ʿABD-AL-QAYS, an eastern Arabian tribe. In ancient times, it moved from what is today the province of al-ʿĀreż to the island of Baḥrayn and the nearby coastal areas. The ʿAbd-al-Qays and other tribes of the Persian Gulf littoral frequently raided southern Iran. When he became of age, Šāpūr II (r. A.D. 309-79) made it his first order of business to punish these predators. He led an army across the Persian Gulf and devastated large parts of Arabia and Syria, slaughtering most of the ʿAbd-al-Qays on the way. Later in his reign, Šāpūr moved many members of the tribe to Kermān province. Before the advent of Islam, the ʿAbd-al-Qays were apparently Christians. During the Arab conquests, the ʿAbd-al-Qays once more crossed the Persian Gulf in large numbers and carried out extensive raids in southern Iran. Sizable groups of them also settled down in the neighborhood of Tavvaz (near the present-day Dālakī) and Baṣra. In the early 700s, some 4,000 ʿAbd-al-Qays warriors accompanied Qotayba (q.v.) on his campaign into Khorasan.

See also Abarkāvān.


Baḷʿamī, Chronique II, p. 101; III, p. 181; IV, pp. 207, 213, 299ff.

M. von Oppenheim, Die Beduinen, Wiesbaden, 1952, III, pp. 9-10, 15-16, 165, 167, 180-81, 351-52.

M. A. Shaban, Islamic History, A. D. 600-750, Cambridge, 1971, pp. 52, 97.

W. Caskel, “ʿAbd-al-Ḳays,” EI 2 I, pp. 72-74.

(P. Oberling)

Originally Published: December 15, 1982

Last Updated: July 14, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, p. 137

Cite this entry:

P. Oberling, “'Abd-Al-Qays,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/2, p. 137; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abd-al-qays-an-eastern-arabian-tribe (accessed on 16 January 2014).