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Banu Yam (Arabic: بنو يام‎) are a large tribe ...
Banu Yam (Arabic: بنو يام‎) are a large tribe native to Najran Province in Saudi Arabia, and are the principle tribe of that area. They belong to the Qahtanite branch of Arabian tribes, and are closely related to the tribes of Banu Hajer and the 'Ujman of eastern Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf coast. Yam are notable among the tribes of Saudi Arabia for the majority of its members who follow the small Isma'ili branch of Shi'ite Islam, with the rest of the tribe being Sunni. It's unknown when exactly the tribe converted to Ismai'lism, though it's possible that this occured during the time of the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt in the 10th century. Religious leadership is in the hands of the Makrami clan, who joined Yam through alliance some time in the 17th century. Members of the tribe can be found in all areas of the kingdom due to immigration, particularly the areas around Jeddah and Dammam. Unlike other tribes of southwestern Saudi Arabia, Yam have traditionally been almost entirely bedouin, due to the proximity of their territories to the formiddable desert known as the Empty Quarter. They are also unlike their neighboring tribes in that they are recorded to have repeatedly raided the neighboring region of Najd, reaching as far north as Dhruma near Riyadh during the time of the First Saudi State in 1775, and causing much panic.