Amongst the aims of this small book was to provide the respected readers with an appreciation of Yemen’s ancient and early Islamic history, and its foundational role in the culture of Arabia, its interaction with prophetic stories, and its unique importance in the development of Islamic history.
According to the Qur’an, Yemen is one of the few places to have experienced Divine retribution for its form of rejection and objections to the prophetic missions. Yemeni kings tried on multiple occasions to conquer Arabia or in the least to destroy the Kaʿbah as a symbolic means of their gods’ supremacy over the God of Ibrahim. On every occasion, either the Yemeni kings and tribes were obliterated or they found guidance. This suggests that whenever Allah (SwT) found goodness in them, he ensured that they prospered through faith such that Yemen became a hub for receiving religious migration and the tribes awaited to be at the service of their prophet. Moreover, Yemen here is also demonstrated as a place of great humility, growth and religious fervour. That is to say that though its ancient history tells the story of Divine destruction, its middle history proves its benefitting from those lessons and belief in their latter prophets.
Arguably other faiths or regions adopted the opposite - believing in earlier prophets, but rejecting the latter ones.
In their preparation for Prophet Muhammad (S), while other regions, particularly in and around Yathrib also experienced this immigration of people for the purpose of supporting prophecy, not all of the tribes and sects fulfilled their oaths.
The Qur’an mentions the story of the Jewish inhabitants of Medina that,
“When there came to them the prophet verifying that which was among them (the Torah), they did not have cognisance of him (the Prophet) and rejected him.”(Qur’an, Surah al-Baqarah, 2:92)
So while all of these various groups migrated for and awaited the same prophet, the Yemeni tribes were unique in their fulfilment of adopting Islam and fully serving its mission.
This awaiting and support manifested itself in two ways: The Ansar (helpers) of Medina who invited, welcomed and sustained the Prophet (S) in his migration, would be of Yemeni descent; and those regional tribes that heard of the Prophet (S), sent to him (S) and welcomed from him (S) delegations. This shows the characteristics of faith, humility, truth and generosity. It is of no surprise then that the Prophet (S) is narrated to have said, “Faith is Yemeni and they are from me, to me and from them is al-Marba’1 (the place where spring time is heralded). They will come to you as helpers and aids so I commend to you to deal with them with goodness.”2
These many praises and appellations are not to be taken likely. Given the number of times that they appear in the hadith corpus, even in varied ways, it gives confidence that such words indeed emanated from the Prophet (S), and since “He does not speak of his own whims, rather it is inspiration..(Qur’an, Surah al-Najm, 53:3-4)” these are greatly instructive as to how important Yemen was to the Messenger and therefore Allah (SwT).
In this regards, there are also numerous narrations that speak about the role of Yemen in the final age and specific assistance to the awaited saviour of humanity, al-Mahdi (‘a); unfortunately including them is outside of the remit of this work. These narrations however, do suggest the same theory of awaiting and support to al-Mahdi (‘a) as they did to Prophet Muhammad (S), presenting a consistency of faith and commitment of the Yemeni people.
Another goal of this work is to raise awareness of the dire and tragic circumstances that exist on the ground in Yemen. Several statements and statistics from some of the leading organizations and aid agencies were mentioned in the introductions; however to summarize the situation, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has published a factsheet about the Yemen crisis with the following eleven critical points:
1. The humanitarian situation in Yemen is still the worst in the world.
2. Around 8.4 million people in Yemen do not know where they will get their next meal from.
3. Every ten minutes a child under the age of five in Yemen dies from preventable causes.
4. Civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence.
5. Women and children are subject to widespread protection violations.
6. Approximately 3 million people have been displaced.
7. Ending the conflict is the only way to resolve the humanitarian crisis.
8. Half of all of the health facilities are damaged or unable to function.
9. Millions of Yemenis do not have access to safe drinking water and cholera could resurge there.
10. Humanitarian response faces a nearly 2 billion dollar funding gap.
11. Keeping the ports and other access channels open is crucial to deliver aid.3
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) statement which was given on the January 21st, 2018, in the previous year, donors provided $ 1.65 billion of aid out of the minimum $ 2.34 billion, or 70% of the target. This demonstrates the gap in support from just one aid agency perspective. To know more about how the UN relief program is supporting the Yemeni people, you can read their Humanitarian Response Plan: January-December 2018.4
Combining the importance of Yemen in Islamic history, the love that Prophet Muhammad had for the Yemeni people and the collective punishment meted out on them, culminating in the present humanitarian disaster - all for seeking a government free and independent from Saudi influence - should be sufficient to inspire the respected readers to deeply consider his or her commitment to solving the crisis - both humanitarian and politically. Both are urgently required - which brings about the final goal of this work, which is to seek whatever little time, effort and financial assistance that can be given to the cause of the Yemeni people.
Most in need is clean water, food, medical supplies and adequate shelter. To halt the bombing, especially civilians and key infrastructure is also a top priority, something that governments would take seriously as an agenda if their constituents were to raise it with enough vigour and care. In a world already ravaged by war, especially across the Middle East - diplomatic solutions with the Yemeni’s being able to govern themselves should be an obvious and indisputable expectation.
Your buying this book has contributed financially and all of the proceeds will God-Willing, be distributed to those in need. For that I thank you on behalf of all of the people whom it will reach but will never know of your contribution. They now require your support for their safety, independence and opportunity to rebuild their lives.
In order to do this, we require an awareness of what is happening on the ground and the diplomatic solutions in the near future. To this end, I leave the respected readers with a list of names of reporters to follow for good information on the crisis, and some solutions that we can participate in, God-Willing:
• Ahmad Algohbary, Yemeni journalist based in Sana’a;
• Dr. Nevio Zagaria, World Health Organisation representative in Yemen;
• Iona Craig, Yemen/Arab Peninsula journalist;
• Joana Cook, Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR);
• Hussain Albukhaiti, Yemen based journalist;
• Ahmed Jahaf, freelance reporter digital artist;
• Shireen al-Adeimi, Assistant Professor at Michigan State University;
• Mnar A. Muhawesh;
• Mint Press News;
I ask Allah (SwT) to accept this work and whatever goodness He sees in it, the reward goes to Marhoom al-Hajj Amirali MohamedJaffer Lakha. May it be a means of assistance and solace to those who so desperately need it; and may Allah bring victory to those on truth and justice, and guide those who are far from it.
We read the following in the Noble Qur’an:
مَا أَصَابَ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَمَنْ يُؤْمِنْ بِاللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ ۚ فَإِنْ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَإِنَّمَا عَلَىٰ رَسُولِنَا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجِكُمْ وَأَوْلَادِكُمْ عَدُوًّا لَكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ ۚ وَإِنْ تَعْفُوا وَتَصْفَحُوا وَتَغْفِرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ إِنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلَادُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ ۚ وَاللَّهُ عِنْدَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ وَاسْمَعُوا وَأَطِيعُوا وَأَنْفِقُوا خَيْرًا لِأَنْفُسِكُمْ ۗ وَمَنْ يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ إِنْ تُقْرِضُوا اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا يُضَاعِفْهُ لَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ۚ وَاللَّهُ شَكُورٌ حَلِيمٌ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
No calamity befalls but by the permission of Allah. (When it happens) Allah guides the mind of the person who believes in Him (into the ways of its purification and enlightenment); and Allah knows all things very well. Obey Allah and obey the Messenger; but if you turn away (paying no heed) then (bear in mind that) Our Messenger is responsible only for the plain conveying (of the messages). Allah, there is no god (cannot be and will never be One worthy of worship) but He. So let the believers put their trust in Allah. O you who believe! Surely some of your spouses and children are enemies to you, so beware of them; and (if you overlook their short-comings) and forgive and pardon (them), then you will find that surely Allah is a Great Protector, Ever Merciful. Verily, your possessions and your children are a means to reveal your hidden attributes. As for Allah there awaits an immense reward with Him. Therefore do your duty towards Allah to the best of your ability, and listen to Him and obey Him, and go on spending in (His cause). (If you do so) it will be best for your own selves. For only those who are rid of covetousness of their souls shall be really successful in every way. If you set apart a handsome portion of your wealth for (the cause of) Allah, then He will multiply it for you and will protect you (against your lapses); and Allah is Most-Appreciating, All-Forbearing. He is the Omniscient of the unseen and the seen. (He is) the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. (Surah al-Taghabun, 64: 11-18).
- 1. Yamani, Salih Ayyash al-, The Followers in Yemen, Ancient History, Its Present and Future, Dar al-Mahajjatu al-Baydhaa’, Lebanon, 2011, p. 18; the Arabic text is as follows:
المَوْضِع يُقام فيه زمنَ الرَّبيع
- 2. 83 Majmaʿ al-Zawaʾid, vol. 1, p. 55; the Arabic text is as follows:
الإيمان يماني و هم مني و إليّ و إن بعد منهم المربع و يوشك أن يأتوكم أنصاراً و أعواناً فآمركم بهم خيراً (مجمع الزوائد ج ١٠ ص ٥٥)
- 3. https://unocha.exposure.co/eleven-facts-about-the-yemen-crisis (Last accessed on May 15, 2018).
- 4. https://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/yemen-humanitarian-response-plan-janu... (Last accessed on July 15, 2018)