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Title: 'Utaybah  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Najd, Ta'if, Juhayman al-Otaybi, Ikhwan, Afif, Tribes of Arabia, Mutayr, Hawazin, Sultan bin Bajad Al-Otaibi
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Otaibah (Arabic: عتيبة‎, also spelled Otaiba, Utaybah, and Uteibah) is one of the largest Arab tribes of the Arabian Peninsula. As is the case with many other large tribal confederations in the region, the name Otaibah only appeared within the last few centuries. Otaibah's original territory was concentrated in the area around Taif, but in the 18th century, their lands extended to include central Nejd.

There is no head of the tribe. The meeting of the Otaibah Tribe is considered to be the biggest family meeting in the world and was held in 2007, in the centre of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Modern history

Until sometime in the 18th century, a large section of the tribe moved eastwards towards Nejd, which at the time was dominated by another large tribe known as Qahtan. A mighty war ensued between Otaibah and Qahtan which led to Otaibah taking over most of Qahtan's grazing lands in western Nejd, led by Prince Turki Bin Humaid, Otaibah pushed Qahtan further to the east and south. A large boulder in western Nejd where a group of Qahtani tribesmen made their last stand against Otaibah is still known today as Hassaat Ghatan ("Qahtan's Rock"). The tribe was mostly bedouin, however, a large number of them settled in the towns of Nejd. Sections of the tribe ended up moving as far east as Riyadh and as far north as Qassim. Otaibah, Mutayr and Qahtan are generally considered to be the largest tribes in Saudi Arabia today, though no reliable statistics exist.

The tribe for a long time maintained a cooperative attitude towards the Wahhabi movement championed by the Al Saud clan of Nejd in the 18th and 19th centuries, and tended to side more with the Sharifs of Mecca.[1] In 1912, however, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, began an ambitious plan to settle the nomadic tribes within his domains (which at the time included Nejd and Arabia's eastern coastal areas). This was to be coupled with indoctrination of the tribesmen into the religious ideals espoused by Muhammad ibn Abd Al-Wahhab, as the religious observance of the bedouin was hitherto considered to be somewhat loose. The new settlements were to be known as hijras and the accompanying religious movement was called the Ikhwan ("the Brotherhood"). As a result, a large number of 'Utaybi hijras sprung up across the land, especially in western Nejd. The most famous 'Utaybi hijras were 'Afif near Dwadmi, and Sajir near Shaqraa. A large contingent of 'Utaybah, led by Sultan ibn Bjad Bin Humaid aka Sultanaldeen and also Ogab bin Mohaia Alotaibi (عقاب بن محيا) was very famous. Ogab bin mohaia belonged to movement, and he was the leader of his tribe(Talhah). Sultan bin b Bajad joined the Ikhwan and became the leader of Ikhwan, who were then deployed by Ibn Saud against his rivals as he sought to unite as much of Arabia under his rule as possible. The Ikhwan were instrumental in gaining control of the Hejaz for Ibn Saud, but they then grew resentful and restless. The 'Utaybi leader of Ikhwan joined with main Ikhwan leaders from other tribes in revolt, but they were defeated by Ibn Saud's forces at the Battle of Sabilla near Al Zulfi in northeastern Nejd in 1930. The 'Utaybi hijras remained, however, and the hijra of 'Afif became particularly prosperous and is now considered a city in its own right, lying approximately half-way between Riyadh and Mecca.

Many 'Utaybis have entered the Saudi armed forces in the last few decades, and their presence with other tribes is particularly heavy in the National Guard. Prominent members of the tribe include Khalaf ibn Hathal, a poet who rose to prominence during the First Gulf War, Juhayman Al-'Utaybi, the militant who led the 1979 seizure of the Sacred Mosque in Mecca (see Grand Mosque Seizure), and Dhaifallah Al-Rogy Al-'Utaybi, mayor of Dammam and a former executive in the Saudi national oil company, Aramco, and Mutlaq Hamid Al-Otaibi a prominent Saudi Arabian poet.

Branches of the tribe

The Otaibah tribe is subdivided into three major branches: Barga برقا, Rwog روق and Bano Saad (Sons of Saad) بنو سعد each major branch is divided into many clans, each clan is divided into various families.

  • Barga The Barga clans are as follows:
    • Shamlah شملة, which are divided into:
      • Alnufaei النفيعي, a clan that includes: Almusa'aed المساعيد, Alnakheshah النخشة, Thoi Mufarrej ذوي مفرج, Thoi Ziad ذوي زياد, Thoi Zaid ذوي زايد, Almahaya المحايا, Albesaisah البسايسه, Alfeletah الفلتة, Alsalaga السلاقى and Ala'elah العيلة
      • Alrrwais الرويس, a clan that includes: Alshuhabah الشهبة, Almugahesaha المقاحصة, Almarawhah المراوحة and Thoi Mujarri ذوي مجري
      • Almugati المقاطي, a clan that includes: Alkerzan الكرزان and Albususa البصصة
      • Altefehi الطفيحي, a clan that includes: Alja'adah الجعدة, Alhusanah الحصنة, Alwethaneen الوذانيين, Alswoatah السوطة, Alhulifat الحليفات, Alhoboos الحبوس, Alhulasah الحلسة, Alhumayah الحمية and Alwegadeen الوقادين
    • Eial Mansour (Sons of Mansour) عيال منصور, which are divided into:
      • Al-Qthami (also spelled Al-Quthami, Al-Qathami or Alguthami) القثامي, a clan that includes: Alkhullad الخلد, Alghashashmah الغشاشمة, Alddahasah الدهسة, Aljabarah الجبرة and Alzooran الزوران
      • Al-Osaimi العصيمي, a clan that includes: Aljulah الجلاه, Ala'emrriah العمرية, Alababeed العبابيد, Alsheja'een الشجاعين, Alhamareen الحمارين and Alshefa'an الشفعان
      • Alda'ajani الدعجاني, a clan that includes: Thoi Khyoot ذوي خيوط, Almalabisah الملابسة, Alhuddaf الهدف and Alma'alyah المعالية
      • Aldughailabi الدغيلبي, a clan that includes: Alna'arah النعرة, Algmool القمول, and Algeba'ah القبعة
      • Alshaibani الشيباني, a clan that includes: Thoi Saleh ذوي صالح and Thoi Khalifah ذوي خليفة
  • Roug The Roug clans are as follows:
    • Talhah طلحة includes: Alasa'adah الأساعدة, Alhufah الحفاة, Alsumarrah السمرة, Alhanateesh الحناتيش, Algharbiah الغربية, Alkarashemah الكراشمة, Alddalabehah الدلابحة, Alghawariah الغوارية, Altheebah الذيبة, Alhamameed الحماميد, Alhezman الحزمان, Almaghaibah المغايبة, Thoi Zarrag ذوي زراق, Alghadhabeen الغضابين and Alawazem العوازم
    • Mezhem مزحم includes: Thoi Thubait ذوي ثبيت, Alothyan العضيان, Alghubaiat الغبيات, Almarashedah المراشدة, Aljetha'an الجذعان, Alseaheen السياحين, Thoi A'ali ذوي عالي and thoi A'tyah ذوي عطية
  • Bano Saad The Bano Saad is composed of many families, but can be summarized as: Albatnain البطين, Allessah اللصة and Alsurairat الصريرات

Historical figures

  • Halimah bint Abi Dhuayb was the foster-mother and wetnurse of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Halimah and her husband were from the tribe of Sa'd b. Bakr, a subdivision of Hawazin. Other transliterations or versions of her name are Halimah bint Abdullah and Halimah As-Sa'diyah. She died in Cyprus at an old age when she fell from her mule during a siege of Larnaca. She was buried near the salt lake and her grave became a sacred shrine. The shrine, and later the mosque and the whole complex was named after her. In Cyprus it is called Hala Sultan Tekke. According to Shia belief, her grave lies in Jannatul Baqi, Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
  • Dorayd bin Al Soma was a pre-Islamic warrior, knight and poet of the Hawazin tribe. He was also the chief of the Jushim clan (modern day Al-Qthami). Arab historians mention that he contributed to more than 100 battles for his tribe. By the time of the rise of Islam, he was already an old man and remained a pagan. He was later killed at Hunayn in 630 C.E..

See also


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