The Noble Origin Of The Hweitat Tribe

As told by a Ammarien and a Saidiyin Sheikh, the great and prosperous Hweitat tribe originated from a wandering family that passed from Aqaba to Hijaz to Jerusalem on their way to pray at the third holy site. On their travels, their is one became very sick and they asked the nearby tribe, Bani Atieh, to take care of him until they returned. The family of Ma'az agreed, and as time passed, the father became so fond of the boy that he decided to keep him. When the child's parents returned, Ma'az said their son was dead and showed them the grave site of another youth.

The boy grew into manhood and, being extremely intelligent, began to assume leadership of the Bani Atieh tribe, causing jealousy among his foster brothers. As tension rose, the tribe travelled to Egypt to have the Pasha decide the dispute. Upon agreeing to see them, the Pasha handed the men some bits of cloth. Ma'az's naturally born sons accepted the fabric, but the foster child refused it, as the cloth was cut unevenly. The Pasha was impressed and gave him the leadership of the tribe.

The boy married the daughter of Ma'az and soon after, they had a son who was also clever and strong. One day, their son returned alone from playing with the other children and his family asked him where his friends were. Upon searching, they found the children standing together within the circumference of a crudely drawn circle in the sand. They said that the son had drawn it around them and told them not to move from it. This situation showed the tribe the boy's strong personality, intelligence and ability to influence others, and so they called him Hweitat, after the arabic word, Huwweitah, which means encirclement.

As the son grew older, he formed his own tribe, the Hweitat. They move further north and became a neighbour to the Bani Atieh, taking part in the Hijaz route later on. Strong relational ties formed between the two tribes, and they still exists today. Through the centuries, the Hweitat grew in size and affluence, and now are regarded as one of the most well known and wealthy of the Bedouin tribes. Only an estimated five percent live the traditional life, while the other members have since made their mark in the modern world.

    * Written by Rami Sajdi, Copyright © Rami Sajdi 1997 All Rights Reserved