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Arab Singaporean

Arab Singaporean
Total population
7,000 to 10,000 (estimated)
English, Malay, some Arabic speakers.
Predominantly Sunni Islam, following the Shafi'i madhab (school of thought). A small minority practicing Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Hadhrami people, Arab Indonesians, Arab Malaysians, Arab diaspora, Malay Singaporeans.

The majority of the Arabs in Singapore are Hadhramis tracing their ancestry from the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula called Hadhramaut, which is now part of the Republic of Yemen. The People's Democratic Republic of Yemen PDRY was formed on 30 November 1967 when it achieved independence after 129 years of British rule. Some of the people living there are known as “Hadhramis”. The land there is mostly desert region. The fertile areas, suitable for cultivation, are small and concentrated in the wadi region. This harsh natural environment drove the Hadhramis to travel out of the area to trade and acquire the necessary items they needed. They had travelled to and engaged in trade in several areas: Hyderabad, India (before 1947), Dar-es-Salaam and East Africa as well as Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies.

Broadly speaking, the Hadhramis have three social strata. The first are the Ba 'Alawi sada who are the descendants of the grandsons of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, namely Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali, and are known by their singular honorific "Syed" for men and “Sharifah” for women. In Yemen and elsewhere, many among them are revered religious scholars and administrators.The second are the Mashaikhs, many among whom are scholars too, and sometimes, farmer. Their family names (surnames) often begin with "Ba-" (for example Basharahil, Bahashwan). Then there the Gabails, also known as the Kathiris, who are a collection of tribes. Most among them are landowners. Among the prominent Gabail families are the Bin Talibs and Bin Abdads and the honorific "Sheikh" (also spelled “Shaikh”) and "Sheikhah" (also spelled "Shaykhah" and "Shaikha") (for men and women respectively) often precede their names.

Alkaff Mansion Singapore.


  • History 1
    • Hadhrami migration 1.1
    • Identification with the Malays in Singapore 1.2
    • Contribution to Singapore 1.3
    • Arab role in trade 1.4
    • Arab business domination 1.5
    • After World War II 1.6
    • The 1960s 1.7
  • Present day 2
    • Identity crisis 2.1
    • Singaporean Arabs census today 2.2
    • Arabs and wakaf (waqf وقف ) properties today 2.3
      • First factor 2.3.1
      • Second factor 2.3.2
      • Third factor 2.3.3
      • Fourth factor 2.3.4
  • Notable Arab Singaporeans 3
    • Politics 3.1
    • Education 3.2
    • Armed Forces 3.3
    • Religion 3.4
    • Arts and entertainment 3.5
  • Surnames 4
  • Acknowledgements 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Hadhrami migration

The early Arab settlers came to Singapore with wealth made in Indonesia. Being already familiar with Malay customs, they were accepted by the Malays living there. In 1824, the population of Singapore was 10,683. Out of this total, there were only 15 Arabs. In 1829, there were 34 Arabs with only 3 Arab women among them. Their population increased as follows:

Year 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921
Total Arab Population in Singapore 465 806 806 919 1,226 1,286
Population of Arabs compared to the population of Malays in Singapore:
Year 1931 1947 1957 1970 1980
Total Population of Singapore 557,754 938,144 1,444,929 2,074,507 2,413,945
Percentage of Malay Population 37,373 (6.70%) 70,331 (7.50%) 135,662 (9.38%) 268,175 (12.93%) 351,508 (14.56%)
Percentage of Arab Population 1,939 (0.35%) 2,588 (0.28%) 3,471 (0.24%) 2,186 (0.11%) 2,491 (0.10%)

(Source: Lim Lu Sia, 1987:32)

The census for 1970s and 1980s is not believed to reflect the actual number of Arabs in Singapore. This is because a number of Arabs have been officially registered as “Malay”. After Singapore became an independent country in 1965, the ethnic Malays enjoyed educational benefits granted by the state. Some Arab families then listed the ethnicity of their children to "Malay" to receive these benefits. Because of intermarriage between Malay or Indian Muslim men and Arab women, some Malays and Indians have Arab ancestry. People of Arab descent matrilineally are not officially listed as Arabs as a person's race in Singapore, until 2010, was determined by his father's race.

Identification with the Malays in Singapore

In Singapore, the Malays form the largest Muslim community. As such, being a Muslim in Singapore is usually closely associated with being Malay. Some Arabs had chosen to identify themselves as Malays. The Arabs here had been exposed to Malay culture and lifestyles and considered themselves a part of the Malay community. This choice of change of ethnicity on their part was also made possible because of their shared religion with the Malays, intermarriage with them and also an acceptance and assimilation of Malay culture and values by the Arab community in Singapore.

In fact, the Arabs have not only assimilated Malay culture and values but have played an active part in the lives of the Malay community in the religious and economic areas as well as providing intellectual and social leadership. This took place even in the early years of British rule in Singapore. During this time, the Hadhrami Arabs worked in land and property dealing, batik trade, importing goods from the Arab countries and as brokers. Some of them also became teachers of the Islamic faith and organizers of the Haj.

Contribution to Singapore

The position and contribution of the Arabs to Singapore can be seen when a member of the Aljunied clan was appointed as a member of the mostly European-dominated Chamber of Commerce in 1837. Two Arabs, Syed Mohamed bin Ahmed Alsagoff and Syed Mohammed bin Syed Omar Alsagoff, served as Municipal Commissioners in 1872–1898 and 1928–1933 respectively.

The Arabs formed their own association in 1946 which still exists today. The objectives then were to promote and enhance Islam as well as the use of Arabic language. By the time the Arab Association Singapore was founded, the Arab traders were the wealthiest community in Singapore. Syed Ali Mohammed Al-Juneid, for instance, donated a large plot of land near Victoria and Arab Streets to Tan Tock Seng’s hospital. He also built public wells across town to provide free water, at a time when none was being supplied by the municipality. The Al-Juneid family – after whom Aljunied Road is named – made large donations to the construction of the Town Hall (now the Victoria Memorial and Concert Hall), while paying for the building of public bridges. The Al-Kaff footbridge on the Singapore River takes its name from another prominent Arab family, which built the first Japanese Gardens opened to the public before World War II (where the Sennett private housing estate is today).

The Arabs were also well known for their contribution to wakaf lands (Arab's land holdings charitable trust). The wakaf land of Syed Mohamed Alsagoff was formed in 1904 to help support efforts for orphanages, mosques and Islamic schools. Today, the Aljunied Islamic School and the Alsagoff Islamic School stand as a legacy of the contribution of the Arab community towards Islamic education in Singapore. Currently, almost the entire area Singapore central business district were once the wakaf lands which the government acquired in the 1970s with only the minimal compensation paid to the owners.[1]

Arab role in trade

The Arabs had played a dominant role in trade in South East Asia since the fifteenth century. When Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore in 1819, he attracted the Arab traders to his new city. By 1824, there were 15 Arabs out of a population of 10,683 and Raffles anticipated a rapid growth in Arab immigration. His blueprint for Singapore included plans for an Arab district. In his instructions to a Singapore housing committee in 1822, he stated:

"The Arab population would require every consideration. No situation will be more appropriate for them than the vicinity of the Sultan’s residence..." (Buckley 1902:85)

The first Arabs to arrive in Singapore in 1819 were two wealthy merchants from Palembang, Sumatra. Their numbers gradually increased and by 1846, there were five important Arab merchant houses. The al-Junied [al-junaid] الجنيد family in Singapore grew to be a rich and influential as did the al-Kaffs [al-kāf] الكاف and the al-Saggoffs [al-saqqāf] السقاف. There are streets and even a town council named after them.

The al-Saggoffs were spice traders and became influential by marrying into a royal family from the Celebes. They acquired many properties, like the other Arab families, including the "Perseverance Estate" where they grew lemon grass. The estate is now considered to be the heart of the Muslim community in Singapore. As well as being successful merchants and land owners, the family became involved in civic affairs. The family members, at times, held civic office from the 1870s until 1965. The al-Kaff family arrived here in 1852. All these families lived in mansions of considerable opulence like the al-Kaff house. Today, the building is a restaurant called Alkaff Mansion (a gesture to preserve the name). Other than that, it has no other Hadhrami connection, either in architectural style or ownership.

Arab business domination

The Arabs dominated the businesses in Singapore, principally in oil and trade, during the British colonial period. Arabic culture had a strong influence on the local Malay culture through its religion. This is seen in the Middle Eastern-style architecture of the mosques in Kampong Glam.

In the heyday of Arab prosperity, the Arabs in Singapore maintained close links with Hadhramaut and large amounts of money were sent back to the homeland. The rich built themselves splendid houses, like the Alkaff house. They also sent their sons back to Hadhramaut for periods of time to enhance their identity as Hadhramis. This custom maintained their language and Hadhrami culture. It even resulted in some Malay being incorporated in the spoken Arabic of Hadhramaut (see Hadhrami Arabic). Hadhramaut was regarded as a cultural training ground of the young Arab men and the time spent there was the final preparation for manhood. Upon their return to Singapore, these young men would take their place in the family businesses.

After World War II

During World War II it became impossible for the Hadhramis in Singapore to travel abroad but they continued to do so thereafter. However, after the Rent Control Act came into effect, Hadrami incomes were frozen and it became clear that the wakaf (trust) incomes would not be sufficient for the next generation. It was then that the Arab families took a keener interest in the education of their children. The richer families sent their children to London to study and the children of others spent time working in Aden rather than just going to Hadhramaut. The cultural and linguistic links were still maintained. However, the family incomes continued to decline.

The 1960s

In the 1960s, there came a major change. The independence of South Yemen with a communist government in power put an end to the Singapore Hadramis returning home. At the same time, the economic developments in Singapore made the importance of the English language and of obtaining an education even more essential. The new Arab generation had grown up without speaking Arabic and had lost both its identity and its affiliation with Hadhramaut. Some families, in the oil boom of the 1970s, tried sending their sons to the Persian Gulf or Saudi Arabia, but it was not a success. The young men did not like living in Saudi Arabia as their prospects in Singapore were better than on the Arabian peninsula.

Present day

Identity crisis

The Hadhrami community in Singapore is now facing an identity crisis. The younger generation does not speak Arabic and has lost its affiliation with Hadhramaut, partly because Hadhramis have stopped sending their children back there. The Arab community recognises the lack of knowledge of Arabic is a major problem and an Arabic language centre has been set up. It is hoped that the younger generation will learn both the language and about their culture and heritage. The challenge facing the community is to ensure that the new generation maintains its identity. The link with Hadhramaut needs to be re-established and travel to Hadhramaut needs to be encouraged.

Singaporean Arabs census today

Singapore is a cosmopolitan city state made up of various races. The 1990 census shows the Chinese as the majority with around 74% of the population, the indigenous Malays with 14%, the Indians at less than 10% and the balance placed in the category of "others". This "others" category includes, but is not limited to, Filipinos, Eurasians, Vietnamese and Arabs. The census shows Arabs to be around 7,000, but unofficial estimates place the actual number of Arabs at around 10,000.

Arabs and wakaf (waqf وقف ) properties today

The Singapore Hadramis were major landlords, the large families having substantial properties held in trust, which ranged from private family trusts to public charitable trusts. Most of the land in today’s central business district of Singapore was once owned by Hadrami wakafs. These wakafs, bearing the family names, whether private or charitable, gave considerable prestige to the Arab community among the Muslims in Singapore. In recent years, four factors have affected the wakafs and undermined the status of the community. The first three factors have been a direct result of government policies.

First factor

The first was the enactment of the Administration of Muslim Law Act 1968. The Singapore Islamic Council is the corporate body now empowered to oversee the administration of charitable wakafs in Singapore. Prior to the Act, the Arab trustees were in total control of their wakafs. With the transfer of the wakafs’ administration to the Council, the Arabs’ authority over them was considerably undermined. The association of wakafs with the Arabs and their reputation as benefactors diminished as the public no longer saw their connection with the charitable functions of the wakafs.

Second factor

The second factor was the Rent Control Act 1947. The rents of pre-war properties were controlled and, in effect, frozen. As the Arab wakafs were mostly pre-war properties, the income of the Arab families have correspondingly diminished. The decline in the income from the wakafs resulted in the diminishing economic influence of the Arabs. The Arabs were also, unfortunately, not prepared for such a drastic drop in their income. They had not given their children a Western education. Many Arabs went to madrasas or Islamic schools and some families never sent their children for any formal education at all. The changing developments that started taking place in Singapore since the 1960s has made it difficult for the Arabs to compete.

Third factor

The third factor was the Land Acquisition Act. Given the size of the island, land is scarce in Singapore and it has been the government’s policy to have complete control over land usage. The Land Acquisition Act empowered the government to acquire land required for urban renewal and compensation to be paid on a predetermined formula. The compensation amounts calculated would be significantly lower than the prevailing market value. The government embarked on a major acquisition campaign in the 1970s and 1980s. Pre-war properties were the major target for acquisition as Singapore underwent a modernisation programme. These pre-war properties were subject to rent control and had tenants that could not be removed.

The wakafs were not in a position to develop these properties. Significant properties owned by Arab wakafs were acquired and minimal compensation paid. This eroded Arab wealth and influence. It also diminished the Arab identity as substantial landlords.

The Sheikh Salem Talib Family settlement, for example, used to have more than three pages in its audited accounts listing the properties held, but the current accounts have less than one page. More than half of the properties were acquired by the government. The al-Saggoff Perseverance Estate was acquired in 1962 for urban renewal. Another 10-acre (40,000 m2) plot of land in a prime area was donated by the al-Junied family to the Muslim Trust Fund (a wakaf created by the al-Saggoffs) to be developed so that the income could be used for welfare projects. The Trust wanted to build a mosque and a madrasah, but building permission was not granted by the government. That piece of land was acquired in 1985. In present-day Singapore, the Arabs are no longer considered as the main landowners. Many Singapore Arabs regard the land acquisition policy as the main reason for both their loss of status and identity.

Fourth factor

The fourth factor is the use of professional trustees to manage the wakafs instead of family members. Most of the large private family trusts had problems of mismanagement or breaches of trust and legal disputes. In many cases a professional trustee was then appointed, which had a similar effect to the Administration of Muslim Law Act: the management of the wakafs became impersonal and the Arab families lost the social status of being associated with them.

Notable Arab Singaporeans

This article contains a list of notable Arab Singaporeans, people with Arab ancestry born or naturalized in Singapore.


  • Dr Ahmad bin Mohamed Mattar (Arabic: أحمد مطرAḥmad Maṭar) (born 1940) Former Minister for the Environment. Credited with cleaning up the Singapore River and other waterways. In 1972, he entered politics and successfully contested for a seat in Parliament, representing the constituency of Brickworks, and was to remain in Parliament until 1996. During his long and distinguished political career, he has held many senior government positions, first as Parliamentary Secretary for Education and then as Minister for Social Affairs, and finally as Minister for the Environment. In 1996, he retired from politics. He is currently the Chairman of IMC Technologies, a private educational institution, where he continues to make contributions to education in Singapore.
  • Syed Ali Redha Alsagoff (Arabic: سيد علي رضا السقافSaiyid ‘Alī Riḍhā al-saqqāf) (1928–1998) Businessman, politician and Islamic teacher. Known as the “father of Muslim bursaries”, his distinguished service to spur Muslim students via the Prophet Muhammad Birthday Celebration Board spanned three decades from 1965. He also set up the Mendaki Foundation in 1982 to help children of Muslim parents from the lower income group with their education. Served as a voluntary Islamic teacher at his former school, Aljunied Islamic School. He was also a businessman and real estate developer. Joining politics since the 1940s, he almost clinched the first Mayor of Singapore in the late 1950s. He led the Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry into the mainstream in Singapore. He was concerned with the socio-economic conditions of the Malays. To him, politics was a means towards achieving a more essential end, that is, to alleviate the downtrodden and marginal status of Malays in Singapore. This strategy is best reflected in his relentless services to the community which persisted well after the separation of Singapore from Malaysia. Among the awards he received included the Knight of the Nation (in 1965, when Singapore was in Malaysia), the Public Service Star and Justice of Peace.


  • Po’ad Bin Shaik Abu Bakar Mattar, BBM, PBM (Arabic: فؤاد بن شيخ أبو بكر مطرFu'ād bin Šayḫ Abū Bakr Maṭar) (born 1948) Pro-Chancellor, National University of Singapore since 2012. He was appointed as a Member of the Public Service Commission in February 2004, and has been a Member of the Council of Presidential Advisers since 2007. An accountant by training, he had held various positions in Deloitte & Touche ( a major accounting firm in Singapore) before becoming its Senior Partner in 2002. He retired from this position on 28 Feb 2006 . He served as a Director of MediaCorp TV Singapore Private Limited (formerly Television Corporation Singapore) between 1994 and 1999. From 1992 to 2003, he was a member of the Ngee Ann Polytechnic Council. He was also a Board member of the Public Utilities Board from 1 Apr 2001 to 31 Mar 2007 and has been a director of its wholly owned subsidiary, Singapore Utilities International Pte Ltd since 1 Apr 2004. He was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2002 and the Public Service Star in 2007.

Armed Forces

  • Syed Mohamed Syed Ahmad Alsagoff Commander, Singapore Armed Forces. Born in Singapore, he had his education at the Victoria School. He later joined the Malayan Armed Forces, the predecessor of the Malaysian Armed Forces, rising to the rank of Major-General before his retirement in the 1970s. When Singapore was part of Malaysia from 1963–1965, he was the Commander of the Singapore Armed Forces, holding the rank of Brigadier-General. The Singapore Armed Forces then consisted of the 4th Malaysian Infantry Brigade which had two infantry regiments of about 1,000 soldiers each.


  • Syed Abdillah Bin Ahmad Al-Jufri (Public Service Star and MUIS Distinguished Service. As a great teacher, his death on 4 January 2003 was mourned by the Muslims in Singapore.
  • Syed Ahmad Muhammad Semait (1933–2006) Islamic literary figure. His name was etched in the development of dakwah in the region especially the translation of noted Islamic scholars’ work from Arabic to Malay. He set up the Pustaka Nasional, one of the most enduring Malay publishing firms in the region. He learnt from famed scholars such as the late Sheikh Omar Abdullah Al-Khatib. He wrote, translated and edited hundreds of books on Islam and taught as far as he could. Was an advisor to the Islamic Scholars and Teachers Association (Pergas). To revive Malay literary developments after Singapore’s separation from Malaysia in 1965, he undertook the less lucrative venture of publishing novels, short stories and Malay poems. Lets' Pray By Syed Ahmad Bin Muhammad Semait Let'S Learn To Recite The Quran By S.A. Semait
  • Syed Isa bin Mohamed Semait (born 1938) Former Mufti of Singapore. He was born in Hadramaut, Yemen. He came to Singapore after his father had tried to seek a better life for his family. A graduate of the Aljunied Islamic School. He also studied at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt when the Asia Foundation decided to sponsor his air ticket after he had managed to obtain a scholarship from the institution. He subsequently received his bachelor's degree in Islamic jurisprudence from the university in 1969. He was appointed to the post of Mufti in 1972 at the age of 34, a position he only relinquished in 2011. He was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Gold) in 2009.
  • Shaikh Sallim Mattar (Arabic: شيخ سليم مطرŠayḫ Salīm Maṭar) – Built the Sallim Mattar Mosque (Masjid Sallim Mattar) in 1960. The mosque is located along Mattar Road, opposite Macpherson Primary School. The mosque accommodates 1400 people and offers religious classes (madrasahs) on Sundays.[2]

Arts and entertainment

  • Mohamed Alwi Alkaff (Arabic: محمد علوي الكافMuḥammad 'Alawī al-kāf) (born 1964) Entertainer who is better known as Moe Alkaff. He was one of the top emcees, a comedian and an all round entertainer in Asia. He also had a stint as a deejay on Singapore's local broadcast channel 91.3FM as well as in the local clubs. Became famous when he hosted the Candid Camera like TV series, Gotcha in 1993–4. He was one of the main stars in the comedy movie One Leg Kicking. Since 1989, Moe Alkaff runs an events management company called Moezik Events International in Singapore organising meetings, incentives, conferences and events. He currently lives with his family in Colorado, USA.
  • Sheikh Haikel Sheikh Salim (Arabic: شيخ هيكل شيخ سليمŠayḫ Haykal Šayḫ Salīm) (born 1976) Rapper, actor and radio deejay who is better known as Sheikh Haikel. He became known to the public when he first won the Asia Bagus Grand Championship as part of the rap duo, Construction Sight, in 1993. He has since established himself as a solo rap artist in both Singapore and Malaysia. He has also moved on to acting, appearing on stage, movies and television. He acted in the successful production of Army Daze (both the movie and the stage production), and appeared in the top rated television show Under One Roof. He was also a deejay for the local broadcast channel 98.7FM when he was asked to leave in 2004 after complaints from some listeners about inappropriate risqué comments he had made on-air. Due to his popularity though, he was later back with the Breakfast Show on channel 91.3FM in 2008.
  • Mohamed Shahid Bin Isahak (Arabic: محمد شهيد بن اسحاقMuḥammad Šahīd bin Isḥāq) (born 1983) Musician and a member of the Alsagoff family who is better known simply as "Syaheed". He is best known as an award winning music producer for his work on the song Bersamamu (With You) by Malaysian rapper, Joe Flizzow, and Angguk-Angguk, Geleng-Geleng (Nod and Shake Your Head) by the Singapore Malay hip hop group, Ahli Fiqir. He is also a music entrepreneur, who started Bedsty as a music production team and, later, into a full-fledged music provider that produced unique events and parties, artwork and designs. This business is known collectively as Bedsty Music.Parties.Design. In 2010, he formed Bedsty Artist Management to manage top urban acts and deejays, and Bedsty Bedrock Publishing was incorporated as well to provide music publishing advice and services to musicians, composers, deejays and music producers.
  • Munir Bin Alwi Alsagoff (Arabic: منير بن علوي السقاف‎) Munīr bin 'Alawī al-saqqāf) (born 1974). Musician and producer, he is one-half of the music production duo, The Invisible Heroes. Munir was also a member of the musical outfits,Stoned Revivals and Urban Xchange (which was later re-formed as Parking Lot Pimp). He was also the co-producer of the Chynahouse/EMI recording outfit's Parking Lot Pimp’s first album entitled Welcome to Our Frequency and was featured in recordings by artistes such as Yvonne Hsu (Taiwan), Energy (Taiwan), Javier (US) Sheikh Haikel (Singapore) as well as in Singapore Hip-Hop outfit, Urban Xchange’s track remixes of Maksim (Flight of the Bumblebee), Brian Mcknight (When You Wanna Come ) and N.E.R.D (Maybe). He is currently involved in projects featuring Brazilian jazz, soul and electronic music .
  • Maimunah Bagharib (Arabic: ميمونة باغريب‎) Maymūnah bā gharīb) (born 1988) Entertainer who is one-half of a wacky comedy duo called Munah & Hirzi which have gained an online following for their musical spoofs and parodies. She is also an actress with the Suria television channel.


People of Arab descent in Singapore hold the following surnames arranged alphabetically:

Notes on pronunciation: Pronunciation of names is that of Classical Arabic or Standard Arabic. Dialectal pronunciation may slightly differ in some sounds, e.g. Classical [q] may be pronounced [ɡ]. Classical vowels such as [ai] or [aw] are pronounced in colloquial Arabic as [eː] or [oː] respectively. Thus the name Bagushair (Baq'shir) bā qushair باقشير is bā gishēr. Note also that Arabic glottal stop (ء) [hamzah] is transliterated (k) in Malay, e.g. Barajak [baː radʒaːʔ] بارجاء . Below is a list of names preceded by a table showing the transliteration system of consonants together with their values. Transliteration and Arabic spelling of names with ??? need checking.) :

Arabic Transliteration IPA transcription
ث th or ṯ θ
ذ dh or ḏ ð
ظ đ̣ or ð̣ ðˤ
ء ʔ
ع ʕ
غ gh or ġ ʁ
خ kh or x χ
ج j or ǧ d͡ʒ
ش sh or š ʃ
ي y j
  • Aboed ‘abūd / ‘abbūdعبود/ عبّود
  • Aidid ‘aidīd عيديد
  • Albahar al-bāhr الباحر
  • Al Bin Said āl bin sa‘īd آل بن سعيد
  • Al Bukhari al-bukhārī البخاري
  • Al Idrus al-‘aidarūs (also spelt Alaydrus) العيدروس
  • Alatas al-‘aṭṭās العطاس
  • Alaydrus al-‘aidarūs العيدروس
  • Albar al-bārالبار
  • AlHabshi al-ḥabshī الحبشي
  • AlHadad al-ḥaddād الحداد
  • Alhadi al-hādī الهادي
  • AlHadry al-ḥadrī الحدري
  • AlHajri al-hajrī الهجري
  • AlHamid al-ḥāmid الحامد(different from the Bin Hamid bin-ḥāmidبن حامد)
  • AlHusaynial-ḥusaynī الحسيني (also spelt as Alhusaini/Alhusseini)The family are the direct descendants of Husayn Ibn Ali of The Ahlul Bayt
  • AlJufry al-jufrī الجفري
  • Aljunied al-junaidالجنيد
  • Aljaru al-jaru
  • Alkaff al-kāf الكاف
  • AlKhairid al-khirid الخرد
  • Alkhatib al-khaṭībالخطيب
  • AlKhatiri ???الخاطري (but if Al Kathiri, pronunciation is al-kathīrī الكثيري)
  • AlMadihid ???āl mudaiḥijمديحج
  • AlMahdaly al-mahdalī المهدلي
  • AlMushaiya ???also al-mushaikh
  • AlNahdi al-nahdī النهدي
  • AlNaziri ???al-nadhīri
  • Alqadri al-qādirī القادري
  • AlQudsi al-qudsī القدسي
  • Alsagoff al-saqqāf السقاف
  • AlShahab āl shihāb آل شهاب (other names : Bin Shahab & Bin Shihab بن شهاب – all belong to the same family).
  • Alsree al-sirī السري
  • Altuywai al-tuwai التوي
  • Alwaini al-‘wuainī العويني
  • Ashiblie al shiblī الشبلي
  • Attamimi


  • al-Zair ???(possibly also Az-zair)
  • Baashin bā ‘ashin باعشن
  • Badib bā dhīb باذيب *
  • Badhawie ( other names : Badawi or possibly Al Badawi ) بدوي
  • Bahasan bā hasan باحسن
  • Bafadhal bā faḍl بافضل
  • Bafanah bā fana‘ بافنع
  • Bages bā qais باقيس
  • Bagharib bā gharīb باغريب
  • Bagushair Ba-Qashir bā qushairباغشير or باقشير
  • Bahajaj bā ḥajjāj باحجاج
  • Baharon bā hārūn باهارون
  • Bahashwan bā ḥashwānباحشوان
  • Bajrai bā jirai/bā jurai باجري
  • Bakhbireh bā khubairah باخبيرة
  • Balidram bil-ladram بالدرم or بن لدرم [bin ladram]
  • Bamadhaj bā madḥaj بامدحج
  • Banafe' bā nāfi‘ بانافع
  • Bana'ma bā nā‘imah باناعمة
  • Ba'Arfanbā ‘arfān با عرفان (also known as Bin 'Arfan بن عرفان descendent/lineage of Baraja' bā rajā’ بارجاء from Ahmad Bin Salim Baraja')
  • Bajammal bā jammāl با جمال
  • Bajunaid bā junaid باجنيد
  • Baobed bā ‘ubaid باعبيد
  • Barabbah bā rabbā‘ بارباع
  • Barajak bā rajā’ بارجاء
  • Baridwan ba reedwan بردون
  • Barosh ??? bā ruwish باروش
  • Basalamah bā salāmah باسلامة
  • Basharahil bā sharāḥīl باشراحيل
  • Basrawi baṣrāwī بصراوي
  • Baswedan bā swaidān باسويدان
  • Bathef ??? bā ṭahaf باطهف
  • Belwael ba l-wa‘l بالوعل / بلوعل (also known as Balweel or Balwael or Belweil bil wi‘il) (Classical Arabic أبا الوعل)
  • Bin Abad bin 'abad بن عابد
  • Bin Abdat bin ‘abdāt (also bin ‘ibdāt) بن عبدات
  • Bin Diab bin dhiyābبن ذياب
  • Bin Hamid bin ḥāmid بن حامد
  • Bin Hassan bin ḥasan بن حسن
  • Bin Rabak bin raba‘ بن ربع (possibly bin rabbā‘ بن ربّاع )
  • Bin Shahab bin shihāb بن شهاب
  • Bin Shaykh Abu Bakar bin al-shaikh abu-bakr بن الشيخ ابوبكر
  • Bin Shelham ???bin shalham بن شلهم
  • Bin Tahir bin ṭāhir بن طاهر
  • Bin Talib bin ṭālib بن طالب
  • Binsmit bin ṣumaiṭ بن سميط
  • Binyahya/ Benyahya (or AlYahya to avoid any confusion due to the similarity in the way the Malays use 'Bin' to reflect 'son of')
  • Harharah (bin) harharah بن هرهرة
  • Jawas jawwās جواس
  • Lahdji al laḥjī اللحجي
  • Lajam la‘jam لعجم (Classical Arabic الاعجم)
  • Magad ???المقد
  • Mattar al-maṭar المطر
  • San'ani al-ṣan‘ānīالصنعاني (previously Al-Jahsyi)
  • and a lot more


  • The contents for the headings "Hadhrami migration" "Identification with the Malays" and "Contribution to Singapore" were largely or in part based on the book Kilat Senja: Sejarah Sosial dan Budaya Kampung-Kampung di Singapura by Hadijah Rahmat.

See also


  1. ^ "The world's successful diasporas". World Business. 3 April 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  • Article: For the impact of Hadhrami migration to South-East Asia on Hadhrami Arabic, see:
  • Book: The Graves of Tarim: Genealogy and Mobility across the Indian Ocean by Engseng Ho, a professor at Harvard. California World History series. A 500-year history of Hadhramaut's diaspora, the most comprehensive account to date. ISBN 978-0-520-24453-5 (hb); ISBN 978-0-520-24454-2 (pb)
  • Book: Hadhrami Traders, Scholars and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean, 1750s-1960s Edited by Ulrike Freitag and William G. Clarence-Smith.
  • Article: Talib, Ameen, Hadramis in Singapore, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, vol 17 no1 (April 1997): 89- 97 (UK).
  • Hadijah Rahmat, Kilat Senja: Sejarah Sosial dan Budaya Kampung-Kampung di Singapura, H S Yang Publishing Pte Ltd, Singapore, 2005.
  • Article: The Role of Hadramis in Post-Second World War Singapore – A Reinterpretation' by Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied. See

External links

  • Ba` Ba' | The Definitive Resource for Islam and the Alawiyyen Ancestry
  • Reminder of the Arab Presence in Singapore
  • The Arab Association Singapore
  • Al-Mahjar magazine – Publication of the Arab Association Singapore
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