Tribes and Tribalism: Utayba Tribe

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The most powerful tribe in central Arabia.

The Utayba (also Otayba) were wealthy in camels and horses, which were sold on the international market, and strong in arms. In nobility, the Utayba were second only to the Anaza tribe of the Al Saʿud, and they ranged from the eastern Hijaz to central Najd. In the nineteenth century, there were settled villages of Utayba as well as large, fully nomadic confederations. The Utayba joined the Ikhwan in the early years of the twentieth century, with some sections of the tribe settling in Artawiya and Ghatghat, the most fervent of the Muwahhidun religious settlements. The religious zealot who led the attempt to seize the Grand Mosque at Mecca in 1979, Juhaiman al-Utaybi, was a member of the Utayba.

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