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The rules of Barat. Tribal documents from Yemen

Paul Dresch

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Glossary of Words and Phrases

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1Many supposedly dialect words in Yemen can be found in classical dictionaries. For relevant Yemeni usage see particularly Landberg’s Glossaire. Al‑Iryanī’s Muʿjam is also helpful, and Piamenta’s Dictionary of Post‑Classical Yemeni Arabic, although it lacks ethnographic depth, lists much useful material. References to Lane are to the Arabic‑English Lexicon (1863-93). The aim here is not to provide a concordance but simply to show that the Baraṭ documents connect with what else we know of Yemen.

2I have tried to err on the safe side. If a word or phrase is not in Wehr’s Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic with its meaning in the present documents, then I have usually noted it. I have also for convenience included terms not found in the texts but mentioned in the notes and introduction. Entries are in the order of the Roman alphabet, ignoring ʿayn, and initial hamzah is not marked.

  • abyaḍ, ʿind al-
    for the honourable man to deal with, but also perhaps with the meaning of being open to appropriate judgement or decision, al‑Akwaʿ Madkhal p. 32, Dresch ‘Sufyān’ p. 58.

  • ʿadl
    a just person (pl. ʿudūl); also a just amount or price, Serjeant ‘Law cases’ (part one) p. 45, (part two) p. 169, ‘Glossary’ p. 574.

  • ajbara
    to act wrongly, commit an offence, Dresch ‘Ḥūth’ p. 75; at Baraṭ, unlike in Ḥāshid, usually to commit an offence with s.o., to second or abet a wrongdoer. But also perhaps confused with or assimilated to jabbara (q.v.).

  • ʿamd
    intention (syn. qaṣd). Also an oath to establish whether an act was intentional or not, hence e.g. yakhruj l-ʿamd, not min al-ʿamd.

  • amnah (also pr. imnah)
    protection, security.

  • anẓār
    pl. of naẓar (q.v.).

  • aqfā
    to refuse one’s responsibilities, cf. Serjeant ‘Law cases’ (part two) p. 168. See also qafā.

  • ʿaqīrah (pl. ʿaqā'ir)
    a slaughter-beast, paid as amends or in appeasement, Rossi ‘Diritto’ pp. 5-7, al-Akwaʿ Madkhal pp. 28, al‑Iryanī Muʿjam pp. 641-3.

  • arbāʿ al-qubul
    the neighbouring tribes as opposed to al-aghrāb or aʿshār al-qubul (q.v.), tribes more distant geographically or in descent terms. For the pl. form arbāʿ see Landberg Glossaire p. 1090.

  • ʿarḍ (classical ʿirḍ)
    honour, but also, sometimes as ʿarḍah or ʿurḍah, the right or capacity to give or receive protection, Dresch Tribes pp. 82‑3, 138-9, al-Akwaʿ Madkhal pp. 29,35.

  • aʿshār al-qubul
    other tribes, tribes further off or not closely related to one’s own (see also ʿushr), as opposed to arbāʿ al-qubul (q.v.).

  • ʿatb (pl. ʿutūb)
    amends, but in most cases specifically amends for a disgrace or insult as opposed to “compensation” (naqīṣah, q.v.) for wounds or material damage, al‑Sudumī Naẓarīyah p. 57.

  • ʿathrah (also pr. ʿuthrah)
    an offence, a sin of commission, as opposed to qaṣrah (q.v.), Serjeant ‘Law cases’ (part one) p. 44.

  • awthana
    to set oneself up elsewhere, to seek membership in another tribe.

  • ʿawd (perhaps also ʿud)
    turning against or acting together against an offender, acting as one group, al-Akwaʿ Madkhal p. 32.

  • ʿayb
    a disgraceful or shameful action; but also the amends due for such an action, Dresch Tribes pp. 39-41,48-9. One can thus “seek” ʿayb from a wrong-doer.

  • azā
    protection, usually of an immediate, unpremeditated form. Corresponding verb yazī, yuzzī, or yuwazzī, Dresch ‘Sufyān’ pp. 54-5.

  • ʿaẓma-hum wa-khārij, min
    within the tribe and/or as against outsiders, al-Akwaʿ Madkhal p. 30, Dresch ‘Sufyān’ p. 52.

  • badanah
    a (small) fraction of a tribe, usually something less than a laḥmah (q.v.).

  • badhala
    to offer, Piamenta Dictionary p. 23, cf. al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah p. 119.

  • baʿīr subāʿī
    a camel in the prime of life, probably with the idea of its being seven years old (see e.g. Lane). For baʿīr as a (male) camel of particular value, Serjeant ‘Dawlah’ p. 159.

  • bayḍā’
    white or whiteness, hence good name and right action. Also the white flag which forms part of bayḍā’ wa-khiyār (q.v.), Glaser Ma'rib p. 134, ‘Arḥab’ p. 6. See also tabayyaḍa.

  • bayḍā’ wa-khiyār
    whiteness and choice, a process of publicly summonsing, and potentially shaming, someone to discharge an obligation. If the obligation has not been met at the end of the period of “choice” (usually two weeks) one plants a jidhn (q.v.). Dresch ‘Placing the blame’.

  • bayyana
    to prove, establish, cf. bayyanah, Rossi ‘Diritto’ p. 25, which Landberg tells us (Glossaire p. 224) was often a plural meaning “witnesses”.

  • bishʿah
    sooth-saying or divining, particularly the finding of lost objects, Glaser Ma'rib p. 134, Rossi ‘Diritto’ pp. 5-6, Piamenta Dictionary p. 32.

  • dakkah
    an offence against something of common value (e.g. borders or the market) and, more importantly, the response to such an offence, cf. dakka, Landberg Glossaire p. 826, piler, broyer, tasser. Synonym elsewhere fazaʿ.

  • ḍamān
    (also ḍamānah) guaranty, Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 577, Dresch Tribes pp. 93, 95-6.

  • ḍamīn
    a guarantor, someone responsible for another’s conduct, Dresch Tribes pp. 93, 95-6. At Baraṭ, but rarely elsewhere, distinguished on occasion from a kafīl or bondsman (q.v.). See also lazīm.

  • darak
    an intervention, usually taking responsibility for someone in order to prevent an immediate dispute developing, cf. darraka, Landberg Glossaire 764-6, atteindre, soutenir, and mudarrak, Piamenta Dictionary p. 149, responsible.

  • dasm
    cash payment as amends, contrasted sometimes with dam, or blood, meaning vengeance. (The word dasm means, more literally, “fat” or “grease”).

  • dawshān
    a herald (not of tribal status), al-Sayāghī (ed.) Ṣafaḥāt p. 79, Glaser ‘Arḥab’ p. 1, Dresch Tribes pp. 120-1, 406-7.

  • dawwara
    to seek, look for, Piamenta Dictionary pp. 159-60, cf. dawr, al-Ḥibshī (ed.) Ḥawlīyāt p. 27.

  • dayn
    a debt, but often with the meaning of a required oath, hence e.g. dayn al-ʿamd, an oath to deny intention.

  • dhamm
    shame, disgraceful action, and the compensation paid for such, Dresch ‘Ḥūth’ p. 68. The word can also be used simply of a wound (syn. kawn, q.v.).

  • dhamma
    to commit, or to owe amends for, a disgraceful act, cf. Landberg Glossaire p. 956, blâmer.

  • dhimm (also dhimmah)
    protection, responsibility, Glaser ‘Arḥab’ p. 5, Ma'rib p. 90, Landberg Glossaire p. 957, Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 577.

  • farʿ (pl. furūʿ)
    a judge or arbitrator, al-Iryanī Muʿjam p. 688.

  • farāʿ (or farāʿah)
    the process of arbitration and settlement.

  • faṣl
    judgement issued by an arbitrator, Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 577, cf. faṣīlah, Landberg Glossaire p. 2422, jugement

  • fāwata
    to fail someone, not to discharge a responsibility.

  • fāyit
    that which has gone or disappeared, a material loss such as in theft.

  • faysh
    common land or grazing land, Landberg Glossaire p. 2445, terre qui n'appartient à personne, cf. Glaser ‘Arḥab’ p. 14.

  • fazaʿ
    alarm, panic; but also the collective response to an alarm, Dresch ‘Sufyān’ p. 54.

  • fiʿl (also pr. faʿl, pl. afʿāl)
    an action, and in context sometimes an offence of any kind. But commonly in tribal documents a wound (syn. kawn q.v.).

  • firq (also pr. farq, pl. firaq)
    an answer to a disagreement, a solution; perhaps with the idea of “separating” those at odds, cf. faṣl, a judgement. Less often, the difference or disagreement itself.

  • fisala
    to fail to act, to fail in one’s duty, al-Akwaʿ Madkhal p. 32 (cf. classical fasala, to lack manly virtue: Lane).

  • fūṭah
    a man’s skirt, Piamenta Dictionary p. 382, or any length of cloth.

  • ghalaba
    to refuse, Landberg Glossaire pp. 2375-76, Serjeant ‘Law cases’ (part one) p. 37.

  • ghālī
    cost, expense, but with the sense of a specific fine for an offence, cf. al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 55, 112.

  • gharāmah
    expenses, costs, or the amends due collectively, al-Ḥibshī (ed.) Ḥawlīyāt p. 293, 305, Piamenta Dictionary p. 355. Also ghurm (q.v.).

  • gharasa l-wajh
    to commit one’s honour, particularly to sign one’s name as a guarantor or ḍamīn (q.v.).

  • gharīm
    one of the parties to a dispute or law-case, Serjeant ‘Law cases’ (part one) p. 45, Dresch Tribes pp. 92-3.

  • gharrāmah
    the set of men who together pay ghurm or collective costs, the members of a tribe, Glaser Ma'rib pp. 133-4, al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah p. 133.

  • ghaṣṣāb
    important, weighty or compulsory (syn. ijbārī), cf. ghaṣṣaba, Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 578, to compel.

  • ghurm
    payment, costs, whether owed individually or in common by a set of people. Common responsibility within a tribe is referred to as ghurm wa-jurm. See also gharāmah.

  • ḥajaba ʿalā
    to cover, take under one’s care and thus take responsibility for a person or obligation, cf. Landberg Glossaire p. 357, garder, préserver, al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 150 ff. See also taḥajjaba.

  • hajarī
    a settled person (syn. qarawī, q.v.) as opposed to a badawī or nomad.

  • ḥajīj
    a party to a dispute (syn. gharīm, q.v.), someone involved in a squabble. Hence on occasion a protector or one who takes another’s part.

  • hajjara (verbal noun tahjīr)
    to set apart as protected. Also to pay amends for violating such protected status, Dresch Tribes pp. 58, 136‑7, 146-7 and passim. See also hijrah and muhajjar.

  • ḥalla
    to settle somewhere or to live alongside someone, Landberg Glossaire p. 522, se placer à côté de. Hence ḥāl (pl. aḥlāl or ḥalūl), living with or living at.

  • ḥarth al-sinnah
    cultivated land, land which is ploughed (sinn or sinnah is a plough­-shear).

  • ḥashm
    a disgraceful action (syn. ʿayb or dhamm). Also, like dhamm (q.v.), one of a set of multiple payments for amends, cf. al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 55, 57. Hence dam wa‑dhamm wa‑ḥashm. Sometimes that part of multiple amends paid specifically to the immediate victim.

  • ḥammama
    to blacken (cf. classical aḥamm, pl. ḥumm), hence to violate, besmirch, commit a wrong against. See also ḥimam.

  • ḥawl
    a period of time (colloquial syn. often maḥl, cf. classical muhlah?).

  • ḥawr
    the act of driving others to an arbitrator or to settle a dispute, Dresch ‘Ḥūth’ pp. 77, 89, ‘Episodes’ pp. 77, 84.

  • ḥawṭ
    an iron ring or collar once worn around the neck to distinguish an uncircumcised male or murghal (q.v.).

  • ḥayaṭ
    walls, hence walled gardens, as for instance for growing grapes, cf. ḥayṭ, pl. aḥyāṭ, Piamenta Dictionary p. 114.

  • ḥayy
    a settlement, a village.

  • ḥijājah
    dispute (cf. ḥijjah), but usually with the meaning of taking sides, supporting one person against another. See also taḥajjaja.

  • ḥijjah (classical ḥujjah)
    a dispute, al-Akwaʿ Madkhal p. 30.

  • ḥijrah
    a restricted area where others may not graze flocks, or the period in which such restrictions apply. See also maḥjar.

  • hijrah
    a place, event, or set of persons set aside or protected by the tribes, commonly a place where learned families live under such protection, Serjeant ‘Tribal affinities’ pp. 26-9, Dresch Tribes pp. 145‑8, al-Akwaʿ Madkhal

  • ḥill (pl. aḥlāl)
    an instalment, one of a series of payments, cf. ḥall, Landberg Glossaire p. 470, moment.

  • ḥimam
    charcoal or black ash, as on a piece of burnt wood (cf. classical aḥamm, pl. ḥumm): ḥumm or ḥamm, Piamenta Dictionary p. 106.

  • ḥujbah (also ḥajb)
    covering s.o., taking responsibility for them, cf. al‑Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 150 ff., hence e.g. bunduq al- ḥujbah, a rifle as a token that one has done this and taken responsibility for settlement or payment.

  • ḥurmah
    inviolability, as of a person, a house, or tribal territory. A common term for a woman and more particularly for one’s wife, Ḥabshūsh Ru'yah p. 53, 74, Rossi ‘Diritto’ p. 4.

  • ḥurmat al-shaykh
    a shaykh’s inviolability, immunity, e.g. when acting as arbitrator.

  • ḥurmat al-waṭan
    inviolability of tribal territory, breached if an outsider commits some wrong there, Rossi ‘Diritto’ pp. 19, 23, Dresch Tribes p. 80.

  • ibtarā (cf. classical bara'a)
    to declare oneself quit of (min) a relationship or obligation, al-Akwaʿ Madkhal p. 32.

  • iḥtamala
    to be answerable, responsible, for a claim by others, cf. al‑Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 91, 132, to bear responsibility.

  • ijārah
    neighbour-right, right of protection. See also jīrah, majūrah,

  • ijāzah
    part or share in responsibility, particularly in payment of amends or compensation. One finds e.g. a shaykh signing as guarantor for his men, ʿalā kāffat aṣḥāb-ah ḥasab ijāzat-hum la-h.

  • ʿilb (or ʿalb, pl. ʿulūb)
    a jujube tree, probably of the genus Ziziphus, whose leaves provide fodder and whose fruit is edible.

  • imnah
    see amnah.

  • intāla
    to reach or be close to, cf. nāla, Lane, to attain or obtain.

  • irtadda
    to respond, to answer e.g. a summons, to pay a debt. Usually with an indirect object (li-, ʿalā), but also governing a thing or person directly.

  • ʿirḍ
    see ʿarḍ

  • istaqāma
    to stand up and do what one should, to accept or discharge an obligation such as overseeing payment, al-Sayāghī (ed.) Ṣafaḥāt p. 71.

  • iʿtaraḍa
    to present or offer, as a transitive verb (e.g. iʿtaraḍa banāḍiq‑ah, offering one’s rifles as surety for judgement); and apparently as an intransitive or reflexive verb (man iʿtaraḍa nafs-ah, whoever presents himself, e.g. for judgement). Also to intervene: see iʿtirād.

  • iʿtirād
    intervention, with the meaning of preventing others reaching someone to extract from him amends or vengeance, al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah p. 119, cf. al­Akwaʿ Madkhal pp. 40, 42.

  • jabbara
    to pay amends on someone’s behalf and thus take responsibility: the usual form is that one yujabbir (direct object) the person who has suffered the loss, and yujabbir ʿalā (indirect object) the culprit.

  • jadhdh
    a witness in collective oath, as opposed to an eye-witness (shāhid).

  • jalabah
    a head of sheep, normally a ewe, Landberg Glossaire pp. 293‑4, al-Iryanī Muʿjam p. 147.

  • jalla
    to steal livestock.

  • jār (pl. jīrān)
    neighbour, either in the meaning of a tribesman somehow related to oneself or in that of a “weak” person under tribal protection. For jīrān as something like a caste or class see Glaser Ma'rib p. 24.

  • jār al-bayt
    neighbour of the house, a tribesman living under one’s temporary protection or bound to one as a permanent co-resident.

  • jār al-mismār
    neighbour of the nail, a “weak” (i.e. non-tribal) person who supposedly gained protection by driving a nail in the door of a tribesman’s house.

  • jār al-qaṣr
    a weak person protected by some specific family or section, not by the whole tribe.

  • jār al-ṭulaq
    probably a fellow tribesman linked to one by some obligation, if only kinship, but not living close at hand.

  • jārī
    an event (from the verb jarā), Piamenta Dictionary p. 66, meaning usually a mishap.

  • jarrah
    an offence, a wicked action.

  • jidhn
    a stick or scarecrow set up to shame someone who defaults on an obligation, Glaser Ma'rib p. 76, Dresch ‘Placing the blame’.

  • jīrah
    right of protection, neighbour-right, al-Akwaʿ Madkhal pp. 31, 41. See also ijārah, majūrah.

  • kafīl
    a bondsman. In most places north of Ṣanʿā’ all but synonymous with guarantor (ḍamīn q.v.), but at Baraṭ more usually one concerned with ensuring payment than one concerned with ensuring conduct. See also lazīm.

  • kawn
    a wound, al-Sayāghī (ed.) Ṣafaḥāt p. 20, Landberg Glossaire pp. 2597-98.

  • kawwana
    to inflict a wound. The passive participle mukawwan is common for “someone wounded”, and the plural is often mukāwīn, al‑Sayāghī Ṣafaḥāt pp. 20, 108, 115.

  • khalaʿa
    to pull, and specifically to pull from outside the latch-string that opens a wooden door-lock.

  • khashar (also perhaps khashur)
    shared, joint, something held in common, cf. al-Akwaʿ Madkhal pp. 32, 43, 48, Landberg Glossaire p. 596.

  • kuflah
    a truce imposed by the intervention of third parties, al-Sayāghī (ed.) Ṣafaḥāt p. 116.

  • labīth
    s.o. protecting or protected: in places, though not at Baraṭ, syn. of qaṭīr (q.v.). The term labth elsewhere can apparently denote amends for shameful action, al‑Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 110, 115, 117 and passim.

  • laḥmah
    a section of a tribe, usually something larger than a badanah (q.v.) such as one of the “fifths” of Dhū Muḥammad or a major division of a fifth.

  • lāqafa to confront (cf. classical laqafa, to seize).

  • lathagha
    to spit out, meaning often to pay, to cough up. Ḥabshūsh (Ru'yah p. 30) transcribes the term as ladhagha with a dhāl.

  • lawā
    (also pr. luwā) a difference or disagreement.

  • lazīm
    someone who has taken on an obligation, and thus is answerable to a mulazzim (q.v.). See al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah p. 130. Often overlaps with ḍamīn and kafīl (q.v.). It is also used, though this is not common at Baraṭ, of the person answerable to a guarantor, i.e. al-mukaffal ʿalay-h.

  • luḥqah
    an attachment, usually short-term and capable of being formed with any tribesman, wherever they are from, who is willing to offer aid. See also talaḥḥaqa.

  • maḍḍā
    to accept as valid, to approve.

  • maddah
    a wrong, and particularly a blow, cf. Serjeant ‘Law cases’ (part two) p. 168. Also verb-form madda, to commit a wrong against () someone.

  • madhammah
    a shameful act (cf. dhamm, q.v.), al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 96-7.

  • maḍrūb (also maḍrūbah)
    a decision in customary law, a precedent.

  • maḥḍ al-naqā'
    the whiteness of purity, i.e. doing the right and honourable thing, clearing one’s name by vengeance or payment.

  • maḥjar (also maḥjūr pl. maḥājir)
    a restricted area of land where others cannot graze flocks at certain times of year, cf. Landberg Glossaire pp. 360-1, territoire réservé ou protégé, Piamenta Dictionary p. 84.

  • maḥsharah
    the stubble after a crop is harvested, also the period when others can graze their animals on it, al-Iryanī Muʿjam p. 179.

  • majūrah
    protection as a neighbour. See also jīrah, ijārah.

  • malām
    literally “blame” but meaning specifically a jidhn (q.v.), cf. lā'imah, Glaser Ma'rib pp. 76, 134.

  • malāzim
    pl. of malzam (q.v.).

  • malāzim, ahl al-
    people linked in support of common obligations, sharing responsibility, cf. ahl al‑malzam, al-Sayāghī (ed.) Ṣafaḥāt pp. 68-9, 82, 89. Also al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 127. In text B glossed as “the allied people”.

  • malwī
    equivalent to, included in (syn. ma'khūdh bi- or min).

  • malzam (pl. malāzim)
    an obligation, and the ability to take on or invoke one. Also, in Ḥāshid and elsewhere but not at Baraṭ, an in-law, relative by marriage.

  • manʿ (also manʿah)
    protection, cf. Glaser Ma'rib p. 35, Rossi ‘Diritto’ p. 9, Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 585. Also the condition or relation produced by inter-marriage (ṣihr or muṣāharah).

  • manhā
    an authority on customary law, someone with whom, as an appeal judge, disputes can “finish” (cf. marāghah, q.v.).

  • manūʿ
    people of less than full tribal status at Baraṭ who seem to have worked as share­croppers on tribesmen’s land. (Also known in Dhū Ḥusayn, I think, as qabā'il al-wasaṭ).

  • maqām
    seat, dwelling place, as in place-names such as Maqām Abū Ra’s at Baraṭ, the place where s.o. is established. Also a court. Letters from Imams used often to be dated from al-maqām al-sharīf.

  • maqṣad
    a slaughter-beast (syn. ʿaqīrah q.v.), Piamenta Dictionary p. 401.

  • maqṣūr (pl. maqāṣir, cf. marāhiq in areas near Ṣanʿā’)
    area of land off‑limits to others, cf. muqaṣṣarāt, Dresch Tribes pp. 339-40: usually defined by run-off.

  • marāghah (pl. marāyigh)
    a recognized expert in tribal custom, whom one can turn to as an appeal judge, al‑Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 50, 81, al‑Iryanī Muʿjam pp. 826-7 (see also manhā, maṣfā). Ḥabshūsh (Ru'yah p. 42) suggests the term could mean not only an expert in law, but customary law itself.

  • marāhiq
    slopes, catchment-area above a field, lines of run-off (or water-channels, masāqī, q.v.), al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah p. 76, Piamenta Dictionary p. 190.

  • marbūʿ (or murabbaʿ)
    four-fold, Serjeant ‘Law cases’ (part one) p. 46, al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 54, 57.

  • maryūs
    shared, held in common (also murawwas, q.v.).

  • masāqī
    lines of stones or of earth directing run-off to fields.

  • maṣfā
    in customary law, an authority or appeal judge, with whom cases can ideally be “cleared”. See also manhā, marāghah.

  • mashadd
    leaving, especially leaving tribal territory, hence rafīq al‑mashadd somone who sees a wrong-doer out of tribal territory when his rights of protection have expired. From shadda (q.v.).

  • mawāthir
    bases or precedents (cf. mawthar, the foundations of a house).

  • mawālāh, bi-
    in consultation with or by consultation among (syn. bi-istishārah), Piamenta Dictionary p. 533, al-Iryanī Muʿjam p. 925. See also walā.

  • mawkab
    area, boundaries, cf. wakab, pl. awkāb, boundary stones, Piamenta Dictionary p. 531, citing Rossi.

  • mawlā
    he of: e.g. he of the month (responsible that month for the market), he of the Tihāmah (the person living there). In colloquial usage there seems to be no separate plural, and mawālī is used at Baraṭ only of clients or dependent followers.

  • mawqif
    a case, the matter of a dispute. Also a meeting, hence ahl al‑mawqif, the shaykhs who convene a tribal meeting.

  • mawṭāh
    a meeting place (syn. miṣrākh, q.v., but mawṭāh is the more common term near Baraṭ).

  • mazāyinah
    pl. of muzayyin (q.v.).

  • misrāḥ
    action against someone, making them pay, Serjeant ‘Dawlah’ p. 138.

  • miṣrākh
    (as often spelled with sin) a meeting place, al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 137, 145 (syn. mawṭāh, q.v.).

  • muʿayyab
    shamed, disgraced, or offended, and thus due amends. (The corresponding active participle, muʿayyib, is one committing a disgrace and thus owing amends to others).

  • muḥaddash (sic)
    eleven-fold, al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 54, 57.

  • mulazzam
    someone under an obligation, but the usual form is lazīm (q.v.).

  • mulazzim
    someone invoking, or able to invoke, an obligation on another. For instance, if a man from another group owes me amends or compensation and another from his group promises to deal with the matter (yaḥjib ʿalay-h), that second man is my lazīm (q.v.). I am his mulazzim.

  • murawwas
    shared, held in common (also maryūs, q.v.).

  • murghal (or mirghal)
    an uncircumcised male, from rughlah (q.v.).

  • musabbagh
    dyed with indigo, cf. sabīghah, Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 594, an indigo-dyed cloth.

  • muṣān
    protected, inviolable, Dresch ‘Ḥūth’ pp. 75, 89, cf. ṣawn (q.v.), ṣawān op. cit. and al‑Akwaʿ Madkhal p. 47. A protector might be muṣawwin,

  • mutasawwiq
    market-goer. See also tasawaqqa. (To be distinguished from musawwiq, s.o. selling things, a vendor).

  • muzayyin
    a “weak” non-tribal servitor, typically a butcher or barber.

  • najaḥa
    to finish, to run out, al-Ḥibshī (ed.) Ḥawlīyāt p. 388, Ḥabshūsh Ru'yah pp. 92, 126.

  • najjada
    to prove, to establish (syn. thabbata). Also form IV, anjada.

  • nakfah (also nakaf)
    a call to arms, al-Iryanī Muʿjam p. 882: cf. nakafa, Landberg Glossaire p. 2823, réunir; mobiliser ; Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 589, nakkafa “to put shame on”, hence tankīf (q.v.).

  • naqā (or naqā')
    purity, the state of not owing or being owed amends or damages; also the amends themselves, usually in the sense of blood-vengeance, Landberg Glossaire p. 2817, Dresch Tribes p. 49, al‑Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 109, 113. Hence “absolution”, Rossi ‘Diritto’ p. 20.

  • naqā'il
    pl. of naqīlah (q.v.).

  • naqīb
    hereditary title born by certain families of shaykhs, mainly in Bakī1 tribes north and east of Ṣanʿā’, Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 589, Dresch Tribes p. 405 (pace several authors, it is not a rank superior to that of shaykh).

  • naqīlah
    someone who moves to the territory of another tribe or to another region, Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 589.

  • naqīṣah
    (also naqṣ, which is reckoned by most people less colloquial) a material or physical loss, as opposed to ʿayb or ḥashm (q.v.)

  • naṣaba
    to set up. But used with a certain intensity, e.g. of setting up flags to enforce an obligation, or stones on a grave to mark revenge, cf. Landberg Glossaire p. 2775, hence tanṣīb for “vengeance”, Dresch ‘Sufyān’ p. 52.

  • nasama
    to intend, go towards, cf. tanassama, Lane (supplement), to seek or look for; nasm min al-ṭarīq, denoting nearness. Also to rest or stay, Ḥabshūsh Ru'yah p. 75, Landberg Glossaire p. 2767, Piamenta Dictionary p. 484.

  • nawābit
    plants, but in the Baraṭ region used specifically of trees. Elsewhere, as in much of Ḥāshid, it can mean cultivated plants, such as growing crops, as distinct from rough grazing.

  • naẓar
    view, supervision. Piamenta (Dictionary p. 489) gives bi-naẓar, under the care of, with the knowledge of, and ʿalā l- naẓar, in the presence of.

  • qadaḥ
    a dry measure of grain, roughly a bushel, Piamenta Dictionary p. 388.

  • qafā (noun)
    the back, hence e.g. rafīq al- qafā as a person who claims to protect one but is not at one’s side, as opposed to rafīq or sayyir al-janb (q.v.).

  • qafā (verb, also qaffā)
    to turn one’s back on, to refuse (cf. aqfā; the present tense, if used at all, seems to be yuqaffī), Landberg Glossaire p. 2518, Serjeant ‘Law cases’ (part one) p. 46, (part two) p. 168. See also qāfā.

  • qāfā
    the past tense seems not to be used, and may not exist in practice: the present tense, yuqāfī, however, means to help someone, perhaps gratuitously, at the time of an incident.

  • qāfī
    a gift or help, perhaps expected of someone but not a formal duty (note the contrast with Serjeant ‘Law cases’ , part two, p. 168, where the term is used of a fine).

  • qammāṭ
    trader, usually in Upper Yemen a trader in livestock, Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 590, ‘Dawlah’ p. 148.

  • qarārī
    one of a non-tribal servile stratum, Ḥabshūsh Ru’yah pp. 52, 83, 85, 86. The word is not widely heard or attested. More usually one hears qarawī (q.v.).

  • qarawī (pl. qurā or qarwān)
    a settled person or village-dweller; also sometimes a weak person or one of the manūʿ (q.v.), cf. Ḥabshūsh Ru’yah p. 52, Glaser Ma'rib p. 24, Rossi ‘Diritto’, p. 8.

  • qarḍ
    a type of acacia, probably Acacia etbaica or A. arabica.

  • qārishah (also qirsh or qarsh, pl. qurāsh)
    livestock, al-Sayāghī (ed.) Ṣafaḥāt pp. 34, 63, Landberg Glossaire p. 2474, Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 590.

  • qaṣā
    exact judgement, careful examination (classical taqaṣṣin).

  • qasāmah
    collective oath, but also syn. gharāmah (q.v.), collective payment.

  • qashrah
    grazing, cf. qishār, Landberg Glossaire p. 2494, Rinde, Schale.

  • qaṣrah (also pr. quṣrah)
    a short-coming, a sin of omission. Also quṣūr, Dresch ‘Ḥūth’ p. 79, cf. qāṣirah, Landberg Glossaire p. 2499, manquer à son devoir.

  • qaṭīr
    someone living in the space of another and thus under his protection; also the one who provides such protection, Glaser Ma'rib pp. 107, 108, 134, al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah p. 140.

  • qirsh
    a silver piece (e.g. a Spanish real, or later a Maria Theresa thaler, pl. qurūsh), but also, perhaps as qarsh, a sheep or goat (see qārishah).

  • qiṭāʿ
    cutting off, whether of relations with a tribe (e.g. denying outsiders access to market; denying insiders right of protection) or of a problem, i.e. ending a dispute.

  • qiṭār
    right of co-residence and thus protection (see qaṭīr).

  • qublah
    a confrontation, and specifically a law-suit or legal process.

  • rabāʿ (also perhaps rubāʿ)
    right of protection, or the status of protecting or being protected, cf. Landberg Glossaire p. 1074. The verb to offer or give protection seems usually to be rābaʿa.

  • rabīʿ
    one offering protection or one receiving protection, Glaser Ma'rib p. 134, Landberg Glossaire pp. 1090-92, al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah p. 103, 109-10, 136.

  • radm
    secondary guaranty, i.e. ensuring the conduct of a kafīl or ḍamīn (q.v.), hence rudamā', secondary guarantors, Dresch ‘Ḥūth’ pp. 68, 73‑4, cf. raddama, Landberg Glossaire p. 1228, réparer; boucher les trous.

  • rafaq (also rufqah or rifqah)
    companionship, implying protection or support.

  • rafīq al-janb
    a formal escort (syn. sayyir q.v.), Glaser ‘Arḥab’ p. 5, Ma'rib pp. 9, 36.

  • raqm
    a document, s.t. written or recorded, hence e.g. raqm al-maraḍ a document setting out claims in a law-case.

  • ra'y, ʿalā
    under someone’s supervision, at their disposal, or as they wish, Piamenta Dictionary p. 171, cf. Ḥabshūsh Ru'yah p. 55. Also bi-ra'y.

  • rizwah
    a small hill (syn. tibbah).

  • rubā’
    with four teeth (of sheep at a certain age, hence a sheep not fully grown), cf. Piamenta Dictionary p. 173.

  • rufqah
    syn. rafaq (q.v.).

  • rughlah
    state of not being circumcised; also payment for offences against uncircumcised males, Glaser Ma'rib p. 135 (cf. classical ghurlah, the foreskin).

  • saʿah
    place, whether literally (syn. maqarr, a dwelling-place) or metaphorically, to mean a person’s legal or moral standing.

  • ṣabaḥah

  • ṣabīghah (spelled as often with a sīn)
    an indigoed cloth, Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 594, but usually in Upper Yemen a head‑cloth.

  • sadas
    with six teeth (of sheep at a certain age), cf. Piamenta Dictionary p. 218.

  • ṣaḥb (also ṣuḥbah)
    fellowship or brotherhood in the tribe, Dresch ‘Sufyān’ p. 52, al-S­udumī Naẓarīyah p. 90.

  • salabah
    the Achilles tendon, also the act of “hocking” an animal, cf. Landberg Glossaire p. 1961, corde.

  • samī
    namesake, and the relation that arises from naming, cf. Rossi ‘Diritto’ pp. 21, 30, al‑Sudumī Naẓarīyah p. 135. Also simāya, to rhyme with ḥimāyah, protection.

  • sarraḥa
    to pay. Though the verb is sometimes used in form I, the verbal noun is always tasrūḥ (classical tasrīḥ).

  • sāqa (yasūq)
    to drive, but also to pay, Piamenta Dictionary p. 239, as in yasūq al-naqīṣah, to pay compensation or damages. The passive, “to be paid”, seems always to be form VIII, istāqa.

  • sawdā'
    a black flag, forming part of the process of bayḍā' wa-khiyār (q.v.). Also used metaphorically, as in English one speaks of a “black mark” against someone.

  • ṣawn
    secondary guaranty (also radm, q.v.), Dresch ‘Ḥūth’ pp. 73-4, 81, cf. ṣāna, Landberg Glossaire p. 2217, avoir soin de. Hence ṣawān, s.o. responsible, al­-Akwaʿ Madkhal p. 47. See also muṣān.

  • ṣayḥah
    a call or summons for assistance or support (syn. nābī). Also, with the same meaning, in the active participle form ṣāyiḥ.

  • sayyir
    escort, formal companion on the road, Glaser Ma'rib pp. 9, 36, Landberg Glossaire p. 2009. Synonymous usually with sayyir al-janb (or rafīq al-janb) and distinguished from the simple musāyir or fellow traveller.

  • shadda (yashidd)
    to get up and move somewhere else. See also mashadd. Apparently not thought of as connected to the following:

  • shadda (yashidd)
    to cast off, repudiate, cf. the decisive phrase ashidd‑ah bi-liḥyatī (said always with a vigorous gesture of tugging one’s beard off), “I repudiate him by my beard”: I want nothing to do with him, I deny absolutely what he says.

  • sharʿ (pl. shurūʿ)
    law, judgement. Sometimes used of sharīʿah (Islamic law), sometimes of its complement, tribal custom.

  • sharaba
    to take part, act as an accomplice; perhaps also to bear witness against.

  • sharada
    to flee, to avoid or decline a responsibility, cf. Landberg Glossaire p. 2037, s'enfuir.

  • shatama
    to vilify or insult, but in tribal usage specifically to place a jidhn (q.v.). The jidhn is known also as shutūmah or malām (q.v.).

  • shawfah
    a woman, Ḥabshūsh Ru'yah p. 54, al-Iryanī Muʿjam p. 529; but also a shameful action and the amends for such action, hence tashwīf (q.v.).

  • shurūʿ
    pl. of sharʿ (q.v.) but also perhaps a verbal noun meaning judgement.

  • shutūmah
    syn. malām or jidhn (q.v.). See also shatama.

  • silf (pl. aslāf)
    ancestral custom or precedent, cf. salīf, Serjeant ‘Law cases’ (part one) p. 45.

  • sinn
    literally a tooth, and hence an animal, one of a flock or herd, but usually with the sense specifically of a head of sheep. Also, sometimes as sinnah, the “tooth” of a plough, hence ḥarth al-sinnah (q.v.).

  • sinnah
    primarily the “right” to offer or receive protection, but also that which is right because established practice (cf. classical sunnah, masnūn).

  • sitr (also sitrah and istār)
    what “covers” an offence, the fine or recompense due, cf. al-Akwaʿ Madkhal p. 53.

  • siyār
    right of escort, Glaser Ma'rib p. 135. See also sayyir.

  • subāʿī
    see baʿīr subāʿī.

  • subāʿīyah
    a length of cloth, cf. subāʿī, al- Wazīr Ṭabaq al-ḥalwā p. 205, a headcloth, usually black; Landberg Glossaire p. 1894, épithète d'une étoffe qui vient des Indes. In text B a cloth seven cubits long.

  • ṣuḥbah
    see ṣaḥb

  • taʿayyaba
    to take responsibility for paying amends, Landberg Glossaire p. 2344, garantir, assumer la responsabilité, al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah p. 150.

  • tabayyaḍa
    to be or become white, i.e. discharge an obligation or do what is right.

  • tabīʿ
    a bullock or calf, Landberg Glossaire p. 227.

  • taḥajjaba
    to claim or to provide protection, to cover or hide, to be under s.o.’s care, Landberg Glossaire p. 357, se cacher, s'enfermer.

  • taḥajjaja
    to take sides with someone, to join in a dispute.

  • tajannā
    to seek protection, Ḥabshūsh Ru’yah p. 54.

  • tajwāb
    the upper level of a Baraṭ house where the kitchen is.

  • talaḥḥaqa
    to form a relation (luḥqah, q.v.) with someone to gain their help: the usual form is that one yatalaḥḥaq fawq the people whose help is sought ʿalā or min those causing one trouble.

  • ṭalḥ
    a type of tree, of the genus Acacia.

  • tanaqqā
    to clear one’s name by taking vengeance or assuring appropriate amends, Landberg Glossaire p. 2817, se venger.

  • tankīf (from nakfah, q.v.)
    calling to arms or shaming people into providing support, cf. nakkafa, Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 589, ‘Tribal affinities’ pp. 36-7.

  • ṭarada
    to drive away, but also to pursue: specifically to pursue amends for wounds, death, or damages (verbal noun ṭard or ṭirād), al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah p. 53.

  • ṭaraḥa (yaṭraḥ)
    to put down or offer, specifically with the meaning of putting down something as a pledge, Ḥabshūsh Ru'yah p. 38, cf. ṭarḥ al-jāh, throwing down one’s head-cloth to appease s.o. or to claim justice, Dresch Tribes pp. 49-50.

  • tasawwaqa
    to go to market. See also mutasawwiq.

  • tashwīf
    (presumably from shawfah, q.v.) the amends due, or the act of claiming or making amends, for a disgraceful action. Also the act of shaming or disgracing another person, Ḥusām al-Dīn Tārīkh p. 492.

  • thalatha
    to take part in, to act as an accomplice, but also, in context, to intervene, as for instance to stop a fight, cf. al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 81, 91, 132.

  • thamarah
    the length of a crop-season, Serjeant ‘Dawlah’ p. 139.

  • thanū (also sometimes pronounced or written thanwa)
    twice, two-fold, synonym mathnī.

  • thiqah
    a trusted witness, one who does not need supporting evidence or testimony if he makes a claim, al-Akwaʿ Madkhal p. 30.

  • ʿūd
    see ʿawd

  • ʿulqah
    a link formed explicitly between tribesmen, as for instance of traveller to escort or between the parties to a truce, al-ʿAlīmī Qaḍā' qabalī p. 118, al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah p. 132.

  • ʿurr
    something shameful, amends for a shameful act.

  • ʿurf al-jihah
    the custom of a particular group or area.

  • ʿurwah
    a bond, but also with the meaning of affines, and apparently of people linked to one by naming (see samī), al-Sudumī Naẓarīyah pp. 135-6. At Baraṭ on occasion a synonym for manūʿ (q.v.).

  • ʿushr
    a stranger, cf. aʿshār al-qubul, as opposed to arbāʿ al-qubul (q.v.)

  • waʿd
    a week, al-Ḥibshī (ed.) Ḥawlīyāt p. 33, Piamenta Dictionary p. 527, Dresch ‘Sufyān’ p. 55.

  • wajh
    face, but used in the sense of honour or responsibility, Landberg Glossaire p. 2905, hence wajh-ah, on his honour, meaning under his care or protection, Dresch Tribes pp. 59, 124 and passim.

  • waṣṣala (or awṣala)
    to establish or to prove. Also elsewhere, though not I think at Baraṭ, to take vengeance.

  • walā (or walā'; also pr. wulā) consultation, agreement, syn. shūrā or istishārah, cf. al-­Akwaʿ Madkhal p. 36.

  • wathara
    to mention earlier, syn. dhakara; to precede, or to form a precedent (see also wuthra and mawāthir), cf. al-Akwaʿ Madkhal p. 39.

  • widā (also widād and perhaps widādah)
    a payment, or what is due.

  • wifā'
    good faith, hence bunduq al- wifā' a rifle that pledges payment of a debt or the discharge of an obligation.

  • wuḥūl
    period or periods, the colloquial plural, oddly or not, of ḥawl (q.v.).

  • wulā
    see walā

  • wuthra (sometimes written with a terminal alif)
    a precedent established or recognized by law, cf. withr, Serjeant ‘Law cases’ (part two) p. 44. See also wathara and mawāthir.

  • zabn (pl. zubūn)
    a building, in the sense of a place protected, al-Iryanī Muʿjam p. 381, cf. zibn, sabbana, Landberg Glossaire p. 1820, secours, défendre.

  • zād al-baṭn (or simply al-zād)
    eating together, and the rights and obligations that derive from doing so : “the bread and the salt”, cf. Landberg Glossaire p. 1254, Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 597.

  • ẓāhirah
    an announcement, usually at market, al-Sayāghī (ed.) Ṣafaḥāt p. 51, Serjeant ‘Glossary’ p. 598.

© Centre français de recherche de la péninsule Arabique, 2006

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