BISHĀRĪN (the anc. Ichthyophagi), a nomad tribe of African “Arabs,” of Hamitic origin, dwelling in the eastern part of the Nubian desert. In the middle ages they were known as Beja (q.v.), and they are the most characteristic of the Nubian “Arabs.” With the Abābda and Hadendoa they represent the Blemmyes of classical writers. Linguistically and geographically the Bishārīn form a connecting link between the Hamitic populations and the Egyptians. Nominally they are Mahommedans. They, however, preserve some non-Islamic religious practices, and exhibit traces of animal-worship in their rule of never killing the serpent or the partridge, which are regarded as sacred.