The settlement of Fabada comprised members from three tribes: the al-Shazzi, al-Waughiwan, and al-Zab. Collectively, they were called the Numtanajd.
Two types of homes were used in Fabada: permanent haristas, and portable tent-like pohtas. These structures were arranged into circles where the livestock could be kept so the tribes' herds would be safe from nighttime predators.
Marriage between the tribes was forbidden, but the tribes mixed in virtually every other respect, working and getting along with one another peacefully. At the end of every summer, each tribe would elect a kharah to be their leader. Kharahs were always males at least 50 years old. Newly elected kharahs would shave their heads and burn their hair in ceremonial fires to show their status. Each kharah made all of the decisions for his tribe, and the entire Numtanajd did not do anything unless all of the karahs agreed unanimously.
Visitors were expected to contribute a lock of hair to prove their friendly intentions. The hair was stored inside water bladders for good luck.