Al Khamsa is a designation applied to specific desert-bred bloodlines of the Arabian horse considered particularly pure by Arabian horse breeders. Around 610, Muhammad (570–632) Arabian founder of the religion of Islam, accepted by Muslims throughout the world as the last of the prophets of God, chose his foundation mares by a test of their endurance, courage and loyalty. The hot desert wind blew against the tent, driving the dust inside. Fatima his the youngest daughter, the only child of the prophet and his first wife Khadijah who lived to adulthood, walked softly in carrying an earthenware jug full of cold water, and handed it to the Prophet. “Please, stop tormenting yourself, Mohammed”, she said, “drink some water!” Mohammed responded, “I will drink when the test is over, and then the horses can drink, too. I cannot drink while I know that the horses are thirsty.” Fatima angrily answered, “I do not understand this test, nor do I like it. Depriving the horses from drinking for three full days is cruel. Why would a man who a man who loves animals so much ever even think about doing such a thing.” Her father replied, “I must, as Allah commanded me. Would you have me disobey God? The spread of Islam depends greatly on our horses being loyal and strong. Allah said the best of these horses, will be honored till the end of time. It has been a long journey through the desert for all of us and now it is the evening of the third day, so let’s go to the horses and conduct the test.”
Mohammed took a horn that hung at the entrance to his tent, then he walked by an enclosure where about a hundred horses were confined, a short distance away from the water hole of the oasis. The horses looked reproachfully at their beloved master as he quickly opened the gate. Muhammad turned his herd of horses loose toward an oasis for a desperately needed drink of water. They were tormented by thirst, so the horses galloped to the water hole, but before they could reach it, Mohammed raised the horn to his lips and blew his battle horn for the horses to return to him before the herd reached the water. Most of the horses ignored it. They were so thirsty that perhaps they couldn’t even hear it, and went on galloping toward the water. Only five mares responded, as they stopped and returned without hesitation. These faithful horses returned to Mohammed, ready to do whatever was required of them. The Prophet stroked their silky manes, with tears in his eyes as he led them to the water and envisioned the glorious future as they drank. He knew that these mares had became his favorites and they would foal the finest of Arab horses, the only horses of pure blood, the horses that would help bring Islam to every corner of the Earth.
God took a handful of South wind and from it formed a horse and said, “I create thee, Oh Arabian. To your mane, I secure Victory in battle. On your back, I set a rich spoil and a Treasure in your loins. I establish you as one of the Glories of the Earth. I give you flight without wings.” Mohammed was instrumental in spreading the Arabian’s influence around the world. He instructed his followers to look after Arabians and treat them with kindness. He said that special attentions should be paid to the mares because they insure the continuity of the breed. There are five great families of the Arabian horse, which are the Kebeilan, Seglawee, Abeyan, Hadban, and Hamdami, which are collectively known as ‘Al Khamseh’ and each of these breeds are believed to have been derived from one of five mares of the Prophet.