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Title: Huwala  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Manama, History of Bahrain, Demographics of Iran, Demographics of Bahrain, Foreign relations of Bahrain, Portuguese Empire, Sayyid, Islam in Bahrain, Greater Iran, Persians in Bahrain
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Template:Dablink Template:Infobox Ethnic group Huwala (also spelled: howala, howila, huwalah) (Arabic: الهولة) is the name of an ethnic group in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, particularly Kuwait and Bahrain. Huwala are described as Arabic-speaking Persians who belong to the Sunni Islam sect.[1][2] Huwala migrated from Iran to the Persian Gulf states in the seventeenth and eighteenth century.[1][3] The term "Huwala" is also sometimes used to refer to Sunni Arabs who migrated from Iran to the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.[4]

Terminology and origins

The word Huwala (Arabic: الهولة) or (Arabic: حولة - متحولين) also means those who have moved from one location to another.


The most recent influx of Huwala to the now known as GCC countries is during the 1960s. Iran under the Shah was strict regarding different ethnic groups and maintained censuses on them. Most of the Huwala families were exiled from various ports and villages of Iran. One inviting country was Bahrain, which had a need for more Sunni Muslims as the country was mainly Shia and was ruled by a Sunni family that came from Saudi Arabia. It was also a country that had a fairly large Huwala community that existed on the island beforehand. Though there was a difference between the variety of people that had come during different times, the term “Huwala” began to be used generally for all Sunni Muslims that had connections with Iran, especially after the Iranian Revolution, which brought about anti-shia tensions to the GCC nation states, uniting those that were Sunni. You will mainly hear this term used in Bahrain, though Oman and the UAE has a large number of these families living among them.

The Huwala had a degree of self-rule with a number of emirates (Arabic: see Arabic article‎) in the south of Iran until the 20th century. Following the ascent of the Pahlavi Dynasty, there was a diminution or abolition of the local ruling families' privileges as elsewhere in Iran.

List of Huwala families who lived in some places in Persia:

  1. Al Ali
  2. Al Awadhi
  3. Al S'aie
  4. Al 'Abadela
  5. Al Hamad
  6. Al Matareesh
  7. Al 'Abadi
  8. Al Haram
  9. Al Ansari (some of them are original Arabs while the other are native Persians)
  10. Al Ka'abi (Khuzestan of Iran)
  11. Al Marzooqi(Independent state on the shore)
  12. Al Bosaidi (ruled Qishm Island for short periods when it was acquired from Al Qawasims)
  13. Al Mora (Morah Island)
  14. Al Bosmait (Bandar Lengeh)
  15. Al Jaber family
  16. Al Jaidah Family
  17. Al Hermi Family

Other prominent Sunni Persian families in Arab States of the Persian Gulf who are usually categorized as Huwala include:

  • Kooheji family from Kohej
  • Janahi family from Jenah
  • Khonji family of Khonj
  • Bastaki family of Bastak
  • Fekri family (also spelled as Fikree)
  • Abbasi family (see also House of Al Khan)
  • Zainal family from Karmostaj
  • Foolath family
  • Galadari family of Galadar
  • Bucheeri or Bucheery from Buchir


Most of the Huwala families lived in the urban centres of the Gulf states and established themselves as trading business families, making use of their networks across the Gulf. In the Bahraini city of Manama, many settled in the neighbourhood of Awadhiya. They speak a dialect of Persian sometimes referred to as Khodmoni. However today, many Huwala families have become "Arabized" such that relatively few of them speak Persian, or even retain a separate identity. Traditionally, the Huwala have practiced the Shafi`i school of jurisprudence when it comes to Islamic rites, in contrast to the Maliki school practiced by most of the tribal Arabs of the Gulf centres. Mahyawa is a fish sauce is that is regarded as being an essential item of Huwala cuisine.

See also


External links

  • Howala of the Gulf
  • Shaikh Jabbara: Ruler of Bahrain
  • Shaikh Nasir Al Madhkur
  • Khodmooni Forumar:هولة


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