Banu Kalb

The Banu Kalb (Arabic: بنو كلب, lit.'Sons of Kalb') or Kalb ibn Wabara (كلب بن وبرة) was an Arab tribe. Prior to the Muslim conquest of Syria in the 630s, the Kalb's territory spanned much of northwestern Arabia, the Palmyrene steppe, the Samawah (desert between Palmyra and the Euphrates), the Hawran plain and the Golan Heights. One of their main centers was the desert town of Dumat al-Jandal. The Kalb were involved in the tribal affairs of the eastern frontiers of the Byzantine Empire from the 4th century and were likely the tribe of Mavia, the Bedouin queen of southern Syria. By the 6th century, the Kalb had largely become Monophysite Christians and came under the military authority of the Ghassanids, Arab vassals of the Byzantines. Today, people from the Banu Kalb tribe are also found in the UAE and Oman, where the Al-Kalbani tribe name is quite common.

Banu Kalb
LocationHejaz, Syrian Desert, Wadi Sirhan, Dumat al-Jandal, Palmyra, Homs
Descended fromKalb ibn Wabara
ReligionMonophysite Christianity (up to late 7th century)
Islam (post 630s)

During the lifetime of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a number of his close companions were Kalb tribesmen, such as Zayd ibn Harithah and Dihya al-Kalbi, but the bulk of the tribe remained Christian at the time of Muhammad's death in 632. The Kalb formed political and marital ties with the Umayyad family, and were the main source of military and political power during the reigns of the Umayyad caliphs Mu'awiya I, Yazid I, Mu'awiya II and Marwan I. During early Umayyad rule the Kalb became a chief belligerent in the long-running Qays–Yaman feud as the leading tribe of the Yaman tribal confederation. Under their leadership, the Yaman dealt a heavy blow to the Qays at the Battle of Marj Rahit in 684. By then the Kalb were largely concentrated in the steppe around Homs and Palmyra and were driven out of the Samawah in the late 680s by the Qays.