Cradle of Islam: The Hijaz and the Quest for Identity in by Mai Yamani

By Mai Yamani

In 1932, the Al Saud kin formally included the dominion of the Hijaz into the recent state of Saudi Arabia. The Hijazis grew to become a humans with no state in their personal. Cradle of Islam specializes in modern Hijazi lifestyles and tradition made subservient to the dominant nationwide principles of Saudi Arabia, as dictated through a political and non secular elite rooted within the primary Najd sector of the rustic. yet centralisation was once no longer sufficient to assimilate or tame Saudi Arabia's detailed neighborhood cultures. The Al Saud relations may rule yet no longer absolutely combine. This ebook is an insider's account of the hidden global of the Hijazis together with their rituals that have helped to maintain Hijazi id in the past.

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Extra info for Cradle of Islam: The Hijaz and the Quest for Identity in Saudi Arabia

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THE ASHRAF Under the Ottomans the Hashemite Ashraf were the recognised authorities in the Hijaz, with the emir based in the Offices of the Ruler in the great eight-storey palace of Muhammed Ali in Mecca. The Ashraf were the Hijazi chiefdom, political and military leaders of the Hijazi population. ’4 Special laws protected the rulers, including decrees mandating that four lives be taken if a Sharif was killed, and that anyone striking a Sharif would lose the offending hand. 40 The Political Awakening of the Hijazi ‘awa’il The Ashraf also enjoyed special titles that set them apart.

The nouveaux riches with shallow roots in the Hijaz are generally excluded. These include the families of Egyptian and Syrian advisers, medical doctors, lawyers and business consultants who settled in Saudi Arabia shortly after its unification, acquired nationality in the 1950s and gained vast wealth during the oil boom. Although some settled in Jeddah, their loyalty remained to the ruling elite. Indeed, the criteria related to social rootedness—asl, nasab and hasab—are viewed by the ‘awa’il as the foundation for all other criteria of status.

Identification with the holy cities—and with the strategic port of Jeddah—has been strongest and most central to the identity of the Hijazi ‘awa’il (the ‘families’),1 the patronymic clans that formed the wealthiest and socially most celebrated elite in the Arabian Peninsula prior to Saudi political unification in 1932. Their position in Hijazi society make the ‘awa’il more sensitive to political and cultural change, and also more likely to respond to it. Moreover, as the representatives of Hijazi urban culture and traditions, the rituals and ceremonies they adopt filter down to the rest of Hijazi society.

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