From Baharna Encyclopedia

The Baharna (from Arabic "البحارنة") are an Arab ethno-linguistic group who mainly inhabit Bahrayn. They are generally regarded by scholars to be the aboriginal inhabitants of the eastern coast of Arabia around the Gulf region.[1] Regions with most of the population are in the cities of Qatif and Ahsa in Eastern Arabia along with Awal archipelago at the middle of the Gulf, with historical diaspora populations in Kuwait, Qatar, Emirates, Oman, Iran and Iraq.[2] Some Bahrani people are citizens of other countries such as the United States, England, Scotland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.


Baharna (in Arabic: بحارنة) is a plural form of Bahrani (in Arabic: بحراني) singular form. It is a gentilic term for the ethno-linguistic group who inhabit the historical region of Bahrain. Not to be confused with Bahraini (in Arabic: بحريني), the official demonym for the citizens of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

In Arabic, bahrayn is the dual form of bahr (sea), so al-Bahrayn means "the two seas". However, which two seas were originally intended remains in dispute. The term appears five times in the Qur'an, but does not only refer to the modern island—originally known to the Arabs as Awal—but rather to the entire region of Eastern Arabia, especially the oasis of Qatif and Ahsa.[3] The "two seas" refers to the salt and fresh water present above and below the ground.[4] In addition to wells, there are places in the sea of Bahrayn where fresh water bubbles up in the middle of the salt water, noted by visitors since antiquity.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. Al-Rumaihi, Mohammed (1973). Social and Political Change in Bahrain Since the First World War. Durham, UK: Durham University. pp. 46–47. ISBN 9780859350501.
  2. Holes, Clive (2000). Dialect, Culture, and Society in Eastern Arabia: Glossary. Leiden, NL: Brill. ISBN 9789004107632.
  3. Rentz, G.; Mulligan, W.E. (1960). "al-Bahrayn". Encyclopaedia of Islam (Second Edition ed.). Leiden, NL: Brill. ISBN 9789004161214.
  4. Faroughy, Abbas (1951). The Bahrein Islands (750–1951): A Contribution to the Study of Power Politics in the Persian Gulf. New York, US: Verry, Fisher & Co. OCLC 402008.
  5. Rice, Michael (1994). The Archaeology of the Arabian Gulf. London, UK: Routledge. ISBN 0415032687.