Histories & Culture

This tribe is descended from ‘Amru bin ‘Adi bin al-Harith bin Marah bin Kahlan, the brother of ‘Amilah and Lakhm, who was given the name “Jidham”. By the 1st century AH, the two major tribes made up the Jidham, the Lakhm and the ’Amilah.


The Jidham were a Mudhari, or Northern Arabian, qabilah, who migrated to Yemen and became a notable political power during the Umayyad Dynasty. Their encampments stretched between present-day Amman, Ma’an, Adrah, Madin and Gaza, and they lived off trade between the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, and Egypt.


Christian thinking spread among the Jidham from early times, due to their ties to the Levant and Egypt. They were at the head of the tribes that stood with the Romans against the Arabs in the Levant, though after the Arab victory in the Battle of Yarmouk, they switched to support of the Arabs and took part in the Islamic Conquest of the Levant.


During the conflict between ‘Ali bin Abi Talib and Mu’awiyya, the Jidham sided with Mu’awiyya, as did the rest of the Levantine peoples. Later, they spread throughout the lands of Palestine, eventually making up a majority of Arabs there.

The Jidham and Kelb tribes were the major Yemini qabilahs in the Levant, while major groups broke off and departed for Egypt in support of ‘Amr ibn al-‘As during his conquest of the region. These groups settled around Alexandria.


The name “Jidham” disappeared over time as other names took its place, such as the tribe of the Bani Sakhir in Jordan said to descend from the Jidham. 


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