|Qahtanite, Children of Qahtan, Joktan|
|Location||The southern region of the Arabian Peninsula, e.g. Yemen.|
|Religion||Arabian mythology, Nestorian Christianity, Judaism, later mostly Islam and Druze|
According to Arab tradition, the Qahtanites are pure Arabs, unlike the Adnanites who are "Arabized Arabs", descended from Ishmael through Adnan. The Qahtani people are divided into the two sub-groups of Himyar (Himyartes) and Kahlan (Kahlanis).
Early Islamic historians identified Qahtan with the Yoqtan (Joktan) son of Eber in the Hebrew Bible (Gen. 10:25-29). James A. Montgomery finds it difficult to believe that Qahtan was the biblical Joktan based on etymology.
Among the sons of Qahtan are noteworthy figures like A'zaal (believed by Arabs to have been the original name of Sana'a), Hadhramaut and Jurhum whose descendants formed the second Jurhum tribe which Ishmael learned Arabic from. Another son is Ya'rub, and his son Yashjub is the father of Saba'. All Yemeni tribes trace their ancestry back to this "Saba", either through Himyar or Kahlan, his two sons.
The Qahtani people are divided into the two sub-groups of Himyar and Kahlan, who represent the settled Arabs of the south and their nomadic kinsmen (nomads). The Kahlan division of Qahtan consists of 4 subgroups: the Ta' or Tayy, the Azd group which invaded Oman, the 'Amila-Judham group of Palestine, and the Hamdan-Madhhij group who mostly remain in Yemen.
The Kahlan branch includes the following tribes: Azd (Aus and Khazraj, Bariq, Ghassan, Khuza'a and Daws), Hamdan, Khath'am, Bajilah, Madhhij, Murad, Zubaid, Ash'ar, Lakhm, Tayy (Shammar), and Kindah.
The first groups of Semitic speakers that moved northward[clarification needed] already developed the early Semitic names derived from triliteral, and sometimes a quadriliteral verb root. These appellations first appeared in early (now extinct) East Semitic languages, especially Akkadian, Assyrian, and Old Babylonian. A closer examination reveals connections with the Central Semitic language family including: Aramaic, Phoenician, Hebrew, and Nabatean, which is closely related to the Southern Semitic languages Minaean, Sabaean, Qatabanian, Awsanian, Hadhrami, and Himyarite.
Early Semites who developed civilizations throughout the Ancient Near East gradually relinquished their geopolitical superiority to surrounding cultures and neighboring imperial powers, usually due to either internal turmoil or outside conflict. This climaxed with the arrival of the Chaldeans, and subsequently the rivaling Medes and Persians, during the 7th and 6th centuries BCE respectively. Though the Semites lost geopolitical influence, the Aramaic language emerged as the lingua franca of much of the Near East. However, Aramaic usage declined after the defeat of the Persians and the arrival of the Hellenic armies around 330 BCE.
The Ghassanids (ca. 250 CE) were the last major non-Islamic Semitic migration northward out of Yemen. They revived the Semitic presence in the then Roman-controlled Syria. They initially settled in the Hauran region, eventually spreading to modern Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan, briefly securing governorship of Syria away from the Nabataeans.
Between the 7th and the 14th centuries, the Arabs had forged an empire that extended their rule from most of Spain, to western China in the east. During this period of expansionism, the Arabs, including Qahtanite tribes, overspread these lands, intermingling with local native populations while yet maintaining their cultural identity. Although you can find the largest number of Qahtanite Arabs in Yemen. Among the most famous examples of Qahtanite Arabs are the social scholar Ibn Khaldun who was born in Tunisia to a family that immigrated from Islamic Spain (Al-Andalus), Al Kindi, Ibn al-Baitar.
This view is largely based on the claim of Muslim Arab historians that their oldest ancestor is Qahtan, whom they identify as the biblical Joktan (Gen. 10:25-26). Montgomery finds it difficult to reconcile Joktan with Qahtan based on etymology.