Since ancient times, people who would practice professions or trades were given certain names that had specific connotations related to the professions or trades they would practice and were also known by those names. In the United Arab Emirates, there were many professions and trades that were practiced since ancient times, based on the requirements of life, and the difficult conditions that people used to face in the past. They would search for jobs and professions that were either innovative at that time and suited to the surrounding environment and the conditions in which people lived, or were familiar professions that were inherited from their parents and grandparents and whose practitioners were well known, whether men or women. Tannaf was among the professional titles that were commonly used in the United Arab Emirates in the past.
It was one of the professions that was practiced in the past and over time, the number of its practitioners dwindled and became almost non-existent. The job entailed leading a camel caravan through its journeys in the desert. In the past, many people would seek the services of the tannaf, as he was the person who was able to lead a caravan in the desert, due to his knowledge of the safe paths leading to the desired destination. Tannaf was also used to describe the person who had been hired to herd and take care of camels. Al Walid Saeed Al Tunaiji concurs by saying, “I would herd the camels and look after them”1. It was considered one of the most difficult professions, as it entailed hardship and exhaustion associated with leading the caravan.