Yemen’s Shiites celebrate Al-Ghadeer [Archives:2004/711/Community]

February 12 2004
Dr. Zeid Al-Muhatwari, a Zeidi scholar, lecturing in occasion of Eid Al-Ghadeer in Sanaa
Dr. Zeid Al-Muhatwari, a Zeidi scholar, lecturing in occasion of Eid Al-Ghadeer in Sanaa
Ismaelite (Bohra) sect in Haraz
Ismaelite (Bohra) sect in Haraz
Hassan Al-Zaidi
Hundreds of Shiites in Yemen celebrated the anniversary of Al-Ghadeer Eid last Monday, which comes out every 18 Dhi Al-Hijja in the Hijri calendar.
This is the day Prophet Mohamed gave his farewell address, and Shiites believe he transferred authority to Ali bin Abi Talib.

Seminars throughout Yemen
Also on Monday, a special seminar was held by the Badr education center headed by Zeyd Al-Muhatwari. The seminar entitled “Tolerance and moderate Islam” concentrated on Islam is a moderate religion based on tolerance and peace. Al-Muhatwari emphasized the moderate stance of the Zaidi Shiite sect.
On the other hand, the Jaafari Shiite sect, which is the most radical of all Shiite sects in Yemen, also celebrated this occasion by praising its Shiite leaders of Iran. The sect held a seminar in the Surwah district of Mareb province.
The sect started celebrating this anniversary 15 years ago.
Ahmed Abdullah Al-Zaidi, one of the main scholars of the Jaafaria (Ithne Ashariya) sect, gave a lecture which asserted the Shiite sect's importance and value in Yemen, and means to enhance the sect and promoting its values further.
The Dawoodi Bohra sect also celebrated this occasion by holding an event at the Faidh Al-Hatimi Center in Sana'a, and also held an activity in the Hoteib in Haraz district.
Several seminars and lectures were held in various mosques in Saada and other areas where Zaidis and Shiites of different sects preside.

Shiite and Sunni rivalry
The Wahhabi-Salafi movement in Yemen has always been powerful and widely accepted, with more influence in grassroot levels, unlike Shiite counterparts.
It has much more financial resources located in neighboring countries.
There has always been a hidden competition between the Saudi-supported Wahhabi movement and the Iran-supported Shiite movements as both see the each other as the main rival in terms of religious ideology and influence.
Emir Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia told a French newspaper recently that there is a tendency to spread Shiite ideology in the region from Iran. “Do you remember the Iranian revolution in 1979 and the political turmoil that followed?” He also called upon the USA to maintain a balanced and equal representation of Sunnis and Shiites in future Iraq so as to not result in ethnic or religious tensions in the region.

Background on Zaidi sect
It is worth noting that after the breakup of the caliphate, Yemen came under the control of the rising Rassite dynasty, imams of the Zaidi sect, who built the theocratic political structure of Yemen that lasted until 1962.
The 26 September Revolution in that year led to the gradual decline of the number of Shiite sect members, who constitute only a small fraction of the population in today's Yemen, mainly located in Sanaa, and some northern parts of the country.
Their existence continued in small numbers, but maintained an influential position in religious aspects in the capital and other northern areas.
Iran has continued to provide Yemen with thousands of books about the Shiite sect, some of which were held at the Hodeidah port for many years, but were eventually allowed to get into the country.
Hundreds of Yemenis travel to Iran to learn more about the Shiite sect and other religious sciences, and the trend to learn more about the original Shiite sect continues until today.