Qahtan, Yoktan, قحطان  
     
 

Joktan or Yoktan (Hebrew: יָקְטָן, Modern Yoqtan Tiberian Yoqān Arabic: قحطان ; 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 "smallness".

 

In 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.

 

In 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.

 

In 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 Kahlanis.

 

 

Qahtani origins:

 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 (Gen. 10:25-29).

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 Yemen.

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 Kindah.

 

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:

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.

 

After Islam:

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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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