Afro-Arab (sometimes referred to as African Arab) refers to people who possess both African and/or Arab ancestry. In addition, it may refer to Arabs who are not descended from recent African ancestry, but who live on the African continent.
West-Asia’s Middle east, and through recent migrations, Western Europe.
The phrase “Afro-Arab“ may also refer to African Union efforts to improve co-operation between Africa and countries of the Arab world.
The Arabs of the Middle East have very old connections to the African continent, and in addition more than half the Arab world now exists in Africa (in terms of area, and possibly population too), i.e. from
Egypt and Sudan in the east to Mauritania in the west, although much of the North African population are Berbers (a separate, native ethnic group speaking an Afro-Asiatic language) or Arabized Berbers.
So this intermingling of peoples from the African continent, along with the spread of Islam, has resulted in Large Populations of African Arab peoples covering a vast area of Africa and Asia.
Present-day Sudan is home to millions of Arabs, with 40% of the population identifying themselves,
Under the ethnic group of ‘Arabs’ Even though the option of ‘Afro-Arabs’ is also available…
Afro-Arabs within West Asia’s Middle East itself are for the most part descendants of
Black African slaves who were brought there during the Arab slave trade.
One of the most famous Afro Arabs of ancient times was the Pre Islamic Hero like figure Antar Ibn Shadded.
Antarah Ibn Shaddād al-‘Absī عنترة بن شداد العبسي was a pre-Islamic Arab hero and poet born (525-608) famous for both his poetry and his adventurous life. What many consider his best or chief poem is contained in the Mu’allaqat. The account of his life forms the basis of a long and extravagant romance.
Antar was in Laiwa, He was born the son of Shaddād, a well respected member of the Arabian tribe of BanuAbs, and of Zabaibah,
An Ethiopian Female whom Shaddad had Enslaved after a Tribal War.
The tribe neglected Antar at first, and he grew up in servitude.
Although it was fairly obvious that Shaddad was his father, his
Ethiopian Dark Skin made it easier to classify him among the African-Asiatic slaves.
Antara claimed attention and respect for himself by his remarkable personal qualities and courage in battle, excelling as an accomplished poet and a mighty warrior. In 1898 the French painter Étienne Dinet published his translation of a 13th-century epic Arab poem Antar which brought Antar bin Shaddad to European notice. It has been followed by a number of derivative works such as Diana Richmond’s Antar and Abla which furthered western exposure to the Antar bin Shaddad legends.
The Zanj Rebellions took place near the city of Basra, located in southern Iraq over a period of fifteen years (869-883 AD). They grew to involve over 500,000 slaves who were imported from across the Muslim empire and claimed over “tens of thousands of lives in lower Iraq” .
The major revolt is said to have been led by Ali ibn Muhammad,
Who claimed to be a descendent of Caliph Ali ibn Abu Talib.
Not all part takers in the Zanj revolt where of Black African descent,
Because the East European Slavs would simply die in the humid heat of the salt marshes.
It is believed that many of today’s Basra area “Afro Arabs” are Descending from one of these Zanj Groups though many May have settled that area under different circumstances via the Arab-African.
Ifriqiya was bounded on the south by the semi-arid areas and salt marshes called el-Djerid. At various times, the rulers of this area also conquered Sicily and parts of mainland Italy, and the western boundary was in continual flux but usually went as far as Bejaia.
Its Capital was Qayrawan (Kairouan) in Central Tunisia.
Arabic Thought and its Place in History, De Lacy O’Leary, London: Kegan, Paul , p. 227-8 says: “Gradually the Arabs spread all along North Ifriqiya*/Africa and down to the desert edge, their tribes as a rule occupying the lower ground, whilst the older population had its chief centres in the mountainous districts.
During the invasion of 45 (A.H.) the city of Kairouan (Qairouan, Qayrawan) was founded some distance south of Tunis.
The site was badly chosen, and is now marked only by ruins and a scanty village, but for some centuries it served as the capital city of Ifrikiya, which was the name given to the province lying next to Egypt, embracing the modern states of Tripoli, Tunis, and the Eastern part of Algeria up to the meridian of Bougie.”
From their base in Kairouan the Aghlabids Conquered Sicily, beginning in 827 and establishing the Emirate of Sicily, which lasted until it was displaced by the Normans, effecting lasting changes in Sicilian culture.
- Ibn Khaldun, Histoire des Berbères et des dynasties musulmanes de l’Afrique; traduite de l’arabe par le baron de Slane; nouv. éd / pub. sous la direction de Paul Casanova, et suivie d’une bibliographie d’Ibn Khaldoun. 4 vols. Paris: P. Geuthner, 1925-34.
- Julien, Charles-André, Histoire de l’Afrique du Nord, des origines à 1830, édition originale Paris: Payot, 1931, réédition Payot, Paris, 1961