Afro-Arabs are Arabs of full or partial Sub-Saharan African descent. These include black populations within mainly the Sudanese, Saudis, Kuwaitis, Bahrainis, Sahrawis, Mauritanians, Egyptians, Yemenis and Omanis and Moroccans, Algerians with considerably long established communities in Levant Arab states such as Palestine and in Iraq.
|Regions with significant populations|
|Gulf States and North Africa, Yemen, East African Swahili Coast, West African Sahel|
|Arabic, Teda, Hausa, Somali, Swahili, Nubian, Coptic|
|Related ethnic groups|
Eastern Arabia and Africa have been in contact, starting with the obsidian exchange networks of the 7th millennium BC. These networks were strengthened by the rise of Egyptian dynasties of the 4th millennium BC. Scientists have indicated the likely existence of settlements in Arabia, from the people of the Horn of Africa, as early as 3rd and 2nd millenniums' BC.
The Afro-Arabian Tihama culture, which originated in Africa, began in the 2nd millennium. This cultural complex is found within Africa in countries such as Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan, as well as in Yemen and the Saudi coastal plains. In the 1st millennium BC, Southern Arabs gained control of the Red Sea trade routes and established the first kingdom, Saba, in Yemen at around 800 BC. As a result, modern-day Eritrea and Ethiopia were gradually incorporated into the area of Arabian influence. In 600 BC the formation of the Ethio-Sabean state of Daamat on the Tigrean plateau arose. “The archaeological evidence suggests that this is likely to have been the result of small-scale colonization by several Arabian groups (including Sabeans) and acculturation of the indigenous population.”
After several centuries of isolation, the Kingdom of Aksum arose in 100 AD. Aksum survived for 800 years and occupied southern Arabia for part of this period. Utilitarian Aksumite pottery has been found in large quantities in deposits from the 5th and 6th centuries in the Yemen Hadramawt, suggesting that there may have been substantial immigration during that period.
Southern Arabia was a client state of the Aksumite kingdom throughout the 6th century. Himyarite inscriptions document an invasion of Mecca by an ambitious Aksumite general named Abraha (Tigrinya: አብርሃ) in the year 570 AD. An early incident in post Islamic Afro-Arab relations was known as the First Hegira was (Arabic: الهجرة إلى الحبشة, al-hijra ʾilā al-habaša), also (Arabic: هِجْرَة, hijrah), was an episode in the early history of Islam, where Prophet Muhammad's first followers (the Sahabah) fled from the persecution of the ruling Quraysh tribe of Mecca. They sought refuge in the Christian Kingdom of Aksum, present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea (formerly referred to as Abyssinia, an ancient name whose origin is debated), In 9 BH (613 CE) or 7 BH (615 AD). The Aksumite monarch who received them is referred to as (Arabic: نجاشي, najāšī) Ashama ibn Abjar or the Negus. Modern historians have alternatively identified him with King Armah and Ella Tsaham. Some of the exiles returned to Mecca and made the hijra to Medina with Muhammad, while others remained in Abyssinia until they came to Medina in 628. The mosque which they established is called the Mosque of the Companions (Arabic: مَسْجِد ٱلصَّحَابَة, romanized: Masjid aṣ-Ṣaḥābah) is a mosque in the city of Massawa, Eritrea. Dating to the early 7th century CE, it is believed to be the first mosque on the African continent. Many companions settled after Islam became established in the Arabian peninsula and the descendants of these companions still reside in the region.
By around the 1st millennium AD Bantu fishermen established trading towns on what is now called Swahili Coast which between the tenth and twelfth century become Arabized. The Portuguese conquered these trading centers after the discovery of the Cape Road. From the 1700s to the early 1800s, Muslim forces of the Sultanate of Muscat reseized these market towns, especially on the islands of Pemba and Zanzibar. In these territories, Arabs from Yemen and Oman settled alongside the local "African" populations, thereby spreading Islam and establishing Afro-Arab communities. The Niger-Congo Swahili language and culture largely evolved through these contacts between Arabs and the native Bantu population.
Afro-Arab communities were similarly founded in the Nile Valley, as Arabs intermarried with indigenous tribes of Sudan. However, many other Afro-Arabs in the Sudans had little biological connection to Arab peoples, but were instead essentially of Nilotic origins, albeit influenced by the old Arabian civilization in language and culture. Similarly, in North Africa, Arabs had close connections to the native Africans, however, racial discrimination still plays a major role on segregating Afro-Arabs from mainstream Arab population, as found in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Morocco.
In the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, descendants of people from the Swahili Coast perform traditional Liwa and Fann At-Tanbura music and dance. The mizmar is also performed by Afro-Arabs in the Tihamah and Hejaz regions of Saudi Arabia. The ancestors of these Africans were originally brought to the Arabian Gulf as slaves. But today they are fully recognised citizens of the Persian Gulf States, despite the fact that they do not have any Arab ancestry.
List of Afro-Arabs
- Qusay Munir, Iraqi footballer.
- Omar al-Bashir, Sudanese politician.
- Mohamed Timoumi, Moroccan footballer.
- Amin Mekki Medani, Sudanese human rights lawyer and political activist.
- Hamza Mendyl, Moroccan footballer.
- Hatem Trabelsi, Tunisian footballer.
- Ali Ghazal, Egyptian footballer.
- Radhi Jaïdi, Tunisian footballer.
- Raïs M'Bolhi, Algerian footballer.
- Larbi Benbarek, Moroccan footballer.
- Amjad Kalaf, Iraqi footballer.
- Yacine Brahimi, Algerian footballer.
- Almoez Ali, Sudanese footballer.
- Ayoub El Kaabi, Moroccan footballer.
- Yasser Larouci, Algerian footballer
- Moustapha Djallit, Algerian footballer
- Etab, Saudi Arabian singer.
- Roda Antar, Lebanese footballer.
- Abderraouf Zarabi, Algerian footballer.
- Messaoud Ould Boulkheir, Mauritanian politician.
- Abdelatif Bahdari, Palestinian footballer.
- Abdelhakim Omrani, Algerian footballer
- Zakarya Bergdich, Moroccan footballer.
- Abdallah Dghemaat, Jordanian lead actor in the feature film Fish Above Sea Level.
- Hadj Bouguèche, Algerian footballer
- Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, Saudi billionaire.
- Khalil Bani Attiah, Jordanian footballer.
- Akram Afif, Egyptian footballer.
- Ali Afif, Egyptian footballer.
- Bamba Müller, Egyptian maharani
- Djamal Mahamat, Libyan footballer.
- Hicham Boudaoui, Algerian footballer.
- Jamal Taha, Lebanese footballer.
- Larbi Naji, Moroccan footballer.
- Samy Mmaee, Moroccan footballer.
- Cyriaque Mayounga, Moroccan footballer.
- Mohamed-Ali Cho, Moroccan footballer.
- Ryan Mmaee, Moroccan footballer.
- Oussama Falouh, Moroccan footballer.
- Alexis André Jr., Moroccan footballer.
- Malcom Edjouma, Moroccan footballer.
- Arab slave trade
- Black Guard
- Shirazi people
- Swahili people
- Toubou people
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