The Banu Ka'b (Arabic: بنو كعب‎) are an Arab nomadic tribe originating in the Najd region of Arabia, who often raided, then settled various areas of southern and central Ottoman Iraq, in cities such as Basra and Nasariyah, and also across the border in the southernmost region of Khuzestan Province of Persia, particularly near the city of Khorramshahr. From the early 18th century onwards, the Banu Ka'b began converting from Sunni to Shia Islam.[1]

Another branch of the Banu Ka'b settled in the areas that are now Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. There are many families who are descended and belong to Banu Ka'b such as, Al Mahmeed, Al Teelji, Al Faras, Al Nassar, Al Abyadh and Idrees.

Individuals who are members of or are descended from the tribe often have the surname Kaabi or al-Kaabi. Those from the tribe who reside within Iran often carry the dialectal spelling variant Chaab or Chaabi.

Banu Ka'b had their tribe flag as a sometimes yellow or red flag with tribe and branch sayings. They have waged wars with neighbouring nations. For example, they allied with the British and alongside the other gulf Arab tribes. They played a big role in destroying the Ottoman presence in Arabia.

They also had a skirmish with the naval force of Kuwait called Al Riqqa. Sheikh Barakat of Banu Ka'b asked for the hand of Kuwait sheikh's daughter in marriage and the sheikh refused, that infuriated Sheikh Barakat and caused him to attack Kuwait however his ships got stuck in the sand because of the shallow water. In this skirmish no one died however the Kuwaitis technically won because they salvaged what they could from Banu Ka'bs stuck ships. Sheikh Barakat tried to muster more men to attack Kuwait but the people killed him for his incompetence and for his willingness to risk the lives of his tribesmen for something trivial.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Shi'is of Iraq By Yitzhak Nakash, pg. 27, and Haydari, ‘Unwan al-Majd, pg. 110-15, 118

Further readingEdit

  • Abu-Hakima, A.M. (1960). "Banū Kaʿb". In Gibb, H. A. R.; Kramers, J. H.; Lévi-Provençal, E.; Schacht, J.; Lewis, B. & Pellat, Ch. (eds.). The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume I: A–B. Leiden: E. J. Brill. OCLC 495469456.
  • Floor, Willem (2006). "The Rise and Fall of the Banū Kaʿb. A Borderer State in Southern Khuzestan". Iran: Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies. 44 (1): 277–315. doi:10.1080/05786967.2006.11834690.