Yemeni Intellectuals in History [Archives:2001/47/Culture]

November 19 2001

When the newly established Islamic state had al-Madinah al-Munawarah as its capital, more attention was paid to this small, but important city which after a short time became a hearthstone for so many people. Yemen was also affected by the enlightenment coming from this city, before the capital of the Islamic state was shifted to Damascus, Baghdad and then to Cairo.
The far distance between Yemen and the capital of the Islamic caliphate had its effects on Yemen which was away from attracting the attention of the Arabs. For along time Yemen seemed to be unable to produce a great intellectual, or scientific, etc.., work. However, this idea about Yemen and Yemenis was changed in the hands of a number of Yemeni immigrants who lived in the Arab capital that was receiving more attention. Some of these people are Amaarah, Abdulmajid b. Abdulbaqi, etc. who introduced Yemen to the others. During the Crusade and other wars that were waged from time to time some Arab intellectuals fled their countries to Yemen. These also helped enhanced Yemen’s existence by a number of their works. Some of these intellectuals are al-Judhri, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Ibn Qalafis, etc. In the modern time there were Mohebaddin al-Khatib, Jawad Ali, and others. Such people worked as a bridge among the Arab civilizations and cultures.
There are other factors that helped limiting Yemeni intellectual works to be known. Among those factors are the isolation of the country that was imposed by some of the rulers. There was a time at which all intellectuals were dragged to jails, beaten up and even killed.
One of the great times of Yemeni enlightenment was during the Rasolids’ regime which lasted from the 7th century until the end of the 9th century. During the three centuries a cluster of intellectuals, scientists and artists were produced. Unfortunately, the collapse of the Rasolids’ state led to the loss of many books that were kept in huge libraries, especially after the Ottoman invasion of Yemen.
During the 12th and 13th centuries a number of Yemeni renewers came to being. These include al-Jalal, al-Muqbli and Mohammed b. Ibrahim al-Wazir. In the 19th century there were al-Amir, al-Shawkani and al-Amrani.
All of these people and many others played a great role to show Yemeni as a civilized and cultural country.
Courtesy to al-Thaqafiah