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  • 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

    10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen


    (A personal account by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari on his recent trip to Yemen)




    I begin in the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. All praise is for Allah Most High; and peace and blessings be upon His chosen servant, our master Sayyiduna Muhammad, his family, companions, and followers.



    I have always had a desire to travel and visit the blessed lands of Yemen. The first time I heard about Yemen and in particular Hadramawt, was when I was quite young studying Arabic grammar. At the time, I was around 13 or 14 years of age and had no clue as to where Hadramawt was on the map. Later, I became more aware of Yemen after reading the many virtues of Yemen and its inhabitants recorded in the sayings of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace).



    The fact is that Allah Most High has blessed and honoured the lands of Yemen and given this country a unique status that no other place (besides the two sacred cities of Makkah and Madina) enjoys. There are many virtues mentioned in the various narrations (ahadith) regarding Yemen and the people residing there. This land has also been the abode of many Prophets (peace be upon them all), Companions (sahaba), scholars and pious servants of Allah (Allah be pleased with them all). Of the many narrations wherein the virtues of Yemen and its inhabitants have been mentioned, some are reproduced below:



    1) Imam al-Bukhari relates from Abu Mas’ud that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) gestured with his hands towards Yemen and said: “Belief (iman) is there….” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 4126 & Sahih Muslim, no: 81)



    2) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “The people of Yemen have come to you and they are extremely gentle and soft-hearted. Belief (iman) is that of the Yemenis and wisdom (hikma) is that of the Yemenis. Pride and haughtiness are the characters of the owners of camels, and calmness and solemnity are the qualities of the owners of sheep.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 4127)



    3) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “The people of Yemen have come to you. They are tender-hearted and more delicate of soul. The capacity to understand (fiqh) is of the Yemenis and wisdom is that of the Yemenis.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 4129 & Sahih Muslim, no: 84)



    4) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Belief (iman) is that of the Yemenis while afflictions (fitan) appear from there (the east), from where the side of the head of Satan will appear.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 4129)


    Imam an-Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) mentions in his commentary of Sahih Muslim that there is no bar in attributing these narrations literally to the people of Yemen. They (the people of Yemen) had strong faith in the time of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) sensed this from the people of Yemen such as; Abu Muslim al-Khawlani, Uways al-Qarni and the delegations that came to him from Yemen. Hence, attributing faith (iman) to Yemen meant that the people of Yemen had strong and complete faith, but this did not negate that others also had strong faith.



    As far as Fiqh and Hikma are concerned, the former (fiqh) means to have a deep understanding of religion, whilst the latter (hikma) refers to having conscious acknowledgment of Allah Most High (ma’rifa), coupled with self-reformation, good character and abstaining from following one’s desires and falsehood.



    The meaning of “they are extremely gentle and soft-hearted” is that they are the people of timidity (khashya) and have an attitude of humble acceptance (istikana). They are extremely quick in accepting genuine advice and Nasiha, and are easily affected by it. They are immune from harshness, hard-heartedness and ruggedness. (See: Nawawi, al-Minhaj Sharh Sahih Muslim, P: 158-159)



    The above few narrations related from the beloved of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) single out Yemen and its inhabitants with great qualities. Strong faith, complete belief and true conviction is said to exist in Yemen, with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) gesturing and pointing his hands in the direction of Yemen and saying “Iman is there”. Similarly, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) cites wisdom and deep understanding of religion to exist in Yemen. Moreover, when a delegation comes to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), he mentions the qualities and characteristics of the people of Yemen saying that they are extremely soft-hearted people and very humble.



    The few narrations above have been taken directly from the two most authentic books of Hadith, namely Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. However, these narrations are not the only ones recorded in the praise of Yemen and its inhabitants; rather, there are many other Ahadith. Let us look at some more narrations in this regard:



    5) Sayyiduna Zayd ibn Thabit (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) looked towards Yemen and said: “O Allah! Turn their hearts (towards Iman)…” (Sunan Tirmidhi, no: 3934)



    6) Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “…..And trustworthiness (amana) is in (the tribe of) Azd, meaning in Yemen.” (Sunan Tirmidhi, no: 3936)



    7) Sayyiduna Jubayr ibn Mut’im (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that once the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) looked up towards the heavens and said: “The people of Yemen have come to you like the pieces of clouds. They are the best of people on the face of the earth.” A Companion asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Are they even better than us?” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) replied: “Except you.” (Musnad of Imam Ahamd, Musnad Bazzar and Musnad Abu Ya’la. See: Majma’ al-Zawa’id, 10/54)



    8) Sayyiduna Amr ibn Abasa (Allah be pleased with him) relates that Uyayna ibn Hisn al-Fazari once remarked in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) that the best of men are ….the people of Najd. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) replied: “You have lied! Rather, the best of men are the people of Yemen. Belief/faith (iman) is Yemeni and I am also a Yemeni.” (Tabrani and Ahmad, with all the narrators in the chain authentic (thiqat). See: Majma’ al-Zawa’id, 10/44)

    In this last Hadith, it was mentioned in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) that the people of Najd were the best of people, but the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was quick to reject this notion saying that this was wrong; rather, the people of Yemen were the best amongst people. This Hadith reminds us of another narration recorded by Imam al-Bukhari and others wherein the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “O Allah! Give us Baraka in our Sham, O Allah! Give us Baraka in our Yemen.” They said: “And in our Najd?” and he said: “O Allah! Give us Baraka in our Sham, O Allah! Give us Baraka in our Yemen.” They said: “And in our Najd?” and I believe that he said on the third occasion: “In that place (najd) are earthquakes and seditions, and in that place shall rise the devil’s horn.” (See: Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 990)



    In the final part of the last Hadith, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) referred himself as a Yemeni. The reason could be (And Allah knows best) that “Yemen” was in fact the name of Qahtan’s son, and Qahtan was a forefather of the Arabs and was from the children of Sayyiduna Isma’il (peace be upon him). Hence, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) had a relationship of ancestry with the Yemenis. It could also mean that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was implying that he liked the character and manners of the Yemenis; hence he referred himself to be “as” a Yemeni for having something in common with them. Whatever the reason may be, the fact that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) called himself a Yemeni is such a virtue for the people of Yemen that it cannot be underestimated.



    9)
    In another narration, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) is reported to have said: “Faith is of the Yemenis, and they (the people of Yemen) are from me and their direction is towards me, even if they are far from me in distance. It will be very soon that they come to you as helpers (ansar); hence I command you to be good with them.” (Tabrani with a sound [Hasan] chain. See: Majma’ al-Zawa’id, 10/55)



    There are also other Ahadith in which the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) praised the tribes of Yemen such as the tribes of Himyar and Azd. He said that a time will come when a man will wish that his father and mother were from the tribe of Azd. (See: Sunan Tirmidhi, no: 3937). He (Allah bless him & give him peace) also said that the people of Himyar are the people of trustworthiness and faith. (See: Sunan Tirmidhi, no: 3939). Thus, the Ahadith and narrations praising the lands of Yemen and its people are numerous to the extent that if one was to gather all of them with commentary, an entire book may be compiled!



    Any Muslim who has knowledge of these sayings of the beloved of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would naturally long to visit Yemen and its people. Indeed, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) made these remarks according to his time, but when Allah Most High places certain qualities in a people, the effect of these qualities remain even after centuries have elapsed. Moreover, Yemen was also the abode of many of the Messenger of Allah’s Companions. He (Allah bless him & give him peace) sent Sayyiduna Mu’az ibn Jabal (Allah be please with him) to Yemen. There are also other Companions who lived and taught in Yemen. All of this in addition to the fact that Yemen has produced, and continues to produce, some of the greatest scholars, Mujtahids, Imams and saints of this Ummah.



    Due to the above reasons, for some time I have had this deep desire to visit Yemen, its people, its scholars and the religious institutions present there. It was only through the sheer mercy of Allah Most High that He blessed me with this opportunity in the month of July, 2005.
    The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
    (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
    In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

  • #2
    Re: 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

    Friday 8th July 2005



    On Friday the 8th of July 2005, I left with my family for San’a (the capital of Yemen) via Dubai on an Emirates Airlines flight. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 2: 15 pm local time from Gatwick Airport in London. It was only a day after the recent 7/7 attacks on the London Underground tube network. Predictably, there was a heavy presence of armed-police with dogs. Just looking at this sight was quite intimidating and scary. I thought to myself, what if they stop and question me because of my skin colour and because I obviously look like a Muslim? (I was incidentally wearing a long thawb and have grown a beard.) We walked through the gates of the Airport-departure lounge with Police and security personal everywhere. Any citizen of the UK (and elsewhere) should not have this fear whenever he/she travels and goes about his/her normal business. People should not be targeted by the police just because they are Muslims or look like Muslims. Stop and searches should be based on good intelligence, not on skin colour, ethnic background or religion. There is a genuine fear and concern within the Muslim community that they are being targeted by the police trying to prevent potential terror attacks. We are the citizens of this country and we should be no different from other citizens. I sincerely hope that the Government looks into this and makes sure that innocent people are not targeted for abuse. Muslims want to live in this country peacefully and without any fear of someone attacking them, abusing them or arresting them for no reason.



    Al-Hamdulillah, our passage through the check-in and to the plane went very smoothly. Everyone, as normal, was very friendly and welcoming. There was no sign of any hate, intimidation or pointing of fingers. The flight from London to Dubai was around 7 hours long, after which we had to wait for around 5 hours in Dubai Airport before boarding the plane to Yemen. I spent the night in Dubai reading a book by my respected teacher Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) about his travels around the world. I was particularly interested in the part where he talks about his short visit to San’a. I also used some of the time by visiting the internet café and emailing some friends. In the remainder of the time, I tried getting some sleep but to no avail. The Adhan for Fajr Salat was announced and al-Hamdulillah I managed to offer my Salat and we also had something to eat. Soon, an announcement was made for passengers travelling to the Yemeni capital (San’a) to make their way to the boarding gate and finally we left for San’a at around 6: 30 am local (Dubai) time. The flight from Dubai to San’a was short, around 2 and a half hours. It was indeed a relief after the long flight from London to Dubai and the long wait in Dubai. I saw a group of brothers who were dressed according to the Sunnah in their turbans, long Thawbs and beards on the same flight as me. After speaking to one of them, I was informed that they were part of the Jama’ah Tabligh from Sri Lanka and were visiting San’a for the purpose of Da’wa. Al-Hamdulillah, the brothers seemed very sincere and generally had a great concern for the Muslim Ummah. May Allah reward their efforts and all those who strive in the various fields of Da’wa work, Ameen.
    The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
    (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
    In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

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    • #3
      Re: 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

      Saturday 9th July



      We landed at San’a international Airport at around 10am local time. San’a Airport is quite small and modest, in complete contrast to Dubai Airport that we had left behind. We purchased our visas at the airport. I was asked regarding my destination in Yemen, to which I replied that I was intending to visit Dar al-Mustafa in Tarim. All the formalities of passport and immigration went smoothly, al-Hamdulillah, and thus we hired a taxi and headed for our hotel.



      In the City of San’a



      San’a is the capital of Yemen with 1.85 million inhabitants (2005 estimate), and one of the oldest cities of the world. Some historians have stated that the city’s foundations were laid by the grandson of Sayyiduna Nuh (peace be upon him) whose name was Ghamdan. Among the city’s ancient names is Azal. When the people of Habasha arrived, they were amazed to see the city being made out of bricks and stones as a fortress, hence they said: “This is a firm construction (hazihi san’ah)”. San’ah in Arabic is from the root-word “sana’a yasna’u” which means to make, construct and build. When the Habashis said this, the city began to be called San’a. (See: Yaqut al-Hamawi, Mu’jam al-Buldan, 3/426)



      San’a is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities of the world from an aesthetic point of view. San’a has a very distinctive architecture; hence, it is high on the preservation list for many international heritage organisations. The city is situated between two huge mountains, Ayban in the West and Nuqum in the East. The city is very close to the equator and lies roughly 2150 metres above sea-level and is famous for its moderate climate with sunshine all year round. Even in the midst of a summer, amazingly there was no need for a fan or air conditioning. The economy of San’a is based on the fruits grown in the region. Present-day San’a is divided into two parts: Old San’a (San’a al-Qadima) and New San’a (San’a al-Jadida).



      The city of San’a has remained under the rule of many civilizations. When the people of Himyar were in power, the King of Habasha (Abyssinia) sent two of his commanders, Abraha and Aryat, to take control of the city and they duly obliged, and thus San’a came under the rule of the Habashis. (Incidentally, Abraha was the one who made his own Ka’ba-like place of worship in Yemen and intended to demolish the house of Allah, the story of which has been mentioned in Surah al-Fil. More details concerning this event will be mentioned further along, Insha Allah). San’a stayed in the control of the Habashis for around seventy years until an individual from the Himyaris known as Sayf ibn Yazin al-Himyari approached Kisra (the king of Persia) to help the Himyaris conquer and regain the city from the Habashis. This Himyari managed to take back San’a with the help of the Persians and was made the king of the city. The king of Persia (Kisra) also had overall control of San’a and the lands surrounding it. He appointed many of his men as governors of the various cities in Yemen.



      San’a and its surrounding areas remained in the overall control of the King of Persia until Allah Most High blessed humanity with the birth of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). After the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) migration to Madina al-Munawwara, he wrote letters to the many leaders of the world inviting them to the true and pristine teachings of Islam and to the worship of Allah only, Who has no partners. One such letter was also sent to Kisra, the King of Persia. The letter was delivered to Kisra and read out to him, upon which he tore it to pieces and threw it away. When the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was informed of this, he prayed that the Kingdom of Kisra gets destroyed just like he tore his letter.



      Kisra had appointed a person by the name of Bazan (some have said Bazam) as a governor of Yemen. Kisra sent him a message to send two of his brave officers to this person who resides in the Arabian Peninsula and claims to be a Messenger of God, so that they may arrest him and bring him to Kisra. In accordance with Kisra’s orders, the ruler of Yemen (Bazan) sent to the Hijaz two brave and strong officers who delivered Bazan’s letter to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and said they were under a command to take him to Yemen with them. They said Bazan will correspond about you with Kisra and will do what he (Kisra) says. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) heard their words with extreme calmness and before replying to them, he invited them to embrace Islam. They were so overawed by the greatness, formidability and calmness of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) that when he invited them to embrace Islam they were trembling. They observed incredible things in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). In the meantime, the Angel Jibra’il came with a revelation to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and informed him that the King of Persia (Kisra) was assassinated by his own son. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said to these two officers: “Go back to your leader (Bazan) and inform him that my Lord (Allah Most High) killed his Lord (Kisra) last night.” The two officers hurried back to Yemen, full of awe and fear, and informed Bazan what had happened. Bazan said: “If this news is correct he is certainly a Messenger of God and should be obeyed”. Soon, Bazan received a letter from the son of Kisra (Shiruyah) with these words: “Be it known to you that I have killed my father Kisra. The wrath of the nation prompted me to kill him because he killed the nobles (of Persia) and dispersed the elders. As soon as you receive my letter, you should obtain oath of allegiance for me from the people; and until you receive further orders from me don’t be harsh to the man who claims to be a Prophet and against whom orders had been issued by my father.”



      This whole episode prompted Bazan and his government employees, all of whom were residing in Yemen, to embrace Islam. Bazan wrote to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and informed him about his own conversion to Islam as well as that of the employees of his government and many others. This was the beginning of the Messenger of Allah’s message reaching the lands of Yemen and in particular San’a. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) maintained Bazan (Allah be pleased with him) as the governor of San’a. Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (Allah have mercy on him) states in his al-Isaba that Bazan was from amongst the Persians who the king (Kisra) had sent as a ruler of Yemen. He embraced Islam after the death of Kisra and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) maintained him as the ruler of Yemen.



      Bazan (Allah be pleased with him) remained the ruler of San’a and surrounding areas until he passed away. After his death, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) appointed his son, Shahr ibn Bazan, the governor of San’a and surrounding provinces. Thereafter, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) sent many of his Companions to various parts of Yemen. He sent Sayyiduna Ali, Sayyiduna Khalid ibn al-Walid, Sayyiduna Abu Musa al-Ash’ari and others (Allah be pleased with them all). He sent Sayyiduna Mu’az ibn al-Jabal as a teacher to the people of Yemen towards the latter part of his life, when he indicated to Sayyiduna Mu’az whilst seeing him off that this may be their final meeting, the Hadith regarding which is renowned in the books of Hadith.



      Hence, San’a and other parts of Yemen were flourishing with Islamic teachings and practices. Unfortunately, during the last few days of the Messenger of Allah’s stay in this world, a person called Aswad al-Anasi emerged and claimed to be a Prophet of God. He along with his army of 700 fighters headed for San’a and captured it from the control and rule of Shahr ibn Bazan. Many people unfortunately left Islam and began to follow him and his people. However, his control over San’a did not stay for long, and through the help of Allah he was killed by the Companion Sayyiduna Fayruz al-Daylami (Allah be pleased with him). Fayruz al-Daylami (Allah be pleased with him) was from amongst those people who came in a delegation to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) from San’a. He has also narrated a Sahih Hadith from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). He managed to kill Aswad al-Anasi just days before the Messenger of Allah’s demise from this world. Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was informed from the heavens about the assassination of Aswad al-Anasi. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) emerged from his room to give us the good news. He said: “Aswad was killed last night. He was killed by a fortunate person from a fortune and blessed family.” It was inquired, who killed him O Messenger of Allah! He replied: “He was killed by Fayruz al-Daylami.”



      This whole incident (of the killing of Aswad Anasi) took place during the Messenger of Allah’s last few days in this world when he was in his illness that led to his demise. Aswad al-Anasi’s rule over San’a only remained for approximately 3 months before he was killed. Thereafter, Muslims once again regained San’a and since then the city has always remained in the control of the Muslims. It is reported that Fayruz al-Daylami (Allah be pleased with him) said: “We killed Aswad and things returned back to normal in San’a. We requested Mu’az ibn Jabal (Allah be pleased with him) to come to San’a and he agreed, hence he used to lead us in prayer. By Allah, we had not offered prayers for 3 days except that the news of the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) passing away reached us. (The above details culled from Ibn Kathir’s al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, 6/337-342, Ibn Hajar’s al-Isaba fi Tamiz al-Sahaba, 1/170 & Ibn Abd al-Bar’s al-Isti’ab fi Ma’rifat al-Ashab, P: 602-693)



      The hotel we were staying at was in the centre of San’a, in the new part of the city to be precise. One of my friends, Sidi Faiz Qureyshi, who studies in Dar al-Mustafa (Tarim), had emailed me all the relevant information that I needed for my stay in Yemen. He suggested that I should stay in the al-Mustaqbil hotel. Funduq al-Mustaqbil is a relatively cheap hotel but neat and tidy. It is situated in an area called al-Tahrir. After reaching the hotel, I performed my Zuhr Salat and then took a much-needed rest (I had not slept for over 20 hours). I woke up before Maghrib prayer in time to offer my Asr Salat. Thereafter, I went out of the hotel to a local Mosque to offer my Maghrib prayer. It was raining outside and quite chilly and windy. Despite the roads being flooded with water and mud everywhere, the Mosque was completely full with worshippers who came to offer their Maghrib prayers.



      After Maghrib Salat, I phoned a local Yemeni brother, whose name was Fari’ and whose contact details were given to me by Sidi Faiz, and informed him that I had reached San’a. Sidi Faiz had already informed this brother of my arrival; hence he was anticipating my call. The brother swiftly came to my hotel shortly after Maghrib Salat and we had a small chat about how to organise my schedule in terms of visiting the various sights in San’a. Brother Fari’ then suggested we go for a walk and see the surrounding area. We toured the roads and streets of the Tahrir area in San’a. We were virtually in the centre of San’a and right besides our hotel was the Tahrir square (maydan al-tahrir). It’s an open square and the best place for open air photography. The surrounding areas, main roads and side streets are full of shops and you can virtually buy anything at a very good price. Dozens of modern shops around the square sell cheap Japanese electronics as well as imported clothing and souvenirs. Tahrir Square is the nerve centre of the new city, the place from where tourist trips depart and return. It is a bustling modern district of shops, hotels and restaurants. On the south edge of the square stands the Military Museum, while to the north is the National Museum. Most of the small townhouse hotels are clustered in this area, as are some decent eateries and local cafés. One is able to find stands selling freshly squeezed juices of fruits such as oranges, pomegranates, bananas, grapes, melons and mangos. There were a few Islamic bookshops and my guide suggested we have a quick look inside. Thereafter, we went to a nearby Mosque and offered our Eisha prayer, after which my guide escorted me back to my hotel.
      The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
      (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
      In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

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      • #4
        Re: 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

        The Town of Hadda



        My family and I had not eaten anything all day long thus we decided to go and have something to remove our hunger. We enquired from the locals as to where we could find some good restaurants. We were advised by one local brother to go to an area called Hadda. Hadda is a small town about 10km SW of San’a and a ten minute drive from San’a city centre. It is full of restaurants and takeaways, with both types of food available, traditional Yemeni as well as western. We went there by Taxi and I have to say, there were some great restaurants available to choose from. We had our dinner, strolled around the area window-shopping for a while and then returned to our hotel and retired to bed. On the way back, I purchased some pure honey that was produced locally. Since ancient times, Yemen has been famous for the excellent quality of its honey that was widespread in the valleys of Eastern Yemen in the pre-Islamic period. In modern-day Yemen, an offer of honey continues to have an important role when welcoming a guest. Honey is often served in banquets. Honey and eggs are considered important for fertility and physical strength and therefore are given to young bridegrooms. Yemeni tradition prescribes honey together with melted butter for consumption by mothers immediately after childbirth. It is also widely used in folk medicine. In San’a city centre, honey is usually sold in bottles or plastic tanks. The taste of the honey was indeed delicious and scrumptious!



        Sunday 10th July



        The following day, our guide made a plan of taking us to the old part of San’a, visiting a grave of a Sahabi (Allah be pleased with him) and some sight-seeing. In the morning, we went around some of the shops in and around the Tahrir area close to our hotel, visited some bookshops and had lunch. After taking a rest and performing our Asr Salat, we headed first to the old part of San’a called San’a al-Qadima.
        The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
        (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
        In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

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        • #5
          Re: 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

          Old San’a (San’a al-Qadima)



          The old city of San’a is unique, exceptional and amazingly beautiful. It is surrounded by a thick wall, whose history goes back to pre-Islamic times. This wall has seven gates through which you can enter the city. The most famous of these gates is the Yemen gate (bab al-Yemen). This gate stands till today in its old place, forming one of the archaeological sites of the ancient city of San’a. Surrounded by ancient clay walls which stand six to nine metres (20-30ft) high, the old city is a wonderland of over 100 Mosques, 12 Hammams (baths) and 6500 houses. Most of the buildings date back to the seventh and eighth centuries BC, when the city achieved prominence as an important centre for Islam, and were constructed from dark basalt stone and brick.



          Our guide parked the car just outside the “Yemen gate” and we entered the city on foot through this historic gate. The sight before my eyes was something I had never witnessed before. I was completely lost in my admiration of the houses, buildings, the general architecture and the structural designs of the city. We strolled inside the city admiring the houses, shops, the streets and alleys. The pathways and roads were also built with traditional bricks and stones, and the houses were several stories high. They were nicely ornamented from the outside and lined the narrow streets of the old town. It was a sight worth beholding!



          Old San’a is filled with shops, Souqs and bazaars where one is able to purchase almost everything. One of the most popular attractions is the 1000-year-old Suq al-Milh (salt market) where it is possible to buy not only salt but also bread, spices, raisins, cotton, copper, pottery, silverware, antiques and a host of other goods. The rest of the Souq (market) is divided into different sections. The jewellers are in one section, the leather sellers and makers in one section, the blacksmiths in a different section and so forth.
          The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
          (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
          In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

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          • #6
            Re: 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

            The Consumption of Qat



            As we walked through old city San’a, I noticed many locals constantly chewing on something that seemed like some kind of leaves. They were holding a plant in their hands and kept consuming from it. They continually chewed on this to the point that it seemed they had a massive bulge on one of their cheeks! Many shop-keepers would just sit in their shops and carry on chewing all day long. Upon enquiring, I was informed that they were chewing on what was locally called Qat.



            Qat or Khat is the Arabic term for Catha edulis and is used throughout Yemen and some other countries. Qat is a natural stimulant from the Catha edulis plant, found in the flowering evergreen tree or large shrub which grows in East Africa and Southern Arabia to tree size. It reaches heights from 10 feet to 20 feet and its scrawny leaves resemble withered basil. Qat is chewed like tobacco and has the effect of a euphoric stimulant. In Yemen (and more specifically in San’a), Qat is used daily by 85% of adults. Yemenis have been chewing this for more than 700 years and all previous attempts to clamp down on the country’s favourite substance have ultimately failed. Some Yemenis typically spend 4-6 hours a day buying and chewing the leaves when, according to the anti-qat lobby, they could be doing productive work - hence the dire state of the economy. Some spend well over half their income on the habit. Qat keeps people awake, so chewing sessions, which last for several hours, start in the afternoon to allow the effects to wear off before bed. As a result, virtually the entire civil service shuts down at lunchtime.



            To meet the ever-growing demand, one-third of Yemen’s agriculture is now devoted to a crop with no nutritional value, and irrigating it consumes scarce water supplies. Qat has supplanted other crops which could be exported or used to reduce the need for imported food. In the past, Qat was regarded as an occasional luxury rather than a daily necessity. Consumption among city-dwellers increased in the 1970s with the development of roads. The plant grows best at an altitude of 3,000-6,000 feet and good transport from the growing areas to the cities is essential because the leaves rapidly lose their potency after cutting.



            Yemeni consumers say that there is no harm in chewing Qat. They believe that Qat increases stamina, concentration and mental alertness and elevates mood. They consider it similar to drinking coffee or tea. Some Ulama declared it to be unlawful (haram) saying that it was an intoxicant. However, the majority of the Scholars don’t consider Qat to be an intoxicating substance, but they still discourage its usage due to the fact that it could be harmful and wastes one’s time and wealth. Those who have any value for time would never consider spending their valuable hours and minutes in chewing on a plant. Qat chewing is spreading rapidly in some parts of Yemen despite the authorities efforts to fight it, with more schoolchildren and women having recently joined men in this practice. Qat has been banned in some non-Arabian countries due to it being considered a harmful drug.
            The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
            (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
            In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

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            • #7
              Re: 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

              The Great Mosque of San’a (al-Jami’ al-Kabir)



              Walking through the markets and Souqs of the old city, we arrived at our destination - the Great Mosque (al-Jami’ al-Kabir) of San’a. The Mosque is the oldest and largest of the Mosques in San’a and one of the oldest in the Muslim world. It was built in the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and then extended and enlarged by Islamic rulers from time to time. It is reported that Bazan (Allah be pleased with him), whom the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) had maintained as the governor of San’a, had a garden which he gave as Waqf for the building of this Mosque. The construction of the Mosque however, was carried out by another Companion Wabr ibn Yahnas al-Kalbi (Allah be pleased with him).



              Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (Allah have mercy on him) in his al-Isaba and other historians relate that when the Companion Wabr ibn Yahnas (Allah be pleased with him) visited the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), he (Allah bless him & give him peace) commanded him to build a Mosque in San’a that faced in the direction of mount Dhayn. Hence, adhering to the Messenger of Allah’s command, Sayyiduna Wabr ibn Yahnas (Allah be pleased with him) constructed this historic Mosque in the city of San’a. Ibn al-Sakan and Ibn Mandah both narrate in their respective Hadith collections from the Companion Wabr ibn Yahnas that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) had ordered him to construct a Mosque in San’a and also advised him to appoint the Qibla in the direction of Mount Dhayn. As a result, the Qibla direction till today stands facing towards this mountain. (See: al-Isaba fi Tamiz al-Sahaba, 3/630)



              We entered this momentous and historic Mosque through one of its many gates. The Mosque has now been significantly extended, and is structured around a central courtyard measuring approximately 80 meters long by 60 meters wide. To the north and south of this courtyard are the prayer areas, and to the east and west of the courtyard are halls of three aisles each. Inside the court, not exactly at its centre, stands a domed square structure that dates to the early sixteenth century when the courtyard itself was paved. We crossed the courtyard and made our way to the southern/rear prayer area (not the area where the Imam currently stands) and found two pillars marked out. One pillar had the word “Manqura” inscribed on it whilst the other had “Masmura” written on it. The area between these two pillars is said to be the original Mosque that was built by the Companion Wabr ibn Yahnas (Allah be pleased with him).



              It was between Asr and Maghrib when we had entered this historic Mosque, hence unfortunately I was not able to offer any voluntary prayers (nafl) or the prayer of greeting the Mosque (tahiyyat al-masjid). There was a Shaykh-like person sitting against one of the above-mentioned pillars and I spoke to him briefly about the significance of the Mosque. Many worshipers were seated engaged in the recitation of the Qur’an, some in the front hall, others in the rear hall and many in the open courtyard. Some students were also studying the Qur’an with their teacher.



              I could not get over the fact that I was unable to offer any prayers in this historic Mosque; hence, I made a firm intention to return to the Mosque the next day. After all, this was a historic Mosque built by a Sahabi under the instruction of the beloved of Allah; and many Companions, their followers and great scholars of Islam had worshipped, offered their prayers and studied in this Mosque. Many great scholars of Hadith are reported to have taught and related Hadith in this blessed Mosque. Till today, one is able to sense the great Baraka left behind by these great luminaries of Islam.
              The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
              (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
              In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

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              • #8
                Re: 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

                Imam Abd al-Razzaq al-San’ani (Allah have mercy on him)



                The city of San’a was once bustling with Halaqas of Hadith, Fiqh and other Islamic sciences. The Mosque we were standing in was once a centre of Islamic learning with scholars of Hadith (muhaddithun), jurists (fuqaha) and other scholars quenching the thirst of many students who travelled from far and wide places. Scholars from other areas would also travel to San’a in order to learn and benefit from the great Ulama residing there.



                One such great personality to have lived and taught in San’a was the great Hadith expert (hafidh), Imam Abd al-Razzaq ibn al-Humam al-Himyari al-San’ani (Allah have mercy on him). The Imam belonged to Himyar, a major Yemeni tribe, and was known as al-San’ani, as he lived in San’a, the capital of Yemen. Imam Abd al-Razzaq was born in 126 AH and studied under a large number of scholars including many of the leading figures of his time. His teachers include: Imam Malik, Ibn Jurayj, Ma’mar, Imam al-Awza’i, Sufyan al-Thawri and Sufyan ibn Uyayna (Allah have mercy on them all). His pursuit of knowledge also saw him travel to Makka, Madina, Syria and Iraq, where he studied under many scholars of his time. His students include figures like Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Yahya ibn Ma’in, Ishaq ibn Rahuya, Ali ibn al-Madeeni and many others (Allah have mercy on them all). Imam Ahmad was one of his main students and travelled to San’a to take the knowledge of Hadith from him. Imam Ahmad has a famous statement which states: “Travelling to San’a is a must even if the journey is very long” (la budda min San’a wa in tala as-safar). Hence, Imam Ahmad sacrificed his time and (along with Imam Yahya ibn Ma’in) travelled to San’a and remained in the company of Imam Abd al-Razzaq for a considerable length of time. Imam Ahmad was asked whether he met anyone who was better in Hadith scholarship than Imam Abd al-Razzaq to which he replied in the negative.



                Imam Abd al-Razzaq’s knowledge of Hadith was extensive. He wrote several books, the most important of which is his “al- Musannaf” - a collection of Ahadith in several volumes. His other works include a commentary of the Qur’an and a book on the Prophet’s life. However, only al-Musannaf survives, and has been published more than once. The great Hadith scholar of the Indian subcontinent Shaykh Habib al-Rahman al-A’zami was the first person to have worked on and publish al-Musannaf. A new and fuller edition was later published by Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi in Beirut in 2002. Imam Abd al-Razzaq passed away to the mercy of Allah in the month of Shawwal 211 AH, when he was well over 80 years of age. May Allah have mercy on his soul and grant him Paradise, Ameen. (See: Mu’jam al-Buldan, 3/428 & al-Musannaf, 1/1 Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi edition)
                The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
                (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
                In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

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                • #9
                  Re: 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

                  Imam al-Shawkani (Allah have mercy on him)



                  Another great scholar to have lived and taught in San’a was Imam al-Shawkani (Allah have mercy on him). Imam Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Abd Allah al-Shawkani al-San’ani was born in a town called Shawkan, a days walking distance from San’a, in the year 1173 AH. He then moved to San’a with his father who was a judge and a scholar. He did not travel to gain knowledge; rather, he remained in San’a and took from the Ulama there. He was originally a Zaydi, but then left this school and began to concentrate more on Hadith. He was quite extreme in rejecting Taqlid (following one of the four Sunni Schools) and was an advocator of Ijtihad. He authored many books, the most famous of which is known as Nayl al-Awtar, a commentary on the Hadith collection of Ibn Taymiyya al-Jadd titled Muntaqa al-Akhbar. He passed away in the year 1250 AH and was buried in San’a (may Allah have mercy on his soul). Although Imam al-Shawkani differed from the mainstream Sunni scholars on many issues, he is still considered to be one of the major scholars of Hadith in this Ummah.



                  The thought of all these scholars was ringing in my mind while touring this great city and particularly this Great Mosque. Surely, these great scholars must have conducted their study circles in the confines of this historic Mosque. My guide also attempted to find exactly the place where Imam Abd al-Razaaq actually taught, but he was unsuccessful. Nevertheless, treading on the path where such great luminaries of Islam once lived and taught was an honour in itself.



                  One of the responsible persons in the Mosque informed me that the Mosque had a library in which there were large numbers of manuscripts of the Qur’an dating back to the first century of Hijra. The library was only open during morning hours; hence, I was unable to enter it. It is said that the library also possessed a copy of the Qur’an that was complied with the joint endeavour of Sayyiduna Ali, Sayyiduna Zayd ibn Thabit and Sayyiduna Salman al-Farisi (Allah be pleased with them all), and it was sent to San’a in the reign of Sayyiduna Uthman (Allah be pleased with him). There are also a number of manuscripts of books written by early scholars. It was surely a regret not to have managed to see this library, but whatever Allah Wills, takes place.



                  After spending this quality time in the Great Mosque of San’a, we made our way back to our car. We once again walked through the streets and alleys of the old city and departed the city through the Yemeni Gate. Back in the car, we headed to visit a grave of one of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace).
                  The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
                  (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
                  In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

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                  • #10
                    Re: 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

                    The Companion, Farwa ibn Musayk (Allah be pleased with him)



                    Our guide took us to the eastern district of San’a called Musayk. It was the town of the Sahabi, Sayyiduna Farwa ibn Musayk (Allah be pleased with him). The whole area and the Mosque we intended to visit were named after this Companion of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), and near to the Mosque was his grave (may Allah be pleased with him).



                    Sayyiduna Farwa ibn Musayk al-Muradi (Allah be pleased with him) is one of those Companions who came from Yemen and visited the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) in the 9th or 10th year Hijri. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) appointed him as a governor of his people, the tribes of Murad and Mazhij, and sent with him Khalid ibn Sa’id ibn al-Ass (Allah be pleased with him). He has also narrated some Ahadith, recorded in Sunan Abi Dawud, Sunan Tirmidhi and other Hadith collections. Sayyiduna Farwa also lived in Kufa for a while and is reported to have taken part (along with Fayruz al-Daylami) in the killing of the imposter Aswad Anasi. He was a well-respected person in his community and was also a very able poet. Some lines of his poetry have been recorded by Ibn Ishaq in his Sirah. May Allah be pleased with him and all the Companions of the Messenger of Allah. (For more details on him, see: Ibn Hajar’s al-Isaba, 3/205 no: 6981, Ibn Abd al-Bar’s al-Isti’ab no: 2071, Ibn Kathir’s al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya 5/83 & Sirah ibn Hisham 4/174).



                    The area we had entered was very old and modest. Many of the houses and buildings were quite rundown and not to the standard of the houses we witnessed in other areas of San’a. We parked our car outside an old Mosque and entered the Mosque called Jami’ al-Musayk, named after Sayyiduna Farwa ibn Musayk (Allah be pleased with him). Just like this whole area, the Mosque was old and not maintained properly from a structural point of view. One of the responsible individuals there informed me that the Mosque had been extended recently and work was still ongoing. He also showed us the area where the original Mosque was built. After visiting the Mosque, we walked to an area behind the Mosque and found a locked room in which it is said that the companion Sayyiduna Farwa ibn Musayk (Allah be pleased with him) is buried. The door to the room was locked and we enquired about the keys. One of the locals tried asking from the various people living there regarding the keys, but the individual who had the key was not present, so we had to be content with visiting the grave of this great Companion of the Messenger of Allah from the outside. Someone removed a kind of a big stone that was covering an opening to the room and we were able to see the grave from the window. Hence, I was fortunate to give my Salams, pay my respects and recite the Fatiha on one of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (Allah be pleased with him). There was also another grave next to the Sahabi’s grave and a separate entrance for women’s prayer. This whole area seemed very poor, with beautiful children playing around the streets content with what they had. The area may be poor in a materialistic sense, but they are rich with the presence of a Sahabi’s grave amongst them!



                    After visiting the grave of this Companion, we toured some areas of the new part of San’a. Our driver and guide drove pass the University of San’a, showed us some other areas and then took us to a place called Farahlan. This area was situated on mount Ayban, and is designed for tourists and locals to have a good view of the city of San’a. There were some restaurants and cafeterias for the tourists, and this place reminded me of the Qasiyun Mountain in Damascus. The time for Maghrib had arrived and we offered our Maghrib Salat in a nearby Mosque. Hence, after Maghrib, we managed to get a night-view of the city from the mountain.



                    After strolling for a while and being treated with the beautiful view before us, we decided to leave and return back to our hotel. On the way, we stopped at one of the major Islamic bookshops in San’a to enquire about a book I was searching for, but was unsuccessful. We reached our hotel just before Salat al-Eisha and after Eisha, we had something to eat and retired to bed.



                    Monday 11th July



                    The following day (Monday the 11th of July), I made a programme to go and visit one of the renowned Institutions of Islamic learning in the Arab world, Jamia al-Iman.
                    The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
                    (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
                    In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

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                    • #11
                      Re: 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

                      Jamia al-Iman



                      Jamia al-Iman is a private Islamic university very similar to the Darul Ulooms in the Indian Subcontinent, although with a slight difference in its methodology. It was founded in 1993 by Shaykh Abdal Majid ibn Abd al-Aziz al-Zindani (may Allah preserve him) with a group of other scholars. Shaykh Abdal Majid is a renowned scholar in Yemen and very active in the field of Da’wa. He is well-known for his research on the topic of “Qur’an and modern science”. The respected Shaykh had in the past been involved with Yemeni politics, but then resigned from his post as a party leader to concentrate more on teaching and Da’wa.



                      Jamia al-Iman is situated on the outskirts of San’a. The area was uninhabited before the Jamia was formed but now due to the Jamia, there are many shops, houses and other commercial buildings surrounding the area. The Jamia’s main objective is to produce male and female scholars who are practising and who preach the message of Iman to others both verbally and by their action. The Jamia has four faculties: faculty of Iman, faculty of Shariah sciences, faculty of Da’wa and media, and the faculty of human arts. It places a lot of emphasis on strengthening one’s Iman, self-reformation and Da’wa.



                      The students are well-trained during their stay in the Jamia. They are expected to be punctual with their daily prayers, along with the night vigil (tahajjud) prayer. They are advised to fast two days of the week, attend gatherings of spiritual discourses and engage daily in physical exercise. The students also travel to other parts of Yemen regularly for the purpose of Da’wa and mix with the general public, preaching to them what they have learnt.



                      The duration of the full course is 7 years, with the first 3 years being equal for all students. In these 3 years, students study all the major traditional Islamic sciences, such as Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir), Hadith, principles of Hadith, jurisprudence (fiqh) and the Arabic language. After the initial three years, the students have an option to specialize in any of the four faculties. There is also a separate section for sisters to study. Currently, there are around 5000 students studying in the Jamia with the number expected to rise up to 8000. The students are from all around the world, including the West. There are no fees to study in the Jamia; rather, the Jamia takes full responsibility of catering for the student’s needs. Food, accommodation, transportation charges and everything else is taken care off by the Jamia. The university runs solely on public donations and contributions made by Muslims in the form of Sadaqa and Zakat.



                      We entered with our car through the main white gate of Jamia al-Iman. My guide took permission from the guard at the door to enter the university saying that I was a foreign guest wanting to visit Jamia al-Iman. The guard took the driver’s identity card and gave us permission to enter. We parked our car and headed first to the office of the principle Shaykh al-Zindani. His secretary informed us that he was out of town and was not expected to return before next week; hence he suggested we visit the vice-principle. One of the brothers took us to the office of the vice-principle Shaykh Doctor Haydar Safih. We entered his office and found some teachers of the Jamia seated there including the Hadith teacher Shaykh Abd al-Rahman al-Khumaysi. I sat in the vice-principle’s office for around 40 minutes discussing with them various issues. They were quite intrigued to learn how Islam was being practised in the West especially in Britain. When I informed them that we had similar institutions in the UK, they were amazed. They could not believe that traditional institutions, where all the various Islamic sciences are taught, were operating in the West. We were served with a hot sweet drink that was very tasty and then the vice-principle of the Jamia instructed his secretary to take me on a tour of the university. Hence, in the company of this brother, I made my way to the various sections of the Jamia. I visited the main Mosque which was quite large, some of the classrooms where lessons were ongoing, the main library where I had a quick glance at the books, student’s living quarters, the kitchen and the dining area. The living quarters for the students had different sections. There was a section where single male students lived and a section where married couples lived with their children. There is also a separate section for single female students. As I went to the dining hall, some of the students began to come for their lunch. Groups consisting of 8 students each were sharing one large serving dish and they were being served rice and meat, with fresh salad. The sight of these modest students who had sacrificed their time, family and everything else for the sake of Deen really brought about hope in my mind that this is a religion that Allah Himself has taken the responsibility of preserving. Hence, no matter what the enemies of Islam conspire against Islam; the truth will always be manifest Insha Allah. With this in mind, I bid farewell to the teachers of Jamia al-Iman, asked them for their Duas and headed back to the car in order to return to the hotel.



                      I reached my hotel, had lunch, performed my Zuhr Salat and had a short rest. Thereafter, before Asr prayer, we left once again to visit some more places. I was disappointed yesterday not to have offered any prayers in the Great Mosque of San’a (Jami’ al-Kabir) due to the fact that we had gone there after Asr, thus I requested our guide to take me once again to the old part of San’a and to the great Mosque. Hence, we once again entered old city San’a through the Yemeni gate (bab al-Yemen) and headed straight for the Mosque. I offered my Nafl and Tahiyyat al-Masjid prayers in the area where the original Mosque was built by the Companion Sayyiduna Wabr ibn Yahnas (Allah be pleased with him), between the two pillars (as I have mentioned in detail earlier). My guide told me that there was a place here in old San’a where Abraha, the Christian king of Yemen, had built his cathedral and wanted worshippers to worship in his church rather than go to the Ka’ba.
                      The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
                      (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
                      In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

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                      • #12
                        Re: 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

                        The Qullays (Cathedral) of Abraha



                        It has been recorded in the books of History and Sirah that Abraha al-Ashram, who was the viceroy of the King of Abyssinia (Habasha) in Yemen, built an imposing cathedral in San’a and gave it the name of al-Qullays. The word “al-Qullays” means high and lofty, and this is why a hat in Arabic is called al-Qalansuwa, as it sits on top of one’s head. Abraha called his cathedral al-Qullays due to it being very tall and lofty. Abraha intended to divert the Arab’s pilgrimage to his cathedral in San’a, and being a Christian, he found it intolerably offensive that the Ka’ba should remain the great national shrine, attracting crowds of pilgrims from almost every Arabian clan. He desired that his cathedral should replace the Ka’ba as the most sacred chapel of Arabia, and that the pilgrims from all around Arabia would come to his cathedral rather than go to the Ka’ba.



                        This was, however, something humiliating for the Arabs. Veneration of the Ka’ba was a settled disposition with the Arabs. There was no chance of them tolerating this intention of Abraha neither could they have exchanged the Ka’ba with anything else, howsoever precious. The perturbation caused by the declared intentions of Abraha set them on fire. A man from the Kan’an tribe went to his cathedral and dishonoured it by urinating in it. This caused a serious uproar. Abraha became infuriated and he swore that he would not rest until he had destroyed the Ka’ba.



                        Thus, Abraha set forth and took the road to Makka with a strong force which included a large number of elephants. The Arabs had heard awesome stories about elephants. The news made them all confused and bewildered. Some of the Arab tribes were prepared to fight his army and tried to obstruct its progress, but they soon realised that it was beyond their power to measure swords with him. Now, hoping against hope, they left the matter to Allah Most High putting their trust in Him to save the sacred sanctuary. Abraha and his army reached outside the city of Makka. The Quraysh took to the hills and other high places in order to save themselves from the soldiers of Abraha. Abdul Muttalib and a few others belonging to the Quraysh took hold of the Ka’ba door, praying that Allah help them against Abraha. Abraha drew up his troops to enter Makka and got his elephant Mahmud ready for attack. On his way to the city, the elephant knelt down and refused to get up in spite of a severe beating. But when they made it face towards Yemen or Sham, it got up immediately and started off. Allah then sent upon them flocks of birds, each carrying three stones, one in its mouth and two in its claws. Everyone who was hit by these stones died instantly. Some of the troops began to run for their lives back to where they came from. They would fall down as soon as a stone would hit them. Some of them were injured. Abraha, too, was hit, and when his soldiers tried to take him back, his limbs fell off one by one, until he met a miserable death upon reaching San’a. This incident took place in the year the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was born and the year is remembered as “Am al-Fil”. (See: Sirah Ibn Hisham, 1/36-46)



                        Allah Most High points out to this historic event in the following verses of the Qur’an:



                        “See you not how Your Lord dealt with the companions of the Elephant? Did He not make their treacherous plan go astray? And He sent against them flights of birds, striking them with stones of baked clay. Then did He make them like an empty field of stalks and straw, (of which the corn) has been eaten up.” (Surah al-Fil)



                        With these verses of Surah al-Fil ringing in my mind, we had come to the actual place where it is said that Abraha built his cathedral. The area till today is called al-Qullays. In front of me was a wall built as a circle and it was quite lofty, hence I was unable to see what was inside it. We did not stay here for long, as the objective was only to take admonition from Allah’s punishment and not to enjoy the scenery as such. With fear and apprehension, we left the area called al-Qullays and headed back to our car.
                        The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
                        (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
                        In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

                          The “People of the Garden” in Dharawan



                          Our next port-of-call was another place of fear and apprehension and a sight where the punishment of Allah Most High had descended.



                          Allah Most High reveals in Surah al-Qalam the episode of a pious and devout individual who had constructed a garden containing different types of fruits and vegetation. Whenever the time of harvesting would arrive, his habit was to maintain some of the growth for himself and his family, whilst he would distribute the remainder amongst the poor and needy of his community. When this pious individual passed away, his sons inherited his garden. However, they were completely opposite to their devout father. They said: “Our father was insane for giving so much away to the poor and needy. We will surely not let this continue.” Hence, when the time of harvesting arrived, they did not allow for any poor person to even come close to the garden. They made arrangements at night before going to sleep to safeguard their garden from the poor and needy. They woke up in the morning thinking that today we will have everything to ourselves and not give anything to the poor; and thus they made their way to the garden. However, Allah Most High punished them for this evil intention and destroyed all that had grown in their garden overnight. When they arrived at their garden in the morning, nothing had remained. Upon seeing this, they became remorseful and regretted their actions. Then they started blaming each other for what they had done. Allah Most High said that such is the punishment of whoever opposes the command of Allah, is stingy and withholds the right of the poor and needy. And the punishment of the hereafter is more severe. (See: Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 4/522-523)



                          Allah Most High describes the above incident in the following verses of Surah al-Qalam:



                          “Verily, We have tried them as We tried the People of the Garden, when they resolved to gather the fruits of the (garden) in the morning, but made no reservation. Then there came on the (garden) a visitation from Your Lord, (which swept away) all around, while they were asleep. So the (garden) became, by the morning, like a dark and desolate spot. As the morning broke, they called out, one to another, go you to your tilth in the morning, if you would gather the fruits. So they departed, conversing in secret low tones, (saying) let not a single indigent person break in upon you into the (garden) this day. And they opened the morning, strong in an (unjust) resolve. But when they saw the (garden), they said: We have surely lost our way. Indeed we are shut out (of the fruits of our labour). Said one of them, more just (than the rest): Did I not say to you, Why not glorify (Allah)? They said: Glory to our Lord! Verily we have been doing wrong! Then they turned, one against another, in reproach. They said: Alas for us! We have indeed transgressed. It may be that our Lord will give us in exchange a better (garden) than this: for we do turn to Him (in repentance). Such is the Punishment (in this life); but greater is the Punishment in the Hereafter, if only they knew.” (Surah al-Qalam, Verses 17-33)



                          The Qur’an, in accordance with its normal practice, does not mention where this incident took place. Allah Most High normally describes such incidents as a warning; hence it does not matter where they occur. However, scholars try their best to establish the place and area where such incidents take place.



                          Imam Ibn Kathir (Allah have mercy on him) states in his commentary of the Qur’an:



                          “Some of the early scholars have mentioned that these people were of Yemen. Sa’id ibn Jubayr (Allah be pleased with him), the great Tabi’i, said: “They were from a village called Dharawan, which is six miles from San’a.” Some said they were from Habasha.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 4/523)



                          After offering our Asr Salat, we made our way to the area of Dharawan. This place till today is called Dharawan. It is said, according to what Imam Ibn Kathir has mentioned above, that the punishment of Allah descended here. We travelled a distance of around half hour from San’a until we reached the village of Dharawan. This was a small village where people lived and there was a small market place. The actual place of the garden was beyond the village hence we travelled through the village. We asked the locals for directions to the actual place of the punishment and finally we had reached there. The sight that was in front of our eyes was scary, unbelievable and intimidating. Until now, all the surrounding lands I had seen were in their normal colour, brownish and dust-coloured. However, this land, where it is said the garden existed and where the punishment of Allah descended, was pitch-black and scary. It was not only black; rather there were spiky thorn-like black stones all over the place which made it very difficult to walk. It seemed like a large fire had burnt the whole land. The locals also called this land “Ard al-Hariqa” which meant “Burnt Land”. We remained here for only a few minutes, as the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) has advised us to move away quickly from the places of punishment. I sought the protection of Allah from His punishment, supplicated to be saved from the eternal punishment of the hereafter and quickly made my way back to the car. May Allah save us all from His wrath, anger and punishment in this world and the hereafter, Ameen.
                          The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
                          (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
                          In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

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                          • #14
                            Re: 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

                            Dar al-Hajar (Rock Palace)



                            After Dharawan, we decided to visit the historic and symbolic Yemeni palace called Dar al-Hajar (The Rock Palace). Dar al-Hajar is one of Yemen’s most famous landmarks, and only a few kilometres away from San’a. The multi storied palace was built in 1930 BC for Imam Yahya, one of Yemen’s rulers, as his summer home. It has recently been opened as a museum. Yahya, who was from the Zaydi dynasty, became the ruler of Yemen in 1918 when Turkey’s Ottoman Empire was dissolved. Dar al-Hajar is built like a fortress with shooting emplacements to defend the palace from eventual attackers. The palace also has its own water supply from deep below the rock and could therefore have easily withstood a siege. Dar al-Hajar stands atop a protruding rock formation in Wadi Dhahr, a fertile and pleasant valley of small villages and clay-walled orchards. Pictured in many books about Yemen, it has become a symbol of the country itself.



                            Our driver parked the car below this amazing palace and we headed for the entrance. We purchased our entry tickets at the door and slowly made our way inside. The palace was several stories high and beautifully structured from the inside. We climbed to the top of the rock palace and, Subhan Allah, the scenery was just amazing. It took around an hour to tour the palace where a great ruler of Yemen once lived, gave orders and enjoyed himself. The ruler has since left this mortal world but the palace built for him stands till today. We are only but travellers in this world, hence people come and people go. All that we have in this world will be left behind for others, or for people to come and amuse themselves with. The fortunate are those who build their palaces in the hereafter and prepare themselves for reckoning in the presence of Allah Most High. With this thought in mind, we left the amazing rock palace behind us.



                            We returned to the centre of San’a, the Tahrir area to be precise (where our hotel was), prior to Maghrib Salat. There was approximately 45 minutes left for Maghrib Salat, hence I thought it would be a good idea to make a short visit to the military museum of San’a. The museum is situated at the western corner of Tahrir square, a walking distance of around 5 minutes from our hotel. It is open daily from 9am till 12 noon and from 5pm till 8pm (except Fridays). We purchased the relatively cheap tickets and entered the museum. There was nothing incredible about this museum, as it merely contained a number of military objects describing the military history of Yemen. The museum also gives you a low-down on the country’s many wars. There is also the national museum located about 100 metres north of the same Tahrir Square. This museum contains artefacts from the ancient kingdoms of Saba, Ma’rib and others, and is open daily from 9am till 12 noon and from 3pm till 5pm.



                            The Adhan for Maghrib Salat was being pronounced in one of the local Masjids near the Tahrir Square; hence I made my way to the Mosque. I offered my Maghrib Salat, spoke to some of the locals (who asked me where I had come from and wanted to know about Islam and the Muslims in the West), purchased a few necessities from the shop and returned to the hotel. The day had been long and tiring, and we also had a long journey planned in the morning to Hadramawt and Tarim, thus we decided to have something to eat, offer Eisha Salat and have an early night. The soft bed and the peaceful sleep were much appreciated after such an exhausting day. Being able to “sleep” especially on a journey is such a blessing of Allah Most High that no matter how much we thank Him it is not enough. Just ask those who are not so fortunate in this regard and find it difficult to sleep. May Allah Most High enable us to show gratitude on all His favours, bounties and gifts, Ameen. With these thoughts in my mind, I was soon fast asleep on the second floor of the al-Mustaqbal hotel in the capital of Yemen, San’a!



                            Tuesday 12th July



                            The next morning, we had a long journey by coach to the valley of Hadramawt. After Fajr Salat and breakfast, we left with our entire luggage at 7am for Hadramawt. We travelled by the popular and comfortable Ruwayshan coach. The journey was expected to be for around 8 hours; hence I took some books with me to read along the long journey. I had the book “Wasa’il al-Wusul ila Shama’il al-Rasul” written by Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabhani (Allah have mercy on him) with me, a truly amazing book outlining the Shama’il and characteristics of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and a must-read for all students of Islamic knowledge. However, I could not get much reading done, as the scenery outside was absolutely amazing and breathtaking. I could not keep my eyes away from the window admiring the beautiful mountains, dessert hills, typical Yemeni countryside, typical Yemeni villages, traditional mud-houses, striking ornamental houses exemplifying fine Yemeni architecture, long deserts and much more. Shortly after our coach had left San’a, we entered a mountainous area driving up and down huge mountains. The view from the top of these mountains is beyond description. You have to be there to truly appreciate the natural beauty created by Allah Most High “So blessed be Allah, the best to create” (Surah al-Mu’minun, V: 14). The drive through these narrow roads in the midst of high mountains was quite scary as well. If the driver is not careful, the coach can plunge down many feet to its destruction. I constantly recited the supplication (dua) of travel and sought the protection of Allah Most High. I would surely not make this journey during the night, but then again, this was due to my weak Iman. Others will probably have no problem making this journey in the darkness of the night!
                            The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
                            (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
                            In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

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                            • #15
                              Re: 10 Days in the Blessed Lands of Yemen

                              The City of Ma’rib



                              We first stopped for a short break at Ma’rib. The city of Ma’rib is famous for a number of pre-Islamic temples and ancient settlements, as well as what must have been an awesome dam. Ma’rib is the renowned place where the people of Saba’ (Sheba) lived, regarding whom there is reference in the Qur’an and a whole chapter is named after them, titled Surah Saba’. In Yemen, great civilizations were erected and the most famous civilization was that of Saba’. The Sabaeans established dams to irrigate their lands and they constructed the greatest dam in Ma’rib and its remains still exist. The kingdom of Saba’ flourished and became wealthy owing to its monopoly to the trade routes between ancient East and West Civilizations.



                              Allah Most High says in the Qur’an:



                              “There was, for Saba, a sign in their home-land - two gardens to the right and to the left. Eat of the sustenance (provided) by your Lord, and be grateful to Him: a territory fair and happy; and a Lord Oft-Forgiving.” (Surah Saba, V: 15)



                              One of the Sabaean rulers was the Queen Bilqis (the Queen of Sheba) who was renowned for undertaking a journey to meet the Prophet of Allah Sayyiduna Suleyman (peace be upon him). The story of this Queen has been mentioned by Allah Most High in the Qur’an. She established her capital in Ma’rib. Many ruins of the Queen’s throne and temples have remained till today. Hence, Ma’rib is considered one of the most significant archaeological sites in Yemen.

                              Unfortunately, due to the shortage of my stay in Yemen, I was unable to go and visit the city of Ma’rib. I did plan to travel there whilst I was in San’a, but the visit did not materialize. When we stopped for a break at Ma’rib on our way to Hadramawt, I was quite saddened for not being able to travel into the city and visit the historic remains of the people of Saba’, but whatever Allah Wills, takes place. I thought to myself that, Insha Allah, some time in the future I will get to visit Ma’rib.



                              After a few more hours of travelling, we again stopped in order to offer Zuhr prayers and have lunch. The rest-house where we stopped was in the midst of a desert. I stepped out of the coach and the heat and humidity was unbearable. It was absolutely scorching, in complete contrast to what we had left behind in San’a. I made ablution with coldish water, offered my Zuhr and had something to eat. There were also camels in and around the restaurant wanting to join in with us for food! I pampered a camel and the thought of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) and his Companions (Allah be pleased with them) came to mind.



                              After around 8 hours of journeying, we finally arrived at our destination, the city of Say’un in the blessed Valley of Hadramawt.
                              The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's (SAW) sermon on his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '
                              (Shaikh Maulana Muhammad Yusuf)
                              In Lam Takun Ghaadiban Annee Falaa Ubaalee...

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