Al-Ubaid (tribe)

Al-Obaidi (Al-Ubaidi or Al-Obeidi) is one of the Arab tribes in Iraq settled around Al Jazira, Mesopotamia. It is an ancient, powerful and noble tribe which hails from the tribe of Zubaid and should not be confused with the Obadiah tribe of Saudi Arabia or the Obaidat tribe of Libya. Zubaid itself is an offshoot of the ancient Yemenite tribe Madh'hij.[1] The tribe migrated from Najd in Saudi Arabia circa 1750s[2] The tribe was a very influential one which faced some rivalry from the House of Saud during the establishment of the first Saudi State. The Al-Obaidis descend from a branch of Zubaid who became Sultans over part of Najd prior to their defeat by Al-Saud and their banishment to Iraq. The migration of this branch of the family was led by the final Zubaidi Sultan in Najd: Sultan Jabr bin Maktoum Al Zubaidi. His eldest son Obaid, is the founder of the Al-Obaidi family, and subsequent tribe. In this sense the Al-Obaidi have three ancestral homelands, the first is Zabid in Yemen and it is the original homeland, it is where all of Zubaid hails from. The second is Najd in modern day Saudi Arabia and it is where Amru bin Ma'adi Yakrib the ancestor of the Obaidi family and the leader of Zubaid migrated to after joining the Muslim Prophet Muhammad as one of his Sahabah (companions). Amru initially settled in Medina, Hejaz where Muhammad was settled. Soon after his death, one of his sons migrated to Najd and Al-Obaid descend from this son. The third and final homeland is in Al Jazira, Mesopotamia where the final migration took place from Najd. The current power-base of the Al-Obaidi family is centered around the city of Mosul in Iraq.

Shortly after their banishment, the Sultan Obaid bin Jabr Al-Maktoum's influence grew rapidly in Al Jazira, Mesopotamia with their power being centered in the rural area and dessert around the city of Mosul. By the early 1800s the Al-Obaidi family was the de facto ruling tribe over the rural areas in Al-Jazira with their power extending from the southern tip of Turkey, the northeastern part of Syria and the northwest of Iraq. The Al-Obaidi's became the ruling Sheikhs and to this day carry the right to use the title of Sheikh. The influence of Al-Obaid began to dwindle in the 1800s as parts of Shammar who had also been subjugated and suffered under the Al-Saud rule in Najd and modern-day Saudi Arabia also began to migrate to Al Jazira, Mesopotamia. The Al-Obaidi's who were strongly opposed to the Ottomans tried to declare independence from them and establish an independent Obaidi Sultanate, this created an opportunity for Shammar who broke their initial alliance with the Al-Obaidis and formed a new alliance with the Ottomans. There was no chance for Al-Obaid, faced with the prospect of a joint Ottoman-Bedouin force suppressing their rebellion, they fled into the desert of Syria where it is said that they lived as Nomad Bedouins for almost 15 years, mixing with bedouins and keeping a low profile as to be forgotten about before re-emerging in the 1860s and building up their influence again.

In modern-day Iraqi history, the Al-Obaidi family has become famed for becoming a political dynastic family. Producing countless prominent politicians and diplomats, they were and still are well respected among all portions of Iraqi society they're always called upon to solve challenging political situations. As a true old Arabian dynasty, they have managed to maintain their influence up to this day. From the time of the monarchy to today, the Al-Obaidis have been seen influencing the politics of Iraq. Most recently the Al-Obaidi family has taken a strong and leading role in controlling the defense ministry in Iraq. Indeed the two most recent Iraqi Defence Secretaries Al-Obaidi family: Abdul Qadir Obeidi and Khaled al-Obaidi. Furthermore, it is not unusual to find that many of the most experienced Generals of the Iraqi army come from this family. Their influence in the military is almost as big as that in the political sphere of Iraq.

The tribe itself directly descends from Amru bin Ma'adi Yakrib, a sahabi (companion) of Muhammad. Amru was known for his extreme bravery and valour, being one of the commanders of the Muslim armies during the battles of Al-Qādisiyyah, Al-Yarmouk, and Nahawand. He was a martyr during the battle of Nahawand. He was honored with the title Faris Al Arab (meaning Knight of the Arabs). He was a knight-king of Yemen before Islam coming from a long line of Royal dynasty.


1) Sultan Obaid

2) Sultan Jabr

3) Sultan Maktoum

4) Sultan Laheeb

3) Sultan Mahjoub

4) Malik Baheej

5) Sheikh Dhibyaan

6) Sheikh Muhammad

7) Sheikh Amir

8) Sheikh Sohaib

9) Sheikh Imraan

10) Sheikh Hussein

11) Sheikh Abdullah

12) Sheikh Jaahesh

13) Sheikh Hazim

14) Sheikh Iyada

15) Sheikh Ghalib

16) Sheikh Fares

17) Sheikh Karam

18) Sheikh Ikrimah

19) Sheikh Thawr

20) Amru bin Ma'adi Yakrib Al-Zubaidi Al-Madh'hiji Al-Qahtani Al-Arabi (Fares Al Arab, knight of the arabs)


  1. كتاب البدو,المستشرق الألماني ماكس فون أوبنهايم
  2. Isam al- Khafaji. 2004. Tormented Births: Passages to Modernity in Europe and the Middle East. I.B. Tauris. ISBN 1-86064-976-9. P. 27. Found at

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