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The Banu Hilal (Arabic: بنو هلال‎) were a confederation of bedouin[1] tribes that migrated from Upper Egypt[2] into North Africa in the 11th century, having been sent by the Fatimids to punish the Zirids for abandoning Shiism.[citation needed] Other authors suggest that the tribes left the grasslands on the upper Nile because of environmental degradation accompanying the Medieval Warm Period.[3] The Banu Hilal quickly defeated the Zirids and deeply weakened the neighboring Hammadids. Their influx was a major factor in the linguistic and cultural Arabization of the Maghreb, and in the spread of nomadism in areas where agriculture had previously been dominant.[4] Ibn Khaldun noted that the lands ravaged by Banu Hilal invaders had become completely arid desert.[5]

They were led by Abu Zayd al-Hilali. Their story is recounted in fictionalized form in Taghribat Bani Hilal.

Their "saga" is still recounted in form of poetry in Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt: Djezia and Dhieb bin Ghanim opposed to the Zenati Khalifa.

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Notes

  1. ^ Weiss, Bernard G. and Green, Arnold H.(1987) A Survey of Arab History‎ American University in Cairo Press, Cairo, p. 129, ISBN 977-424-180-0
  2. ^ Ballais, Jean-Louis (2000) "Chapter 7: Conquests and land degradation in the eastern Maghreb" p. 133 In Barker, Graeme and Gilbertson, David (2000) The Archaeology of Drylands: Living at the Margin Routledge, London, Volume 1, Part III - Sahara and Sahel, pp. 125-136, ISBN 978-0-415-23001-8
  3. ^ Ballais, Jean-Louis (2000) "Chapter 7: Conquests and land degradation in the eastern Maghreb" p. 134 In Barker, Graeme and Gilbertson, David (2000) The Archaeology of Drylands: Living at the Margin Routledge, London, Volume 1, Part III - Sahara and Sahel, pp. 125-136, ISBN 978-0-415-23001-8
  4. ^ The Great Mosque of Tlemcen, MuslimHeritage.com
  5. ^ Populations Crises and Population Cycles, Claire Russell and W.M.S. Russell

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