(1,745 words)

(a.) “connection, pedigree, genealogy” designates the most fundamental organising principle of Arab society. It would seem to be an inheritance from the earliest times. Since no convincing cognate has as yet been determined in other Semitic languages, it is not entirely implausible to suggest a prehistoric relationship between the roots s-b-b and n-s-b, unconsciously reflected in the parallelism of nasab and sabab “rope, connection” in the ḥadīt̲h̲ ( Concordance , ii, 388).

Genealogy provides the historical validation of kinship and all that it involves. Kinship alw…

Cite this page
Rosenthal, F., “Nasab”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 11 December 2018 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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