Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju
The Beja are a seminomadic group of peoples united by the common language of TuBedawiye, who live mainly in Southern Sudan. They are composed of the subgroups of Ababda, Bishariyyn, Amar'ar/Atmaan, and Hadendowa. The Beni Amer are at times also described as Beja, but they speak Arabic or Tigre. They have predominantly African ancestry, unlike the northern Sudanese, who are mainly either of Arab descent or have developed through intermarriage with Arab immigrants. The scholarship on the Beja religion suggests that it is largely Islamic, but an Islam that is often interpreted in relation to pre-Islamic practices and beliefs. The development of their dominant religious beliefs has been shaped by a number of factors. The first is the emergence of a social and material culture from their life as nomads. The second is the influence of Islam, spread through trade and conquest. The third is the dislocation of their nomadic ...