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"Al Khamsa" is an Arabic term roughly translated as "the
occidental travelers to the extended Arabian peninsula frequently
that the term "al khamsa" (el Khamsa, el Khoms, etc.) was used to
the five best or favorite "breeds," strains or families, of the unique
and ancient breed of horses of the native Bedouin. These travelers
that there were many strains and that the list of "the five" varied
tribe to tribe or from sheykh to sheykh.
The term "Al Khamsa" signified purity of bloodlines to the Bedouin, as it does today to supporters of Al Khamsa.
The Arabs have a very beautiful story-some may call it a legend- concerning the origin of the KUHAYLAH, the first Arabian horse that appeared among them. It may merit some study and disclose the Bedouin ideas on INCEST-breeding, which they claim were a revelation of God to their chieftain Ishmael and shows the connection between their religion and the breeding of horses preserved to this day.
It is said that ISHMAEL, son of Abraham, was a great herdsman and hunter. He is even credited with inventing the bow and arrow. It was ISHMAEL who built the Ark of the Desert, the "Camel-throne" of Arabia, or as it is also called "The FATHER OF AGES." It was a "PALAQUIN" made of acacia wood and decorated with the plumes of the wild ostrich. It was Ishmael to whom JIBRAIL (the Angel Gabriel) was directed by God to give the first Desert horse. In the poetic tradition of the Pre-Islamic Bedouin, it is reported, that Gabriel descended from space to earth while ISHMAEL was asleep, but the man of the wilderness woke, when a "wind-spout" (a wind-devil) whirled toward him, scorching the red sand with its feet, scattering the dust with the blasts of its nostrils and screaming with ferocity. Gabriel stayed the thunder-cloud with his commanding voice, and as the fullness of the wild element gathered before him it began to condense under his up- lifted arms, and out of the obscure mass emerged one of the most hand- some creatures man had ever seen, prancing and running and caprioling about, it seemed to swallow the ground with it's (sic) thundering feet.
This is the gist of the story as told by father to son in the black tents of Arabia and this is probably the reason why the affectionate name "Drinkers of the Wind" was bestowed by the tribesmen on their steeds of the Desert.
Note: Capitalization and punctuation are as displayed in
text. Carl Raswan, The Raswan Index and Handbook for Arabian