Skip to main content

Karak, al-


A provincial capital in the central part of Jordan.

During the Bronze Age, starting about 2400 b.c.e., the region surrounding Karak supported sedentary agriculturalists. Semitic tribes settled there in 1200 b.c.e. and, in 850 b.c.e., the great King Mesha consolidated what came to be known as the Moabite kingdom. Then, atop a small mountain, Karak was settled and fortified. Nearby on the plains of Muʾta, the first battle between the Arab Muslims and the Byzantine Empire was fought in 629 c.e. The Crusader Renauld de Châtillon ruled the broad region east of the Jordan rift from the massive fortress he built at Karak.

After World War I, Karak was a southern province of the short-lived Syrian Kingdom. Following its demise at the hands of the French in July 1920, the local tribal shaykhs declared the Karak region to be the independent Arab Government of Moab, led by Rufayfan al-Majali. In 1921, it became part of the Emirate of Transjordan. In 2003, Karak is an agricultural market town of 23,200 people and the government center for the Karak district of Jordan. The majority are Sunni Muslim, but a significant minority are Christian. One of Jordan's institutions of higher education, the University of Muʾta, is located nearby in the village of that name.

see also majali family.


Gubser, Peter. Politics and Change in al-Karak, Jordan: A Study of a Small Arab Town and its District. London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.

peter gubser
updated by michael r. fischbach

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Karak, al-." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . 16 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Karak, al-." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . (February 16, 2019).

"Karak, al-." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved February 16, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.