For centuries after the first Arabs passed through North Africa, the presence of Arabic culture in the western Sahara was limited to scholars and mystics. Those few who spoke Arabic and practised Islam left the traditional society largely undisturbed. Then in the Middle Ages came a small band of southern Yemeni tribesmen, who came to dominate the desert trade routes linking Africa with the Mediterranean. Their descendents, the Awlad Hassan, imposed themselves on the native Berbers and introduced a new society, religion and language. Drawing on numerous sources including travellers and historians such as Ibn Battutah and Leo Africanus, plus local historians steeped in the traditions of oral history, the author examines how the tribes of the western Sahara responded to the arrival of the Arabs, particularly during the 13th and 17th centuries. Written by renowned experts, the five books that comprise "The series of Arabic Islamic studies" feature topics on Arabic and Islamic studies. From a description of the Arabian incese trade, to a sociological study of Islam and its beliefs, this series aims to offer authoratative insights into the history, and contemporary situation, of Arabia.