Histories & Culture

The ‘Azd are a large Qahtani qabilah from southern Arabia, descended from al-‘Azd bin al-Ghuth bin Nabth bin Malik bin Kahlan.

The clan is split into four branches

1. The Ghassanids who live in the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant.

2. The Sarra who live in the Sarra mountains.

3. The Uman who live in Oman.

4. The Shanu’ah who trace their heritage to Ka’ab bin al-Harith bin Ka’ab bin Abdullah bin Malik bin Nasr bin al-Azd, and resided in Yemen in Sarra.

When the Mara’ib Dam in Yemen was breached and destroyed by flood water in the 7th century, those residing nearby dispersed. Al-‘Aws and al-Khazraj headed towards Yathrib (Medina), and were joined by the Khiza’ah at Mecca. At the same time, Wada’ah, Khizam and ‘Atak made their way to present-day Oman, while part of the qabilah turned to Iraq. The Jafna and Qata’ah went towards the Levant. The descendants of Jafna came to dominate the Levant, and became known as the Ghassanids.

Among the Azi poets are Sawad bin Qarib al-Azadi, a priest in the pre-Islamic period, and al-Samaw'al, who was a Jew and who built a castle out of black and white stone, and so was called al-Ablaq.

Other poets of the Azd: al-Shanfara, ‘Amr ibn Hamamah, Hajiz ibn ‘Auf ibn Harith, Abdullah ibn Salmah, Ka’ab ibn Ma’dan al-Ash’ari, Ibn Hamam al-Azdi, and Thabit bin Jabir al-‘Ataki al-Azdi.

Source: الأزد
Translated from the Arabic by Andrew Leber, Brown University, Class of 2012.