Midianites who settled in the Hejaz and Tihama came to be called the children of Ishmael.

Abd al Wahhab, an 18th century Arabian born in the Nejd (of present Saudi Arabia) in the text Mukhtasar Seerat ar-Rasul (Biography of the Prophet) was one of the last to recount the genealogy that many historians previous to him had given with regards to the living tribes of Arabia. Nizar (also known as Nasr) son of Ma’ad, son of Adnan had four sons who branched out into the tribes of Rabi’a, Mudar (Muzar), Anmar and Eyad (Jadah). Mudar or Muzar branched into the two great divisions of Qais Ailan or El Nas and El Yas. The former gave birth to the Ghatafan and Khasafa father of Ikrima father of Mansur. Mansur fathered three children, Mazin, Hawazin and Sulaym or Salim. Khasafa’s brother, Ghatafan through Reishi gave birth to Ashja’a, Zubyan and Abs, the Bahila and Sad Manat. From Zubyan also came the Fezara.

El Nas and Ghatafan are mentioned in the Bible as the families of the Judaeans, Neziah and Hatipha in the Biblical book of Ezra 2:54 and Nehemiah 7:56. El Yas, brother of El Nas, was undoubtedly Elias which is sometimes translated Elijah in the Bible. “Then Elijah said to them, Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.” This is the brook from which the “Ghusan or Kushan (or Jokshan Midianites) were named.

While Khasafa, brother of Ghatafan is apparently Hasupha or Chasupha of Ezra 2:43. They are classified as Levites or priests. Zubyan and Ashja’a, descendants of Ghatafan are mentioned in Genesis 36:24 as Zibeon and his son Ajah or Aia descendants of Se’ir, the Horite and Hivites of Cana’an. Zibeon and Se’ir are also descendant of Esau or Edom in Genesis. Khasafa’s son, Ikrima, is obviously Kirama of Ezra 2:26. Fazara is evidently Passhur the Levite, and father of Maasei’ah in Ezra 2:38. Reishi is likely Rosh, son of Benjamin. Bahila is Bilhah, handmaid of Rachel. The Manat took their name from the Goddess who was called Manah or Manat and correspond to descendants of Manahath the second son of Se’ir the Horite.

The pasture grounds of the Zubyan (also written Dhubyan or Dhubian) lay to the east of Medina in the time of Ubadah where they dwelt along with all of the other descendants of Ghatafan.

According to Tabari, Wahhab and other genealogists of the Arabian tribes, Sulaym bin Mansour belonged to the Auf clan of the Khazraj and from Ghatafan came the tribes named Assiyeh , Rahil and Zakwan. Mansour or Manase’ir son of Ikrima, is the Biblical Manasseh, child of Joseph and Asenath, daughter of Potiphera a priest of Ra at On. Thus Assiyeh was Asenath, wife of Joseph (Asaf), while the name of the tribe of Ra’ala (Ruhayla or Rahil descended from Ghatafan) is Rachel, mother of Joseph. (One writer calls her the wife of Potiphar). This is why Tabari in The History of El Tabari Vol. III, ‘The Children of Israel”, calls Assiyeh “an Israelite woman”.

In Arabian tradition Rahil or Ra’ala es- Saidi was from the noble family of the Djurhumites (Djorham or Jurham is Biblical Hadoram) who were the historical Adramitae of the Sabaean kingdom (mentioned by Pliny 1st century and Ptolemy later called Dreematae or Dareem) daughter of the ruler Modad of the Hejaz (southwestern Arabia.) Rahil married Ishma’il, the son of Hagar, who was also called Keturah variously called daughter of Joktan, or Japhet in the European Rabbinic traditions. They had 3 children Nebait, Kedar and Mahalath. Thus the Arabian tradition makes the tribe of Djurham or Dareem occupants of Hejaz and Yemen ancestors of both Israel and the Ismaelites. This leaves open the possility that Ishma’il is the same as Asma who is in one early Arabian tradition called the father of Qahtan (biblical Joktan). Ibn Ishaq, was an Arabian born in Medina in the 8th century makes Isma’il the father of Qahtan.

The ruler Asaf, according to Arabian tradition corresponding to the Bible story of Joseph was put in control of Misrah by the Hyksos or Amalekite rulers Raian (El Riyan) and Walid, who ruled in Egypt. Misrah, however, also include Musra or Musran a region or village and people synonymous with the Meluhha or Amalekites living next to and controlling the Egypt of the Hyksos period. In the Bible, Joseph is called a son of Jacob who is identified by some archeologists as the Hyksos ruler who figures on Egyptian scarabs as Yaqub Hor or Yaqub El. In the Bible, Jacob is, of course, also called “Israel”.

It was very likely that in this time the tribes known as Sulaym bin Mansour (historical Solymi or Soleimi) and other Canaanite or Amalekite peoples came to found the northern Cana’an settlement of Hierosolymi (Jerusalem) in Palestine and to settle other regions around the coast, including the Mediterranean Isles and Iran in the East. It was from here the Anakim of Canaan settled and were called Ph’anakes by the Greco-Egyptian historian Manetho, “Phoenicians” by other Greeks and Fenkhu in ancient Egyptian inscriptions.

Josephus refers to the Amalekites as “the Phoenician shepherds”. Cathim, traditionally known as “an Amalekite” also went down in the tradition of the Greeks as Cethimus. Josephus said Chethim became the name of all of the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts because of the colonizations of his people. The city of Citium or Khittium in Cyprus was also populated by these Phoenicians and Diogenes Laertius said one of their descendants, Zeno the founder of Stoicism is said to be “gaunt, very tall and black” with a twisted neck and called “Egyptian vine shoot” because of it.

In North Africa they were in fact the people recorded in Roman documents and by later Arabic writers as Uakutameni, Maketae or Micutateni of the Tunisian coast and the Atlas (a tribe mentioned by Diodorus Siculus circa 1st c. as the color of Ethiopians) and as the Ketama or Kitama whom 11th century Christian Iraqi ibn Butlan says were black. See on this blog, ‘The Appearance of the Original Berbers According to European Perceptions” edited by Dana Marniche, . In the Bible they are the children of Heth or Kheth as well as Kittim descendants of Japhet. Makitan is still the name of the eastern branches of the Tuareg, and their script called “Tifinagh” is thought to mean “belonging to the Phoenicians”.

Meluhha (Amlikhu) had been known in earlier Akkadian inscriptions as well. According to Samuel Noah Kramer founder of Sumerian studies, in the Akkadian dialect Meluhha came to mean “the place of black men” . See p. 277 in The Sumerians ( University of Chicago Press, 1963, pp.276-285). The Amalekites or Phoenician shepherds as Josephus calls them and the Ketama (Imakitan) were one. The Amlakh mentioned as a a batn or clan of Dthu Ru’ayn or Rahawein now located in Somalia. The Somalian Afar/D’anakil and Tuareg people represent the tall people of ancient Arabia known as Anakh, Nakhawil. Afar Ifuraces and Ifuras Tuareg and other tall peoples remain under their ancient names.

They are the tall Amalek/Meluhha, Philistim, Phoenikes or Anakim, Amorites/Amurath or Mur’ad, Adites Rephaims, Ditanu, Emim (Umayma), Ilm –Aroma Ahlam-Aramu. Sabai Sabaeans, and Humayr or Himyarites of old and of modern Africa and Arabia.

The True Remnants of Hawazin bin Mansour (of Manasseh, son of Joseph)

Through the descendants of Hawazin son of Mansour of the Qays Ailan (El Nas) came the clans of Beni Amir bin Za’za’a or Sa’sa’ah. Zaza in the Bible is a descendant of Judah through Jerachmeel brother of Caleb, both Israelites. Zaza is a grandson of Jada in the Bible, 1 Chronicles 2:33. The Arabian clan of Jada is said to be the son or sometimes the brother of Kaab bin Rabee’a bin Amir bin Sa’sa.

The genealogy of the Hawazin is the same as the Mazin and Sulaym son of Mansour, It is Hawazin son of Mansur (Manasseh) son of Ikrima (Kirama) son of Khasafa (Chasupha)son of Kais Alan son of Mudar or Muzar (Mizraim).

In the late 19th century, there was a group of Afro-Arabian tribes living in the region of Khuzestan, Iran and around the Persian Gulf and the Shott al Arab in Iraq called variously Kaab, (Cha’ab or Chub), Kuleib, Al Muntafik (or Afek), Khuza’il, Khafajah, Uqayl or Aqil, and Jada. They are the documented descendants of the Beni Amir bin Sa’sa’a of the Hawazin bin Mansour, a tall peoples described until the 20th century as “near black” in color and strongly built. (See below) The Iranians called them “Tsiab”. [editors note] –“Many of their descendants live there even today still black in complexion.”

Assyriologists familiar with texts of the neo-Assyrians identify a king, Haza’il of Adumu one of the Sheikhs of Kedar conquered by Sennacherib of Assyria. Esarhaddon (7thc.B.C.) the next Assyrian king met Haza’il and visited the districts of Hazu or Khazu and Bazu where he succeeded in subduing 7 kings. These are the regions of the tribes Hazo and Buz of the Bible. See G. Maspero’s, History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 8. Hazo, was brother of Uz or Huz, Khesed and Kamuel father of Aram.

It is well known that the Uz were the tribe of Aus or Awza and Buz is now called Bayzan. There is a Khuza’il also mentioned in the book of Amos. The land of Khaza’a is also mentioned in the Egyptian Amarna records of the time of Akhenaton as the land of Hazaa. A people known as Chub were in alliance with the Egypt at the time of Nebuchadnezzar in Ezekiel 30:5, they are in league with Phut or Fut and Lud which has sometimes been wrongly interpreted as Libya and Lydia (in reality the latter were only two of several regions colonized by the tribes of Fut and Lud).

According to Al Bukhari or Al Bekri “Afsa bin Haritha bin Amr bin Amir was from the Khuza’a tribe.” The Bible calls El Afsa , Eliphaz. “Khuza’a was one group of those who were split from the tribes of Saba when God sent on them the flood of al-Aram. And the Aws and Khazraj tribes were from Saba also.” See pp. 1-2, The Life of the Prophet Muhammad by Ibn Kathir, translation Trevor le Gassick published, 2000. (Ibn Kathir was a 14th century Syrian.)

Descriptions by European Travelers

Having left the Hejaz before the Christian era, many of the tribes of the Hawazin were domiciled in Central Arabia (the Nejd) with a stronghold in a place called Yemamah (Yemamah or Jemimah means ‘little dove”). After taking up the banner of Islam the Ka’ab bin Rabia, a son of Beni Amir bin Za’za’ah, and Ka’ab’s sons and brothers Uqayl bin Kaab, Muntafiq bin Uqayl bin Kaab (to whom belonged the tribe Khuza’il), Jada’ah bin Ka’ab and Kulaib and other clans of Rabi’a left the southwest of Yemamah ( north of the Rub al Khali) by the 9th century and headed for Iraq and Syria in support of other Arabian followers of Mohammed who had settled those countries. By the 16th century, the clans of Ka’ab son of Rabia of the Banu Amir bin Za’za’a descendants the Qays through Hawazin bin Mansour began immigrating to Iran from Iraq and settled in the Khuzestan region of Iran.

Their descendants are described in the 19th century by orientalist explorer George Rawlinson, who traveled through the region and described the Cha’b (also called in recent times Chub, Ka’ab, Kub) and Montefik bin Uqayl Arabs in Khuzestan as “nearly black” and having the dark “copper” complexion of the “Galla Ethiopians” and other Abyssinians, See The Seven Great monarchies of the Ancient World, Vol. 1 (07) p. 35

In 1881, Rawlinsons asserts, “The Cha’ab Arabs, the present possessors of the more southern parts of Babylonia are nearly black and the ‘black Syrians’ of whom Strabo speaks seem to represent the Babylonians.” The Five Great Monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World: Or, The History, Geography, and Antiquites of Chaldœa, Assyria, Babylon, Media, and Persia, Vol. II

The Hawazin remnants still in Yemamah are the Dowasir or Ad Dawasir. (See below)
Another “black” tribe known as Khaza’il or Kassahil of the town of Lamlun in Khuzestan were a people of Muntafik ibn Uqayl bin Kaab. The early First Encylopaedia of Islam from 1913-1936 says the Khaza’il in Iran “extended from Lamlun to Diwana where they bordered on the Muntafik, Muntafik are or wild Afik, Faidj are a subdivision of the Khaza’il, the most powerful tribe in southern Babylonia.” In Islamic times the Khafaja a branch of the Muntafiq or Afiq once commanded the road from Basra to Kufa in Iraq. The Kaab were centered south of Basra.

1829 – The tribes in Yemamah of the Nejd called today Dawas’ir or Dossariya were a remnant of the Beni Amer bin Sa’sa’ah branch of the Hawazin, “The Dowaser are said to be very tall men, and almost black. In former times they used to sell at Mekka ostrich feathers to the northern pilgrims, and many pedlars of Mekka came here in winter to exchange cotton stuffs for those feathers.” from John Lewis Burkhardt, Travels in Arabia. Vol. 1

1844 – Charles Forster writing on, “The marked distinctiveness of the Dowaser Arabs” says “this striking difference in height and color from the surrounding tribes is not confined to the Dowaser. The phenomenon reappears among the Arabs of the Persian Gulf …The Arabs of the Persian Gulf observed Colonel Chesnesy are a fine race of men, remarkable for lofty stature and dark complexion, in both respects differing markedly from the Arabs of the Arabian Gulf.” The Historical Geography of Arabia by Charles Forster, p. 30.

1859 – The Dowaser are blacker than their neighbours….the tribes further to the east are those of Mahara, Ad and Amelik” By Robert Gordon Latham p. 83 Descriptive Ethnology Vol. II London. (The same Ad and Amalik who had supposedly disappeared or made extinct.)

1894 – On the tribes of Beni Amer ibn Za’za’a Arabians of Khuzestan Iran, “The faces and limbs of these Arabs were almost black from constant exposure to the sun. They were nearly naked and their hair was plaited in long tresses shining with grease…” p. 85 of Henry Layard’s, Early Adventures in Persia, Susiana and Babylonia, republished 2003

1878 – Francois Lenormant describes people of Lamlun in Iran (Khaza’il) as “almost Melanian” on p. 351 of his Chaldean magic : or It’s origin and Development or Magie Chez les Chaldaeans, he also writes : “Part of the marshy region around the Persian Gulf was inhabited by people who were nearly black. A remnant of these are yet extant in the Lamlun whom the French traveler, Texier has described and who are allied …to the Bisharis…” p. 518-519. (The Bishari or Bishariin are a tribe of the Bedja living in southern Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea east Africa.)

1884 – “The bas reliefs of Susiana show negroid types and Texier found the Lamlam tribe in the marshes around the head of the Persian Gulf to resemble the Bisharin of upper Egypt . Was the Buddha one of these Kushite Ethiopians?” p. 143 footnotes, Richard Francis Burton The Book of the Sword republication in 2006. The modern clans of Lamlam however had later Arabian origins and nothing to do with the earlier Elamites or Afro-Indic people.

Lastly, W. Robertson Smith in Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia refers to “the important tribe of ‘Amir ibn Sa’sa’a, a branch of the great confederation called Hawazin,” as people “which corresponded to the modern ‘Otaiba.” Of the Otaiba also written (Ateyba, Utaiba, Ateibe, etc.) a century ago by James Hamilton, “they wore their hair in long curly plaits” and their skin was “dark brown”. See pp. 129-130, Wanderings Around the Birthplace of Mohammed, published by R. Bentley, 1857.

To be continued:

Dana Marniche

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9 thoughts on “The Afro-Arabian Origins of the Israelites and Ishmaelites PT 1 – DANA MARNICHE”

  1. In the above posting the word Judah? after Dedan and Yudadas is incorrect, and if I put it there it is a very serious and costly mistake. The word Yhwd or Judah which comes from a word meaning lion – “wahd” or “aoud” – had nothing whatsoever to do with the words, Dedan,Titan or Ditanu an ancient word used for the Amurrite people, and is etymologically related to the word’s” tit” a hill or pillar of water. Ancient “Semitic” people called their goddesses “Teta” or Adthat or “Irthet” like the modern Ethiopians. From which came the Greek names Titea or Tethis mother of the Titans.

  2. This is very interest what you are doing to educate the wider public. Keep doing the good works you are doing, your are making a difference in providing quality information.

  3. It is necessary to understand two elementary facts. Firstly that the ancestors of the Hebrews and their Hebraic descendants named lands after their own tribal leaders in every instance. Secondly, that the women whom they chose as their wives introduced the mixing of coloured blood lines, which was not of the original Semites, the descendants of Adam. The first was Hagar, an Egyptian maid-servant of Sarah, (Abraham’s wife). Hagar bore Ishmael. the first son of Abraham. Ishmael’s sons married Egyptian and North African women and fathered the first tribes of the Arab nations. Secondly, Abraham married again after the death of Sarah, his first wife. His second wife, Keturah, bore him many sons, one of which was Ham. Ham’s sons went to Africa and conquered Libya and also settled in Ethiopia and the Sudan, marrying women of these lands. Canaan, Phut and Cush were among these sons of Ham who went to Africa. Through them the name of the continent of “Africa” has its origins, as does the region of Kush (Cush), today’s Ethiopia and Sudan. Their descendants became known as Kushites from the land of Kush, (Cush). The writer omits to tell us that Canaan, the brother of Cush and Phut, who all went to Africa together, later returned to the land of Canaan, likewise named after him.

    Although appealing to Biblical text for confirmation of her argument, the writer engages a deception, by simply omitting the evidence of this in the Biblical texts which dispute her hypothesis. Cush or Kush (/ k ? ?, k ? ? / Hebrew: ??????, Kush) was, according to the Bible, the eldest son of Ham, he a son of Noah. Kush was the brother of Canaan, also the brother of Mizraim and Phut (conquered the land of Libya), and the father of the biblical Nimrod, ruler of today’s Iraq and mentioned in the “Table of Nations” in Genesis 10:6 and also in I Chronicles 1:8. It is directly from Nimrod that the idolatry of pagan Gods, including the leaders themselves being perceived as Gods, that this idolatry was introduced into the culture of the Hebrews, Nimrod exalting himself as a God and his wife as a Goddess. We see this idolatry ultimately manifested in the pagan religion of the Nabataeans of Petra, Jordan who were also dark-skinned and whose ancestor was the Hebrew Nebaioth, (aka Nbajoth), the firstborn son of Ishmael, who migrated into Arabia. The writer completely ignores that Classical Arab historians name Nebaioth as an ancestor of Muhammad, while others, in the same tradition, name Kedar, another son of Ishmael, as Muhammad’s ancestor. Either way, it is further proof that the Arabic peoples are descendants of racial mixing between the Aricans and the original Hebrews. DNA tests have testified to this in any event, so there is nothing left to argue. The migration of the Hebrews solidifies the evidence of DNA results as follows;

    The descendants of Noah who migrated to Africa and later returned to the land of Canaan brought back with them their black Libyan, Ethiopian and Sudanese wives and their subsequently coffe-coloured off-spring. That is how their descendants in Canaan became dark-skinned. Genetic throw-backs on the mother’s side were ultimately black, as documented in the Biblical Book of judges:

    “And the children of Israel, (aka Jacob), dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods.” – Judges 3:5-6 The writer also ignores the origins of the name Jokshan, aka Kush, who founded their race, aka Kushan or Gassan or Ghassan. The “Saracen” Arabians were of the Gassan tribe and many of this tribe also came to the land of Canaan with them:

    “For behold, the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, (of the man not of the land), that they were despised among all people.” – The Book of Moses 7:8. Clearly this “blackness” that “came upon” the children of Canaan, a son Ham, he a son of Noah, was precisely the product of their having intermarried with Africans whilst living in Africa before they returned to the land of Canaan, named after Canaan who brought them with him to the land of Canaan when he returend after living many years in Africa.

    Jokshan, (Cush or Kush), was a brother of Midian, both children of Keturah, Abraham’s second wife. Midian founded the Midianite nation of Midian in Southern Arabia, the nation which Moses visited and while lodging there with Midian, Moses received from God his mission to return to Egypt and free the Israelites from Egypt. Moses married one of Midian’s daughters, a Kushite named Zephora, aka Ziphorah, a dark-skinned woman. History tells us that a sect of the Gassan, (Kushite), tribe of “Saracen” Arabians later settled in Syria during the first centuries AD after Christ and were in fact among the earliest Christians in recorded history. Syria was a nation of Christians up until it was conquered during the Golden Age of Islam in 700 AD, (Anno Domini) or 700 CE (Common Era). It’s people have never been black, but a coffee colour or white. Israelis have never been black, either.

    While the Midianites at the torrent of Kishon are the people known as Jokshan or Kushan or Midianites of Habakkuk documented in Chronicles and Genesis, they are the same as the Kushi, Kushites, Kushan in the tents of Kedar and the reason Ziphorah, the Midianite and wife of Moses, is named “a Kushite” woman (later translated as Ethiopian).

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