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Bedouin

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Bedouin

    Nomads or desert dwellers. The name comes from Arabic badawi, “one who lives in the desert” (badiyyah), and is sometimes generically used to refer to any nomadic desert dweller, from West and North Africa to Central Asia, but more specifically refers to nonsedentarized tribally organized Central Arabian nomads or their descendants. From a culturally rich society, Bedouin were renowned for their complicated oral traditions and metered poetry. As late as the 1950s traditional Bedouin society comprised 25 percent of the Arabian peninsula's population. Today, Saudi government sedentarization policies have settled most of the nomadic population in the kingdom into modern cities and towns and incorporated them into the sedentary economy.

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