The father of two swords

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on March 3rd, 2008 in Syria

When in March of 2007, I called Abdallah ibn ‘Atiyah Abu Sayfayn on his mobile, I knew I had a date with history.  Abdallah, 55, lives in the desert in north-eastern Syria, and is the owner [sahib] of a marbat of the strain of Maanaghi Sbayli known as Maanaghi Abu Sayfayn, after his family.  He is the son of ‘Atiyah Abu Sayfayn, a Bedouin who reportedly lived to the age of one hundred, and was an authority on Arabian horses. ‘Atiyah was a master breeder, too and you can see for yourselves: he bred the gorgeous mare Sayfia, which is pictured here. 

The Abu Sayfayn are a clan of the Shumaylat, which is one of the main branches of the Fad’aan tribe.  Other closely related Shumaylat clans include Ibn Hubayqan’s, who owns the main marbat of Kuhaylan Hayfi, and Ibn ‘Amayir’s, who owns Kuhaylan al-Musinn (more on these guys later). 

If you take out the flurry of unfamiliar names of people, places, and horses that clutter the interview and may seem off-putting, you will find this conservation helpful in shedding light on a number of Bedouin practices: inbreeding, stealing horses, exchanging horses from brides, transfers of ownership, and so on.

Read the full text of the conversation here, and let me know what you think. 


3 Responses to “The father of two swords”

  1. Edouard

    That must have been a great blessing for you to speak with such a master of Asil Arabian horses. The Managhi Rasan is one of my favorite the Sbayli sub strain because of there history and performance and known for speed and there beauty as well. I seen some in Syria and I hope some day to own this Rasan of at lease two mares and a stud but they are very hard to find here in the USA. so I hope to Import from Syria.

    Abu Uwais Al-Mahgribi

  2. Terri Somers who writes comments on this blog has some Asil Managhis who in my opinion are remarkable horses.

  3. Good Lord, what a gorgeous horse!

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