Ja'alin - Encyclopedia


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JA'ALIN (from Ja'al, to settle, i.e. " the squatters"), an African tribe of Semitic stock. They formerly occupied the country on both banks of the Nile from Khartum to Abu Hamed. They claim to be of the Koreish tribe and even trace descent from Abbas, uncle of the prophet. They are of Arab origin, but now of very mixed blood. According to their own tradition they emigrated to Nubia in the r 2th century. They were at one time subject to the Funj kings, but their position was in a measure independent. At the Egyptian invasion in 1820 they were the most powerful of Arab tribes in the Nile valley. They submitted at first, but in 1822 rebelled and massacred the Egyptian garrison at Shendi. The revolt was mercilessly suppressed, and the Ja'alin were thenceforward looked on with suspicion. They were almost the first of the northern tribes to join the mandi in 1884, and it was their position to the north of Khartum which made communication with General Gordon so difficult. The Ja'alin are now a semi-nomad agricultural people. Many are employed in Khartum as servants, scribes and watchmen. They are a proud religious people, formerly notorious as cruel slave dealers. J. L. Burckhardt says the true Ja'alin from the eastern desert is exactly like the Bedouin of eastern Arabia.

See The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, edited by Count Gleichen (London, 1905).

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