The Ayuubs were, unsurprisingly, part of the Ra Gada, the Warrior Wave, which pushed the indigenous Orc, Goblin and Mannish populations of Hammerfell either completely out or into the rougher lands further east. They do not, however, recognize themselves as Forebears unlike the rest of the Ra Gada populace descended from the Warrior Wave.
\ According to the nomads’ legends, the Ayuubs’ forefathers were Swordsingers who still remembered their life in the deserts of Yokuda where they lived spread out, in peace and solitude. Unlike most of the other Ra Gada, these Swordsingers did not wish to abandon their ancient ways; indeed, they were appalled by the other Swordsingers’ decision to settle down in cities. Failing to make them see things their way, these staunch traditionalists were determined not to integrate with the rest of the Ra Gada society and instead of settling down as well moved into the harsh depths of the Alik’r desert, from where they spread out southwards.
The very scarce ancient records of the time left indicate there was indeed some sort of a schism which became apparent several decades after the Warrior Wave had swept opposition from Hammerfell. It’s difficult to understand the nature of this splitting, but apparently it was serious enough for a small part of the Ra Gada population to split away from their kin and instead move into the Alik’r. It is unclear whether they did so voluntarily or if they were forced to; Imperial historians speculate the Ayuub forefathers could’ve been rebels or revolutionaries who wished to depose the ruling Crowns. Perhaps they were met with fierce opposition and forced into exile.
Whatever the case, tales from those times aren’t yet forgotten by the Ayuubs themselves and indeed may be the cause of the disdain the Ayuubs feel towards the settled Ra Gada. The most well-known tale and the only one that remains at least somewhat complete is the tale of the great march of the Swordsingers, when the mythical father of the Ayuubs, Sutbu Ayuub, led his people into the Alik’r and towards their home as instructed by Tall Papa. It is obviously not grounded in historical fact – Sutbu encounters Dwemer in his journey – however it’s difficult to determine the cause of these inaccuracies, since the Ayuubs have no love for the written word, like most nomad peoples. Whether they were always part of the legend or merely added by later generations to ‘spice up’ the story, so to speak, remains unclear.
After the Ayuubs split from the rest of the Ra Gada, their history is unclear. Archaeological findings suggest that for a time the Ayuubs lived alongside native nomads who had managed to avoid fighting the Warrior Wave by hiding in the vast Alik’r, with which the then-Yokudans weren’t familiar; however, after some time findings from that civilization abruptly end, suggesting that the new tribe drove out or destroyed the old inhabitants; the abruptness of this rules out assimilation, as does the fact Ayuubs lack features or traditions similar to those of the indigenous nomad populace. The Ayuubs themselves have no tales from this period, perhaps suggesting the war was either somehow embarrassing or too short to be of note. Considering the state of the nomad tribes after the Warrior Wave, it is likely to be the latter case.
Ayuub tales speak of vile sorcerers from the west, which would suggest run-ins with the Sload who have been known to visit the western shores of Hammerfell. Due to the great hate and fear for Tamrielic magick widespread amongst not only the Ayuubs but the settled Ra Gada as well, however, it is unclear whether these were the Sload or simply demonized cases of Altmer – either Summurset or Direnni - expeditions. The Sload version is the one favoured by scholars, since neither of the two Elven bodies were too interested in Hammerfell; however that’s not to say a lost fleet or a sole expedition isn’t possible.
The Ayuub population can be predicted to have steadily increased ever since the defeat of the local nomads; however, the tribe never reached great numbers due to the harsh environment and the traditions of the Ayuubs – two children are considered enough by most families, since life is hard and feeding a larger family could be problematic, particularly since Ayuub families tend to live separated from each other and mean more than a husband, a wife and the children – usually all generations of the family still alive live together. Sometimes a family grows too large, particularly when both children are male (since females marry off into other families and live with them instead), in which case they may split into several smaller ones who will then spread out.
This way, gradually the Ayuubs spread out and became more of a collection of small tribes than one big tribe; eventually they grew to occupy the lands currently considered to belong to the Ayuub tribe. Thus they remain until today, with solitude being one of the most valued things for an Ayuub; a nomad of this tribe might feel uneasy if forced to live amongst many people, especially strangers.
When the Empire of Tiber Septim invaded, the Ayuubs remained indifferent, believing the settled Ra Gada’s battle wasn’t theirs. This does little to clear up whether the Ayuubs were descendants of rebels or simply separated because of their views, since by then the animosity they felt towards other Ra Gada had grown enough and, if it ever was about deposing the ruling classes, by then it had mutated into something indistinguishable from protecting themselves from the influences of those they considered softened and corrupted.\
In exchange for non involvement, the Empire silently approved of the Ayuubs’ right to their lands, even if it was never done officially and the relationship that later developed between the Ayuubs and the Empire would lead to the nomads regretting their past actions, or rather the lack of thereof. This was, however, a silent regretting, since even at the dawn of the Fourth Era the Ayuubs were still reluctant to involve themselves in wars between the Empire and settled Ra Gada.
The turn of the era was a dramatic period for the Ayuubs. Though they were not severely harmed by the Oblivion Crisis, many nomads were highly disturbed by these gates to another world opening and tainting their land; the Ayuubs started banding together for the first time in many years. This proved useful, since soon after the Oblivion Crisis the War of the Wolves began.
Through the first half of the war, the Ayuubs remained neutral; however, the Empire and her allies upset the new khan, Baibars Ayuub greatly by requisitioning what food they managed to get from them, which wasn’t much but still insulting for the nomads. Considering it to be a violation of his tribe’s ancient rights, Baibars led the Ayuubs into war on the side of High King Haroun of Sentinel and has since remained his ally.