Literary CornerYemeni Annals (Hawliat Yamaniyah)(IX) [Archives:2007/1018/Culture]

January 22 2007

Abu Al-Kalima Al-Tayybah
Subject Book: Yemeni Annals (Hawliat Yamaniyah)

[1224 – 1316 AH (1809 – 1898 AD)]

Author: Muhsin Bin Ahmed Al-Harazi et al

Checked and Edited by Abdullah Mohammed Al-Hibshi

Language: Arabic

Publisher: Ministry of Information and Culture

Year Published: 1400 AH/1980 AD

No. of Pages: 661

1274 AH (1857 – 1858 AD): The most notable event was the destruction and looting of the Dar Al-Tawashy Palace, which was a rare architectural wonder in Sana'a. Al-Mahdi enters Sana'a. The author states: Except for this Imam, I have never heard of an Imam (Caliph) who has proclaimed himself for the Imamate five times and five times, the people pledge their allegiance to him, and then gets kicked out five times! As a side event, the author notes that the “French” (most likely British, as all foreigners were then known as French or ” Franks” arrived to Jeddah and were battering the Turks there. The Prince of Jeddah and the Turks appeased the Turks and “captured a bunch of Jeddah residents, said to be 14 Moslems, who were beheaded and their heads were sent to the “Franks”. The people of Jeddah left the city and went to Mecca, because the Turkish Commander had capitulated to the Christians and fear was widespread from the Christians, who were threatening the Pilgrims and visitors to the Prophet's grave (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The reason for this was said to be the revolt of the people of Mecca and Jeddah against the foreign non-Moslem intruders who had had become allies with the Turks, who had hit the Holy Mosque in Mecca with artillery fire and other munitions, with “a bullet even hitting the Black Stone of the Ka'aba.

1275 AH (1854 – 1855 AD): A very difficult year with drought, inflation and impoverishment reaching high proportions. The reason for this according to the author was the high exchange rate of the riyal or “Qirsh”, as the silver currency in use then was called. Again, author recalls the appearance of a strange “asteroid”, or satellite, as he calls it, which had a tail, similar to the one that was observed earlier (“twenty years ago”). Because of this strange astronomical phenomenon, “there was a widespread plague that was witnessed throughout the world, with some countries suffering from it more than others. This year a local Sheikh, Al-Haj Ahmed Al-Haimy takes over control of Sana'a and the people of Sana'a decide to revolt against this oppressive Sheikh. At the same time a new Imam Al-Mansour Hussein Bin Mohammed Al-Hadi proclaimed himself as the new Caliph and the new Imam gained prominence “left and right”. He fortified himself in Al-Taweelah in the Al-Qarani'a Fort. This was an impenetrable fortress and it was there that he received “multitudes from far and near”, who came to declare their loyalty to the Imam. Because of the severity of the times, many of the people saw in this Imam a blessed relief from all the suffering they were going through, as “there have never been such trying times” as these in Yemen.1

1276 AH (1855 – 1856 AD): Al-Hadi enters Sana'a from Al-Taweelah. The people of Sana'a however rebelled against him and the people of Sana'a announced their loyalty to a local Sheikh Muhsin Bin Ali Mu'eedh. Skirmishes continued between the Imam Al-Hadi and the favorite of the Sheikh and the people of Sana'a, Imam Al-Mutawakkil Muhsin Bin Yahya,

1277 AH (1856 – 1857 AD): The fight for the Imamate continues until the latter eventually got the upper hand. This was also the year in which the Ismaelites and the Haimah tribe decided to take over Sana'a and there the Imam Al-Mutawakkil decided to confront them and the force that led the counterattack against the Ismaelites was led by the Prince Mohammed Bin Yahya Hamid-Aldin.2 However, it was the Turks who decisively defeated the Ismaelites after having moved against the Mohammed Bin Ayidh, Chief of Aseer3 and in 1285 the Imam led a force from Arhab to defeat the Ismaelites, but the insurrection of the tribes prevented the Imam from achieving any decisive victory. From this year, the author points out that Yemen has never been in such a chaotic state, As “Imams come and Imams go and it was not long before the Turks decided to take control of the situation.

1289 AH (1872 – 1873 AD): They arrieved in Sana'a on 18 Safar 1289 AH, or 25 April 1872 AD. The Turks were commanded by Ahmed Mukhtar Pasha, who broke his forces into two groups, one took over the South of Sana'a, in a place called “Wahb”, probably where the “Urdhy” (a military barracks) stands now. Another force took over the fortifications. When the Turkish commander requested the records of the government, the advisors to the Imam Ali Bin Al-Mahdi recommended that the Imam does not hand over anything to the Turks, otherwise “they will know all about the country”.

In this year, in the Month of Ramadan according to the author and others who wrote about this period, “the stars disappeared and it was widely though that the Judgment Day was approaching.

1290 AH (1873 – 1874 AD): The Turkish Commander was replaced by a new Commander with the name of Ahmed Ayyoub. A strong earthquake from the Al-Haymah area and the mountain was “split and lifted out of its place” and smoke and fire could be seen coming out of the mountain and the river of Al-Hanashein was dislocated and its water turned red. This was said to have been caused by the fighting between Bait Al-Nash and others of the area. When they were being mediated by a judge, he asked all the combatants to swear on their allegations, which turned out to be false, so God was punishing them for using his name in vain.

1. In another book, See Literary Corner of Issue 868 and thereafter, Al-Wasi'y History, it was said that the plague was so severe in that year that there were no more coffins left to bury the dead. The same book states that the air was a severe cold streak of air, which killed all the crops and water “would freeze at Noon!” from the severe low temperatures.

2. The father of Imam Yahya Hamid-Aldin, who eventually became the founder of the Mutawakelite Kingdom of Yemen, after the Turks left Yemen in 1918.

3. Now a part of Saudi Arabia.