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When Arabia was “Eastern Ethiopia” Part 2

The Lost Tribes of Ham, Shem and Japhet: How the Afro-Asiatic Heritage was Nearly Lost

Most in the west are mainly familiar with images of high class and wealthy “Arabs”. African-looking Arabians that are indigenous are often isolated from the metropolises of Arabia where populations are descended from diverse intermixtures of the many types of peoples that have occupied the peninsula of Arabia and the same latitudes of northern Africa. Both locations were well known regions of a flourishing slave trade where both “whites” and “blacks” came in large numbers as mercenaries or slave-soldiers, merchants, and slaves from as far away as Bosnia and Central Asia in the North and Central East Africa in the South. Iranian mercenaries for example after the birth of Christ were entering the Yemen or southern Arabia by the thousands in the pre-Islamic era and controlling many of its major capitals. So began the modification of the appearance of the aboriginal peoples of a land once referred to as Kush and Ethiopia and considered part of the Sudan well into the Midieval era (according to Richmond Palmer author of the Bornu Sahara and Sudan, p. ). So also began the transference of falsification of the Afro-Arabian heritage to which we owe the “racist” deformation of the myths of Ham, Shem and Japhet.

Today most people calling themselves Arabs living both within and outside the Arabian peninsula, both fair and dark-skinned, claim descent from either the tribes of Qahtan of southern Arabia or the descendants of Kedar and Ishmael whose mother was Hagar. The term Arab today includes peoples of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and many places in Africa who speak Arabic. In Arabia and the Near East, as in Africa, these populations now include individuals ranging from black in color to a white with red hair. Between the 7th and 12th centuries many of the indigenous tribes from the Yemen are documented as settling in Syria/Lebanon and Iraq. In Iraq, the “Azd tribe, for instance, with all of its clans in the Fertile Crescent traces its genealogy back to its settlement ancestry in Yaman.” These same groups also moved into and settled in Egypt and North Africa and are ancestral to many north African, Egyptian and Sudanese bedouin.

Both the early Qahtan (thought to be Joktan of the Bible) and the Ishmaelite groups were reputedly or referred to as “black” until the Midieval period of Europe. It is not generally known in the West that Arabia was (as the historian Cheikh Anta Diop suggested) essentially an Ethiopic colony until as late as several hundred years ago and that most of the purer or Afro-Arabian populations today though isolated and unfamiliar to Westerners exist within the peninsula under the same names they were known under in, in Biblical records and texts of the Iranians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Mesopotamian inscriptions and ancient mythology.

Early Arabians depicted themselves in ancient art (late stone, copper and early bronze ages) as mostly dark brown and near black in color. The stone implements or lithics (the Doian culture of Somalia and the horn of Africa and the Kharga Neolithic and neolithic of the Sahara and western deserts of northern Egypt) and the art in many places such as the Rub al Khali of Central Arabia, Oman, Hadramaut, Hejaz and Yemen was stylistically similar and in some cases identical to that used among populations of Africa in the same periods. The rock art of Central Arabia as in the Rub –al Khali in fact depicted tall or elongated pastoralists whom art specialist Emmanuel Anati, (author of Rock Art in Central Arabia, 1968) referred to as “oval headed Negroids”.

This rock art which like the Saharan art portrayed pastoralist peoples of East African and Fulani appearance extended into areas certain regions of the Syrian desert as well. After the late stone age these people were accustomed to portraying themselves carrying copper instruments including swords and in mock ritual battle aside from doing and using many other things common to ancient and modern pastoral nomads in Africa. In the same region or in Central Arabia today (in Yemamah or southern Nejd of Saudi Arabia ) are people who are described as the tallest and blackest Arabians on the peninsula still trading in the feathers of the ostriches so significant in the ancient art.

In reality most dialects classified as Semitic are found in Ethiopia and these have been found to not deviate enough from the so called Cushitic language group to qualify as a separate linguistic group thus the terms Semitic and Hamitic have fallen into disfavour among modern linguists and other academics and the name AfroAsiatic has come to be used to comprise both language groups. In fact, the original culture of Abraham and early “Semitic” populations are widespread in Africa and even unmodified in some cases. Similarly deities that were venerated by Semitic speaking people of Asia, such as “the Aramaeans” and the Akkadians are still found among Ethiopians and other Africans.

Ancient Indian African Connections:

Among these aspects of the divinity that were venerated since ancient times were Amun or Hammon, Sama, and Yacchus or Jah. The tradition of Cham or Ham and Shem or Sam and Dyaus Pita or Jyapeti (which correspond to the totems of the Ram or oryx, the Lion, and the Horse in the Zodiac) are also part of ancient Hindu writings which say Charma, Sharma and Jyapeti or Dyaus Pita were children of MaNu (Nuah) – also named Satyavarata. Charma got drunk with rice-wine and laughed at his father.

The name of the Charma or Chamar tribe in India refers to leather-workers or tanners working with hides or skin of animals. Those who work with skin or hides, the Chamar are an undercaste and not surprisingly a subject or servile caste.

In certain Indian ritual the yogis did sit on the sacred black deer skin sacred to Siva and Kama(who is none other than Seba or Seva son of Kush son of Cham in the Bible). This symbolizes the yogi’s submission of the flesh or carnal aspects in their nature.

The Seeds of Father Ham:

The word Ham, Kham, Hammon, Ammon or Amun was the name of the hidden Sun from which sprang Ra or the light of the Sun. It is related to the name for the astronomical black hole known as he Bootes Void. The unknown void was called Mammon or Maimun and was also related to the name of the semi-mythical Memnon king of Ethiopia. Darkness or lack of illumination was associated with Mammon the deity of material desires. The word is possibly etymologically related to the term haram meaning sin or forbidden in Arabian tradition, and is definitely the charma in India which was the black skin of a deer or oryx was sacred to the Indians and Kama the lord of physical or carnal desire. In Egypt Amun or Hammon which was named Kham was represented by a ram which symbolizes the heat of fleshly desire and virility. It is the instinctual will as opposed to higher will and illumination or Shem. Thus Kham also has the connotation of heat or hotness.

The traditions of separate origins of man from Ham or Cham, Shem and Japhet emerged because the real meaning and significance behind the story or allegory of Ham and Sham and Japhet had been misunderstood by peoples who adopted early Afro-Arabian religious traditions. Just as skin covers the body of man the soil covers the body of the earth. The word Ham is etymologically related to Hamr or Hamran which in Arabia refers to the agriculturalists or those who care for and cultivate the earth as opposed to the wandering bedouin who are called Simran and are the caretakers of the often subjugated Hamran. Hamran which in the Bible is sometimes translated as Hamdan can also signify a vineyard. Africans spoke in proverbs and saw the natural world in relationship to spirituality. In one of the gospels it is said “I am a true vine and my father is a husbandman.”

Most of the names of Ham’s children and descendants such as Mizraim, Hagar, Kedar, and Sud or Sudan who was sometimes called a son of Canaan (see below) have to with the earth or earthbound elements. Mizrah or Mizraim, (the Ethiopic and Hebrew Mitzraim Metzir or Medir) is the early Eritrean or Ethiopian earth deity who is also called Mitra(male) and Mithra (female) in Indic- Iranian traditions – the mediator between heaven and earth. Hagar or Agar means the ploughable or arable earth or soil. Sawad or Sudan who is sometimes called a son of Kana’an means the cultivable or black earth. Kedar or Khadar was the name of a dark green iron and thus came to signify greeness or blackness or something that was strong “like iron”. Cana’an came to mean lowland, but also was symbolized by the dog or Cana’an lowly and servant of man. According to Salibi and Arabian tradition Canaan was apparently “the lowland” of the Kenaniyya tribe in Arabia, corresponding to the Tehama or Hejaz and the Asir region an area running from south of Mecca towards Yemen.

Circa 1000 A.D. an account of Kan’an b. Ham is found in Akbar al Zaman:
“He was the eldest of Ham’s sons, and the first to corrupt the religion of Noah, peace be upon him….Among the descendants of Sudan, son of Kan’an, are many nations, among them the Ishban, the Zanj, and many peoples that multiplied in the Maghrib, about 70 of them…..” from the French translation of the Akbar al Zaman : L’Abrege des Merveilles published 1898. Ishban in the Genesis of the Bible is a son of Dishon, brother of Dayshan (Banu Jayshan), brother of Hamdan (or Hamran), Ethran and Cheran (Qaran) descendants of Zibeon the Hivite or Canaanite.

Unfortunately, northern and Western peoples who have tried to write themselves into ancient Arab and Judaean genealogy took out much of the metaphysical and spiritual meaning of early Afro-Arabian allegory such as found in Genesis, and as a result left a void of meaningless nonsense about three different colored races that spread across the world. Even the name of Nuah’s ancestor Adam is said to mean “the sounding mud” or earth which links his name to the word Dum of India an early name for gypsies meaning man and sound, or Atum, of the ancient Nile and Tumal of East Africa and India and Tama of Central and West Africa who is the God of the smiths that mold the earth. Tumal was Tubal- Cain meaning the drummer smith. Thus it is not surprising that in African myth, the smith or metallurgist was called “the first drummer.”


Dana Marniche

To Be Continued………

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