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Clearing The Confusion Regarding Location Of Banu Mudhar.

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A ex-Salafi brother after reading my lattest article came with a puzzle which confused him and even my self. He shared with me a map – taken from a Urdu book, in which Banu Mudhar is positioned in central Arbia around the region of Saudi capital Riyadh. With this map he quoted a Hadith [will be brought into discussion later] and presented strong argument to justify Banu Mudhar being situated in central Arabia. Where as my research on this issue yeilded result that Banu Mudhar was near eastern shore of Arabia. The force of his argument was based on Hadith and the map seemed to support his position. In contrast to his evidence, there was enough evidence from Ahadith was available to challenge or alteast contradict his position. This article is harmonization of both positions and removes contradiction between the Ahadith. Please bear in mind both position will be presented by me in my own words.

Brother’s Thesis - Land of Tribes Of Rabia And Mudhar:

According to map published in a book, Atlas Of The Quran, compiled by Shauqi Abu Khalil, and published by Darussalam Publishers, land of Bani Mudhar is toward Eastern sea shore of Arabian Peninsula. Please bare in mind to precisely pin point location of tribes is difficult therefore these locations should be used as general guide and not specific location. See map below:


This depiction does not seem to be correct because it contradicts the details of following Hadith: “A delegation of the tribe of `Abdul Qais came to the Prophet and said, "O Allah's Messenger! We are from the tribe of Rabi`a, and the infidels of the tribe of Mudar stands between us and you; so we cannot come to you except during the Sacred Months." [Ref: Bukhari, B24, H482] This Hadith indicates that between Madinah and tribal territory of Rabia the tribe of Mudhar was situated which prevented the Muslims belonging to Bani Abdul Qais [which is a sub-tribe of Bani Rabia] from crossing the territory of Bani Mudhar except the sacred months when the fighting was prohibited. Now if the tribal territory of Bani Mudhar is correct then Banu Rabia and sub-tribes of Banu Rabia have no border with Mudhar. Hence they cannot interfere nor prevent the Muslims belonging to Bani Rabia from crossing their territory. If Banu Rabia is left where it is depicted and Banu Mudhar is positioned some where in the central region of Najd like this:


Then Muslims from Banu Rabia’s sub-tribe, Bani Abdul Qais being prevented by Banu Mudhar would fit the details of the Hadith. This would indicate that members of Banu Abdul Qais will have to cross the tribal territory of Banu Mudhar to reach Madinah hence prevention by Banu Mudhar would be possible which would fit precisely the details of Hadith.

Brother Found Support For His Hypothesis:

In a Urdu book, Tarikh Islam (i.e. History Of Islam) stocked by; Standard Book Centre, Urdu Bazaar Lahore. This book is college or university syllabus book, authored by; Shaykh Muhammad Rafeeq, Sayyid Masood Haidar Bukhari, Asim Farooq Shaykh, Tariq Ayub Chaudry, Nisar Ahmad Chaudry, Saheel Nasir Chaudry, Dr Sayyid Aftab Hussain Gilaani. Please note the image has been modified – there was another tribe indicated next to Madinah with name of Banu Mu’anah which I removed, see:


This mape positioned Banu Abdul Qais the sub-tribe of Banu Rabia on Easter extremity of Arabia and in central Arabia positioned Banu Mudhar. The Darussalam [English] map depicted Banu Rabia in the area in which Urdu map depicts Banu Abdul Qais. This is also confirmed by another map easily searchable on internet:


This establishes that Banu Rabia and their sub-tribe Banu Abdul Qais inhabited the same region in Arabian Peninsula. The Urdu map is uniquely correct in depicting location of Banu Mudhar in central Arabia close to modern Saudi capital of Riyadh but position of Banu Abdul Qais is correct.

Responding With Ahadith Which Helped To Refute Brother’s Hypothesis:

Prophet (sallallahu alayhi was’sallam) is reported to have said: “Verily Iman is towards this side, and harshness and callousness of the hearts is found amongst the rude owners of the camels who drive them behind their tails (to the direction), from where will emerge the two groups of Satan, they (the two groups of Satan) are the tribes of Rabi'a and Mudar.” [Ref: Muslim, B1, H83] Prophet (sallallahu alayhi was’sallam) also said; sun rises and sets between the two horns of Satan, established by following Hadith: “It was narrated from Abu ‘Abdullah As-Sunabihi that the Messenger of Allah said: “The sun rises between the two groups of Satan” or he said “The two horns of Satan rise with it, and when it has risen, Satan parts from it. When it is in the middle of the sky he accompanies...” [Ref: Ibn Majah, B5, H1253] This rising of sun between two groups of Satan is also confirmed by the following Hadith: “Ibn 'Umar reported Allah's Messenger as saying: Do not intend to observe prayer at the time of the rising of the sun nor at its setting, for it rises between the groups of Satan.” [Ref: Muslim, B4, H1807] From this we have established sun rises between the two tribes of Rabia and Mudhar.

Implications Of Rising Of Sun Between Two Groups Of Satan:

Those who are familiar with sun rising patterns of Arabian Peninsula will know that place of sun rise changes through out the year. Now if the sun rises between the territories of these two tribes this is indication of northern and southern borders of these two tribes being the extremities between which the sunrises. Now if tribe of Mudhar is accepted to be located in central Arabia as argued by brother earlier then implications would be; sun rising from central Arabia and place of its rising moving toward East throughout the year. To simplify, sun rising from region of Saudi capital Riyadh (i.e. west) and its place of rising changing gradually throughout the year moving toward Banu Abdul Qais (i.e. east). Or alternatively rising from Banu Rabia (i.e. east) and moving toward Riyadh (i.e. west). See the illustration of what is being said on the map below:


The undeniable fact is that sunrises from the south and sunrise position changes – moving up north throughout the year. One living Madinah would see the sunrise from Najdi land of Banu Rabi and Banu Mudhar. Not only this he would also notice the position of sunrise change as months pass. The map below depicts how the position of sunrise would change.[1]


Hence the location of Banu Mudhar cannot be in the central Saudi Arabia around capital of Riyadh. The northern and southern borders of these tribes are extremities between which the sunrises, according to numerous Ahadith. Therefore the map of Darussalam correctly depicts Banu Mudhar and Banu Rabia.

Fundamental Information Which Explains Brothers Quoted Hadith:

Brother quoted the following Hadith to argue Banu Mudhar was situated in central Arabia: “A delegation of the tribe of `Abdul Qais came to the Prophet and said, "O Allah's Messenger! We are from the tribe of Rabi`a, and the infidels of the tribe of Mudar stands between us and you; so we cannot come to you except during the Sacred Months." [Ref: Bukhari, B24, H482] To understand this Hadith properly it is important to know which tribes are branching from Banu Rabia and Banu Mudhar and secondly to know where they were situated in province of Najd. Please see the image below which tribes branched off from which of the two major tribes:


The following tribes have branched from Banu Mudhar: Banu Tamim, Banu Assad, Banu Ghatafan, Banu Hawazin, Banu Salim. Now if one looks for these tribes one will find them positioned around region of Saudi capital Riyadh, see Darussalam map:


All the tribes indicated in the above map with red boxes are found in the Arabic tribal tree. The blue boxed is not in Arabic tribal tree but it is branch of Banu Huwazin, therefore part of Banu Mudhar. The tribe of Banu Sa’d is also branch of Banu Hawazin. I have not be able to find anything about the other tribes but estimate is; Fazarah, Murrah, and Ashja. All of these tribes may be branches of Banu Mudhar or branches of brances, which is a assumption due to their location.

Clearing Up Confusion Caused By The Hadith Quoted By Brother:

Coming back to the Hadith which brother quoted: A delegation of the tribe of `Abdul Qais came to the Prophet and said, "O Allah's Messenger! We are from the tribe of Rabi`a, and the infidels of the tribe of Mudar stands between us and you; so we cannot come to you except during the Sacred Months." [Ref: Bukhari, B24, H482] Note the delegate of Banu Abdul Qais did not say he is from Banu Abdul Qais but he introduced himself from being the tribe of Banu Rabia. He identified himself with major tribe from which his own tribe had branched off. This gives us a clue into thinking of delegate on this occasion; he ignores names of branch tribes but identifies with major tribes. In other words, atleast on this ocasion his approach to identify tribes was based on mentioning the major tribe from which the minor tribe had emerged. Based on this we can conclude when he said: “ ... We are from the tribe of Rabi`a, and the infidels of the tribe of Mudar stands between us and you; ...”, he did not have specific tribe of Mudhar in mind but he was referring to tribes which have branched off from Banu Mudhar. Just as he identified delegation belonging to Banu Rabia and ignored his sub-tribal identity. In the same fashion he said Banu Mudhar hinder their approach to Prophet (sallallahu alayhi was-sallam) during non-scared months - but in reality he was referring to the sub-tribes which have branched off from Banu Mudhar. So in actuality these some of tribes were preventing the tribe of Banu Abdul Qais from keeping in contact with Prophet (sallallahu alayhi was’sallam).

The Significance And Insignificance Of Location Of Tribes:

The precise location of these tribes is really of no importance to my interest. For the sake of avoiding petty bickering if it is granted the Wahhabi Darussalam published map is inaccurate even then it would have not negative effect position of Ahle Sunnat. Which is to identify the region of central Arabia, area surrounding capital Riyadh as Najd - from where group of Satan originated. Which ever depiction on map of Banu Mudhar is accepted by the Wahhabi’s it would help to identify the historical region of Najd because despite the differences on these maps, Banu Rabia, Banu Mudhar both are precisely located in Najd in central Arabia and not in Iraq.

Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen.
Muhammed Ali Razavi


- [1] Please note this depiction of sunrise on the map is not a scienctificly 100% nor the blue arrow representing the sunrise positions is actual indication of two sunrise extremities. Rather this was just a demonstration of the thought so readers can comprehend what is being said. Greater accuracy would be achieved if the blue arrow lenth is increased by about another centimetre and its tail lenth increased toward south by about two centimetres. This change would pretty accurately illustrate the shift of sunrise throughout the year.

Edited by MuhammedAli

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