Banu Asad

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Banū Asad (Arabic: بنو أسد) is a clan or tribe of 'Adnani Arabs whose lineage goes back to Asad b. Khuzayma. Though they did not have any remarkable role during the early centuries A.H. in comparison to other clans, they nonetheless count as a significant Mudari clan from Arabs of Northern Arabia.

According to al-Tabari's reprt from Sayf b. 'Umar, Banu Asad showed a great deal of gallantry in the conquest of Iraq, and especially Qadisiyya, they resided around Kufa and Basra in Iraq, and some of them emigrated to Syria.

At present, Banu Asad are mostly known for their Shiism.Two of the best known companions of Imam al-Husayn (a) in the Event of 'Ashura were from Banu Asad: Muslim b. 'Awsaja al-Asadi and Habib b. Muzahir al-Asadi. There is a special play depicting the burial of martyrs of Ashura by people from Banu Asad.

Lineage

Sons of Asad b. Khuzayma—the Banu Asad—were a clan of 'Adnani Arabs. Though the clan did not have any remarkable role during the early centuries A.H. in comparison to other clans, they nonetheless count as a significant Mudari clan from Arabs of Northern Arabia. After Khuzayma, their lineage goes to Nizar b. Ma'add through Mudrika b. Ilyas. There are some other known Arabian tribes that are separate from Banu Asad b. Khuzayma. Banu Asad were divided into different branches and households, the most important of which is Banu Sayda', Banu Faq'as, Banu Nadr b. Qu'ayn, Banu Zaniyya, Banu Ghadira, and Banu Nu'ama.

Banu Asad often resided in the Arabian Peninsula, in Najd and Tihama deserts near water resources. Khuzayma b. Mudrika—Banu Asad's ancestor—is said to have been the first Mudari who resided in Mecca. Also he is said to have been the first person who installed the well-known idol, Hubal, in its place, and this is why the idol is called Hubal of Khuzayma. Another event contemporaneous with the emergence of Islam was the participation of Banu Asad in the alliance of tribes and clans with the Quraysh who were known as Ahabish. Their ties with the Quraysh were strong for many years.

Some people from Banu Asad, especially the ones who resided in Mecca, were among the early Muslims, such as Qays b. 'Abd Allah al-Asadi who emigrated to Abyssinia. Also there were people of Banu Asad among the Prophet Muhammad (s)'s Sahaba, such as 'Abd Allah b. Jahsh and 'Ukkasha b. Muhsin. Moreover, the Prophet (s)'s marriage with Zaynab bt. Jahsh in 5/626 was an honor for Banu Asad.

Residence in Kufa

According to al-Tabari's report from Sayf b. 'Umar, Banu Asad showed gallantry in the conquest of Iraq and especially Qadisiyya, and since then, they resided in Kufa and Basra in Iraq, and some of them emigrated to Syria. When the city of Kufa was built, Banu Asad were among the first tribes who resided in one of its septuplets together with Ghatfan and other tribes. After the Battle of Jamal in which Banu Asad fought in the army of Imam 'Ali (a), he allowed them to reside in a district that accommodated larger Mudari tribes, such as Quraysh and Kinana.

The population of Banu Asad in Kufa was so large that, in the first years, it was considered as the second largest tribe in the city, after [Hamdan]] tribe. Around 50/670, given the new circumstances under the caliphate of Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan, Ziyad b. Abih—the ruler of Iraq—made changes in the tribal structure of Kufa, turning the "septuplets" into "quartets". Then Banu Asad and Madhhij resided in the fourth quartet. The new structure remained for many years.

Their Emirates

Around the third century A.H. (9th century), a large group of Banu Asad emigrated to Aleppo and its suburbs. However, their main residence was Mesopotamia. Also some of their branches went to Iran. The most important branch of Banu Asad who had an inherited emirate in parts of Khuzestan and North Iraq were Banu Mazid. During the Buyid dynasty reign, Banu Mazid dominated other branches of Banu Asad, and in particular, their ties with the Kurds gave them more power such that they made an emirate in Hillah and its surrounding areas as well as in Ahwaz and Huwayza, and they later had significant roles in the events that occurred between Barkiyaruq and Sultan Muhammad—the sons of Malik Shah. At present, Banu Asad are nomads in Iraq who are also called "Ahl al-Jaza'ir". They usually reside in south of the Euphrates river, around Karbala.

Shiism

At present, Banu Asad are mostly known for their Shiism. Most people in Kufa believed in Shiism, partly because the city was the center of Imam 'Ali (a)'s caliphate. It seems that the most seniors of Banu Asad were not Shiites during the early days of Imam 'Ali (a)'s caliphate. However, many prominent Shiites of Kufa were from Banu Asad or their ex-slaves (mawali).

Event of 'Ashura

Two of the best known companions of Imam al-Husayn (a) in the Event of 'Ashura were from Banu Asad: Muslim b. 'Awsaja al-Asadi and Habib b. Muzahir al-Asadi.

According to some accounts of the Event of Karbala, some people of Banu Asad were members of the Kufa army, but others who were probably from Kufa and resided in its suburbs, buried the corpses of the martyrs of martyrs in Karbala. This is so widely known that part of ta'ziya plays is the depiction of the burial of Karbala martyrs by people of Banu Asad. Moreover, some narrators of hadiths and companions of Shiite Imams (a) were from Banu Asad or their ex-slaves. One of the best-known Shiite scholars from this tribe was Abu l-'Abbas al-Najashi al-Asadi al-Kufi—the famous scholar of 'ilm al-rijal in the fifth century A.H. (11th century).

Arabic Lexicologists

Because of their residence in Arabian deserts (and the originality of their Arabic language), Banu Asad were significant for Arabic lexicologists and people of Arabic literature. Banu Asad were considered as sources of Arabic literature in the early centuries A.H.

Poets from Banu Asad

Some great Arab poets are from Banu Asad b. Khuzayma. The most important poet from Banu Asad was Kumayt b. Zayd al-Asadi, the prominent Shiite poet. Another poet from Banu Asad was Bushr b. Abi Hazim who lived both during the Jahiliyya and the Islamic periods. Other poets from this tribe are Ayman b. Khuraym, Ibn Zubayr, and Uqayshir.

Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Malik al-Faq'asi—who lived after the reign of al-Manasur al-'Abbasi—collected the works, poems, and news of Banu Asad in a book called Ma'athir Bani Asad. However, the book is not available today.

References

The material for this article is mainly taken from بنی‌ اسد in Farsi Wikishia.