Omowale Jabali : The True Facts About The Berbers

Omowale Jabali

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The term "Berber," as it relates to Africans, was first used by medieval Arabic-speaking Muslim writers (from the Arabic word, "al-barbar") in a similar manner to the original meaning of barbar--to refer to speakers of foreign languages. Arabic-speaking Muslim writers did not use it to refer to any particular African region, culture, or ethnicity. Instead, the term referred to non-Arabic speaking Muslims who were also indigenous Africans (i.e., "black"). It was not until much later in history that Europeans began calling the northwest African coast, "Barbary," and even later before they began referring to certain northwest Africans as Berbers.

History of the So-called "Berbers"

The city of Berbera in Somaliland

Medieval Muslim writers originally used "Al-Barbar" (variants of English transliterations include: Berber, Berberi, Berbera, Barbara, Barbari, etc.), when referring to the non-Arabic speaking Muslims in Africa--not only in Northwest Africa, but in East and Central Africa as well. For example, Ibn Battuta (1304-1368 AD), an Arabic-speaking Muslim traveler and writer, frequently used variations of the term during his travels in East and Central Africa. Upon visiting the Somalian city of Zaila or Zeila, which lies just east of a city aptly named Berbera, Battuta said:

"I travelled from Adan by sea for four days and arrived at the city of Zaila, the city of the Barbara, who are a people of the blacks...the inhabitants of Zaila are black in colour, a majority of them Rafidi [Rafidi refers to Shiites or rejectors of the first caliphs]."

http://www.taneter.org/berbers.html
 
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Omowale Jabali

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"Black" Berbers (its easy for some of you to click wiki pics of white looking 'Berbers" while omitting or ignoring the Originals)!
 
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Omowale Jabali

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The French borrowed from the "Barbariae" name used on world maps when they invaded and terrorized Northwest Africa in 1830 AD. This entire region became known as "Berbérie" and eventually, the Tamazight speaking people would be distinguished from the Turks (used interchangeably with "Arab" by French writers at the time) by using "Berbères." The lasting effect has been the broader use of "Berber" to refer to all Tamazight speakers of Northwest Africa.

Ancient Tifinagh script



Tamazight, an ancient African language group, includes several sub-languages spoken by various groups of Northwest African "Berbers" who have very different physical characteristics and histories, but have united in recent years under their common language and the ancient Tifinagh script, which dates to at least 200 BC. Although recently accepted by the broader "Berber" community, roughly 5 million Black people who live in present-day Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso -- most of whom are called "Tuaregs" -- are the only known "Berbers" who have continuously used this ancient African script. Their continued use of the same ancient written and spoken language makes them the most trustworthy source for insight on so-called "Berber" history.

A Tuareg "Berber" in Algeria (Thanks, Garrondo)

The so-called "Tuaregs" refer to themselves neither as "Tuaregs," nor "Berbers," rather "Amajegh," (or "Amazigh") which means "noble." This is most likely the origin of "Amazigh," the accepted term collectively used by non-Tuareg "Berbers" -- contrary to popular beliefs linking "Amazigh" to Mazigh (a son of Ham) or Leo Africanus' definition, "free man."

Although many Westerners believe that all so-called "Berbers" are Caucasians, a simple examination of the Amajegh (Tuareg) people, most of whom are clearly not Caucasians, and their history would easily refute such notions.



http://www.taneter.org/berbers.html
 

Omowale Jabali

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The term "Berber," as it relates to Africans, was first used by medieval Arabic-speaking Muslim writers (from the Arabic word, "al-barbar") in a similar manner to the original meaning of barbar--to refer to speakers of foreign languages. Arabic-speaking Muslim writers did not use it to refer to any particular African region, culture, or ethnicity. Instead, the term referred to non-Arabic speaking Muslims who were also indigenous Africans (i.e., "black"). It was not until much later in history that Europeans began calling the northwest African coast, "Barbary," and even later before they began referring to certain northwest Africans as Berbers.

History of the So-called "Berbers"

The city of Berbera in Somaliland

Medieval Muslim writers originally used "Al-Barbar" (variants of English transliterations include: Berber, Berberi, Berbera, Barbara, Barbari, etc.), when referring to the non-Arabic speaking Muslims in Africa--not only in Northwest Africa, but in East and Central Africa as well. For example, Ibn Battuta (1304-1368 AD), an Arabic-speaking Muslim traveler and writer, frequently used variations of the term during his travels in East and Central Africa. Upon visiting the Somalian city of Zaila or Zeila, which lies just east of a city aptly named Berbera, Battuta said:

"I travelled from Adan by sea for four days and arrived at the city of Zaila, the city of the Barbara, who are a people of the blacks...the inhabitants of Zaila are black in colour, a majority of them Rafidi [Rafidi refers to Shiites or rejectors of the first caliphs]."

http://www.taneter.org/berbers.html

I have mentioned in other threads that the so called "Berbers" or "Moors" who who were the descendants of Ali and were SHIA MUSLIMS, established the cultural and trading center of Timbuktu.

As the above article states, they were described by Ibn Battuta as the Rafidi (or Rafida).

The term rafida followed the Shi'a from a very early period, back to the uprising of Zayd ibn Ali against the Umayyad Caliphate. This uprising foreshadowed the collapse of the dynasty, which in turn led to the split between those Shi'i Muslims who agreed with Zayd and those who did not.[1] The meaning of the term went through several changes over time. It became a popular pejorative term for Twelvers, intended to recall their rejection of Zayd ibn Ali and of the first Sunni Rashidun, namely Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman.[1]
There is much debate of the exact origin of rafida; one example of an early instance is from the Maḥāsin of Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad Barqī, who died in 888 CE. A section of theMaḥāsin reveals occasions of the use of rafida ascribed to Ja'far al-Sadiq:
A man came to Ja'far al-Sadiq saying that someone had warned him against becoming a Rafidi and Ja'far replied "By God, this name which God has granted you is excellent, as long as you follow our teaching and do not attribute lies to us." Muhammad al-Baqir also mentioned an instance when he pointed at himself stating "I am one of the Rafida."[1]
Mughira ibn Shu'ba is said to have coined the term rafida against those who had rejected him.[2]
Others refer to another historical text for its origin. Ja'far al-Sadiq believed that rafida was an honorific given first by God and preserved in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament: he mentioned that there were 70 men among the people of Pharaoh who rejected him and his ways and rather joined Moses, and God called those 70 men Rafida. The Twelvers believe that after the death of Muhammad, they were the only ones who rejected evil, making them the successors of the original Rafida.[3] They considered their rejection of evil to be leaving the power of Zayd ibn 'Ali and staying true to the ways of Ali. However, the term does not appear in the Qur'an. There are also those who insist that rafida was mentioned in the original texts, but the enemies later deleted the context including rafida.[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafida

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