Literary CornerThe Full Poetic Collection (4/4) [Archives:2006/912/Culture]

January 16 2006

Abu Al-Kalmah Al-Tayyibah
Subject Book: The Full Poetic Collection

Author: Ali Abdul-Rahman Jahhaf

Language: Arabic

Publisher: Ministry of Culture and Tourism

Year Published: 2004

I have decided to add another article to the original four articles on this very important literary work, because of the significance of the writer's contributions to Yemeni literature.

In this week's article we again see the philosophical, conceptual and even political development of the author as he continues to speak his mind on a number of issues that confront Yemen, the Arab World and the Islamic World. By this it is hoped that foreign readers of the YT can have an inside look at the minds of Yemenis It is really amazing to see the literary metamorphosis of this genius of Yemeni literature. Thanks to God that he was not hesitant in recording his perceptions of things soon after he saw any new event, region or phenomenon that ignited his intellect and produced some very interesting insights.

In 1998, Ali Jahhaf was impressed with the revival of the Zeidi teachings in the Grande Mosque in Sana'a1

For the sake of learning, you should persist

And retreat not from the gardens of theology

My sons, the students of learning, I am here

Driven by a heart drawn to you by my heart.

In the theology of Zeid2, you will be elevated,

And find a retreat from all that is disturbing.

A more generous good sect you will find not,

Coming from a good man, who never had shortcomings.

Tell those who claim the sect falls short:

You will not get away with trying to belittle the sect;

The shortcoming is in your mind, my friend;

And that which is deficient can never add to anything anyway.

Zeid is the Father of the Free, a man of conscience'

The worshipper, the visionary and the faithful.

Of course the Middle East problem occupies the minds of all Arabs and Moslems alike and their sympathy to the plight of their Palestinian brothers is unequivocal. So it is with our poet Jahhaf as uses modern Arabic prose to show his support for the Palestinian Intifidha: He writes in the narrative here, because like most Arabs, they view themselves as stakeholders in the Palestine issue, both religiously and nationally, notwithstanding the orientations of the Arab Governments, in general:

A stone! A stone!

And another I throw from under the belt

When hunger has tormented me.

Oh, Lord weapons I have not,

Except what may little grasp (of the hand) can hold,

Of these stones, which I turn stronger than all the power of my enemy, and all that one sees of his pieces,

Of destructive weapons

It is You, alone that is capable

To bring the fear to my enemy

And to grant me courage.

In 1993, Jahhaf went to Amman for medical treatment. He was amazed by the city's splendor, amidst a region torn by turmoil and retarded development and pain and sorrow:

Oh, Amman, Oh ye that are the sun as it rises , in the eyes of every innocent girl.

After a dialogue with the “city” on what he has brought with him to Amman, in which he replies that he has brought all that Yemen can be remembered for past and present, to Amman that steadfast city amidst all the anguish, continuing later,

Oh Amman! h song at the mouth of the olive tree

Oh ye smile that embraces the children in the streets of tribulations,

In “Jerusalem”, Nablus, Mt. Carmel and Galilee,

In every area3 and mountain.

Oh (city of) momentum, that still gives live its original scent,

And gives the slaughtered Arab pride its original foundation,

Its strength, so as to move forward,

To resist the ordeals;

And so as to prevent weakness from flowing in its veins

So that it can resist all the disturbances so as not to be afflicted with impotence.

Oh Amman, Oh how wonderfully real you are, created by a vision

The home of true men!

You are the reflection of “Hussein” and “Hassan”4

1The Zeidi Sect is one of the two major Islamic sects predominate in Yemen. It is a moderate form of Shiism, that stresses political freedom and has contempt for any form of oppression. It also admonishes extremism and allows the learned a considerable degree of freedom to deduce rational reasoning in deciding on many matters facing the learned scholar – i.e., deductive reasoning..

2 The founder of the Zeidi Sect and a great grandson of the Prophet Mohammed (PBAUH), who gave his life in martyrdom for rebelling against the oppression of the Umayyad Caliphs of his time.

3 Literally “open space”.

4 In allusion to King Hussein and Prince Hassan (his brother, who was then Crown Prince and in allusion to the ancestors of the Hashemite clan, the brothers, Hussein and Hassan, the sons of the beloved daughter of the Prophet Mohammed (PBAUH) and Ali, the brave cousin of the Prophet.