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The Bahrani (plural Baharna, ) are the indigenous Shi'a inhabitants of the archipelago of Bahrainmarker and the oasis of Qatifmarker on the Persian Gulfmarker coast of Saudi Arabia (see historical region of Bahrain). The term is sometimes also extended to the Shi'a inhabitants of the al-Hasamarker oasis. They are ethnic Arabs, and some claim descent from Arab tribes. Their dialect of Arabic is known as "Bahrani" or "Bahrani Arabic," and they are overwhelmingly adherents of Twelver Shi'a Islam. Most Bahrani clerics have since the 18th century followed the conservative Akhbari school.

Name

The term "Bahrani" serves to distinguish the Bahrani people from other Shi'ites in the region, such as the relatively recent immigrants from Iranmarker who fall under the term Ajam, as well as from the Sunnis of Bahrain who prefer the term Bahrayni or Ahl el-Bahrayn ("people of Bahrain"). In previous centuries, the term "Bahrani" often referred to any inhabitant of the larger historical region of Bahrain.

History

Before the advent of the oil industry, the Bahrani mostly engaged in agriculture, including the cultivation of date palms, fishing, and pearl diving, as well as a host of other cottage industries, such as basket weaving and pottery. Unlike their Bedouin neighbors, the people of this region led a settled lifestyle, as they had access to abundant freshwater springs and long coastal lines, rich with fish, shrimp, and oysters. The pearling industry involved a variety of other business activities, such as ship building (with distinctive styles of dhows) and trade with Africa, Iran, the Indian subcontinent, some parts of Indochina, and Indonesia.

Famous Bahrani people

The Bahrani's produced many well-known religious scholars, including Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsai (1753 - 1826) (founder of the Shaikhí school), Shaykh Maitham al-Bahrani (1238 - 1299), Shaykh Yusuf al-Bahrani (1695 - 1722) (one of the foremost Akhbari scholars), Abdullah al Samahiji (1675 - 1723), and Salih Al-Karzakani . Many religious scholars immigrated to Iranmarker after the Bahrainmarker islands were conquered by the Safavids in 1602 - for instance 17th Century theologian and scholar, Sheikh Salih Al-Karzakani was appointed by the Shah as court judge in Shirazmarker, although he initially left Bahrain to work in the Indian Kingdom of Golkonda. Many students and scholars settled, and still do today, in centers of Shi'ite scholarship, especially Najafmarker, Karbalamarker, and Qommarker. Insignificant numbers have settled in relatively remote areas, such as Zanzibarmarker.[246213], [246214].

The singular term "al-Bahrani" and the plural term "al-Baharna" are also used as family names by individuals who have Bahrani ancestry, such as the Iraqi art historian Dr Zainab Bahrani.

Historically Bahrani towns and villages

In Bahrain (present day)



Saudi Arabia



There are also other small villages.

References

  1. Lorimer, John Gordon, Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia, republished by Gregg Internatinal Publishers Limited Westemead. Farnborough, Hants., England and Irish University Press, Shannon, Irelend. Printed in Holland, 1970, Vol. II A, entries on "Bahrain" and "Baharna"


See also



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