The Banu Hilal
) were a confederation of Arab
tribes that migrated from Arabia into North Africa
in the 11th century
, having been sent by the Fatimids
to punish the Zirids
for abandoning Shiism
. They quickly defeated the Zirids
and deeply weakened the neighboring Hammadids
. Their influx was a major factor in the linguistic and cultural Arabization
of the Maghreb
, and in the spread of nomadism
in areas where agriculture
had previously been dominant.
They were led by Abu Zayd al-Hilali. Their story is recounted in fictionalized form in Taghribat Bani Hilal.
Their "saga" is still recounted in form of poetry in Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt: Djezia and Dhieb bin Ghanim opposed to the Zenati Khalifa.