For the Moroccan-born German footballer, see Mimoun Azaouagh The Azawagh is a dry basin covering what is today northwestern Niger, as well as parts of northeastern Mali and southern Algeria. The Azawagh is made up of Sahelian and Saharan flatlands and has a population, predominantly Tuareg and Arab, with significant Bouzou and Wodaabe minorities and a recent influx of Hausa and Zarma; the Tuareg word azawaɣ means "savannah". Azawad, a term used for the portion of northern Mali claimed by the Tuareg rebel movement National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, is believed to be an Arabic corruption of "Azawagh"; the Azawagh refers to the dry structural basin, which once carried a northern tributary of the Niger river, the Azawagh river, known as Dallol Bosso further south. The river, which ran some 1,600 kilometres in prehistoric times, dried up after the Neolithic Subpluvial and created a basin of some 420,000 square kilometres, its valley, which geologists call the Iullemmeden Basin, is bordered by the Hoggar Mountains and their foothills in the north, the Aïr Mountains in the east, the Adrar des Ifoghas in the west.
The bedrock of the region is Cretaceous/Paleocene limestone and clay, cut by erosion and covered by aeolian sand in the Upper Pleistocene. In ecological terms, the Azawagh basin is divided into, from north to south, a Saharian, a Sahelian and a northern Sudanese zone. In Niger, Azawagh includes the towns of Abalagh, In Tibaraden, Tiliya, In Gal and Tabalaq, a village where the sole lake of the region is located. Human occupation of the Azawagh has been dated back to 4500 BCE, with evidence of cattle-raising beginning 3200 BCE. From this period until 1500 BCE, the region supported large fauna, including waterbuck and elephants. Evidence of copper-working has been found at Tekebrine dating to 1600 BCE. At around this time, climatic conditions worsened, the Sudanese peoples of the region were replaced by Berbers who constructed tumuli. Islam reached the Western Aïr Mountains via southwest Libya in the eighth century; the region was colonized by the French in the early twentieth century. Following the independence movements of Algeria and Niger, the corresponding departure of the French, the region became divided between these three nations.
During the 1970s and 1980s, a series of droughts forced increasing numbers of the region's nomadic population into villages and towns. The droughts sparked a rebellion by the region's Tuareg population, with groups such as Front for the Liberation of Aïr and Azaouak and the Front for the Liberation of Tamoust rebelling against the Nigerien government, while the Arab Islamic Front of Azawad, Popular Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, Revolutionary Liberation Army of Azawad, the Popular Liberation Front of Azawad opposed the government of Mali. Despite being the size of Austria, the Nigerien portion of the Azawagh had a population of only 85,000 as of 2003; the area is dominated by the Kel Tamashek peoples, as well as some nomadic Arab-ancestry tribes including Hassaniyya-speakers. The Azawagh is the centre for the Iwellemeden Kel Denneg Federation; the region has a nomadic population of Wodaabe Fulani and a substantial minority of Bouzou a Tuareg slave caste. In recent years, a number of Hausa and Zarma have settled in the region as government officials and traders.
Niger Basin Authority Sahara pump theory Neolithic Subpluvial Prehistoric Central North Africa Footnotes Bibliography
Niger or the Niger the Republic of the Niger, is a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River. Niger is bordered by Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria to the south, Benin to the southwest, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria to the northwest. Niger covers a land area of 1,270,000 km2, making it the largest country in West Africa. Over 80% of its land area lies in the Sahara Desert; the country's predominantly Islamic population of about 21 million live in clusters in the far south and west of the country. The capital city is Niamey, located in Niger's southwest corner. Niger is a developing country, which ranks near the bottom in the United Nations' Human Development Index. Much of the non-desert portions of the country are threatened by periodic drought and desertification; the economy is concentrated around subsistence, with some export agriculture in the more fertile south, export of raw materials uranium ore. Niger faces serious challenges to development due to its landlocked position, desert terrain, inefficient agriculture, high fertility rates without birth control, the resulting overpopulation, the poor educational level and poverty of its people, lack of infrastructure, poor healthcare, environmental degradation.
Nigerien society reflects a diversity drawn from the long independent histories of its several ethnic groups and regions and their short period living in a single state. What is now Niger has been on the fringes of several large states. Since independence, Nigeriens have lived under five constitutions and three periods of military rule. After the military coup in 2010, Niger became a multi-party state. A majority of the population lives in rural areas, have little access to advanced education. Early human settlement in Niger is evidenced by numerous archaeological remains. In prehistoric times, the climate of the Sahara was wet and provided favorable conditions for agriculture and livestock herding in a fertile grassland environment five thousand years ago. In 2005–06, a graveyard in the Ténéré desert was discovered by Paul Sereno, a paleontologist from the University of Chicago, his team discovered 5,000-year-old remains of two children in the Ténéré Desert. The evidence along with remains of animals that do not live in desert are among the strongest evidence of the'green' Sahara in Niger.
It is believed that progressive desertification around 5000 BC pushed sedentary populations to the south and south-east. By at least the 5th century BC, Niger had become an area of trans-Saharan trade, led by the Berber tribes from the north, who used camels as a well-adapted means of transportation through the desert; this trade made Agadez a pivotal place of the trans-Saharan trade. This mobility, which would continue in waves for several centuries, was accompanied with further migration to the south and interbreeding between southern black and northern white populations, it was aided by the introduction of Islam to the region at the end of the 7th century. Several empires and kingdoms flourished during this era, up to the beginning of colonization in Africa; the Songhai Empire was an empire bearing the name of its main ethnic group, the Songhai or Sonrai, located in western Africa on the bend of the Niger River in present-day Niger and Burkina Faso. In the 7th century, Songhai tribes settled down north of modern-day Niamey and founded the Songhai city-states of Koukia and Gao.
By the 11th century, Gao had become the capital of the Songhai Empire. From 1000 to 1325, The Songhai Empire prospered and managed to maintain peace with its neighboring empires including the Mali Empire. In 1325 the Songhai Empire was conquered by the Mali Empire but was freed in 1335 by prince Ali Kolen and his brother, Songhai princes held captive by Moussa Kankan, the ruler of the Mali Empire. From the mid-15th to the late 16th century, Songhai was one of the largest Islamic empires in history. Between the Niger River and Lake Chad lay Hausa kingdoms and fertile areas; these kingdoms flourished from the mid-14th century up until the early 19th century, when they were conquered by Usman dan Fodio, founder of the Sokoto Empire. The Hausa kingdoms were not a compact entity but several federations of kingdoms more or less independent of one other, their organization was somewhat democratic: the Hausa kings were elected by the notables of the country and could be removed by them. The Hausa Kingdoms began as seven states founded according to the Bayajidda legend by the six sons of Bawo.
Bawo was the only son of the Hausa queen Bayajidda or who came from Baghdad. The seven original Hausa states were: Daoura, Rano, Gobir and Biram; the Mali Empire was a Mandinka empire founded by Sundiata Keita circa 1230 that existed up to 1600. At its peak circa 1350, the empire extended as far west as Senegal and Guinee Conakry and as far east as western Niger; the Kanem-Bornu Empire was an empire that existed in modern-day Chad, Cameroon and Libya. The empire first existed and prospered as the Kanem Empire as early as the 9th century and as the Kingdom of Bornu until 1900. In the 19th century, contact with Europe began with the first European explorers—notably Monteil and Barth —to travel to Niger. Following the 1885 Berlin conference during which colonial powers outlined the division of Africa into colonial spheres, French military efforts to conquer existing African states were intensified in all French colo
The term "Moors" refers to the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors were the indigenous Maghrebine Berbers; the name was also applied to Arabs. Moors are not a distinct or self-defined people, the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica observed that "The term'Moors' has no real ethnological value." Europeans of the Middle Ages and the early modern period variously applied the name to Arabs, North African Berbers, Muslim Europeans. The term has been used in Europe in a broader, somewhat derogatory sense to refer to Muslims in general those of Arab or Berber descent, whether living in Spain or North Africa. During the colonial era, the Portuguese introduced the names "Ceylon Moors" and "Indian Moors" in South Asia and Sri Lanka, the Bengali Muslims were called Moors. In the Philippines, the longstanding Muslim community, which predates the arrival of the Spanish, now self-identifies as the "Moro people", an exonym introduced by Spanish colonizers due to their Muslim faith.
In 711, troops formed by Moors from northern Africa led the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. The Iberian peninsula came to be known in Classical Arabic as al-Andalus, which at its peak included most of Septimania and modern-day Spain and Portugal. In 827, the Moors occupied Mazara on Sicily, they went on to consolidate the rest of the island. Differences in religion and culture led to a centuries-long conflict with the Christian kingdoms of Europe, which tried to reclaim control of Muslim areas. In 1224 the Muslims were expelled from Sicily to the settlement of Lucera, destroyed by European Christians in 1300; the fall of Granada in 1492 marked the end of Muslim rule in Iberia, although a Muslim minority persisted until their expulsion in 1609. During the classical period, the Romans interacted with, conquered, parts of Mauretania, a state that covered modern northern Morocco, western Algeria, the Spanish cities Ceuta and Melilla; the Berber tribes of the region were noted in the Classics as Mauri, subsequently rendered as "Moors" in English and in related variations in other European languages.
Mauri is recorded as the native name by Strabo in the early 1st century. This appellation was adopted into Latin, whereas the Greek name for the tribe was Maurusii; the Moors were mentioned by Tacitus as having revolted against the Roman Empire in 24 AD. During the Latin Middle Ages, Mauri was used to refer to Berbers and Arabs in the coastal regions of Northwest Africa; the 16th century scholar Leo Africanus identified the Moors as the native Berber inhabitants of the former Roman Africa Province. He described Moors as one of five main population groups on the continent alongside Egyptians, Abyssinians and Cafri. In medieval Romance languages, variations of the Latin word for the Moors developed different applications and connotations; the term denoted a specific Berber people in western Libya, but the name acquired more general meaning during the medieval period, associated with "Muslim", similar to associations with "Saracens". During the context of the Crusades and the Reconquista, the term Moors included the derogatory suggestion of "infidels".
Apart from these historic associations and context and Moorish designate a specific ethnic group speaking Hassaniya Arabic. They inhabit Mauritania and parts of Algeria, Western Sahara, Morocco and Mali. In Niger and Mali, these peoples are known as the Azawagh Arabs, after the Azawagh region of the Sahara; the authoritative dictionary of the Spanish language does not list any derogatory meaning for the word moro, a term referring to people of Maghrebian origin in particular or Muslims in general. Some authors have pointed out that in modern colloquial Spanish use of the term moro is derogatory for Moroccans in particular and Muslims in general. In the Philippines, a former Spanish colony, many modern Filipinos call the large, local Muslim minority concentrated in Mindanao and other southern islands Moros; the word is a catch-all term, as Moro may come from several distinct ethno-linguistic groups such as the Maranao people. The term was introduced by Spanish colonisers, has since been appropriated by Filipino Muslims as an endonym, with many self-identifying as members of the Bangsamoro "Moro Nation".
Moreno can mean "dark-skinned" in Spain, Portugal and the Philippines. In Spanish, morapio is a humorous name for "wine" that which has not been "baptized" or mixed with water, i.e. pure unadulterated wine. Among Spanish speakers, moro came to have a broader meaning, applied to both Filipino Moros from Mindanao, the moriscos of Granada. Moro refers to all things dark, as in "Moor", etc, it was used as a nickname. In Portugal, mouro may refer to supernatural beings known as enchanted moura, where "Moor" implies "alien" and "non-Christian"; these beings were siren-like fairies with a fair face. They were believed to have magical properties. From this root, the name moor is applied to unbaptized children. In Basque, mairu means moor and refers to a mythical people. Muslims located in South Asia were distinguished by the Portuguese historians into two groups: Mouros da Terra and the Mouros da Arabia/Mouros de Meca ("Moors from Arabia/Mecca" or "Paradesi
An ethnic group or an ethnicity, is a category of people who identify with each other based on similarities such as common ancestry, history, culture or nation. Ethnicity is an inherited status based on the society in which one lives. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage, origin myth, homeland, language or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion and ritual, dressing style, art or physical appearance. Ethnic groups, derived from the same historical founder population continue to speak related languages and share a similar gene pool. By way of language shift, acculturation and religious conversion, it is sometimes possible for individuals or groups to leave one ethnic group and become part of another. Ethnicity is used synonymously with terms such as nation or people. In English, it can have the connotation of something exotic related to cultures of more recent immigrants, who arrived after the dominant population of an area was established; the largest ethnic groups in modern times comprise hundreds of millions of individuals, while the smallest are limited to a few dozen individuals.
Larger ethnic groups may be subdivided into smaller sub-groups known variously as tribes or clans, which over time may become separate ethnic groups themselves due to endogamy or physical isolation from the parent group. Conversely separate ethnicities can merge to form a pan-ethnicity and may merge into one single ethnicity. Whether through division or amalgamation, the formation of a separate ethnic identity is referred to as ethnogenesis; the term ethnic is derived from the Greek word ἔθνος ethnos. The inherited English language term for this concept is folk, used alongside the latinate people since the late Middle English period. In Early Modern English and until the mid-19th century, ethnic was used to mean heathen or pagan, as the Septuagint used ta ethne to translate the Hebrew goyim "the nations, non-Hebrews, non-Jews"; the Greek term in early antiquity could refer to any large group, a host of men, a band of comrades as well as a swarm or flock of animals. In Classical Greek, the term took on a meaning comparable to the concept now expressed by "ethnic group" translated as "nation, people".
In the 19th century, the term came to be used in the sense of "peculiar to a race, people or nation", in a return to the original Greek meaning. The sense of "different cultural groups", in American English "racial, cultural or national minority group" arises in the 1930s to 1940s, serving as a replacement of the term race which had earlier taken this sense but was now becoming deprecated due to its association with ideological racism; the abstract ethnicity had been used for "paganism" in the 18th century, but now came to express the meaning of an "ethnic character". The term ethnic group was first recorded in 1935 and entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 1972. Depending on the context, used, the term nationality may either be used synonymously with ethnicity, or synonymously with citizenship; the process that results in the emergence of an ethnicity is called ethnogenesis, a term in use in ethnological literature since about 1950. Depending on which source of group identity is emphasized to define membership, the following types of groups can be identified: Ethno-linguistic, emphasizing shared language, dialect – example: French Canadians Ethno-national, emphasizing a shared polity or sense of national identity – example: Armenians Ethno-racial, emphasizing shared physical appearance based on genetic origins – example: African Americans Ethno-regional, emphasizing a distinct local sense of belonging stemming from relative geographic isolation – example: South Islanders Ethno-religious, emphasizing shared affiliation with a particular religion, denomination or sect – example: JewsIn many cases – for instance, the sense of Jewish peoplehood – more than one aspect determines membership.
Ethnography begins in classical antiquity. The Greeks at this time did not describe foreign nations but had developed a concept of their own "ethnicity", which they grouped under the name of Hellenes. Herodotus gave a famous account of what defined Greek ethnic identity in his day, enumerating shared descent, shared language shared sanctuaries and sacrifices shared customs. Whether ethnicity qualifies as a cultural universal is to some extent dependent on the exact definition used. According to "Challenges of Measuring an Ethnic World: Science and reality", in Challenges of Measuring an Ethnic World: Science and Reality: Proceedings of the Joint Canada-United States Conference on the Measurement of Ethni
Sunni Islam is the largest denomination of Islam, followed by nearly 90% of the world's Muslims. Its name comes from the word sunnah; the differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims arose from a disagreement over the succession to Muhammad and subsequently acquired broader political significance, as well as theological and juridical dimensions. According to Sunni traditions, Muhammad did not designate a successor and the Muslim community acted according to his sunnah in electing his father-in-law Abu Bakr as the first caliph; this contrasts with the Shia view, which holds that Muhammad announced at the event of Ghadir Khumm his son-in-law and cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor. Political tensions between Sunnis and Shias continued with varying intensity throughout Islamic history and they have been exacerbated in recent times by ethnic conflicts and the rise of Wahhabism; as of 2009, Sunni Muslims constituted 87–90% of the world's Muslim population. Sunni Islam is the world's largest religious denomination, followed by Catholicism.
Its adherents are referred to in Arabic as ahl as-sunnah wa ahl as-sunnah for short. In English, its doctrines and practices are sometimes called Sunnism, while adherents are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis and Ahlus Sunnah. Sunni Islam is sometimes referred to as "orthodox Islam". However, other scholars of Islam, such as John Burton believe that there is no such thing as "orthodox Islam"; the Quran, together with hadith and binding juristic consensus form the basis of all traditional jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. Sharia rulings are derived from these basic sources, in conjunction with analogical reasoning, consideration of public welfare and juristic discretion, using the principles of jurisprudence developed by the traditional legal schools. In matters of creed, the Sunni tradition upholds the six pillars of iman and comprises the Ash'ari and Maturidi schools of rationalistic theology as well as the textualist school known as traditionalist theology. Sunnī commonly referred to as Sunnīism, is a term derived from sunnah meaning "habit", "usual practice", "custom", "tradition".
The Muslim use of this term refers to living habits of the prophet Muhammad. In Arabic, this branch of Islam is referred to as ahl as-sunnah wa l-jamāʻah, "the people of the sunnah and the community", shortened to ahl as-sunnah. One common mistake is to assume that Sunni Islam represents a normative Islam that emerged during the period after Muhammad's death, that Sufism and Shi'ism developed out of Sunni Islam; this perception is due to the reliance on ideological sources that have been accepted as reliable historical works, because the vast majority of the population is Sunni. Both Sunnism and Shiaism are the end products of several centuries of competition between ideologies. Both sects used each other to further cement their own doctrines; the first four caliphs are known among Sunnis as the Rashidun or "Rightly-Guided Ones". Sunni recognition includes the aforementioned Abu Bakr as the first, Umar as the second, Uthman as the third, Ali as the fourth. Sunnis recognised different rulers as the caliph, though they did not include anyone in the list of the rightly guided ones or Rashidun after the murder of Ali, until the caliphate was constitutionally abolished in Turkey on 3 March 1924.
The seeds of metamorphosis of caliphate into kingship were sown, as the second caliph Umar had feared, as early as the regime of the third caliph Uthman, who appointed many of his kinsmen from his clan Banu Umayya, including Marwan and Walid bin Uqba on important government positions, becoming the main cause of turmoil resulting in his murder and the ensuing infighting during Ali's time and rebellion by Muawiya, another of Uthman's kinsman. This resulted in the establishment of firm dynastic rule of Banu Umayya after Husain, the younger son of Ali from Fatima, was killed at the Battle of Karbala; the rise to power of Banu Umayya, the Meccan tribe of elites who had vehemently opposed Muhammad under the leadership of Abu Sufyan, Muawiya's father, right up to the conquest of Mecca by Muhammad, as his successors with the accession of Uthman to caliphate, replaced the egalitarian society formed as a result of Muhammad's revolution to a society stratified between haves and have-nots as a result of nepotism, in the words of El-Hibri through "the use of religious charity revenues to subsidise family interests, which Uthman justified as "al-sila"."
Ali, during his rather brief regime after Uthman maintained austere life style and tried hard to bring back the egalitarian system and supremacy of law over the ruler idealised in Muhammad's message, but faced continued opposition, wars one after another by Aisha-Talhah-Zubair, by Muawiya and by the Kharjites. After he was murdered his followers elected Hasan ibn Ali his elder son from Fatima to succeed him. Hasan, shortly afterwards signed a treaty with Muawiaya relinquishing power in favour of the latter, with a condition inter alia, that one of the two who will outlive the other will be the caliph, that this caliph will not appoint a successor but will leave the matter of selection of the caliph to the public. Subsequently, Hasan was poisoned to death and Muawiya enjoyed unchallenged power. Not honouring his treaty with Hasan he however nominated his son Yazid to succeed him. Upon Muawiya's death, Yazid asked Husain the younger brother of Hasan, Ali's son and Muh
Mali the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa, a region geologically identified with the West African Craton. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres; the population of Mali is 18 million. Its capital is Bamako; the sovereign state of Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert, while the country's southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers. The country's economy centers on mining; some of Mali's prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, salt. Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire, the Songhai Empire. During its golden age, there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy and art. At its peak in 1300, the Mali Empire covered an area about twice the size of modern-day France and stretched to the west coast of Africa.
In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan joined with Senegal in 1959. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal's withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a coup in 1991 led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state. In January 2012, an armed conflict broke out in northern Mali, in which Tuareg rebels took control of a territory in the north, in April declared the secession of a new state, Azawad; the conflict was complicated by a military coup that took place in March and fighting between Tuareg and rebels. In response to territorial gains, the French military launched Opération Serval in January 2013. A month Malian and French forces recaptured most of the north. Presidential elections were held on 28 July 2013, with a second-round run-off held on 11 August, legislative elections were held on 24 November and 15 December 2013.
The name Mali is taken from the name of the Mali Empire. The name was derived from the Mandinka or Bambara word mali, meaning "hippopotamus", but it came to mean "the place where the king lives"; the word carries the connotation of strength. Guinean writer Djibril Niane suggests in Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali that it is not impossible that Mali was the name given to one of the capitals of the emperors. 14th-century Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta reported that the capital of the Mali Empire was called Mali. One Mandinka tradition tells that the legendary first emperor Sundiata Keita changed himself into a hippopotamus upon his death in the Sankarani River, that it's possible to find villages in the area of this river, termed "old Mali", which have Mali for a name; this name could have been that of a city. In old Mali, there is one village called Malika which means "New Mali."Another theory suggests that Mali is a Fulani pronunciation of the name of the Mande peoples. It is suggested that a sound shift led to the change, whereby in Fulani the alveolar segment /nd/ shifts to /l/ and the terminal vowel denasalises and raises, thus "Manden" shifts to /Mali/.
Mali was once part of three famed West African empires which controlled trans-Saharan trade in gold, salt and other precious commodities. These Sahelian kingdoms had rigid ethnic identities; the earliest of these empires was the Ghana Empire, dominated by the Soninke, a Mande-speaking people. The empire expanded throughout West Africa from the 8th century until 1078, when it was conquered by the Almoravids; the Mali Empire formed on the upper Niger River, reached the height of power in the 14th century. Under the Mali Empire, the ancient cities of Djenné and Timbuktu were centers of both trade and Islamic learning; the empire declined as a result of internal intrigue being supplanted by the Songhai Empire. The Songhai people originated in current northwestern Nigeria; the Songhai had long been a major power in West Africa subject to the Mali Empire's rule. In the late 14th century, the Songhai gained independence from the Mali Empire and expanded subsuming the entire eastern portion of the Mali Empire.
The Songhai Empire's eventual collapse was the result of a Moroccan invasion in 1591, under the command of Judar Pasha. The fall of the Songhai Empire marked the end of the region's role as a trading crossroads. Following the establishment of sea routes by the European powers, the trans-Saharan trade routes lost significance. One of the worst famines in the region's recorded history occurred in the 18th century. According to John Iliffe, "The worst crises were in the 1680s, when famine extended from the Senegambian coast to the Upper Nile and'many sold themselves for slaves, only to get a sustenance', in 1738–1756, when West Africa's greatest recorded subsistence crisis, due to drought and locusts killed half the population of Timbuktu." Mali fell under the control of France during the late 19th century. By 1905, most of the area was under firm French control as a part of French Sudan. In early 1959, French Sudan and Senegal united to become the Mali Federation; the Mali Federation gained independence from France on 20 June 1960.
Senegal withdrew from the federation in August 1960, which allowed the Sudanes
The Bedouin or Bedu are a grouping of nomadic Arab people who have inhabited the desert regions in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant. The English word bedouin comes from the Arabic badawī, which means "desert dweller", is traditionally contrasted with ḥāḍir, the term for sedentary people. Bedouin territory stretches from the vast deserts of North Africa to the rocky sands of the Middle East, they are traditionally divided into tribes, or clans, share a common culture of herding camels and goats. The vast majority of Bedouin adhere to Islam. Bedouins have been referred to by various names throughout history, including Qedarites in the Old Testament and Arabaa by the Assyrians, they are referred to as the ʾAʿrāb in the Quran. While many Bedouins have abandoned their nomadic and tribal traditions for a modern urban lifestyle, many retain traditional Bedouin culture such as retaining the traditional ʿašāʾir clan structure, traditional music, poetry and many other cultural practices and concepts.
Urbanised Bedouins organise cultural festivals held several times a year, in which they gather with other Bedouins to partake in and learn about various Bedouin traditions—from poetry recitation and traditional sword dances to playing traditional instruments and classes teaching traditional tent knitting. Traditions like camel riding and camping in the deserts are still popular leisure activities for urbanised Bedouins who live within close proximity to deserts or other wilderness areas; the English word bedouin comes from the Arabic badawī, which means "desert dweller", is traditionally contrasted with ḥāḍir, the term for sedentary people. The word bādiyah means visible land, in the sense of "plain" or "desert"; the term "Bedouin" therefore means "those in bādiyah" or "those in the desert". In English usage, the form "Bedouin" is used for the singular term, the plural being "Bedouins", as indicated by the Oxford English Dictionary, second edition; the term "Bedouin" uses the same root word as the Arabic noun for "the beginning".
Most Arabs believe the Bedouins to be the predecessors to settled Arabs, including the Nabataeans Arabs of the more westerly Levant region. According to a hadith, Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab said of the Bedouin, "hey are the origin of the Arabs and the substance of Islam." and the word for the ethnicity itself may be influenced by that. A quoted Bedouin apothegm is "I am against my brother, my brother and I are against my cousin, my cousin and I are against the stranger" sometimes quoted as "I and my brother are against my cousin, I and my cousin are against the stranger." This saying signifies a hierarchy of loyalties based on the proximity of male kinship, beginning with the nuclear family through the lineage and the paternal tribe, and, in principle at least, to an entire genetic or linguistic group. Disputes are settled, interests are pursued, justice and order are dispensed and maintained by means of this framework, organized according to an ethic of self-help and collective responsibility.
The individual family unit consisted traditionally of three or four adults and any number of children. When resources were plentiful, several tents would travel together as a goum. While these groups were sometimes linked by patriarchal lineage, others were just as linked by marriage alliances. Sometimes, the association was based on acquaintance and familiarity, or no defined relation except for simple shared membership within a tribe; the next scale of interaction within groups was the ibn ʿamm or descent group of three to five generations. These were linked to goums, but where a goum would consist of people all with the same herd type, descent groups were split up over several economic activities, thus allowing a degree of'risk management'. Whilst the phrase "descent group" suggests purely a lineage-based arrangement, in reality these groups were fluid and adapted their genealogies to take in new members; the largest scale of tribal interactions is the tribe as a whole, led by a Sheikh, though the title refers to leaders in varying contexts.
The tribe claims descent from one common ancestor—as mentioned above. The tribal level is the level that mediated between the Bedouin and the outside governments and organizations. Distinct structure of the Bedouin society leads to long lasting rivalries between different clans. Bedouin traditionally had strong honor codes, traditional systems of justice dispensation in Bedouin society revolved around such codes; the bisha'a, or ordeal by fire, is a well-known Bedouin practice of lie detection. See also: Honor codes of the Bedouin, Bedouin systems of justice. Urbanized Bedouin are less to continue such traditions, instead opting for the codes of behavior that govern the wider settled community to which they belong. Livestock and herding, principally of goats and dromedary camels comprised the traditional livelihoods of Bedouins; these two animals were used for meat, dairy products, wool. Most of the staple foods that made up th