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Volume :6 Issue : 23 1986      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Development of Arab presence in the Sahara of Fezzan (in Arabic)

Auther : Sabah I. Al-Sheikhly

Although Fezzan is situated on the fringes of the desert, it played an important role in the history of Islam in the Middle Ages. Since the arrival of Arabs to this country in the third decade of the 1st H. Century (7th C.B.C), it had become a centre for Arab-Berber mixing. In this paper, I will try to throw some light on the factors which contributed to Arab Penetration in that area. These factors were either ethnic, economic or political. The first factor was exemplified by the influx of the Arab Bani-Hilal tribes into the South of the area in the Mid 5th H. century (11th C.B.C.), which resulted in the movement of Berber groups deeply into the desert. The second factor was apparent in the commercial activity which extended beyond the desert. And the third factor could be shown by the withdrawal of some political groups, following their failure in the North.

Of more significance, Fezzan become a place for Arab-Berber amalgamation in the next stage, and a basis for the Fezzann groups 9Arab-Berber) to move to the west and to the south. This time the movement was based on geographical, ethnic and economic factors. The desert of Fezzan has become a common area for Bedouin tribes (both Arab and Berber), who were seeking fresh water and pasture for their herds and flocks. However, after the arrival of the Bani-Hilal tribes, the Fezzani tribes retreated either to the west or to the South. They were encouraged to do so by the prosperous commercial activities across the desert.

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