The Arab Military before Islam
By: Muhammad Dhahir Watr
The methods of war among the Arabs were different from that of all the other races. In their battles they relied on offence and attack and their motivation was limited to: defending their idols, bloodlust, raiding and stealing cattle, and increasing the status and position of their own tribes. Their most important weapon was the sword.
The role of Islām was changing the implements and their employment in battles and making appropriate use of them. The principles and beliefs through which Islām was manifested caused an increase in the spiritual and emotional uplifting of the soldiers and encouraged them to participate. Previously, an Arab soldier would be motivated by courage, display of force, a sense of loyalty and selfish motives.
The most important mode of transport that were used was the camel, as it was capable of going for long without water and was able to bear the dryness and sandstorms of the desert. The most important qualities of the 'Arabian wars' were as follows:
1) The Objectives of War
The Arab tribes were naturally linked to and reliant upon the economical and social status of their individual members. Because their land consisted of dry deserts lacking sufficient water, their objectives were:
a) Gaining water and control over the pastures and cattle: Often times, wars would be fought in order to gain control over watering holes or springs and one of the sides would gain control either through a peace treaty or by force. During times of drought and famine, intense battles took place. When wars were fought for water, inhabitants of the dry lands were forced to migrate to other places that had sufficient water.
When one tribe was envious of the wealth and prosperity of another, they would engage them in battle in order to loot their wealth and cattle. The strong tribe was one that was able to overpower the weaker tribes and take their wealth. They would take all they wanted as booty. They would steal away their cattle and then return home victorious. Some of the Arab tribes even went so far as to march towards neighboring kingdoms and cities that had plenty of food stocks. During the age of Jāhiliyya, wars and raids were one of the primary source of sustenance, possession of livestock and booty in times of drought and famine.
b) Bloodlust and revenge: This was caused by social events like marriage and divorce, social interactions among the members of a tribe, jealousy, malice and competition, or because of the establishment of relations by the allies with other tribes.
c) Increasing the status and power of the warring tribe: The fundamental principle was, 'One who does not kill is killed and one who does not fight is fought'. Also, once one tribe loses a battle, their power will never be regained and they are destined to destruction and annihilation and become incapable of defending themselves.
d) Increasing the number of forces and soldiers in the army: The sources have not mentioned the size of the pagan Arab armies but they have noted that every tribe, with all its warriors, was considered one 'army block', and these were the people who would engage the other tribes in battle. When the tribes would join forces, a large army would be formed. The number of tribes that came together in a battle against the Greeks numbered 218 and consisted of more than ten thousand soldiers.
When we refer to the compendiums, lexicons and books of literature, we find that some Arabs paid much attention to the organization and creation of armies while some even independently joined their tribes and entered the battle. Nu'mān bin Mundhir had formed numerous organizations including the battalions called al-Shubhā', al-Dawwasar and al-Radhā'i'.
The following names indicate the number of forces of the various groups of fighters and the types of weapons they used:
Al-Raht - 3 to 10 people.
Al-'Usbah - 10 to 40 people.
Al-Miqnab (al-Minsar) - 30 or 40 up to 300 on horseback.
Al-Jumrah (al-Qabilah) - 300 to 1,000 on horseback.
Al-Sariyah - 40 to 500 and at the very least 5 to 300 people.
Al-Kutayba - 100 to 1,000 people or from 400 to 10,000 people.
Al-Jaysh (Faylaq or Juhfal) - 100 to 4,000 people.
Al-Khamis - from 4,000 to 12,000 people.
All these groups or units would be strengthened by the backing of another group. In this case, it would be called Kutaybah wa Jarrajah or Jarradah, Jayshin Lujab and Khamisin 'Armum. The person who commanded a force of more than a thousand would be known as Jarrarayn.
The Kutayba (the group with between 100 and 1,000 people) and Jumrah (300 to 1,000 riders) were two of the most important groups in the wars of the Arabs before Islām. However, during the time of the Holy Prophet (s) the Sariyah (consisting of between 50 and 400 people) became the only important group in battle and this name can be found in many of the narrations from the companions because this number was also employed before the Hijrah.
The Sariyah was the smallest section of the army and could be formed even by only ten people. For this reason, it was also called 'Asharatu Rahtin (a group of ten). The Prophet (s) would also send these groups with fewer or greater numbers. They have said: the best companions are four, the best Sirāya (pl. of Sariyah) is made up of four hundred, the best army consists of four thousand and at the most, not exceeding twelve thousand soldiers.
e) Weapons: By going through the narratives and poetry of the Age of Ignorance (Jāhiliyyah) we find that there is frequent mention of weapons, and especially the 'sword'. Other weapons like the arrow, dagger, spear, spearhead, club, bow and the sling that were considered offensive weapons and were used in attacks are also found in their poetry. As for the defensive weapons, they included the armor, shield, helmet and the armor that was worn beneath the helmet. These weapons would come from Syria, Yemen and India and some were also made locally.
The Arabs would also use some heavy weaponry like the catapult. The first person to use it was Judhayma al-Abrash. Another weapon known as al-Dabbābah was first employed by 'Abdullah ibn Ju'dah. Later the Muslim Arabs modified this weapon and used its improved version in their wars.
At that time, an Arab soldier would either fight on foot or on horseback. The most important mode of transport at wartime were horses, and the forces would ride on them. Horses had some distinct advantages in war, especially speed and agility.
f) The Relationship between the Commander and the Soldiers: Affairs of war and military leadership of a tribe would be in the hands of the head of the tribe, a person who would have the qualities of forbearance, clemency, co-operation, patience, kindness etc. All the soldiers, be they freemen or slaves, volunteers or those who have been forced to participate, hired or otherwise, all have to respond to the call for war by the commander and none of them are allowed to disobey him, whether they like it or not, except those who are excused because of being too young or sick. Of course, at times some of the wealthy would disobey the command to participate in battle and would in return pay the fine and penalty for not joining the battle.
One of the commanders would draw up the plans for battle, allot commanders for each section, define the assignments, identify the goal and arm the forces. The responsibility for these tasks rested on his shoulders because of his superiority over the others and in the end he would take command over the forces. Many of the Arabs in the age of Jāhiliyya were known for their training in archery and their expertise in it. They were able to hit small targets and would also train those who did not know archery.
g) Mobilization of forces and Recruitment: It was incumbent and obligatory [to fight] when the tribe needed to be defended or a general command had been issued. So in times of danger, all the people were mobilized. The men, old and young, small children and women too, would prepare and participate in the battle as much as they were able to. Here we should mention two groups of fighters: (i) A group that was hired for an agreed sum. (ii) Another group that consisted of slaves who had to fight in the battle without any compensation and would have to stay and serve till the end of the battle. Those who would fight with all their might in order to defend themselves fought with strong will and determination whereas those who were forced to fight and were not paid anything, especially in times of hardship, would flee from the battle.
Conscription was not compulsory and would take place on an individual basis, not collectively. It would be carried out during attacks or in order to join the commander.
h) Dealing with Prisoners: Prisoners (of war) would be dealt with harshly and with cruelty. At times they would cut off their noses or tear out their ears from the roots or sever their limbs.
Because of this torture, some prisoners would die while others would remain in their service as slaves, or alternatively a ransom could be given to secure their freedom or they would be granted a favor for which they would remain obliged.
They would also use hostages to exact revenge for the deaths of those taken as prisoners. Just as the 'Aus did with the Khazraj - they killed three of the slaves who had been taken as hostages (in retaliation for three killed prisoners).
i) Material Support and Backup: This consisted of the collective measures that an army would put in place for its troops including weapons, provisions, food, water etc. The goal behind making these arrangements and providing munitions that were necessary for long drawn-out wars was gaining victory over the enemy and this was achieved by using different means. The most important factors that assisted in sending support were:
. Roads: The roads and paths that the pagan Arabs traversed in times of war have been not been clearly mentioned in historical records and some writings after the coming of Islām only give general indications about them. For example: in Ibn Kharadādibah's al-Masālik wal-Mamālik, Ibn Hawqal's al-Masālik wal-Mamālik, Mas'udi's al-Tanbih wal-Ashrāf, Qazwini's al-Bilād wa Akhbār al-'Ibād and all the other books of battles and expeditions.
Similarly, the roads that were traversed by the armies of Islām in their conquests and battles have not been mentioned in detailed except in very few sources. Most of the paths that were used by the Muslim armies were the well known main roads and the most important among these were:
(i) Paths near the coasts and borders where water was plentiful and wells were many.
(ii) Roads that ran parallel to the Euphrates River that flowed from Iraq to Syria.
(iii) The routes between Yathrib (Madina) and Makkah or between Makkah and Iraq.
(iv) Roads that linked the cities and villages of the Arabian Peninsula.
. Weapons of War: In the age of Jāhiliyya, weapons of war constituted the most important part of munitions. In the beginning, a soldier would get armed before he went out to war, because no help would reach him during the battle. If, during the heat of battle, his sword broke or his arrows ran out, if he had extras he would exchange them, otherwise he would be unable to continue the fight.
. Water and Food: The most important foods that were used in sending support to the fighting soldiers were dates and grapes that were grown in parts of Yemen and Tā'if. Fruits from the trees of Sidr and Miswāk, fish, barley bread and other foods were also sent. Dates were the staple food and Yathrib was known for its plentiful fresh dates. The Arabs were accustomed to eating less and would make to with a few dates for an entire day. When they were very hungry, they would eat animal hide, porcupines, lizards and meat of hunted animals.
However, water was considered of strategic importance, because the routes chosen and roads taken would be determined by it and efforts would be made to secure drinking water and prevent the enemy from having access to it. This liquid of life was of great importance for the army that wished to set camp in a specific location and they would need to be near a source of water at all times. For this reason, they would take all the necessary measures to store as much water as possible. Ten guards would be posted at wells and springs and in front of man-made water storages large boulders would be placed. These reservoirs would become even more important in times of war, and especially defense, when besieged, or in the hot summer months.
. Clothes and Military Uniforms: The Arab soldiers of Jāhiliyya wore different varieties of clothes, so fighters were indistinguishable for non-combatants, and the soldiers would look alike because of their similar turbans, armor, swords and other military equipment. Turbans or caps were worn on the heads and the Jubba or a hooded garment, a shirt or a two-tone robe, trousers, a woolen cloth and striped Yemeni cloth would be worn and feet would be covered with shoes or sandals.
. Tents: The tents were made of skin, wool, hair and fur. The Arabs would only use tents at the start of battles, because their fighting style was that of 'charge and attack' and this was highly disorganized. For this reason, the army did not need to remain outside its area for long periods of time. The Muslim armies during the time of the Prophet (s) also did not use tents frequently for this very same reason.
. Modes of Transportation: The most important modes of transport were the horse and camel. The horse was used because of its speed and control at all times and in different situations, be it during attacks, laying siege, face to face combat, ambush, night raids etc. Mares were especially used in night raids, attacks, chases, maneuvers and difficult tasks, and were more effective than stallions. Khālid bin Walid used to fight battles while riding on a mare. Similarly, mules were used in sieges and ambushes.
Many of those who fought on horseback were well known, and they would observe the principles of combat to the letter. They did this by using the horses and concentrating their efforts on the weak points of the enemy's defenses or on the weak and timid people. As a result, they would be successful in opening up fissures in the line of defense, penetrating their ranks and creating terror and fright in their hearts. Camels were not useful for battle but they could be used for transporting soldiers, weapons, munitions and provisions from place to place. This animal was known for its ability to bear hunger and thirst, move through the harsh desert and carry heavy loads over long distances.
. Booty: All that was taken over by the army or tribe after it was victorious over its enemy was known as booty. War booty became the property of the overpowering forces who could use it as they wished. In the age of Jāhiliyya, one fourth of the booty was separated by the commander.  All that was acquired without war (al-Nashitah) and the booty that could not be divided (al-Fudhul) was reserved for the commander.
A poet has described the booty in this verse: Laka al-Rubā'u wal-Safāya Wa Hukmuka wal-Nashitah wal-Fudhul
In the same way, the killer would take possession of what the one who was killed had with him [on the battlefield]. With the advent of Islām, Khums was prescribed. The law of Salab (that which was taken from one who was killed in battle) was left as it was.
2) Wars of Arabs against the Sassanids
The pagan Arabs fought wars with the great neighboring kingdoms and they would raid the bordering areas. These kingdoms would also use some tribes as a barrier against the invaders so that they could hinder them as much as possible.
During the advent of Islām, the Sassanids had control over some areas at the edge of the Arabian Peninsula, including the lands of Yemen, Bahrain and some areas to the east of the peninsula. Because they were neighbors with the Arabs, they had no option but to deal with each other and each of them would take necessary measures to prevent the incursions of the other, whether through peace pacts or war.
Some of the steps taken by the Sassanids to this end included: pleasing members of some tribes, making pacts and treaties of friendship with them, strengthening the borders, building fortresses, creating forts and protective barriers around the cities, creating canals from rivers and seas and keeping patrol ships in order to prevent the incursion of the enemy, creating points of defense along the border and repelling the threats of attacking tribes. Aside from this, guard units were formed by the tribes in return for payment and compensation that was given to the heads of the tribes so that they would protect the borders. These tribes were used to protect some of the more remote areas and they would establish their repositories for storing weapons and food in their land.
It can be said that the Sassanids would utilize the Arabs in their wars. When the Arabs saw the oppression and cruelty of the Sassanids against their own people, they would break the pacts. Udhaynah the king of Tadmar rose up against the Sassanids (under Shāpur the First), fought a war against him and was victorious. However, the kings that came after Shāpur the First were able to gain victory over the Arabs, especially during the reign of Shāpur Dhul Aktāf the person who later made a peace treaty with the Arabs.
By studying the wars of the Arabs against the Sassanids, we find that they were not united under the leadership of one commander; because every tribe had its own head and it was not possible for him to give up his leadership. Disagreements among them was the norm and therefore they were not able to unite with other tribes. As a result, each one of them would rise up to defend itself without the assistance of another. Jealousy, malice and hatred was rife among them; to such an extent that the Sassanids would incite some of the tribes to fight against others. It is obvious that this had a tremendous impact in the wars that were fought against the enemies.
The Sassanids were always afraid of fighting in the desert, and they were unable to stand the lack of water and harsh conditions of these lands. When the Arabs fought against their ally, they would arrange to transfer water, camels and all that was necessary for war in the desert, to the army. The enemy was never able to defeat the Arabs in their own land, because they were fully aware about the conditions of their land. The Arabs would sometimes take recourse to guerilla warfare and would attack the supply routes, stores and armories.
3) Civil Wars in the North
Intense battles between Arab tribes, and especially the 'Adnānis - who were more inclined to combat and war - was commonplace; because they were nomads and were accustomed to the harshness of the desert and this made them rougher and more intrepid. Many battles were fought between the Qahtānis and the 'Adnānis, between the Taghlub and Bani Hakr, and others and also between the Arabs and the Iranians. The most important of these were:
. Yawm al-Awārat al-Awwal that took place between Mundhir ibn Imra' al-Qays and Bakr bin Wā'il.
. Yawm al-Dahnā between the tribe of Bani Asad.
. Yawm al-Kilāb al-Thāni.
. Yawm al-Baydhā'.
. And others like Yawm Bi'āth that took place between the Aws and the Khazraj.
By studying the details of these wars and battles, we find that the Arabs never used to fight for goals and purposes that were sensible and that had resulted from careful thought and consideration, rather their wars would have other motives, including tribal ones. These types of war were continuous and never-ending, and as such, they would always be practicing [and preparing] for war. It was as if they were habituated to war or that they liked it and were inclined to it. During the advent of Islām, some of the warriors joined the army that was formed after the migration [to Madina] with the intention of defeating the enemy, who were living under harsh conditions and were able to establish themselves in other places.
The distinguishing factor of the Arabs in their wars against the external enemies was that they would unite with other tribes in some battles, like in the battle of Dhi Qār that took place after the event of Yawm 'Ayn Abāgh and in which they were victorious. However, they would [then] separate and fight internal battles against each other and this made them weak and led to their defeat.
 Ibn Khaldun, Muqaddimat al-'Ibar 2:645
 Kalbi, al-Asnām: 100; Jawād 'Ali, al-Mufassal fi Tārikh al-'Arab qabl al-Islām 1:609
 Al-Azhari, al-Nafhat al-Mulukiyya: 85
 Refer to the event of Yawmu 'Ayni Abāgh in Ibn Atheer, al-Kāmil, 11:540; Ibn 'Abd Rabbih, al-Iqd al-Fareed 5:260
 Tabrizi, Sharh al-Qasā'id al-'Ashar: 121
 Ibn al-Shajari, Hamāsat al-Shajariyya 2:793 onwards; Tartusi, Tabsirat Arbāb al-Albāb: 11
 Ibn Khaldun 2:286 onwards
 Ibn Sa'd 2:7; Qalqashandi, Qalā'id al-Jummāl 7:12 & 2
 Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 1:244 & 252
 Ibn Sa'd 1:1-157; Wāqidi 1:41
 Ibn Qutayba, 'Uyun al-Akhbār 2:161
 Refer to Yawm al-Baydā in Ibn Habib, al-Muhbir:246 and Yawm al-Zuwayrin wa Yawm al-Shaytin in Ibn Atheer, al-Kāmil 1:604-654
 This is due to the fact that most of the Arabian Peninsula is made up of dry desert and many areas lack sufficient water. (Tr.)
 Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 5:260, Ibn Atheer 11:54
 Ibn 'Abd Rabbih: 244; Ibn Atheer 1:62
 Jawād 'Ali 2:602
 Ibn Atheer 1:544, 566
 Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 5:345; al-Bakri, Mu'jam Mastu'jam 2:496
 Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 5: 224; Ibn Atheer 1:620
 Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 5:248; Ibn Atheer 1:578, 671
 Maqrizi: 121
 Ibn Khaldun, Muqaddimah 2:451
 Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 5:250 onwards
 Ibn Atheer 1:482
 Jawād 'Ali 1:575 and 2:21
 Ibn Sayyidah, al-Mukhassis 6:204; Ibn Hishām 2:254, 347; Zubaydi, Tāj al-Arus 1:327, 3:207
 Al-Sikkeet, Mukhtasar Tahdhib al-Alfādh: 19; Ibn Mandhur, Lisān al-'Arab [under Ra Ha Ta] 6:305
 Al-Sikkeet, Ibid.
 Ibid. 27-28; Ibn Sayyidah 6:200
 Zubaydi [under Ja Ma Ra] 3:107
 Shaybāni 1:69; Tha'ālibi, Fiqh al-Lughah: 229
 Ibn Sayyidah 6:199; Zubaydi [under Sa Ra Ya] 10:174
 Al-Sikkeet: 27; Tha'ālibi: 229
 Tha'ālibi: 40 and 229; Abu Dharr al-Khashni, Sharh Seera Ibn Hishām 2:273 & 347
 Al-Sikkeet Ibid. Tha'ālibi: 229
 Al-Sikkeet: 28
 Al-Sikkeet: 30; Tha'ālibi: 229; Nuwayri, Nihāyat al-Urub fi Funun al-Adab 6:190
 Al-Sikkeet: 27; Ibn Habib: 246-552; Tha'ālibi: 230
 Bukhāri (al-Adhān, al-Imān, al-Tayammum, al-Ahkām, al-Jihād); Muslim (al-Jihād, al-Siyar); Abu Dāwud (al-Jihād, al-Tahārah); Tirmidhi (al-Manāqib, al-Jihād, al-Jumu'ah); al-Nasā'i (al-Jihād, al-Bay'ah, al-Sayd)
 Abu Dāwud 3:46
 Bukhāri 5:26
 Shaybāni 1:67; al-Dārimi 2:215; Abu Dāwud 3:36
 Al-Bakhtari, al-Hamāsa: 9-42; Ibn Shajari, al-Hamāsa al-Shajariyya 2:286 & 799; Tartusi, Tabsirat Arbāb al-Albāb: 11
 Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 1:179 onwards; Suhayli 1:9 & 2:212; Tartusi: 6-15
 Ibn Shajari 2:786 onwards; Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 1:179 onwards
 Suhayli 4:162; Tartusi: 16
 The Dabbābah was something like what is today known as a tank. All its sides were covered with metal and someone would sit inside and shoot arrows. (Tr.)
 Abul Faraj Isfahāni, al-Aghāni 5:24; Tartusi: 18
 Lord Monister, Risāla fi Fann al-Harb 'indal 'Arab: 75,77
 Mu'ammar bin al-Muthannā, Kitāb al-Khayl: 16 onwards; Ibn 'Abd Rabbih: 152 - 178
 Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 2:286 & 3:104
 Zubaydi [under Ja 'A La] 7:257
 Ibid. [under Ha Ka Ma and Qa Dha Ma] 8:252, 10:207
 Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 1:176 onwards
 Jawād 'Ali 5:405. 418
 'Amir bin Tufayl, Deewān, Riwāyat Ambāri: 11, 98, 100
 Whoever took a prisoner would be consider his owner and would be able to treat him however he pleased. See Jawād 'Ali 5:631
 Abu al-Faraj Isfahāni 11:114 & 15:155
 Tabari, Tafseer Tabari 6:262; Abu al-Faraj Isfahāni 11:114
 Abu al-Faraj Isfahāni 11:158 onwards - this meant that they were set free.
 Zubaydi [under 'A Qa La] 8:27 and [Ra Ha Na] 9:229
 Ibn Atheer 1:675
 Jawād 'Ali 7:331-365
 Zubaydi [under Fa Sa Da] 2:453; [Ba Ja] 2:5; [Ra Ma La] 7:350; ['A Qa Da] 2:425; [Ta Fa Fa] 6:260; Jawād 'Ali 5:58-63
 Zubaydi [under Qa Ru Ba] 1:423
 Balādhuri, Futuh al-Buldān: 23-25; Zubaydi [under A Za Ba] 1:147; [Ba Ra Ka] 7:106; ['A Dha Ra] 3:441
 Al-Sikkeet: 407 - 408; Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 2:225
 Tha'ālibi, Thimār al-Qulub: 159; Lord Monister, Risāla fi Fann al-Harb 'ind al-'Arab: 52
 Zubaydi [under Bat a] 1:529; [Bu Ni Ya] 10:46; [Dha Ra Ba] 1:340; [Qa Ba Ba] 1:419; [Dha La La] 7:425; [Fa Sa Ta] 5:199
 Wāqidi 7:825; Tabari 2:568
 Tim Quraysh, Kitāb al-Khayl: 16 onwards; Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 1:152-178
 See: Yazbak, Jud al-'Arabi: 78-81
 Nuwairi 9:365
 Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 1:116; Zubaydi 3:335
 Jawād 'Ali 5:460
 An example of how they did this can be seen in the battle of Uhud. See: Uhud in History in the Miqātu Hajj Magazine vol. 7
 Nuwayri 10:103 onwards; Zubaydi [under Ha Ma La] 7:263
 Zubaydi [under Gha Ni Ma] 9:7
 Jawād 'Ali 5:262, 264
 Zubaydi [under Kha Ma Sa] 4:139
 Ibid. [under Sa Faa] 10:211
 Ibid. 5:231
 Ibid. 8:63
 Asma'i, al-Asma'iyāt, from the verses of the poet Abdullah ibn Ghunmah: 37
 Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzi, Zād al-Ma'ād fi Hudā Khayril 'Ibād 2:172
 Ibn Atheer 1:223 onwards; Umar Farukh, Tārikh al-Jāhiliyya: 64,65
 Jawād 'Ali 2:626
 Al-'Adwi, al-Dawlah al-Islāmiyya wa Imperāturiyyat al-Rum: 14
 Jawād 'Ali 2:628
 Jawād 'Ali 2:635
 Mas'udi, Muruj al-Dhahab wa Ma'ādin al-Jawhar 1:215
 Tabari, Tārikh Tabari 2:69 onwards
 Ibn Khaldun, Muqaddimah 2:456
 Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 2:319-326
 Jawād 'Ali 2:641
 Ibn Qutaybah, 'Unwān al-Akhbār 2:161
 Watt, Muhammad fi Makkah: 16; Sayyid Hanafi, al-Farusiyyat al-'Arabiyyah fi al-'Asr al-Jāhiliyya: 32
 They were known as the 'Adnānis because they were descendents of 'Adnān, the ancestor of the Holy Prophet (s). They were natives of the Arabian Peninsula and were from the lineage of Prophet Ismā'il ('a). They were known traders and merchants and were in charge of the Ka'ba (Tr.)
 Ibn Khaldun 2:409-413
 Ibid. 2:414-418 onwards
 The Qahtānis are the descendents of Qahtān ibn Ya'rab. They were one of the native Arab tribes who were not originally from the Arabian Peninsula, rather they were from Yemen and other Southern areas. The later migrated to the North and settled in Yathrib and Ghassān. Unlike the 'Adnānis, they came from an ancient civilization and were more inclined to life in cities and villages. (Tr.)
 Qalqashandi, Subh al-A'shā 1:390 onwards
 Ibn Is'hāq, Harb Bakr wa Taghlub: 8 onwards; Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 5:213, 249; Nuwayri 15:356, 316
 Ibn Atheer 1:482; Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 5:224; Nuwayri 15:407,413
 Ibn Atheer 1:552
 Ibn Atheer 1:626
 Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 5:224; Nuwayri 15:407
 Ibn Habib: 246
 Abu al-Faraj Isfahāni 3:39,154-156; Ibn Atheer 1:655 onwards; more about the wars between these two tribes of the Qahtānis can be seen here: Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqāt 3:604; Ya'qubi, Tārikh 2:27. We find that because of their internal strife and battles, these two tribes were never quite able to stand up against the 'Adnānis. Killings that took place between the Aus and Khazraj was something so common that it was like a daily occurrence. With the advent of Islām, the Prophet (s) was able to bring peace among these tribes and eventually end their bitter enmity. (Tr.)
 Ibn Is'hāq, Harb Bakr wa Taghlub: 8 onwards
 Mas'udi 1:112; 'Umar Farukh: 30
 Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 5:224
 Ibn Khaldun 2:453 onwards