The father of free Yemenis commemorated [Archives:2006/934/Culture]

April 3 2006

The anniversary of martyr Mohammed Mahmoud Al-Zubairi's death was marked yesterday with a ceremony involving Yemeni intellectuals, academics and writers at the Culture House in Sana'a. A writer, poet and most importantly, a leading revolutionist, Al-Zubairi was assassinated in April 1965.

A number of Yemeni literature specialists, especially Al-Zubairi literature, participated in the event, including Dr. Abdul-Rahman Al-Amrani, who wrote a book on the art of Al-Zubairi, Dr. Abdul-Wase' Al-Himyari and Khadeeja Al-Mughanig, as well as several other intellectuals and researchers who shed light on different aspects of Al-Zubairi's life and the issues he treated through his literary works. The ceremony also featured recitals of excerpts from his poetry.


Al-Zubairi was born in Boustan Al-Sultan zone in Sana'a in 1910 to a family known for its scholars, clerics and poets. Orphaned, he learned Islamic sciences and kept the Qur'an by rote.

Al-Zubairi's first remarkable event as a poet was during his 1938 pilgrimage with martyr Abdullah Al-Wazir, during which he was reported to have praised Saudi Arabian King Abdulaziz bin Saud with a reputable poem. He remained in Mecca until leaving for Egypt in 1939 where he joined Dar Al-Uloom (House of Sciences), became acquainted with Hassan Al-Bana and joined the Muslim Brotherhood Movement. During his stay in Cairo, Al-Zubairi and his Yemeni companions were reported to have formed the first organized opposition movement against the imamate regime in Sana'a in 1940.

He returned to Yemen in 1942, proposing reform suggestions to the imam, who became enraged and jailed him with several youths in Al-Ahnoum Prison. After about nine months' incarceration, he was released and versified an oft-quoted poem, from which the following is excerpted:

“We left prison with uplifted heads like lions coming out of their woods/ Marching along swords' blades and heading toward death's mouth/ Disdaining life if smeared with tyrants' oppression and terrorism.”

Al-Zubairi continued to struggle with his companions and after the Sept. 26, 1962 revolution occurred, he returned to Sana'a and was appointed Information Minister and then Deputy Prime Minister.

As the situation remained unsettled following the revolution, as the republic was attacked by royalists, Al-Zubairi attempted to solve disputes between belligerent parties. One ominous day, while moving about Barat area in Al-Jawf north of Sana'a calling for tribesmen unity, he was assassinated.


Al-Zubairi championed the issues of Yemen, Arabs and Muslims, as manifested in his poetry, fiction and speeches. He wrote many works including three poetry collections: “Prayer in Inferno