Travels In Arabia By  John Lewis Burckhardt

























































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The inhabitants of Mekka may be all styled foreigners, or the offspring
of foreigners, except a few Hedjaz Bedouins, or - Page 250
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The Inhabitants Of Mekka May Be All Styled Foreigners, Or The Offspring Of Foreigners, Except A Few Hedjaz Bedouins, Or Their Descendants, Who Have Settled Here.

The ancient tribe of Koreysh, which was divided into a wandering and a settled branch, is almost extinct.

There are some Bedouins of Koreysh still in the neighbourhood; but the settled Koreysh, who were the inhabitants of Mekka in the time of Mohammed, have either been destroyed, or have migrated, in consequence of the frequent intestine wars. At this moment three Koreysh families only, descendants of the ancient tribe of that name, are found at Mekka, the head of one of which is the Nayb, or keeper of the mosque; and the two others are poor people, also attached to its service. The neighbourhood of the great mart of Djidda, the yearly arrival of immense caravans, and the holy house, have attracted, however, a sufficient number of strangers to supply the place of the Koreysh. In every hadj some of the pilgrims remain behind: the Mohammedan, whenever resident for any time in a town, takes a wife, and is thus often induced to settle permanently on the spot. Hence most of the Mekkawys are descendants of foreigners from distant parts of the

[p.181] globe, who have adopted Arabian manners, and, by intermarrying, have produced a race which can no longer be distinguished from the indigenous Arabians. On questioning shopkeepers, merchants, olemas, metowafs, and indeed people of every description, they are found to be the sons, grandsons, or descendants of foreigners.

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