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Arabs in India
Regions with significant populations
Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi, Kerala and Tamil Nadu
Gujarati, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, Urdu, English and Arabic
Islam, Orthodox Christianity

Arabs in India are people with Arab origins who have over a long period of time, settled in the Indian subcontinent. There have been extensive trade and cultural links between India and the Arab world spanning several millennia.[1][2] The west coast region of India, especially Malabar and Konkan coasts were active trading hubs, where Arab merchants frequently used to visit on their way to Sri Lanka and South East Asia.[3] Over a span of several centuries, migrants from different Arabian nations immigrated to various regions and kingdoms of the Indian subcontinent as merchants, missionaries and through intermarriages.


The earliest immigrants from the Arab world arrived as merchants to the Malabar coastal region of South West India, today consisting of the state of Kerala.[4] Many of these Arab merchants intermarried with local women. Concentrations of these mixed-race descendants of Arab merchants can be found especially in the Kozhikode and Malappuram districts of Kerala. There also have been historic and close links between the Orthodox churches of South-West India and the Christian Arab orthodox churches in the middle east for several centuries, especially among the Orthodox Christians in India and Syria, which they maintain until this day and many of the Christians from these communities have claimed their ancestors are Arabs and the DNA results support this claim with Haplogroup G-M201 and Haplogroup J-M304 being prominent.[5]

Descendants of Arabs also live in the villages of Variav and Rander in Gujarat. In Hyderabad, Chaush are an Arab community of Hadhrami descent whose ancestors were recruited as soldiers by Nizam of Hyderabad.[6] In coastal Karnataka, a group of Persian speaking Sunni Muslims from Iraq having Assadi surname arrived in Mangalore during the reign of Tipu Sultan. They claim their ancestry from Banu Assad. These population migrations may have been favoured by both the Nizam of Hyderabad and Tipu Sultan of Mysore because both had their ancestral linkages to these populations. The Asaf Jahi Dynasty claimed Arab ancestry from Asir Province and Tipu Sultan from the Bani Hashim of Hijaz Province in Arabia. Many Arabs having Adnani ancestry such as Quraishi, Ansari tribes and other descendants of the Sahaba were employed by the Princely States in their military as they were found efficient during warfare in Gujarat and Karnataka. In Kerala, Syed Thangals of Hadhrami descent settled around the 17th century as missionaries to propagate Islam.

There are also Shia Sayyids in the Northern region of the country who claim descent from Wasit, Iraq like Zaidis although some are falsely claiming this ancestry.[citation needed] Sunni Sayyid of the country also claim Arab descent from Sufi missionaries. Most of the Sufis migrated from Persia. Sunni Sayyids claim their Arab ancestry through Imam Hassan or Imam Hussain, in which case their names may be Hassani, Hussaini, Hashmi, Naqvi and Bukhari. Some also claim descent from both and are termed "Najeeb al-Tarfayn" or "Noble on both sides". Many Sufi Saints such as Abdul-Qadir Gilani and Moinuddin Chishti and their descendants claim themselves as Najeeb al-Tarfayn however some claim this descent falsely. Sunni Sheikhs also claim Arab descent from Sufis or migrants. They belongs Quraish tribe and trace lineage from UmarFarooqi, Abu Bakr- Siddiqui, UthmanUsmani and AlviAlawi , Alvi Awan or Mir, who established the Rashidun Caliphate. Mainly Sheikhs who trace their lineage to Quraish tribe are Quraishi. Many who can vaguely trace their lineage to the Quraish tribe call themselves Quraishi. Many having the name Ansari claim their lineage to the Ansar tribes of Madina Munawwara and the companions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad such as Abu Ayyub al-Ansari. Many of the present Sheikhs converted from Hindu castes such as Kayasth and Rajput.

There are also descendants of Syed Jalaluddin Surkh-Posh Bukhari and through his grandson Syed Jahaniyan Jahangsht, who can trace their lineage to the Twelve Imams from the lineage of Imam Ali al-Hadi (known as Imam Naqi). The Sufi Saint Jalaludin Surkh Posh settled in modern-day Punjab to spread Islam.

During the early twentieth century, the Arabs abandoned Arabic for Urdu.[7] Each clan is of equal status, but the Quraishis are accorded seniority on account of the fact that they were from the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad.[7] The community have remained strictly endogenous, with virtually no cases of intermarriage with native Indian ethnolinguistic communities such as the Gujaratis.[7]

Arab ancestry among Indians

It is estimated that several groups in India have Middle Eastern Arab ancestry. Especially Muslim groups and various populations in western India have at least some Arab ancestry. Genetic analyses show that Arab and other West Asian lineages are quite common in Indians.[8][9]

Arabic speakers in India
Source: Language Census of India (2011)

See also


  1. ^ Pillalamarri, Akhilesh. "India and the Gulf States Share a Long History". Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  2. ^ Observer, Oman (2017-12-25). "Ancient Oman had trade links with Indus Valley". Oman Observer. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  3. ^ Mohamed, K.M.; Mohammad, K.M. (1999). "ARAB RELATIONS WITH MALABAR COAST FROM 9th TO 16th CENTURIES". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 60: 226–234. ISSN 2249-1937. JSTOR 44144090.
  4. ^ Koya, S.M. Mohamad (1976). "Muslims of the Malabar Coast as Descendants of the Arabs". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 37: 195–200. ISSN 2249-1937. JSTOR 44138933.
  5. ^ "Familytree - Syrian Christians DNA Project Information Nasranis". 18 February 2007.
  6. ^ "Hadhramis present a slice of Yemen in India's Hyderabad". Al Arabiya English. 2018-12-13. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  7. ^ a b c People of India Gujarat Volume XXII Part One Editors R. B Lal, P.B.S.V Padmanabham, G Krishnan and M Azeez Mohideen pages 74 to 77
  8. ^ Belle, Elise M. S.; Shah, Saima; Parfitt, Tudor; Thomas, Mark G. (2010-09-01). "Y chromosomes of self-identified Syeds from the Indian subcontinent show evidence of elevated Arab ancestry but not of a recent common patrilineal origin". Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. 2 (3): 217–224. doi:10.1007/s12520-010-0040-1. ISSN 1866-9565. S2CID 16195047.
  9. ^ Yelmen, Burak; Mondal, Mayukh; Marnetto, Davide; Pathak, Ajai K; Montinaro, Francesco; Gallego Romero, Irene; Kivisild, Toomas; Metspalu, Mait; Pagani, Luca (August 2019). "Ancestry-Specific Analyses Reveal Differential Demographic Histories and Opposite Selective Pressures in Modern South Asian Populations". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 36 (8): 1628–1642. doi:10.1093/molbev/msz037. ISSN 0737-4038. PMC 6657728. PMID 30952160.