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Volume :33 Issue : 127 2007      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Sayyids of Hadramawt in Medieval and Modern India

Auther : Dr. Omar Khalidi

     Ethnic Arab communities in medieval India originate mainly from the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf. Among these Arabs, the ones who gained widespread fame within India and abroad were the Sayyids of Hadramaut, descendants of Prophet Muhammad, through his daughter Fatima. Many of these Hadhrami Sayyids achieved rapid upward social mobility in India through ascribed status as the Prophet>s descendants, as exemplars of good Muslims, and as preachers and teachers of Islam in a non-Muslim environment. The Arabs> command of Arabic language helped them to be good preachers and teachers of Islam in a non-Muslim environment. The immigration of Hadramawt Arabs began in the early period of Islamic history and continued up until the mid 1940s. However, migration to India at the dawn of the modern era since the late 1940s heralded changes in their traditional status and occupation. Political changes within India and Yemen virtually halted the immigration. Nonetheless, the Hadrami Arab presence in India is worthy of serious academic attention as it highlights the ability of small groups to achieve big goals. The sources of this article are primary works in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, supplemented with interviews and field observations.

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