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The Huwala (also spelled: howala, howila, huwalah) (Arabic: الهولة) meaning "Those that have changed or moved". Originally the "Huwala" word is Arabic, but since Persian does not contain the pharyngeal fricative "ح" present in Arabic, it pronounced it Huwala. Huwala are the descendants of Sunni Arabs who moved from the Arabian Peninsula to Iran, when it was ruled by arabs, and the word is also mistakenly used to call Sunni Persians who migrated from Persiamarker, or Iranmarker to the Arabian peninsula. The Huwala are much different from the Sunni Persians who also have migrated from their "Original" Homeland "Persia" to Arabia. Except that the two ethnicity share the same Islamic Sunni faith. The Huwala were groups of Sunni Arabs who migrated from the Eastern coast of the Arabian peninsula and Omanmarker in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to the Iranian side of the Persian Gulfmarker..

Terminology and origins

The word Huwala (Arabic: الهولة) or (Arabic: حولة - متحولين ام عرب فارس بشكل عام) also means those who have moved from location to another. However the Huwala naming was meant mainly for the Arabs who lived in parts of current day Iran when those parts were ruled by Arabs. Such parts includes the majority of Iranian islands and portions of the coast all the way from the north to the south excluding cost in Arab sea which mainly constituted of Beluch tribes. Arab ruling of these parts started with Omar bin Al Khatab (second Khalif after Mohammed) commanded for his armies to invade Persia from the sea with help of the Oman navy at that time which was mainly constituted of Azd tribes. Later ruling was carried by Al Qawasim after invading the east coast. Al busaeed during handful of year from Alqawasim Al Ali state in Qish island, Al Marazeq state in main Iran land, AlMaean ruling in Qishem island before arrival of Qwasim etc. Arabs are clearly distinguished by their long sequence names of Arabic origin (self, father, grandfather, great grandfather, .......etc, tribe.

Some other Arabs left the Arabian peninsula to Iran for hunting and vacations as well as doing business because of the proximity of the Persian coast. And this journey began since the arrival of Islam in Persia. It may be suggested that they were heading for Iran for some religious intentions, such as teaching the Qur'an and the Sunni faith, while other argue they moved there to have a better life from the desert, however those facts are unclear.

Of the Arabs that were moving to Iran, some actually turned to be businessmen while some had a better life and settled in Iran for decades, others were left there since the arrival of Islam and the victory over the Persian Empire. They went to live in some Persian ports like Bandar Lengehmarker and Bandar Charakmarker, both of them were ports in the south east coast of Iran, in the Hormozgan Provincemarker, indeed those Arabs there were Persianized as some may suggest since those ports were consisting of mix races, hence many of them had huge influence from the Persian culture and Language.

However after some Persians sought moving from Iran to the Arabian peninsula due to many different reasosn such as job opportunities and Pearl Diving as well as business, many Persians both Shia and Sunni moved to the GCC countries at the time, but the confusing issue was the true identity of the Sunni Persians and Huwala. However both of them were favored by the Arab rulers of the Arabian peninsula since they had the same Sunni faith, but obviously the most one whom were favored were the original Huwala arabs themselves.

Huwala Tribes

The original Huwala tribes that left Arabia to Iran were mainly from the Bani Tamim, Bani Malek, Bani Aubaidel, Al Manaser, Al Haram, Al- Nesor, Al Qawasim, Bani Bushor and Al Marazeeq tribes. Since the modern state of Iran under the Previous Shah of Iran and his Persian policy of identity especially against those non-arabs, most of the Arabian tribes were exiled out from the ports and villages of Iran, to many GCC countries. This was at the other hand a historical point for the original Huwala were they called it "Returning to the mother land of Arabia" since they were already called "Huwala" which means people who moved from place to another.

List of Arabian tribes who lived in some places in Persia:

  1. Al S'aie Family.
  2. Al 'Abadela tribe.
  3. Al Hamad tribe.
  4. Al Jaboor tribe. Parts of this tribe became know as Al Nassour Tribe. They originated in Saudi Arabia and then went on to rule Bahrain before moving to Persia. In Persia, the Al Nassour became the ruling family of Kangaan in the province of Bushehrmarker; however, after the Islamic revolution they moved to and are currently living in Abu-Dhabi, UAE. Their last Sheikh was Sheikh Soleiman Bin Hatam Al-Nassour, grandson of Shaikh Jabbara (Ruler of Bahrain - Please See External Links Below). They have had and still hold close ties with the current Bahraini ruling family too.
- Al Matareesh tribe.- Al 'Abadi tribe.- Al Haram tribe.- Al Ansari tribe (some of them are original Arabs while the other are Persians).- Al Ka'abi tribe (Khuzestanmarker of Iran).- Al Marzoqi tribe (Independent state on the shore).
  1. Al Qawasim Tribe (ruled some of the shores and Islands of Persia that were opposite to U.A.E in different eras between 1100 and 1890).
- Al Bosaidi Tribe (ruled Qishm Island for short periods when it was acquired from Al Qawasims).- Al Mora tribe (Morah Island).- Al Bosmait (Bandar Lengehmarker).

  1. al Khonji Tribe
  2. Al Jaber family
  3. Al Jaidah Family


Ethnicity confusion with Persians

Ironically, some people still think that all of the Sunni Persians in Iran are from Arabian descent, thanks to the arrival of the Huwala and Sunni Persians to Arabia and their claims to be Arabs, of which is wrong.

Iran still has some big cities which include Sunni Muslims, else of Bandar Lengeh and Bandar Charak there is Ahvazmarker near the Iraqi border and Mashhadmarker except that the latter two cities didn't have the Huwala whom only travelled to the west cost of Persiamarker, Ahvaz especially had and still has Arabs from Iraq. there are still Sunni mosques in both Bandar Lengeh and Bandar Charak.

The other groups whom arrived to Arabia were original Sunni Persians. Their villages are many and can still be located mostly in the Fars Provincemarker as well as Hormozgan Provincemarker. And these locations obviously still has Sunni mosques up until now. In later years Some of the those Sunni Persians left Iran to the GCC countries to work or to make Business, many of them moved to the GCC countries in the same period when the Arabian Huwala tribes were exiled from Iran, thus creating a confusing issue of how to distinguish between Persians and Arabs, since both had the same faith and Persian Language as well as influence.

Of the reasons Sunni Persians left for the Arabian peninsula, was that most had the anti-religious pressure of Iran's former king Muhammad Reza Shah. The Shah forced everyone to accept his liberal ideas or what he called it the White Revolution, and he disliked religious people from both faiths.

Under his father, Reza Shah, women were ordered to lose the scarves. This led many to leave Persia, both Shia and Sunni Persians, not only to the Arabian peninsula, but to other parts of the world too. But because the GCC countries were the nearest point, it was the Persians first choice to leave for. It had also many job opportunities by that time so they could start a new life. One of the famous people to leave Iran in that period too, was Iran's former leader Ruhollah Khomeini who was opposing the White Revolution by that time, which meant that both Sunni and Shia muslims were facing exile due to the Shah's regime.

Until recently, Iran official census still shows such coastal areas as mostly populated by Arabic ethnic people which confirms origins of Huwala that migrated back to Arabia are Arabs since they lived in same areas. This however is useful to distinguish between sunni Persians and Sunni Arabs in Iran.

Many of the other Sunni Persians, or at least most of them, claimed to be Huwala or "originally Arabs" too. The reason was that at the beginning of their arrival to the Persian Gulf countries, they weren't accepted that much, and were to many foreigners, or as what the Arab call them "Ajams" (Arabic: عجم) which means in Arabic a foreigner or whom didn't speak Arabic.

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