Tarim in a glance [Archives:2005/853/Culture]

June 23 2005

By Hasan saeed Ba Udhan
[email protected]
For the Yemen Times

Tarim is one of the most historic cities of Yemen. It gained a lot of fame and merits throughout history. It is well known for religion, scholars, Islamic institutes, art of architecture, history, trade etc.

Historians differed on the name of Tarim. Some say Tarim is one of the two cities of Hadhramout as Hadhramout includes Tarim and Shebam, and they are names of the two tribes that lived there. While others said that Tarim is the name of its founder, Tarim the son of Hadhramout.

Tarim was called “Al-Ghanna” as it used to have farms, gardens, and parks. In addition, date palm trees were spread in the farms, gardens, houses, and parks. It was said that an empty basket would be filled with dropping fruits while a woman carried it on her head from her home to her farm.

It is also called “Al-Sudiqque City” belonging to Abu-Bakr Al-Sudiqque, the first caliph after the Prophet. He prayed for this city so that Allah would increase its scholars and water, as its citizens stood with him in fighting the apostates after the prophet's death.

A battle took place in Al-Nujir fortress in which many of the prophet's companions were injured and taken to Tarim for treatment. Some of them were martyred and buried in Zambal Cemetery in Tarim.

The Arab historians pointed out that Tarim was established in the fourth century of Hijra. The citizens of Tarim converted to Islam in the early days of Islam when the delegation of Hadhramout met the Prophet in Al- Madina Al-Munawara in the tenth year of Hijra. Tarim is considered the religious capital of Hadhramout since it was an illuminating Islamic center in the past and present.

Many Islamic institutes and centers were held for teaching jurisprudence, Quran, and other Islamic and Arabic sciences. Tarim is the home of many scholars, writers, and artists. That is why it is a destination of many knowledge seekers from Yemen, neighboring countries, the Farthest East, East Africa and other countries.

“Rabat Tarim” is one of the oldest Islamic centers that still opens its doors for students from inside and outside Yemen. It was built in 1305 A.H. It teaches different Islamic and Arabic sciences. Another famous institute is “Abu-Muraim Institutes for Quran Memorization”, which was established in the sixth century of Hijra. In the present time, many institutes were established. The most reputable one is “Dar-Almustafa for Islamic studies”, which became an outstanding landmark in Yemen.

Among the recognized landmarks in Tarim is the large number of mosques. It is said that it used to have 360 mosques, but the ones existing now are only around a hundred. “Al-Muhdhar Mosque” is unique as is renowned of its long minaret (125 ft. high) built of mud in 1333 A.H. (1915 A.D.). It is considered as one of the most important landmarks in Yemen.

Moreover, Tarim is illustrious of large palaces built of mud and local building materials by proficient local laborers. It is worth mentioning that many of the citizens of Tarim migrated to Africa and South-East Asia. They worked there as traders and played a great rule in spreading Islam in these countries. These traders became men of means and wealthy. Some of them came back home and built many palaces, which were clearly influenced by architect styles of South- East Asia.

These palaces are like (Eshsha, Dar-Assalam, Tawahi and Hamtoot) those belong to Al-Kaf family, while al- “Moneisoora” of Bin Yahya family. A long time ago, (Al-Rind fortress) was used as the governors' residence. It dates back to four hundred years before Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). Tarim's laborers are the most reputable ones in Hadhramout; skillful in dealing with mud buildings and decorations.

The city is also famous of its valuable rare manuscripts, which were collected from special libraries and put in one big library called “Al-Ahgaf Library”. It is attached to “Al-Jame'a Mosque” from the north. It contains more than 5000 manuscripts in the various fields of knowledge. It comes in second place after the “Sana'a Library.” Visitors come from different countries to see this significant milestone.