Joktan or Yoktan (Hebrew: יָקְטָן,
Modern Yoqtan Tiberian Yoqṭān
; literally, "little") was the second of the two
sons of Eber (Gen. 10:25; 1 Chr. 1:19) mentioned in
the Hebrew Bible. His name means "small" or
the Book of Genesis 10:25 it reads: "And unto Eber
were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for
in his days was the earth divided; and his brother's
name was Joktan."
Joktan's sons in the order provided in Gen.
10:26-29, were: Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,
Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir,
Havilah, and Jobab.
Pseudo-Philo's account (ca. 70), Joktan was first
made prince over the children of Shem, just as
Nimrod and Phenech were princes over the children of
Ham and Japheth, respectively. In his version, the
three princes command all persons to bake bricks for
the Tower of Babel, however twelve, including
several of Joktan's own sons, as well as Abraham and
Lot, refuse the orders. Joktan smuggles them out of
Shinar and into the mountains, to the annoyance of
the other two princes. The traditional history of
the Ethiopian Orthodox Church also maintains that
Joktan's sons would take no part in the tower
building, and that they were thus allowed to
preserve the original Ge'ez language — which their
descendants, the Agazyan, carried across the Red Sea
into Ethiopia as they mixed with the Cushitic and
Agaw people to form the hybrid Habesha race.
The Arab peoples comprise numerous clans and tribes.
Many historians trace the peoples of the southern
Arabian Peninsula to Joktan. However, early Biblical
ethnographers, including Josephus and Hippolytus of
Rome, identified Joktan's sons with peoples around
the Indus river.
the Arab tradition, the terms Qahtanite and Qahtani
(; transliterated: Qahtan or Qaḥṭān
or Kahtan) refer to Semitic peoples either
originating in, or claiming genealogical descent
from the southern extent of the Arabian Peninsula,
especially from Yemen.
The rival group to the Qahtan are variously known as
Adnan, Ma'add or Nizar.
The Qahtani people are divided into the two
sub-groups of Himyar and Kahlan, with the Himyar
branch as Himyarites and the Kahlan branch as
Arab tradition maintains that a semi-legendary
ancestral figure named ''Qahtan'' and his 24 sons
are the progenitors of the southern inhabitants of
the Arabian Peninsula known as Qahtani.
Early Islamic historians identified Qahtan with the
Yoqtan (Joktan) son of Eber of the Hebrew Bible
Among the sons of Qahtan are noteworthy figures like
A'zaal (believed by Arabs to have been the original
name of Sana'a, although its current name has been
attested since the Iron Age) and Hadhramaut. Another
son is Ya'rub, and his son Yashjub is the father of
'Abd Shams, who is also called Saba. All Yemeni
tribes trace their ancestry back to this "Saba",
either through Himyar or Kahlan, his two sons.
The Qahtani people are divided into the two
sub-groups of Himyar and Kahlan, who represent the
settled Arabs of the south and their nomadic kinsmen
(nomads). The Kahlan division of Qahtan consists of
4 subgroups: the Ta' or Tayy, the Azd group which
invaded Oman, the 'Amila-Judham group of Palestine,
and the Hamdan-Madhhij group who mostly remain in
The Kahlan branch includes the following tribes: Aus
and Khazraj, Ghassan, Azd, Hamdan, Khath'am, Bajflah,
Madhhij, Murad, Zubaid and Nakh', Ash'ar, Lakhm and
Pre Islamic Qahtani migration out of Arabia:
Early Semites who developed civilizations throughout
the Ancient Near East gradually relinquished their
geopolitical superiority to surrounding cultures and
neighbouring imperial powers due to either internal
turmoil or outside conflict. This climaxed with the
arrival of the Chaldeans and subsequently the
rivaling Medes and Persians during the 7th
and 6th centuries BCE respectively.
Though the Semites lost geopolitical influence, the
Aramaic language emerged as the lingua franca of
much of the Near East. However, Aramaic usage
declined after the defeat of the Persians and the
arrival of the Hellenic armies around 330 BCE.
The Ghassanids (ca. 250 CE) were the last Semitic
migration northward out of Yemen. They revived the
Semitic presence in the then Roman controlled Syria.
They initially settled in the Hauran region
spreading to modern Lebanon, Israel, and the
Palestinian Territories and Jordan, briefly securing
governorship of Syria away from the Nabataeans.
Between the 7th and 14th
centuries, the Arabs had forged an empire that
extended their rule from Spain and southern France
in the west to western China in the east. During
this period of expansion, the Arabs, including
Qahtanite tribes, overspread these lands,
intermingling with local native populations while
yet maintaining their cultural identity. It is not
unlikely to find Arabs of Qahtanite descent as far
away as Morocco or Iran and many can trace their
heritage with profound accuracy. Among the most
famous examples of Qahtanite Arabs is the social
scholar Ibn Khaldun who was born in Tunisia to a
family that immigrated from Islamic Spain (Al-Andalus).