Yemen: The People and Culture (VI) [Archives:2006/956/Culture]

June 19 2006

By: Abu Al-Kalmah Al-Tayyibah
Author: Qadhi Abdullah Abdul-Wahhab Al-Shamahi

Language: Arabic

Publisher: Dar Al-Hana Printing

Year Published: 1973

No. of Pages: 370

The Entrance of Shiite Islam to Yemen

With the death of Haroun Al-Rashid on 198 AH, the authority of the Abbasids gradually began to decline in the Arabian Peninsula and the followers of Ali revived their political activities and the Shiites gained a foothold in Yemen led by Ibrahim Al-Jazzar (the “Butcher”) Bin Musa Bin Ja'afar Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Bin Al-Hussein Bin Ali Bin Abu Talib. According to the author this Ibrahim was a staunch believer in the Zeidi sect (this was prior to the advent of Yahya Bin Al-Hussein, who introduced a more moderate rendition of the Zeidi sect) and thus declared anyone who deviated from the Zeidi sect as an enemy of the religion of Islam and may be killed and have his properties confiscated. Thus the nickname “the Butcher”. In the Year 213 Imam Al-Qassim Bin Ibrahim Bin Ismael Bin Ibrahim Bin Al-Hassan Bin Al-Hassan Bin Ali came to the Hijaz (What is today Eastern Saudi Arabia) from “Persia via Egypt”, as the author says He settled in an area called Al-Rass, with a light vowel a. He was known as the “Star of the Imams”. His brother, Mohammed, was an Imam who had managed to control Kufa, the Perrsian and Mesopotamian southern plains, and Al-Qassim kept a low profile. In Al-Rass the seeds were planted for the Zeidi Imamate in Yemen were planted and most of the Zeidi Imams in Yemen trace their ancestry to this Imam Al-Qassim and often the dynasty is called the Al-Rassy Dynasty. The founder himself kept a low profile and tried to peacefully gain the Imamate throne, while being chased by the Abbasid caliphs. He died in the Sind area of India in 245 AH.

The Kingdoms and Emirates of Yemen from 203 – 283 AH

In the Third Century after the (Prophet Mohammed's (PBAUH) flight from Mecca to Medina Yemen started to adopt a more independent role from the rest of the Moslem caliphate. Accordingly a number of kingdoms, emirates and sultanates arose from then to the last century. Some of these states overlapped in terms of tenor and domains. The list of prominent states among these are the following:

Bani Ziyad Dynasty (203 AH – 409 AH)

Bani Ya'afur Dynasty (225 AH – 397 AH)

Sulaihi State (426 – 532)

Bani Mahdi (554 AH – 569 AH)

Ayyubid1 Kurdish Dynasty (569 AH – 626 AH)

Bani Rasul Dynasty (Kahlani) (626 AH – 858 AH)

Bani Tahir (Tahiri State) Dynasty (858 AH – 923 AH)

The Circassian2 State (924 AH – 945 AH)

The First Ottoman Rule of Yemen (945 AH – 1045 AH)

Al-Rassi Alawi Dynasty (1045 AH – 1289 AH)

Second Period of Ottoman Rule (1289 AH – 1339 AH)

Hamid Al-Din Dynasty (1229 AH – 1282 AH)

More recently the modern status of Yemen as Yemen overthrew monarchal rule and ended the British domination of the South of Yemen are as follows3:

The Yemen Arab Republic (1962 AD – 1990 AD)

The People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (1967 – 1990)

The Republic of Yemen (1990 – the present)

Then the author gives a brief discussion of the various dynasties that prevailed in these different periods, showing the leading rulers of the era and their major accomplishments.

Some of these dynasties hailed from other lands and this is a common phenomenon that often appears in Yemen, where the Yemenis often succumb to outside prevalence in the leading authority of the land, as a means of avoiding perpetual conflict between the various tribal factions of the country, not so much as accession to foreign rule, but as a relief from internal strife

The Hadawi Zeidi State

The affiliation of the Yemenis with the Hashemites even predates Islam and the Prophet Mohammed (PBAUH) had called the Yemenis of Yathrib who supported him and set the ground roots for the emerging Moslem Empire or Nation, the Ansar or the “Advocates” of the Prophet or the Religion of Islam. /There is a tradition often quoted of the Prophet which says, If people went in one direction and the Ansars took another direction, then the direction to be followed is the direction of the Ansars. But with the advent of Islam, the ties between the Yemenis and the Hashemites became ever so intertwined, in terms of blood and convictions.

1) The Salah Al-Din Ayyubid descendants' rule.

2) Affiliated with Mameluke State of Egypt.

3) Added by this writer since the book under discussion was written long before the unification of Yemen in 1990.