The Banu Kalb (Arabic: بنو كلب) was an Arab tribe which mainly dwelt in the desert between northwestern Arabia and central Syria. The Kalb was involved in the tribal politics of the eastern frontiers of the Byzantine Empire, possibly as early as the 4th century. By the 6th century, the Kalb had largely adopted Christianity and came under the authority of the Ghassanids, the chief Arab federates of the Byzantines.

Banu Kalb
LocationHejaz, Syrian Desert, Wadi Sirhan, Dumat al-Jandal, Palmyra, Homs
Descended fromKalb ibn Wabara
ReligionMonophysite Christianity (up to late 7th century)
Islam (post 630s)

During the lifetime of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a number of his close companions were Kalbi tribesmen, most prominently Zayd ibn Haritha and Dihya al-Kalbi, but the bulk of the tribe remained Christian at the time of Muhammad's death in 632. They began converting in large numbers when the Muslims made significant progress in the conquest of Byzantine Syria, where the Kalb took a neutral stance. As a massive tribe with considerable military experience, the Kalb was sought after as a key ally by the Muslim state. The leading household of the tribe, the Banu Janab, forged political and marital ties with the Umayyad family, and became the main source of military power of the Syria-based Umayyad Caliphate (661–750) under Mu'awiya I (r. 661–680), Yazid I (r. 680–683), Mu'awiya II (r. 683–684) and Marwan I (r. 684–685).

During the Second Muslim Civil War, the Kalb routed its main tribal rival in Syria, the Qays, in the Battle of Marj Rahit, opening a long-running blood feud, in which the Qays eventually gained the advantage. The Kalb was driven out of the Samawa, the desert expanse between southern Syria and Iraq, which it had dominated for decades. By this time, the tribe took up abode in and around Damascus, Palmyra, Homs, the Golan and the upper Jordan Valley. They lost their political influence under the pro-Qaysi caliph Marwan II (r. 744–750), a state which continued under the Iraq-based Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258). They gradually lived a settled and semi-nomadic existence in the Ghouta gardens of Damascus, taking part in several rebellions against the state. Those sections of the Kalb which remained nomadic around Palmyra joined the rebel Qarmatian movement in the 10th century.


The Kalb was a Bedouin (nomadic) tribe well known for raising camels.[1] In the centuries before the advent of Islam (pre-7th century), the tribe's grazing grounds were in northwestern Arabia.[2] The earliest known abode of the Kalb, during the Byzantine era (4th–7th centuries CE), was in the al-Jawf depression, including the oasis of Dumat al-Jandal. The tribe was mainly concentrated in this region, straddling the eastern frontiers of the Byzantine Empire.[3] They seasonally migrated from there deep into the vast desert steppe between Syria and Mesopotamia,[1][3] a region called in the Arabic sources the Samāwa[4] or Samāwat Kalb, after the tribe,[1] especially the southwestern part of this region.[5] To the west of the al-Jawf, the Banu Amir al-Akbar branch roamed the expanse between the oasis of Tayma in the south to the wells of Quraqir in the northern Wadi Sirhan depression. The Kalb began to expand their grazing territories eastward toward the Euphrates, following the retreat of the Taghlib tribe in c. 570.[5] The Kalb's tribal territory was bordered on the north by the powerful Tayy tribe, close allies of the Kalb. To the west, southeast, and east were the tribes of Balqayn, Ghatafan, and Anaza, respectively.[6]

The Kalb's domination of Wadi Sirhan and al-Jawf well-positioned Kalbi tribesmen to migrate northward into Syria.[1] With the advent of Islam in the 630s, the Kalb began to enter Syria in large numbers, at first making their abodes in the Golan Heights, the northern Jordan Valley, and in and around Damascus. They eventually became major landowners in the Ghouta gardens surrounding Damascus, as well as living a semi-nomadic existence in the Marj pasture grounds on the outskirts of the Ghouta. They also established themselves in and around Homs and Palmyra, while nomadic sections of the tribe continued to inhabit desert east of Palmyra into the late 11th century. A minor proportion of the Kalb settled in the garrison town and administrative center of Kufa in Iraq, while many Kalbi tribesmen established themselves in Muslim Spain as part of the Syrian expeditionary forces sent there in the 8th century.[5]


Genealogical traditionEdit

The progenitor of the tribe was named Kalb, which means 'dog' in Arabic.[7] Kalb's father was Wabara and his mother, Asma bint Duraym ibn al-Qayn ibn Ahwad of the Bahra', was known as Umm al-Asbu (lit.'mother of wild animals') because all of her children were named after wild animals.[1][a] The Kalb was part of the Quda'a tribal confederation, whose presence spanned the northern Hejaz through the northern Syrian steppe. The Kalb was the largest component in the confederation's northern stomping grounds.[3] The origins of the Quda'a are obscure, with claims of Arab genealogists being contradictory. Some sources claimed that Quda'a was a son of Ma'add, thus making the tribe northern Arabians, or a descendant of Himyar, the semi-legendary patriarch of the southern Arabs.[9]


With the exception of three small clans, all the branches of the Kalb descended from the line of Rufayda ibn Thawr ibn Kalb. The main family of the tribe was the Banu Janab, a subbranch of the Banu Abdallah ibn Kinana branch. Among the Banu Janab's prominent lines were the Banu Haritha, the Banu al-Asbagh, the Banu Ullays and the Banu Ulaym.[10]

Pre-Islamic eraEdit

Relations with the ByzantinesEdit

Kalbi tribesmen may have arrived in Syria by the 4th century CE, though precise information about the tribe at that time is not available.[11] The historian Irfan Shahid asserts that Mavia, a warrior queen of Arab tribesmen in southern Syria, likely belonged to the Kalb.[12] This would indicate that the Kalb was an ally of Mavia's principal force, the Tanukhids.[11] The latter, like the Kalb, also traced their descent to Quda'a.[13]

The Kalb's territory on the Byzantine Empire's Limes Arabicus frontier straddled the Oriens, a collective term for the empire's eastern provinces.[14] The Kalb may have been the unnamed tribe that launched a massive invasion of Byzantine-held Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine and Egypt in 410, according to Shahid.[14] Shahid posits that the invasion was related to the fall of the Kalb's Tanukhid allies and the latter's replacement as the Byzantine's main foederati with the Salihids,[14] who also descended from Quda'a.[15] In the closing years of the 5th century,[16] tensions between the Kalb and the Salihids culminated in a day-long battle in which the Salihid phylarch, Dawud, was killed by Tha'laba ibn Amir of the Kalb and his ally Mu'awiya ibn Hujayr of the Namir in the Golan.[17][b] It is not clear if the conflict between Tha'laba ibn Amir and Dawud was a personal feud or part of a tribal conflict between the Kalb and the Salihids.[18]

Although the Kalb's role in 5th-century Arab tribal politics in the Byzantine Empire is clear, contemporary sources do not indicate how early the Kalb made contact with the Byzantines.[19] By the early 6th century, the Salihids were supplanted by the Ghassanids as the supreme phylarchs of the Arab tribes in Byzantine territory. Like the Ghassanids, the Kalb embraced Monophysite Christianity.[1][20] The Kalb was put under the Ghassanids' authority and were charged with guarding the Byzantines' eastern frontier against Sassanian Persia and the latter's Arab vassals in al-Hirah, the Lakhmids.[1] As a result of their firm incorporation in the Byzantine foederati system, the Kalb "became accustomed to military discipline and to law and order", according to the historian Johann Fück.[1]

Activities in ArabiaEdit

There is scant record of the Kalb's activities in the so-called ayyam literature, the collections of pre-Islamic poems which serve a source of history for the tribes of pre-Islamic Arabia, especially that of the battles and raids fought by the tribes. An exception is the Day of Ura'ir, where a Kalbi chief, Masad ibn Hisn ibn Masad, was slain by the Banu Abs. The Kalbi historical tradition formulated in 9th-century Kufa mentions five pre-Islamic confrontations in which the Kalb was involved. The three major ones were the Day of Nuhada fought between the Kalbi branches of Abdallah ibn Kinana and Kinana ibn Awf around 570, the Day of Kahatin, and the Day of Siya'if between the Kalb and the Sasanian-allied Taghlib around the time of the Battle of Dhi Qar between the Sasanians and a coalition of Arab tribes. The two minor clashes were the Day of Ulaha against the Taghlib and the Day of Rahba against the Asad tribe.[10]

The most well-known early chief of the Kalb was Zuhayr ibn Janab, who wielded significant influence among the Bedouin tribes of northern Arabia.[1] On behalf of Abraha, the mid-6th-century Ethiopian viceroy of south Arabia, Zuhayr led an expedition against the north Arabian tribes of Taghlib and Bakr.[1] In the mid-6th century, the Kalb led by Zuhayr fought against the Banu Baghid clan of the Ghatafan tribe over the latter's construction of a haram (sacred place) at a place called "Buss"; the Ghatafan's haram emulated the Ka'aba of Mecca, at the time a widely honored edifice containing pagan Arabian idols, which offended the powerful tribes of the area, including the Kalb.[21] Zuhayr decisively defeated the Ghatafan and had their haram destroyed.[21]

Islamic eraEdit

Interactions with Muhammad and the Muslim conquest of SyriaEdit

Although the Ghassanids were the preeminent Arab tribal group of Byzantine Syria and presided over the Arab confederate tribes of Byzantium in the Syrian steppe throughout the 6th century, their influence began to wane in the 580s. They lost their powerful position and much of their prestige when the Sasanian Persians conquered Byzantine Syria in 613–614. The Byzantines recaptured the region in 628, but the Ghassanids remained weakened, divided into multiple subgroups, each headed by a different chief. The Kalb, which was allied with the Ghassanids, had begun pushing into their territory within the Byzantine Empire's boundaries during the years of the Ghassanids' waning influence. From the days of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, in the 620s, the Muslims had attempted to ally with the Ghassanids, but without success.[22] According to the historian Khalil Athamina, "the Muslims were therefore compelled to seek another ally in the area", the Kalb, "whose importance was rising".[22]

A few individual Kalbi tribesmen in Mecca converted to Islam, including Zayd ibn Haritha and Dihya al-Kalbi, Muhammad's emissary to the Byzantine emperor, Heraclius.[1] According to the historian Fred Donner, while there were notable converts among the Kalb, there are scarce details about contacts between Muhammad and the Kalb in general.[23] As Byzantine foederati, the Kalb fought against Muslim advances in northern Arabia and Syria. The first confrontation was the 627 or 628 expedition against Dumat al-Jandal, in which the prominent companion of Muhammad, Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf, succeeded in converting the Christian chief of the Kalb there, al-Asbagh ibn Amr, to Islam.[24] The pact between at least part of the Kalb, under al-Asbagh, and Muhammad was the first major step in the future alliance between the tribe and the Muslim state.[24] The pact was sealed by the marriage of Abd al-Rahman to al-Asbagh's daughter, Tumadir, which represented the first marital link between the Kalb and the Quraysh, the tribe of Muhammad and Abd al-Rahman.[25]

Most of the Kalb probably remained non-Muslim despite the pact with al-Asbagh.[5] Part of the tribe came under a Muslim agent, al-Asbagh's son Imru al-Qays, during the campaign against pro-Byzantine Arab tribes at Dhat al-Salasil in northwestern Arabia.[26] After Zayd ibn Haritha was slain during a campaign against the Byzantines and their Arab allies at the Battle of Mu'ta in 629, Muhammad appointed Zayd's son, Usama, to head a retaliatory expedition to Syria, which did not launch until soon after Muhammad's death in 632. Usama may have been chosen for the campaign because of his Kalbi descent.[27] The majority of the Kalb remained outside the emerging Muslim state's authority at the time of Muhammad's death.[26] While al-Asbagh remained loyal to the Medina-based Muslim state during the subsequent Ridda wars,[24] when most Arab tribes broke off their allegiance, another faction of the Kalb in Dumat al-Jandal, under the chief Wadi'a, rebelled.[28] Amr ibn al-As or Iyad ibn Ghanm suppressed these Kalbi tribesmen and Wadi'a was spared.[29]

The Ridda wars were largely concluded by 633 and the caliph (successor of Muhammad as leader of the Muslims) Abu Bakr launched the Muslim conquest of Byzantine Syria in late 633 or early 634. Despite their historical ties with Byzantium, Kalbi tribesmen remained largely neutral during the conquest.[24] At least some Kalbi tribesmen fought in the ranks of the Arab Christian tribes against Muslim forces led by Khalid ibn al-Walid at Ziza in Transjordan in 634.[30][31] Wile the historian Johann Fück notes that individual Kalbi Muslims did not participate in the conquest,[1] Athamina holds that "there are clear hints that one or more groups" of Kalbi tribesmen fought in the Muslim ranks from the initial phases of the invasion.[24] A Kalbi, Alqama ibn Wa'il, was entrusted with distributing the spoils of the decisive Muslim victory against the Byzantines and their Ghassanid allies at the Battle of Yarmouk, a particularly high-stakes assignment due to the Muslim army's composition of diverse and competing groups of Arab tribes.[24] The Kalb did not participate in that battle, either to avoid entanglement with either side or because of the distance of its territory from the battle site, in the northern Jordan Valley region.[5] The conversion of much of the tribe to Islam probably occurred after this battle,[5] which shattered Byzantine defenses in Syria and drove on the Muslim conquest of the region.

The conquest was largely concluded by 638; by then, the Kalb dominated the steppes around Homs and Palmyra and was the leader and most powerful component of the Quda'a tribal confederation.[32] In Athamina's opinion, the Muslim state's need to establish a defense network out of the militarily experienced, formerly Byzantine-allied Arab tribes of Syria drove it to strengthen ties with the Kalb, as well as with the old-established Judham and Lakhm tribes in the southern Syrian steppe. This need was pressing for the Muslims as they lacked a standing army and their tribal forces from Arabia had to be deployed to different fronts. In the mid-to-late 630s, Caliph Umar dismissed the Muslims' supreme commander in Syria, Khalid ibn al-Walid, and reassigned his forces, derived largely from the Mudar and Rabi'a tribal groups of Arabia, to the Sasanian front in Iraq. Athamina attributes this decision to the Kalb's probable opposition to the significant numbers of tribal soldiers and their families in Khalid's army, which the Kalb and its tribal neighbors deemed a threat to their socio-economic interests and power in Syria.[33]

Umayyad periodEdit

Map of early Islamic Syria, showing the dwelling areas of Arab tribes, including the Kalb

In 639, Umar appointed Mu'awiya ibn Abi Sufyan, a member of the powerful Umayyad clan of the Quraysh, to the governorship of the Damascus and Urdunn districts, which collectively corresponded with central Syria. From the beginning of his administration, Mu'awiya forged close ties with the Kalb,[34] one of the principal sources of military power in Syria.[32] During the reign of his Umayyad kinsman, Caliph Uthman (r. 644–656), Mu'awiya's governorship was gradually expanded to include the rest of Syria. The Kalb formed marital links with the Umayyads from this time.[35] Uthman married a Kalbi noblewoman, Na'ila bint al-Furafisa,[32] a paternal cousin of Tumadir bint al-Asbagh.[36] Na'ila's sister, Hind, was married to Uthman's Umayyad kinsman, the governor Sa'id ibn al-As.[36] Mu'awiya married two Kalbi noblewomen, including Maysun, the daughter of Bahdal ibn Unayf, the Kalb's preeminent chieftain,[32] who remained Christian until his death sometime before 657.[37] The Kalb's marital ties with the Umayyads was a major aspect of their considerable political influence.[5]

The purported flag of the Banu Kalb in the Battle of Siffin (July 657)

During the conflict between Mu'awiya and Caliph Ali (r. 656–661), the Kalb provided crucial support for Mu'awiya.[35] Bahdal's sons and grandsons served as commanders against Ali's partisans during the 657 Battle of Siffin, which ended in a stalemate.[32] Ali was killed in 661 and months later, Mu'awiya became caliph. He continued his reliance on the Kalb to maintain his foothold in Syria.[35] Bahdal secured for the Kalb and its allies in the Quda'a significant privileges from Mu'awiya, including consultation in all major caliphal decisions, the right to propose and veto measures, and significant, annual hereditary stipends for 2,000 nobles of the Kalb and the Quda'a.[38] With this, the Kalb became the most influential group during the Sufyanid period (661–684) of the Umayyad Caliphate.[35] Mu'awiya was careful to keep the Kalb onside, ensuring that tribal newcomers to Syria from the Qays and Mudar groups did not settle in the Kalb's territories, at least not in large numbers.[34]

Mu'awiya's son and successor, Yazid I (r. 680–683), who was born to Maysun, also married a Kalbi woman,[35] and maintained the privileges granted to the Quda'a by his father.[38] Mu'awiya chose Yazid instead of his elder son by a woman of the Quraysh,[39] an indication of the Kalb's critical role as the foundation of Sufyanid power.[40] The accession of Yazid's son Mu'awiya II (r. 683–684), born to Yazid's Kalbi wife, was largely due to the machinations of Bahdal's grandson, Hassan ibn Malik ibn Bahdal.[41] Mu'awiya II died weeks into his rule, leaving the caliphate in political disarray.[41] Ibn Bahdal favored electing one of Yazid's other, younger sons as successor, while the influential, ousted governor of Iraq, Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, favored an Umayyad from a different branch of the ruling family, Marwan ibn al-Hakam.[41] The latter had forged links with the family of al-Asbagh by marrying his granddaughter, Layla bint Zabban, with whom he had his son Abd al-Aziz—the family of al-Asbagh represented the preeminent clan of the Kalb in northern Arabia, while that of Bahdal led the Kalb of the Syrian steppe.[42] Amidst the recriminations, a rival claimant to the caliphate, Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr of Mecca, had challenged Umayyad leadership since the death of Yazid and was gaining support in Syria.

Dedicated to preserving the political and economic privileges the Kalb acquired under the Sufyanids, Ibn Bahdal firmly backed the continuation of Umayyad rule.[41] He agreed to support Marwan, in return for the continuation of the privileges bestowed on the Quda'a by the Sufyanids and priority in Marwan's court.[35] In opposition to the Umayyads in Syria was the former leading aide of the Sufyanids, al-Dahhak ibn Qays al-Fihri, and the Kalb's main tribal rivals, the Qays, both parties backing Ibn al-Zubayr.[43] Ibn Bahdal mobilized the Kalb and its tribal allies and routed al-Dahhak and the Qays at the Battle of Marj Rahit in August 684.[43] The Kalbi poet al-Jawwas ibn Qa'tal, a descendant of Janab, boasted of his tribe's strength in that confrontation, comparing the mobilization of its Janab and Awf ibn Kinana branches as the coming together of "one mass of rocks".[44] He taunted the Qays and their preeminent chief Zufar ibn al-Harith al-Kilabi:

By my life, the battle of Rahit has left for Zufar a malady which lingers, And persists. Its seat remains between the ribs and in the gut. It defies the doctor attempting a cure.
It causes weeping for the slain of Sulaym, Amir and Dhubyan[c] with reason and it makes the mourners weep and wail.
He calls for arms but then recoils when he sees the swords of [Banu] Janab and the sleek and powerful horses.
On them are the young men of courage like lions of the forest, when they advance toward the lofty spears.[45]

In the battle's aftermath, the Qays–Kalb feud intensified, while Marwan became completely dependent on the Kalb and its allies to maintain his rule.[43] Syrian tribes envious of the Quda'a's privileges either opposed them or sought to join them. Tribes such as the Judham and the South Arabian tribes which settled in the Homs district during the conquests defected to the Quda'a's side after Marj Rahit, forming the Yaman coalition in opposition to the Qays.[46] The Qays under Zufar, who was based in the Euphrates River town of Qarqisiya, and the disaffected Umayyad commander Umayr ibn al-Hubab al-Sulami, led a series of raids and counter-raids against the Kalb, which was led by Humayd ibn Hurayth ibn Bahdal. The Kalb was frequently attacked by the Qays at its dwelling places in the Samawa desert.[35] Despite making retaliatory raids, the Kalb of the Samawa were forced to flee for the Jordan Valley.[35] Humayd attacked the Qays in the Jazira (Upper Mesopotamia), but was defeated during the battle of Banat Qayn in the Samawa, the last of the major Qaysi–Kalbi day-long clashes (ayyam).[35]

The Kalb remained the backbone of the Umayyad army through the early part of Caliph Abd al-Malik's reign (r. 685–705).[47] Abd al-Malik's reconciliation with Zufar in 691 reincorporated the Qays into the army, ending the Kalb's monopoly of power there and beginning a policy of balancing Qaysi and Kalbi/Yamani interests.[47] The 8th-century historian Awana ibn al-Hakam, a member of the Kalb, recorded a saying which reflected the Kalb's relationship with the Umayyads: "The [Umayyad] kingdom was never aided by a tribe stronger than that of Kalb".[48] Several members of the tribe served as top commanders of Umayyad expeditions and governors of the provinces. The most notable were Sufyan ibn al-Abrad, who led the suppression of revolts in Iraq in the 690s, Abu al-Khattar, the governor of al-Andalus in 743–745, the brothers Hanzala ibn Safwan and Bishr ibn Safwan, frequent governors of Ifriqiya and Egypt in the 720s–740s, al-Hakam ibn Awana, the governor of Sind in 731–740, and Mansur ibn Jumhur, an adviser of Caliph Hisham (r. 724–743) and major player in the inter-dynastic Third Muslim Civil War.[49]

The Kalb's position in the Umayyad state began to be disrupted under the pro-Qaysi caliph al-Walid II (r. 743–744),[5] and deteriorated under Caliph Marwan II (r. 744–750), who relied almost entirely on the Qays for military and administrative support at the expense of Yamani interests.[35] In June 745, the Kalbi chief of Palmyra, al-Asbagh ibn Dhu'ala, led a revolt against Marwan II in Homs.[50] His tribesmen and their Yamani allies fought the caliph's force in the streets of Homs, but were forced to retreat.[50] Al-Asbagh's sons Dhu'ala and Furafisa were captured and executed, along with thirty other Kalbi and Yamani soldiers.[50] With the advent of the Abbasid Revolution in 750, the Kalb may have realized Umayyad rule was close to collapse.[35] Likely as a result of the aforementioned circumstances, 2,000 Kalbi tribesmen dispatched by Marwan II to reinforce the Umayyad governor of Basra, defected to the Abbasid Caliphate instead.[35] However, that same year, the Yaman, including the Kalb, grew frustrated with Abbasid rule in Syria and joined the revolt of Umayyad prince Abu Muhammad al-Sufyani and Qaysi general Abu al-Ward.[35] Abu Muhammad was a descendant of the Kalb's former patron, Mu'awiya I, and he presented himself as a messianic figure known as the 'Sufyani', who many from Homs believed would restore the Umayyad Caliphate.[51] Abu al-Ward was killed by an Abbasid army while Abu Muhammad and the Kalb barricaded themselves in Palmyra,[52] though Abu Muhammad later fled for Arabia.[53]

Abbasid periodEdit

The Kalb's role in Syria declined under the Baghdad-based Abbasids.[35] In the 860s, as Abbasid central control waned in the provinces, including Syria, the Kalb allied with Isa ibn al-Shaykh al-Shaybani, the Arab strongman of Palestine.[55] In 884, the Kalb under Utayf ibn Ni'ma joined an anti-Abbasid revolt in Homs and killed that city's governor, al-Fadl ibn Karim.[35] However, the Abbasids defeated the rebels and recaptured Homs.[35]

In the 10th century, the Kalb were one of the three largest Arab confederations of Syria and were largely concentrated in the central part of the region; the other two confederations were the Tayy in southern Syria and the Kilab in northern Syria.[56] However, unlike the Tayy and Kilab, who were relative newcomers to Syria, most of the long-established Kalb tribesmen were settled peasants who lost their traditional nomadic mobility by this time.[56] Because of its inclination toward sedentarism, the Kalb gradually lost its dominant position in the Dumat al-Jandal and Wadi Sirhan regions to its Tayy allies, while those who remained nomadic either migrated to join their kinsmen in central Syria or kept a low profile in their traditional dwelling places.[57] Also unlike the Tayy and Kilab, the Kalb in central Syria had lost its tribal connections in the neighboring regions.[56]

However certain Kalb clans, particularly in the Samawah, found a strong patron in the Qarmatian movement.[35] The Banu Ulays and Banu al-Asbagh branches of the Kalb embraced the Qarmatian leader Yahya ibn Zikrawayh, and together, they ambushed an Abbasid army and killed its commander, Sabuk al-Daylami in 901.[35] Afterward, they raided several villages on their way to Damascus, where they burned down the al-Rusafa Mosque.[35] Yahya was killed by the Tulunids, after which the Kalb joined Yahya's brother, al-Husayn ibn Zikrawayh.[35] Under al-Husayn, the Kalb–Qarmatian alliance defeated Tulunid armies until al-Husayn was captured and executed in 903 by order of Caliph al-Muqtafi.[35]

The Banu al-Asbagh and Banu Ulays remained loyal to the Qarmatians and were joined by another branch of the Kalb, the Banu Ziyad.[35] Under the Qarmatian leader Abu Ghanim Nasr, they raided Damascus, Bosra, Adhri'at and Tiberias, and killed the deputy governor of Jund al-Urdunn.[35] This prompted al-Muqtafi to dispatch a punitive expedition led by Husayn ibn Hamdan against the Kalb, but the Kalb and the Asad, defeated Hamdan, forcing him to flee to Aleppo. Later that year, Ibn Hamdan defeated the Kalb and its Tayyi allies.[35] The Kalb then raided places in the Samawa and attacked Hit.[35] Al-Muqtafi responded by sending an army led by Muhammad ibn Ishaq ibn Kundaj, which compelled the Kalb to betray the Qarmatians and kill Nasr, thereby avoiding punitive action by the authorities.[35] Nonetheless, with the decisive defeat of the Qarmatians by the Abbasids in the 970s, the Kalb's newfound strength had largely diminished.[56]

During the reign of Caliph al-Mustarshid (r. 1118–1135), the Kalb betrayed the Mazyadid leader, Dubays ibn Sadaqa, to the governor of Damascus.[35]


  1. ^ The names of Wabara's and Umm al-Asbu's sons were as follows: Kalb ('dog'), Asad ('lion'), Namir ('tiger'), Dhi'b ('wolf'), Tha'lab ('fox'), Fahd ('lynx'), Dabu' ('hyena'), Dubb ('bear'), Sid ('coyote') and Sirhan ('jackal').[8]
  2. ^ The Namir tribe was related to Kalb through their common ancestor Wabara.[17]
  3. ^ The Sulaym, Amir and Dhubyan were all Qaysi tribes.
  4. ^ Tumadir's marriage to the prominent companion of Muhammad, Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf, marked the first marriage between the Kalb and the Quraysh. She may have also married Caliph Uthman for a short period. Through the progeny of her son, Abu Salama, marital and other familial connections were maintained with the Umayyad family.[54]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Fück 1978, p. 492.
  2. ^ Shahid 1986, p. 146.
  3. ^ a b c Caskel 1966.
  4. ^ Shahid 1986, p. 197.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Caskel 1966, p. 369.
  6. ^ Sudayri 1995, p. 81.
  7. ^ Chatty 2018, p. 846.
  8. ^ Ibn Abd Rabbih, transl. Boullata 2011, p. 275.
  9. ^ Kister 1986a, p. 315.
  10. ^ a b Caskel 1966, p. 77.
  11. ^ a b Shahid 1986, p. 388.
  12. ^ Shahid 1986, p. 196.
  13. ^ Bosworth 1999, p. 20.
  14. ^ a b c Shahid 1986, p. 24.
  15. ^ Shahid 1986, p. 235.
  16. ^ Shahid 1986, p. 86.
  17. ^ a b Shahid 1986, pp. 258–259.
  18. ^ Shahid 1986, p. 260.
  19. ^ Shahid 1986, p. 272.
  20. ^ Shahid 1986, p. 314.
  21. ^ a b Munt, Harry (2014). The Holy City of Medina: Sacred Space in Early Islamic Arabia. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 38–39. ISBN 9781107042131.
  22. ^ a b Athamina 1994, p. 263.
  23. ^ Donner 1981, p. 106.
  24. ^ a b c d e f Athamina 1994, p. 264.
  25. ^ Ahmed 2010, pp. 59–60.
  26. ^ a b Donner 1981, p. 107.
  27. ^ Athamina 1994, pp. 263–264.
  28. ^ Vaglieri 1965, p. 265.
  29. ^ Donner 1981, p. 187.
  30. ^ Shahid 1986, p. 304.
  31. ^ Blankinship 1993, p. 76.
  32. ^ a b c d e Marsham 2013, p. 104.
  33. ^ Athamina 1994, pp. 262, 265, 267.
  34. ^ a b Athamina 1994, p. 268.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Dixon 1978, p. 493–494.
  36. ^ a b Ahmed 2010, p. 131.
  37. ^ Kennedy 2004, p. 80.
  38. ^ a b Crone 1994, p. 44.
  39. ^ Hawting 2002, p. 309.
  40. ^ Hinds 1993, p. 267.
  41. ^ a b c d Kennedy 2004, p. 78.
  42. ^ Demichelis 2021, p. 64.
  43. ^ a b c Kennedy 2004, p. 79.
  44. ^ Kister 1986b, p. 56.
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