A detailed discussion of the hujjah of the desert-bred mare *Abeyah

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on October 25th, 2010 in Arabia, USA

Below is a translation of the Arabic language hujjah of the mare *Abeyah, imported by Homer Davenport from the Northern Arabian (i.e., Syrian) desert to the USA in 1906. It is adapted from the translation of this hujjah which I did in 2005 for the reference book Al Khamsa Arabians III. The Al Khamsa Arabians III translation remains the one readers ought to refer to, because it is a word for word translation of the original Arabic, but the one below reads better in English:

I, o Faris al-Jarba, witness that the bay mare which has a blaze on her face and two stockings on her hindlegs is a ‘Ubayyah Sharrakiyah from the marbat of Mit’ab al-Hadb, to be mated in the dark night, purer than milk; we only witness to what we know, and don’t withhold what is unknown.

Faris al-Jarba bore witness to this

[seal of Faris al-Jarba follows]

I testify by God that the witness referred to, Faris Pasha from the tribe of Shammar, is a just man and that his testimony is acceptable.

Ahmad al-Hafez

[seal of Ahmad al-Hafez follows]”

I will be discussing this hujjah in detail in the comments section below, so when you read this entry, make sure you read the comments in the thread, too, as I post them over the next several days/weeks.  Meanwhile, the above photo of *Abeyah can be found in real size on the Davenport Arabian Horse Conservancy website, here. The photo was taken at the racetrack when she was 15.


6 Responses to “A detailed discussion of the hujjah of the desert-bred mare *Abeyah

  1. First annotated comment on *Abeyah’s hujjah:

    Yesterday, I was browsing through the Arabic book of Hamad al-Jasir, which contains excerpts of the Egyptian RAS’s Dr. Ahmed Mabrouk’s account of his travels to the Arabian peninsula in search for Arabian horses, “Rihlah ila Jazirat al-‘Arab.

    Al-Jasir lits some of the mares Mabrouk saw in 1936 at the Ministry of Defense Stud in al-Ta’if. Among these was the mare Sa’eedah, #14, a bay aged six years, from the horses of the al-Hadb of the Shammar.

    This is the very same marbat as Abeyah, and the implications of a mare from Mesopotamia ending up in Arabia with the Saud are extremely interesting..

  2. Dr Mabrouk arrived in Jeddah bringing a letter from Prince Toussoun President of the RAS to King Abdel Aziz .He was the host of Sheikh Abdallah el Sleiman minister of Finance and Defense.
    Prince Faysal (the future King Faysal) told Mabrouk that the Bedouin nearly stopped breeding horses due to the end of Wars ,Gazus and that a Sikness called “Fakhoush”? killed a lot of Nejdi horses. Faysal also told Mabrouk that 90% of the horses are imported from the North (Syria,Iraq) and that the only horse breeders are, for the time being, the King and some princes.
    When Mabrouk picked some mares and wanted to buy them Prince Faysal told him that he could’nt give him a hujjah as they came from the North,the only mares he could give a hujjah were the mares bred by his family.
    According to Dr Mabrouk Sheikh Abdallah el Sleiman horses were originated from two sources
    — Mutlak el Jarba from the family of the supreme Sheiks of the Shammars in Mesopotamia.

    — Sheikh Mutaab el Hadb Sheikh of Sinjara or el Amshat ,as they sometimes called,a Shammar clan in Mespotamia ,south of Mossul

    Sheikh Sleiman mares originated from the North also were
    #4 “Shiha” a maanakia originated from Mutlak el Jarba ,Shammar.
    # 7 “Nouisha” Saklawia from the Shammar
    #10 “Khadra” 6 years old Maanakia very beautiful from Mutlak el Jarba
    #15 “Dahia” 8 years old Saklawia Jedrania from “al Hadb” Shammar.
    .

    moreover the best of the imported stallions Dr Mabrouk saw during his trip in the Kingdom was “al Mukhalladi” who was bred by Ibn Meheyd of the Fedaan and bought by Prince Fawaz el Shaalan who send him as a gift to King Abdel Aziz.
    Mabrouk wrote that he saw in Egypt a son of this stallion named “Sergent Major” a famous racer property of the Belgian Baron Empain .(the Lebanese “Sergent Major “was named after him and belong to Mr Shalhoub ,my late mother cousin).
    According to Mabrouk the best “Nejdis” horses are Prince Saud ibn Abdel Aziz ibn Juluwi horses.

    The King stallions at “al Kharj”where he use to keep his best mares,are imported from outside the Kingdom ,from Syria and Iraq.As the King did not like the “Nejdi” stallions he had, finding them with a lot of defects.
    This could bring us to the conclusion that after all not all the Saudis Asils are “pure Saudis”

  3. That’s a good point I want to keep emphasizing. Many horses in the south (Central Arabia) came from the North, many horses of the North originally came from the south with the Bedouins coming out of Najd, and that North/South distinction is a bogus notion invented by some European breeders (old and new) who are in real need of putting things into neat tidy boxes. This was one and the same Arabian desert, the borders were porous until the 1950s at least, and the Northern Arabian (Syrian) desert and the Central Arabian desert are a continuum: Arabia Deserta.

  4. Very much so, especially since there was only a 24 year distance between *Abeyah’s leaving with Davenport and Sa’eedah being foaled. Looking forward to more!

  5. Second annotated comment on *Abeyah’s hujjah:

    Faris ibn Sfoug ibn Mutlaq al-Jarba, leader of the Northern Shammar tribes, died in 1904, two years before Davenport came to Northern Arabia, and eight years after *Abeyah was born.

    *Abeyah’s hujjah is the second known hujjah to carry his seal, the first one being that of the Blunt mare Meshura.

  6. The borders are still porousbetween Jordan and the KSA .At least for …smuggling.The last “romantic” and famous smuggler was Lawrence el Shaalane ,partner of the Lebanese mafia “godfather” Samir Khouri.
    In the 50’s Lawrence suspected Samir of betraying him he invited him to a hunting party in Jordan ,took him to the desert and burried him alive with only his head out of the sand (like in the movies).Samir agonized for two days ,until one of Lawrence’s cousin give him a merciful shot in the head.
    Today the Hashish and exctasy trafic are flourishing in the desert ,smuggled at night on camels (undected by the heat seekers helicopters cameras),like the old times.(edouard’s post on camel breeding)
    “l’histoire est un eternel recommencement”

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