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Mehri people

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Yemen-Al Mahrah.png
Map of Yemen showing Al Mahrah Governorate.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Yemen 50,000
 Oman 50,800
 Saudi Arabia 20,000
 Kuwait 14,400
 Somalia ?
 United Arab Emirates ?
Mehri, Soqotri, Arabic

Mehri (var. al-Mahrah, al-Meheri, al-Mahri or al-Mahra (Arabic: المهرة‎), also known as al-Mahrah tribe (Arabic: قبيلة المهرة‎), is a South Arabian tribe primarily inhabiting South Arabia and the island of Socotra.


They are descended from Mahra bin Heydan bin 'Amr bin el-Hafi Quda'a bin Malik bin 'Amr bin Murra bin Zeyd bin Malik bin Ḥimyar.[1][2]


The Mehri are one of the largest tribes in the Al Mahrah Governorate of Yemen and in the island of Socotra and Dhofar Governorate of Oman. Mehri group members are also found in other countries in the Arabian Peninsula, mainly Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Additionally, the Arab Salah clan of Al Mahrah tribe resides in the Somalia.[3]

According to Ethnologue, there are around 115,200 total Mehri speakers. Of those, 50,000 live in Yemen (2011), 50,800 in Oman (2000), and 14,400 in Kuwait (2000)[4] and around 71,400 Soqotri speakers in Yemen and other Arabian countries[5] and according to Saudi officials there are around 20,000 Mehri speakers in Saudi Arabia.[6]


The Mehri speak the Mehri language as their native language.[7] It belongs to the Modern South Arabian (MSA) subgroup of the Afroasiatic family's Semitic branch.[4]

Mehri is divided into two main dialects: Eastern Mehri (Mehriyot) and Western Mehri (Mehriyet). These idioms in turn have urban and Bedouin varieties.[4]

On the island of Socotra, the Mehri inhabitants speak the native Soqotri language of the Soqotri people.

The Mehri language is most closely related to other Modern South Arabian languages, such as Bathari and Soqotri. These tongues collectively share many features with the Old South Arabian languages (Epigraphic South Arabian), as spoken by the ancient Sabaeans, Minaeans, and Qatabanians.[8]

Additionally, many Mehri in Yemen speak as a second language Arabic, which is also an Afroasiatic language.[4]


The Mehri are predominantly Muslim adherents.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Patai, Raphael (1971). Society, culture, and change in the Middle East. Internet Archive. 193: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  2. ^ سعيد/الإزكوي, سرحان بن (2015-01-01). كشف الغمة الجامع لأخبار الأمة 1-2 ج2 (in Arabic). Dar Al Kotob Al Ilmiyah دار الكتب العلمية. p. 715.
  3. ^ "Mehri (Arab Salah)". IRBC. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Mehri language". Ethnologue. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Johnstone, T. M. Johnstone (1987). Mehri lexicon and English-Mehri word-list, with index of the English definitions in the Jibbali lexicon. SOAS. ISBN 0728601370.
  8. ^ Kees Versteegh, C. H. M. Versteegh (1997). The Arabic Language. Columbia University Press. p. 23. ISBN 0231111525.


  • Ethnologue - Mehri language
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