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Zahran tribe

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Title: Zahran tribe  
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Subject: Qasaba, Qahtanites, Tribes of Arabia, Cemetery, Bedouin
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Zahran tribe

Zahran Tribe (Arabic: زهران‎) is one of the Arabian tribes in the Arabian Peninsula. The noun Zahran means blossoming or flowering in Arabic and is derived from the Arabic word for flower.[1] Most members of the Zahran Tribe are farmers. Therefore it is not considered a Bedouin tribe.

The Zahran family name which very likely does not have any relation to this specific tribe if found outside modern day Saudi Arabia, is found throughout the Middle East. It is held by individuals in Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Jordan, Palestinian territories, and spans the entire globe. In addition, such individuals span many faiths. Furthermore, members of the Zahran tribe also have different surnames.

The Al-Azd tribe, from which the Ghamid and Zahran tribes originate from, settled in Al Baha which is known historically as the "Garden of Hijaz" after migrating from the Kingdom of Sheba or Saba (located in present day Yemen) around 115 BC due to water shortage.[2] The Zahran tribe has existed both before and after Islam. During the time of the birth of Islam, Zahran tribe in Al Baha sent a delegation led by Al-Tufail ibn Amr Al-Dousi to the Prophet Mohammed in Mecca to determine whether his words are worthy of heading. The result was that Al-Dousi converted and returned to Al Baha to convert others.[2]

Zahrani Arabic dialect

It is claimed by some Arab authors that the dialect of Belad Ghamid and Zahran (now known as Al Baha province in Saudi Arabia) is nearest to classical Arabic. Ahmed Abdul Ghafur Attar (Arabic : احمد عبدالغفور عطار ) has said in an article* that the language of the Hejaz (Arabic لهجات الحجاز), especially that which is spoken in Belad Ghamdi and Zahran is close to the Classical Language.

Faisal Ghori (Arabic فيصل غوري), a famous scholar of Arabic Literature in his book Qabayil Al- Hejaz (Arabic قبائل الحجاز) wrote: we can say is that there are some tribes in Arabia whose language today much closer to the classical Arabic language. The tribes of Belad Ghamid and Zahran are a good example of this.

Zahrani tribal governance

"Nearly 5,000 members of the Zahran Tribe in Al Baha, one of the leading tribes in the kingdom, enthusiastically cast their ballots to elect their chief. It was the first-ever election to choose a tribal chief in the predominantly Saudi tribal society. Saudi Arabia held elections for municipal councils two years ago as part of its democratic reforms. Speaking to Gulf News, Prince Mohammad Bin Saud Bin Abdul Aziz, governor of Al Baha, said: "It is fabulous that even tribal people have joined in the new stream by choosing their chieftain in a democratic way." Mohammad Bin Yahya Al Zahrani won the election, defeating his lone rival by a big margin."[3]

Weddings in Al-Baha

Modern times are changing the way tribal weddings are viewed and performed. "On women’s customs, Najma Al-Zahrani said, “The elder women in the bride’s family received members of the groom’s family and this was market by ululation, drum beats and recitation of welcoming poems. The food served at weddings was called "hospitality dishes" and consisted of traditional confectioneries, meals, coffee, dates and pastries,” Najma said, while adding that although many women wear extravagant and often-revealing clothes to weddings (women-only parties) these days, many tribal women still prefer to wear traditional clothes that are adorned with silver ornaments. Another major difference that many people spoke about is the value of dowry given to the bride. In the past, anything from SR5,000 to SR10,000 was acceptable. These days, dowries range from SR35,000 to SR100,000, which puts a huge burden on the groom and his family as they are also responsible for covering the costs of renting marriage halls and paying for all related expenses. “We used to give a few thousand riyals to the bride, slaughter a few goats and everyone went home happy. These days, girls aren’t happy when they receive tens of thousands of riyals, not to mentions the dozens of goats and camels that are sacrificed to feed guests on the day of the wedding. Guests are even served fruits and sweets, something that was rare during my day,” added Najma."[4]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Kathy Cuddihy, An A to Z of Places and Things Saudi, pg. 6. London: Stacey International, 2001. ISBN 9781900988407
  3. ^ "Saudi tribesmen hold first-ever election." Saudi Election Website. October 5, 2006.
  4. ^ "Marriage in Al-Baha: Past and present." Saudi Gazette. Saturday, 14 July 2012 - 24 Shaban 1433 H.
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