are an ethnic group from western Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...
, principally inhabiting the region of Darfur
Darfur is a region in western Sudan. An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. The region is divided into three federal states: West Darfur, South Darfur, and North Darfur...
where they are the largest tribe.
They are a Western Sudanese people who practice sedentary herding and agriculture, mainly the cultivation of millet
The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult...
. Their society is a traditional one governed by village elders. They speak Fur
All sounds are spelt with their IPA symbols except for the following: j = , ñ = and y = . Arabic consonants are sometimes used in loanwords.The vowels are as in Latin: a e i o u...
, a Nilo-Saharan language
The Nilo-Saharan languages are a proposed family of African languages spoken by some 50 million people, mainly in the upper parts of the Chari and Nile rivers , including historic Nubia, north of where the two tributaries of Nile meet...
, and are Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...
s, having adopted the religion following the region's conquest by the Kanem-Bornu Empire
The Kanem Empire was located in the present countries of Chad, Nigeria and Libya. At its height it encompassed an area covering not only much of Chad, but also parts of southern Libya , eastern Niger and north-eastern Nigeria...
during the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...
. Some of them have come to speak Arabic
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...
in recent years.
The name of Darfur comes from the name of this tribe and means "the home of the Fur". Most of the well known governors of Darfur such as Deriage and Tegani Seisei are members of the Fur. The Fur established the historical Sultanate of Darfur
The Sultanate of Darfur was a pre-colonial East African state in what is today Sudan. It functioned independently from 1603 to October 24, 1874.-Origins:...
which governed Darfur until 1916 (see History of Darfur
The recorded history of Darfur begins with the reign of the Keira dynasty in the seventeenth century. In 1875, the Anglo-Egyptian Co-dominion in Khartoum ended the dynasty. The British allowed Darfur a measure of autonomy until formal annexation in 1916. However, the region remained...
Abdul Wahid al Nur
Abdul Wahid Mohamed al Nur is the leader of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement faction...
, a leader among the Fur, established the Sudan Liberation Movement
The Sudan Liberation Movement/Army or is a Sudanese rebel group...
and Army. Another leader of the tribe, , is Ahmed Abdelshafi (Toba).
The traditional heartland of the Fur is the mountainous region around Jebel Sî and Jebel Marra Wadi Salih and Zaligi; today, however, most of them live in the lower country west and southwest of that area, between 11-14 N and 23-26 E. Some Fur live across the border in Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...
, many of them refugees.
The Furs' lifestyle has led to conflict with the nomadic Baggara
The Baggāra Arabs are a set of communities inhabiting the portion of Africa's Sahel between Lake Chad and southern Kordofan, numbering over one million. They have a common language which is one of the regional colloquial Arabic languages...
, cattle-herders of the region, concerning access to water and grazing land, particularly in Darfur's central Jebel Marra mountains where the best agricultural land is to be found. This has been the source of ethnic tensions for many years, culminating in the Darfur conflict
The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...
which began in 2003.
Many Fur villagers were massacred in the ethnic fighting as Mahria and Terjem tribes divided up land they conquered from the Fur, according to a September 3, 2007 New York Times
account citing United Nations officials and Fur survivors.
The Fur are well-known for their Muslim piety. They are also well-known for being very proud of their Black African identity, the main reason behind the Fur's opposition to all governments that have been ruling Sudan since 1956 and led by central and northern Sudan Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...
elites. Although they are well-known for their Muslim piety, their Islam is very much mixed with their African traditions and customs. For many Fur African traditions are more important than the Islamic instructions. Approximately all new Fur intellectuals are secular and tend to support the idea of New Sudan that was created by John Garang De Mabiour, the founder of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army.
The Fur are the largest ethnic group in the Darfur region of western Sudan. They are also sometimes referred to by the names Fora, Fordunga, Furawi, Konjara or Kungara. They are an active agricultural people and may also herd cattle. Some Fur families who have accumulated a substantial cattle herd developed a more nomadic lifestyle like that of their herding neighbors, the Baqqara (Baggara) Arabs. Culturally, those cattle-herding Fur are now considered to be Baqqara.
The Fur are nominally Sunni Muslims following the Maliki school of Islamic law.
The Fur speak a fairly uniform Nilo-Saharan language also called Fur
All sounds are spelt with their IPA symbols except for the following: j = , ñ = and y = . Arabic consonants are sometimes used in loanwords.The vowels are as in Latin: a e i o u...
. Though they may speak Arabic in order to relate to their Arabic neighbors and the Sudanese central government, they very much retain their traditional identity.
There is no written or symbolic script for the Fur language. They recently have been using Arabic or English characters to put the language in written form. Most Fur people speak Fur fluently as their mother tongue.
Common greetings include:
Avilakoa: Good Morning
Avilakonu: Good Evening
Heavy drums are often used while making speeches and other public addresses.
The Fur tribe's dance style is unique to the region. Some of the main dances in the tribe are Nogara, Firalubia and Dukkei, which are performed on special occasions such as weddings, the birth of a child, and other important events.
The Fur people make their own hand made art and utensils. These include Talak which is used for cleaning pots. Talak looks like a sponge. Birish which is a carpet for sitting and Gada which is a wood plate or bowl used for important occasions.
Music, stories and entertainment
In the Fur tribe stories are told to keep children safe from the outside world. These stories are designed to keep children close to home. In some stories children are told that if they go out in the morning they will die from the heat of the sun, and in the night they are told if they go out an animal called nyama
will eat them.
Fur music is very popular in their culture. The main instruments are drums. The music is played with a heavy drumbeat that accompanies their celebrations.
There is one common type of architecture in homes and buildings, which is called guttiya. Guttiya is a mud house; this is no longer practical because it could catch fire very easily.
Attire and body art
Clothes in the tribe are similar to what is worn in Sudan. They wear casual Sudanese clothes like Jalabiya. The jalabiya is a white garment that covers the wearer from head to toe.
A long time ago, when the Fur tribe was arabized, Fur women used to poke their lower lip many times until the lip starts to swell. These dents were considered as a sign of beauty.
In the social structure of the Fur tribe, they do not have so much regard for their wealth. A poor leader and a rich leader can become a chief. The experience of a man is based primarily on his knowledge of the Quran. A man cannot even get married if he does not know a couple pages of this text.
The Quran is studied with the help of a hand-held board shaped object known as the lohh and a wooden stylus called a kalam. The Fur tribesman’s knowledge of the Quran determines their position on the tribe’s hierarchy ladder. For example, a tribesman must know almost the whole book to attain position as chieftain.
The Fur tribe also has its own crafts for entertainment. These include dance-games like “ALLE”(all-eh) and toys like Burajei. Burajei is a small doll-like toy made from a camel’s back. It is bound by rope and sewn by thorns.
When greeting each other, a woman and a man have different methods of respect. The woman must kneel down before the man and the man must slow his pace. Different sexes can also dance together but are forbidden to touch or live with each other unless they are family.
Men and women usually get married in their late teens to their early twenties. The groom and wife will meet each other and get to know about them, their accomplishments and other important attributes. If everything goes well they will proceed to wed.
Roles of Men and Women
The men bear the family name. They work to bring money to the family and are responsible for all important decisions related to the family, such as finances and marriages. The women get water, prepare the food, and ensure the cleanliness of the home.
Daughters normally help their mothers, milk the cows, and stay at home. Sons rear and herd cattle along with the domesticated cows. If either of these two misbehave they similarly punished by their elders. Also, it is disrespectful look an adult in the eyes.
Sudan is well known for its Guhwah coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...
served from a jebena
, a special Sudanese pot. The coffee beans are roasted in this pot over charcoal, then ground with cloves and other spices. The grounds are steeped
Steeping or weltering may mean:# Saturation in a liquid solvent to extract a soluble ingredient, where the solvent is the desired product. Tea is prepared for drinking by steeping the leaves in heated water to release the flavor and nutrients...
in hot water and the coffee is served in tiny cups after straining it through a grass
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...
A sieve, or sifter, separates wanted elements from unwanted material using a woven screen such as a mesh or net. However, in cooking, especially with flour, a sifter is used to aerate the substance, among other things. A strainer is a type of sieve typically used to separate a solid from a liquid...
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...
is also very popular and served in small glasses without milk. Some beverages enjoyed in the non-Islamic areas are Aragi, a clear strong spirit made from dates, merissa, a type of beer and tedj, or wines, made from dates or honey.
Sudanese cuisine is as varied as its cultures, especially in the south, but it has certain unique characteristics. Millet porridge and fool medamas, a savory dish of mashed fava beans, are popular breakfast foods in the north. Lamb and chicken are often eaten, but pork is prohibited to Muslims. Wheat, and dura sorghum, are the staple starches. Breads include the Arabian khubz, and kisra, an omelette-like pancake which is part of the Sudanese dinner. Maschi, a beef and tomato dish, is also typical. Fruits are peeled for dessert and a favourite treat is creme caramel.
In the south, dinner is served on a low, bare table. There may be five or six dishes to dip into with large pieces of flatbread. These dishes are accompanied by a salad and shata, a red-hot spice mixture served in small dishes. After the meal, dessert is served, then tea. On special occasions incense may be lit. The ritual of hospitality is important in Sudan.
Families in the Fur tribe have many types of families. Porundia, or nuclear families, are a very common type. They normally have 2 or more children. In a typical Fur family the parents of the groom and wife will be taken care of until they die.
In a Fur marriage, the groom's father goes to the bride's father and asks for his son's permission to marry. The bride's father does not give an answer immediately, but then asks the village for its opinion. If everyone approves, the bride's father accepts. The whole village gathers for the announcement of the marriage, and preparations are made. Then the marriage starts in the groom's house. The imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...
recites words from the Quran. The groom and hold hands during this time. After the wedding, the family and guests have lunch, then they start a lively dance called firalubia. Then the bride and groom are taken to the bride's house and given food during which everyone says congratulations (mabrouk
Islam is the major religion in the Fur tribe although some still practice their own religion. The schools called (Kalwa) in this region teach the Quran. Classes begin at 6–7 years and they continue learning the Quran (though not entirely in school) for the rest of their lives. Normal schooling is also practiced in these schools.
The main occupation here is farming. The Fur people are excellent farmers. They grow and harvest wheat, herbs, spices, etc. Wealth is not really important for the Fur people. Only his knowledge of the Quran determines his altitude.
The Fur tribe came from southern Africa to the northwest of Sudan where they settled in Darfur. They had 36 sultanates. The Fur were also one of the first people from other tribes in the country who were picked to build the wall covering and mosque surrounding the Kaaba
The Kaaba is a cuboid-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam. The Qur'an states that the Kaaba was constructed by Abraham, or Ibraheem, in Arabic, and his son Ishmael, or Ismaeel, as said in Arabic, after he had settled in Arabia. The building has a mosque...
Until 1916, the Fur were ruled by an independent sultanate and were oriented politically to peoples in Chad. Though the ruling dynasty before that time, as well as the common people, had long been Muslims they have not been arabized
Arabization or Arabisation describes a growing cultural influence on a non-Arab area that gradually changes into one that speaks Arabic and/or incorporates Arab culture...
. They are now incorporated into the Sudan political system.
The Fur had been basically independent from the 17th century. After British reconquest in 1899, the British approved the re-establishment of the Fur Sultanate, assumed by Ali Dinar when the Mahdist movement crumbled.
In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years- before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.In Shia Islam, the belief in the Mahdi is a "central religious...
st revolts continued to break out in Sudan until 1916. The fall of Darfur was actually decided, however, when Ali Dinar declared loyalty to the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...
in World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...
. The British abolished the Fur Sultanate in 1916 after Dinar died in battle.
In World War I Darfur made a bid for independence by allying with Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...
against the British. However, the British conquered Darfur in 1916, and since then it has been part of Sudan. Since the 1970s, the Darfur area has suffered some of the effects of the northern Arab war prosecuted in the south against Southern tribes who wanted to secede from the Sudan.
War has been the primary factor in the last few decades of the Darfur area. A civil war lasted about 20 years until the end of the 20th Century. A new conflict arose in 2003, involving local Arab militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...
The Janjaweed is a blanket term used to describe mostly gunmen in Darfur, western Sudan, and now eastern Chad...
attacking the African peoples village by village in a campaign of terror, reportedly supported by the Sudanese military.