Banu 'Amir

Banu 'Amir ibn Sa'sa'
(Arabic: بنو عامر بن صعصعة)
Adnanite/Qaysi Arab tribe

Ancestry of the Banu 'Amir
Location Khurmah and Ranyah, between Nejd and Hejaz
Descended from 'Amir ibn Sa'sa' ibn Mu'awiyah ibn Bakr ibn Hawazin
Parent tribe Hawazin
Religion Polytheism (pre-630s)
Islam (post 630s)

Banu 'Amir ibn Sa'sa'ah (Arabic: بنو عامر بن صعصعة) was a large and ancient Arab tribe originating from central and southwestern Arabia that dominated Nejd for centuries after the rise of Islam. The tribe is of North Arabian stock, tracing its lineage to Adnan through Hawazin, and its original homeland was the border area between Nejd and Hejaz in Khurmah and Ranyah. Although the Banu 'Amir were engaged in a long war with the Quraysh before the appearance of Islam, the tribe was characterized by giving late allegiance to Muhammad and his immediate successors. The Banu Amir took part in the Ridda ("apostasy") following Muhammad's death, and instead allied themselves with the Apostates against the Muslims. During that period the tribe produced several well-known Arabic poets, the most famous of whom was Labid ibn Rabi'ah, an author of one of the Seven Hanged Poems. Other poets included Amir ibn al-Tufayl, an important tribal chief; al-Ra'i al-Numayri, an opponent of Jarir; and the female poet Layla al-Akhyaliyyah. The protagonists of the romantic saga of Layla wal Majnun, Qays and Layla, also belonged to Banu 'Amir.


A genealogy of the tribes branching from Banu 'Amir ibn Sa'sa'ah.

The main tribes that constituted this confederation were as follows:

In addition to the Uqaylid tribes of Iraq, the modern tribes of Subay', the Suhool in Nejd, and some sections of Bani Khalid trace their lineage to Banu 'Amir.

Military camapigns during Prophet Muhammad's era

The tribe was involved in military conflict with Muhammad. Four months after the Uhud battle, a delegation of Banu Amir came to Muhammad and presented him with a gift. Abu Bara stayed in Medina. Muhammad declined to accept that gift because it was from a polytheist and asked Abu Bara to embrace Islam. He requested Muhammad to send some Muslims to the people of Najd to call them to Islam. At first, Muhammad was quite apprehensive of this, as he feared that some harm might befall on these Muslim missionaries. On Muhammad’s hesitation, Abu Bara guaranteed the safety of the emissaries of Muhammad. [2]

The Muslim scholar Tabari describes the event as follows:

The Messenger of God declined to accept it, saying, "Abu Bara', I do not accept presents from polytheists, so become a Muslim if you want me to accept it." Then he expounded Islam to

him, explained its advantages for him and God's promises to the believers, and recited the Qur'an to him. He did not accept Islam, but was not far from doing so, saying, "Muhammad, this matter of yours to which you call me is good and beautiful. If you were to send some of your companions to the people of Najd to call them to your religion, I would hope that they would respond to you." The Messenger of God said, "I fear that the people of Najd would do them some harm." Abu Bara' replied, I will guarantee their protection, so send them to call people to your religion. The Messenger of God thereupon sent al-Mundhir b. `Amr [Tabari Volume 7, p. 151] [3]

Ibn Ishaq's Biography claims that forty men were sent to them; but Sahih al-Bukhari states that there were seventy — Al-Mundhir bin ‘Amr, one of Banu Sa‘ida, nicknamed ‘Freed to die’ — commanded that group, who were the best and most learned in the Qur'an and jurisprudence.[2]

Muhammad also ordered the Expedition of Shuja ibn Wahb al-Asadi in June 629 [4] with the purpose of raiding the Banu Amir tribe to plunder camels for booty[5][6]

See also


  1. A history of the Maghrib in the Islamic period by Jamil M. Abun-Nasr p.153ff
  2. 1 2 Mubarakpuri, The sealed nectar: biography of the Noble Prophet, pp. 352.
  3. Tabari, The History of al-Tabari Vol. 7: The Foundation of the Community: Muhammad, p.151, 1987, ISBN 0887063446
  4. Abu Khalil, Shawqi (1 March 2004). Atlas of the Prophet's biography: places, nations, landmarks. Dar-us-Salam. p. 212. ISBN 978-9960897714.
  5. William Muir, The life of Mahomet and history of Islam to the era of the Hegira, Volume 4, p. 93 (footnote).
  6. Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar, p. 244. (online)
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