The Arab Crows (أغربة العرب)are the famous Arab poets of the past who were so dark-skinned that their color resembled the color of a crow. Some of the Arab Crows lived in Pre-Islamic times and others lived during the period between Pre-Islamic times and Islamic times. Ibn Mandhour says in his book Lisan Al-Arab that the Arab Crows are Antarah, Khafaf ibn Nadba from the tribe of Sulaym, Abu Umair ibn Al-Hubaab from the tribe of Sulaym, Sulaik ibn Sulaka, Hisham ibn Uqba ibn Abi Mu'eet, Abdellah ibn Khaazim from the tribe of Sulaym, Umair ibn Abu Umair ibn Al-Hubaab from the tribe of Sulaym, Hammaam ibn Mutarraf from the tribe of Taghlib, Muntashir ibn Wahb Al-Baahili, Matar ibn Awfaa Al-Mazini, Taabbata Sharra, and Al-Shanfara. Many people today make the mistake of assuming that since these "Arab Crows" are so black-skinned, they must be descended from "Africans". For example, read what was said about Khaffaf ibn Nadba from the tribe of Sulaym:
قال خفاف بن ندبة - وهي أمه، وكانت حبشية..."
"Khafaf the son of Nadba - and Nadba was an Ethiopian slave-girl - said..."
This is what they say about Khafaf's mother, but the reality is his mother was a pure Arab from the tribe of Bani Al-Harith ibn Ka'ab. Ibn Sa'ad says in his book Al-Tabaqaat:
خفاف بن عمير
ابن الحارث بن شريد واسمه عمرو بن رباح بن يقظة بن عصية بن خفاف بن امرئ القيس بن بهثة بن سليم وكان شاعرا وهو الذي يقال له خفاف بن ندبة وهي أمة بها يعرف وهى ابنة الشيطان بن قنان سبية من بني الحارث بن كعب ويقال إن ندية كانت سوداء وشهد خفاف فتح مكة مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وكان معه لواء بني سليم الأخر.
"Khafaf the son of Umair the son of Al-Harith the son of Amru (Shuraid) the son of Rabbah the son of Yaqidha the son of Asiyya the son of Khafaf the son of Imr Al-Qais the son of Bahtha the son of Sulaym. He was a poet and was called Khafaf the son of Nadba and Nadba is a slave-girl and Khafaf was known by her. She (Nadba) is the daughter of Al-Shaytan the son of Qanan and she was captured from the tribe of Bani Al-Harith ibn Ka'ab. It is said that Nadba was black-skinned. Khafaf was present with the Prophet (SAWS) during the conquest of Mecca and he carried the flag of the tribe of Sulaym."
Ibn Hajar says in his book Al-Isaaba Fi Tamyeez Al-Sahaaba:
خفاف بن عمير بن الحارث بن الشريد
بن رياح بن يقظة بن عصية بن خفاف بن امرئ القيس بن بهثة بن سليم وهو المعروف بابن ندبة بنون وهي أمه قال بن الكلبي شهد الفتح وكان معه لواء بني سليم وكان شاعرًا مشهورا وقال الأصمعي شهد حنينًا وثبت على إسلامه في الردة وبقي إلى زمن عمر وقال أبو عبيدة أغار الحارث بن الشريد يعني جد خفاف هذا على بني الحارث بن كعب فسبي ندبة فوهبها لابنه عمير فولدت له خفافا فنسب إليها قال المرزباني هي ندبة بنت أبان بن شيطان بن قنان بن سلمة.
Khafaf the son of Umair the son of Al-Harith the son of Shuraid the son of Rabbah the son of Yaqidha the son of Asiyya the son of Khafaf the son of Imr Al-Qais the son of Bahtha the son of Sulaym. He was a famous poet. Al-Asma'ee said that he was present at the battle of Hunain and that he remained a Muslim during period of apostasy and he was still alive during the reign of Umar. Abu Ubayda said that Al-Harith the son
of Shuraid - the grandfather of Khafaf - raided the tribe of Bani Al-Harith ibn Ka'ab and captured Nadba and gave her to his son Umair and she gave birth to Khafaf through Umair and Khafaf was called the son of Nadba. Al-Mirzbaani says that she is Nadba the daughter of Abaan the son of Al-Shaytan the son of Qanan the son of Salama. Bani Al-Harith ibn Ka'ab is a large Arab tribe and Al-Harith ibn Ka'ab is the son of Amru the son of 'Illa the son of Khalid the son of Midhhaj.
Read what is said about another Arab Crow - Shanfara:
ويعني اسمه (غليظ الشفاه ) ، ويدل أن دماء حبشية كانت تجري فيه
"And his name means 'thick-lipped', which shows that Ethiopian blood ran through his veins."
Read what another person said is a reason that he hopes that Al-Shanfara is not from the Arab tribe of Shihr:
انه كان اسودا ونحن جميعا لآدم ولا فضل لاحد على احد الا بالتقوى ولكنه كان كافرا وفوق هذا من اصول افريقية اما من ناحية الاب او الام والعرب ليس فيهم السواد الوارد في الشنفرى "...Because he (Al-Shanfara) was black-skinned - we are all from Adam and no one is any better than the next except according to piety - but he was an unbeliever and to make matters worse, he was of African origin either from his father or from his mother and the Arabs are not black-skinned like Al-Shanfara was described".
This is what they say about Al-Shanfara, but the truth of the matter is that his father was from the pure Arab tribe of Al-Azd and his mother was from the pure Arab tribe of Fahm. Read what Al-Shanfara said about himself:
"انا من خيار الحجر بيتاً ومنصباً ** وامي ابنة الاحرار لو تعرفينها"
"I am from the best of the clan of Hujr (a clan of the tribe of Al-Azd) in origin and status. And my mother is the daughter of the freemen - if you only knew her!"
There is also the Arab Crow Taabbata Sharra. His real name is Thaabi the son of Jaabir the son of Sufyan the son of 'Umaythil the son of 'Udayy the son of Ka'ab the son of Hazin the son of Tamim the son of Sa'ad the son of Fahm the son of Amru the son of Qais 'Ailan the son of Mudar the son of Nizaar. His mother - Umayma - was from the Bani Qain branch of the Arab tribe of Fahm the son of Amru the son of Qais 'Ailan the son of Mudar the son of Nizaar.
As you can see, Taabbata Sharra, too, was a pure Arab from the pure Arab tribe of Fahm.