Memoirs of the Prophet (S.A.W)by Saifur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri
Rulership in Pan-Arabia
We have previously mentioned the Qahtanide and ‘Adnanide emigrations, and division of Arabia between these two tribes. Those tribes dwelling near Heerah were subordinate to the Arabian king of Heerah, while those dwelling in the Syrian semidesert were under domain of the Arabian Ghassanide king, a sort of dependency that was in reality formal rather than actual. However, those living in the hinder deserts enjoyed full autonomy.
These tribes in fact had heads chosen by the whole tribe which was a demigovernment based on tribal solidarity and collective interests in defence of land and property.
Heads of tribes enjoyed dictatorial privileges similar to those of kings, and were rendered full obedience and subordination in both war and peace. Rivalry among cousins for rulership, however, often drove them to outdo one another in entertaining guests, affecting generosity, wisdom and chivalry for the sole purpose of outranking their rivals, and gaining fame among people especially poets who were the official spokesmen at the time.
Heads of tribes and masters had special claims to spoils of war such as the quarter of the spoils, whatever he chose for himself, or found on his way back or even the remaining indivisible spoils.