THE VIRTUES OF YEMEN AND ITS PEOPLE FROM THE HOLY QUR’AN AND THE SUNNAH
In the Name of God, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.
Saudi Arabia has recently began a smear-campaign against Yemen and they have tried to undervalue Yemen and its people in the media.
Saudi Arabia’s ignorance has certainly not realized the position of Yemen and its people within the Islamic creed. Let the Qur’an and the hadiths reveal the reality of Yemen and its people.
The Arabs often state that the name of something indicates its true state. This is especially true for Yemen, which is derived from Yumn (يُمْن) which means Felicity, prosperity, blessing and success, Yamin (يمين) right and being on the right and Maimon (مَيْمُون) fortunate and blessed. The Romans called it Arabia Felix (Happy Arabia – ), as opposed to Arabia Deserta (Deserted Arabia).
Yemen is also known as Al-Yemen As-Sa’id (The Happy Yemen) (اليمن السعيد). The Yemeni People are known as the happy Arabs. The Yemeni people are known for their Happiness, soft-heartedness, generosity, compassion, mercy, hospitality, goodness, faith, perseverance, bravery, knowledge, wisdom, patience and much more
According to the Holy Qur’an, It is a blessed and good land that has a Forgiving Lord (34:15).
It is mentioned and alluded to several times in the Noble Qur’an, to the point there are chapters referencing it such as, Surah Hud (11), Surah Saba’ (34), Surah al-Ahqaf(46) and Surah al-Fil (105). Allah speaks of the Yemeni Prophet Hud , his people, namely the tribe of ‘Ad and Iram, their magnificent city of pillars (89:7) in the sand dunes (All- Ahqaf). He speaks about the flood of al-‘Arim (34:16) in Yemen, which dispersed Yemeni tribes, the People of the Ditch (85:4), the elephant army of Abraha (105:1-5) and BilqÏs, the Queen of Sheba (27:23-44) at the time of the Prophet Sulaiman (as) . At every turn, we are asked to reflect upon this beautiful land and its noble people.
You have many famous companions of Ahlulbayt (as) who were from Yemen such as Miqdad (R) , Hudaifa Al-Yamani (R) , Ammar Ibn Yassir (R) , Uwais Al-Qarni (R) , Jabir Ibn Abdullah Al-Ansari (R), Malik Al-Ashtar (R) and ‘Abd Allah b. Yahya al-Hadrami (R)
The roots of the Arabs trace themselves back to Yemen. The tribe of Jurhum, a pure Arab tribe from Yemen are the ones who settled in Makkah. The Prophet Ismail (as) married two women from them and learnt Arabic, archery and horse riding from them. Eventually from their progeny will come the Quraish, the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). Even the Arab tribes of al-Aws and al-Khazraj, which make up the Helpers (al-Ansar) from Madinah were originally from the Yemeni Tribe of al-Azd, which travelled north following the flood of al-‘Arim (34:16) in Yemen.
The Prophet (saw) praised and blessed various Yemeni tribes and the people of Yemen and attributed his own blessed blood line to them, stating, “I am Yemeni” [Ahmad] and “They are from me and I am from them” [Al-Bukhari]. Imam Ali (as) is known to inspired and attracted people of Yemen to the religion of Islam.
The people of Yemen have continuously supported and spread justice in the world throughout their long and rich history, and we pray that God brings them safety, security and relief in their current most troubling times, Ya Rabb!
Qur’anic verses about Yemen
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَن يَرْتَدَّ مِنكُمْ عَن دِينِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ يُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلَا يَخَافُونَ لَوْمَةَ لَائِمٍ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
O you who have believed, whoever of you should revert from his religion – God will bring forth [in place of them] a people (The People of Yemen) He will love and who will love Him [who are] humble toward the believers, powerful against the disbelievers; they strive in the cause of God and do not fear the blame of a critic. That is the favor of God ; He bestows it upon whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing. [5:54]
لَقَدْ كَانَ لِسَبَإٍ فِي مَسْكَنِهِمْ آيَةٌ ۖ جَنَّتَانِ عَن يَمِينٍ وَشِمَالٍ ۖ كُلُوا مِن رِّزْقِ رَبِّكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لَهُ ۚ بَلْدَةٌ طَيِّبَةٌ وَرَبٌّ غَفُورٌ
There was for [the tribe of] Saba’ in their dwelling place a sign: two [fields of] gardens on the right and on the left. [They were told], “Eat from the provisions of your Lord and be grateful to Him. A good land (The land of Yemen) [have you], and a forgiving Lord.” [34:15]
إِذَا جَاءَ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ وَالْفَتْحُ
وَرَأَيْتَ النَّاسَ يَدْخُلُونَ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ أَفْوَاجًا
فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَاسْتَغْفِرْهُ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ تَوَّابًا
When there comes the help of God and the victory, [110:1]
you see the people (The people of Yemen) entering God’s religion (Islam) in multitudes. [110:2]
So glorify your Lord with His praises, and pray for His forgiveness: surely He is ever ready to accept repentance. [110:3]
Propethic Hadiths about the virtue of Yemen and its people
Hadith #1 : The best of Men are the Men of Yemen
خِيَارُ الرِّجَالِ رِجَالُ أَهْلِ الْيَمَنِ وَالْإِيمَانُ يَمَانٍ ، وَأَنَا يَمَانٍ
The Prophet (saw) said : The best of Men are the Men of Yemen, Iman is Yemeni and I am a Yemeni.
[Narrated by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal]
Hadith #2 : They are the best (people) on Earth.”
يطلع عليكم الآن أهل اليمن كأنهم السحاب هم خيار من في الأرض
Now, the people of Yemen have appeared to you, they are on the verge of ascending upon you as if they are clouds. They are the best (people) on Earth.”
[Narrated by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal]
Hadith #3 : Softest in understanding
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ أَتَاكُمْ أَهْلُ الْيَمَنِ هُمْ أَضْعَفُ قُلُوبًا وَأَرَقُّ أَفْئِدَةً الإِيمَانُ يَمَانٍ وَالْحِكْمَةُ يَمَانِيَةٌ ” . وَفِي الْبَابِ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ وَأَبِي مَسْعُودٍ . وَهَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ .
Narrated Abu Hurairah:
that the Messenger of God (ﷺ) said: “The people of Yemen have come to you. They have the weakest hearts (Not hard-hearted) and softest in understanding, faith is Yemeni and wisdom is Yemeni.”
Hadith #4 : They are the first to offer the handshake
حَدَّثَنَا حَجَّاجٌ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادُ بْنُ سَلَمَةَ، عَنْ حُمَيْدٍ، عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ قَالَ: لَمَّا جَاءَ أَهْلُ الْيَمَنِ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم: قَدْ أَقْبَلَ أَهْلُ الْيَمَنِ وَهُمْ أَرَقُّ قُلُوبًا مِنْكُمْ، فَهُمْ أَوَّلُ مَنْ جَاءَ بِالْمُصَافَحَةِ.
Anas ibn Malik said, “When the people of Yemen came, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘The people of Yemen have arrived and they have gentler hearts than you. They are the first to offer the handshake.'”
Hadith #5 : Sagacity is that of the Yemenites
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو الرَّبِيعِ الزَّهْرَانِيُّ، أَنْبَأَنَا حَمَّادٌ، حَدَّثَنَا أَيُّوبُ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدٌ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ جَاءَ أَهْلُ الْيَمَنِ هُمْ أَرَقُّ أَفْئِدَةً الإِيمَانُ يَمَانٍ وَالْفِقْهُ يَمَانٍ وَالْحِكْمَةُ يَمَانِيَةٌ ” .
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah observed: There have come the people of Yemen; they are tender of hearts, the belief is that of the Yemenites, the understanding (of the faith) is that of the Yemenites and sagacity is that of the Yemenites.
Hadith #6 : The Belief is from Yemen and Unbelief from the East
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، وَأَبُو كُرَيْبٍ قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو مُعَاوِيَةَ، عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ، عَنْ أَبِي صَالِحٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ أَتَاكُمْ أَهْلُ الْيَمَنِ هُمْ أَلْيَنُ قُلُوبًا وَأَرَقُّ أَفْئِدَةً الإِيمَانُ يَمَانٍ وَالْحِكْمَةُ يَمَانِيَةٌ رَأْسُ الْكُفْرِ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ ” .
It is reporter on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace and blessings be upon him) observed:
There came the people of Yemen who are soft of hearts, tender in feelings: the belief is that of the Yemenites, the sagacity is that of the Yemenites and the summit of unbelief is towards the East.
Hadith #7 :Belief is Yemenite and Wisdom is Yemenite, while pride and haughtiness are the qualities of the owners of camels (i.e. bedouins). Calmness and solemnity are the characters of the owners of sheep.”
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ بَشَّارٍ، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ أَبِي عَدِيٍّ، عَنْ شُعْبَةَ، عَنْ سُلَيْمَانَ، عَنْ ذَكْوَانَ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ “ أَتَاكُمْ أَهْلُ الْيَمَنِ، هُمْ أَرَقُّ أَفْئِدَةً وَأَلْيَنُ قُلُوبًا، الإِيمَانُ يَمَانٍ وَالْحِكْمَةُ يَمَانِيَةٌ، وَالْفَخْرُ وَالْخُيَلاَءُ فِي أَصْحَابِ الإِبِلِ، وَالسَّكِينَةُ وَالْوَقَارُ فِي أَهْلِ الْغَنَمِ ”
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The people of Yemen have come to you and they are more gentle and soft-hearted. Belief is Yemenite and Wisdom is Yemenite, while pride and haughtiness are the qualities of the owners of camels (i.e. bedouins). Calmness and solemnity are the characters of the owners of sheep.”
Hadith #8 : I will surely be at the centre of my Basin (Haud) pushing back people for the people of Yemen.
The Prophet (saw) said :
“Indeed, [on the Day of Judgement] I will surely be at the centre of my Basin (Haud) pushing back people for the people of Yemen. I will strike away from it with my staff until it pours upon them (i.e. the people of Yemen).”
Hadith #9 : “The most beautiful pilgrims are the people of Yemen.
Prophet Muhammad (saw) said :
“The most beautiful pilgrims are the people of Yemen.
Hadith #10 :“Indeed, a people will soon come, and you will look down on your deeds when compared to their deeds.”
On the authority of Abi Sa‘id al-Khudri who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah said :
“Indeed, a people will soon come, and you will look down on your deeds when compared to their deeds.” We said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, are they the Quraish?’ He said, “No, but they are the people of Yemen.”
[Ibn Abi ‘Asim]
Hadith #11 : They are more sensitive (in their) hearts towards Islam than you.
On the authority of Anas bin Malik who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah said :
“Some people will come to you tomorrow who are more sensitive (in their) hearts towards Islam than you.”
[Narrated by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal]
Hadith #12 : Faith is in Yemen
Narrated Abu Masud:
The Prophet (ﷺ) pointed with his hand towards Yemen and said twice, “Faith is there,” and then pointed towards the East, and said, “Verily, sternness and mercilessness are the qualities of those who are busy with their camels and pay no attention to their religion, where the two sides of the head of Satan will appear,” namely, the tribes of Rabl’a and Muqar.
Hadith #13 : The people of Yemen have the most delicate hearts
On the authority of ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah said :
“The people of Yemen have the most delicate hearts, softest minds and are most readily obedient.”
[Narrated by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal]
Hadith #14 : “Do not curse them for indeed they are from me and I am from them.”’
On the authority of Abu Thawr Al-Fahmi who said :
‘We were with the Messenger of Allah one day and some Yemeni cloth was brought.
Then Abu Sufyan said, ‘May Allah curse this cloth and curse the one who made it!’
Then the Messenger of Allah said,
“Do not curse them for indeed they are from me and I am from them.”’
Hadith #15 : I find the rescuing Wind of your Lord (coming from) the direction of Yemen.
On the authority of Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah said :
“Behold, indeed faith is Yemeni, and wisdom is Yemeni. I find the rescuing Wind of your Lord (coming from) the direction of Yemen.”’
Hadith #16 : Iman is there
Narrated Abu Masud RA:
The Prophet SAW beckoned with his hand towards Yemen and said, “Belief (Iman) is there.”
Hadith #17 : Fiqh is in Yemen.
The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, ‘…
Fiqh is in Yemen.’
Hadith #18 : A Trustworthy people
Abu Hurayra 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.”
Hadith #19 : Imam An-Nawawis commentary
Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) mentions in his commentary of Sahih Muslim, Al-Minhaj Sharh Sahih Muslim, that there is no bar in attributing these narrations literally to the people of Yemen. They had strong faith in the time of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) sensed this from the people of Yemen such as; Abu Muslim al-Khawlani (r.a.), Uways al-Qarni (r.a.) and the delegations that came to him from Yemen. Hence, attributing 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 hikmah are concerned, the former means to have a deep understanding of religion, whilst the latter refers to having conscious acknowledgment of Allah (s.w.t.), ma’rifah, 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, naswiha, and are easily affected by it. They are immune from harshness, hard-heartedness and ruggedness.
The above few narrations related from the Beloved of Allah (s.a.w.) 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 (s.a.w.) gesturing and pointing his hands in the direction of Yemen and saying, “Iman is there”. Similarly, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) cites wisdom and deep understanding of religion to exist in Yemen. Moreover, when a delegation comes to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), he mentions the qualities and characteristics of the people of Yemen saying that they are extremely soft-hearted people and very humble.
Hadith #20 : “You have lied! Rather, the best of men are the people of Yemen. Iman is Yemeni and I am also a Yemeni.”
Sayyiduna ‘Amr ibn ‘Abasa (r.a.) related that ‘Uyayna ibn Hisn al-Fazari once remarked in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) that the best of men are the people of Najd. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) replied, “You have lied! Rather, the best of men are the people of Yemen. Iman is Yemeni and I am also a Yemeni.”
This is found in Sunan ath-Thabarani and Musnad Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, with all the narrators in the chain authentic, tsiqa. Also found in also compiled in Majma’ al-Zawa’id wa Manba’ al-Fawa’id.
Hadith #21 : It will be very soon that they come to you as ansar (supporters)
In another narration, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) is reported to have said,
“Iman 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 ansar (supporters); hence I command you to be good with them.”
This was recorded by Imam At-Tabarani (r.a.) with a hasan chain.
Hadith #22 : Uwais the Yemeni (r)
“A man called Uwais will come to you from Yemen… whoever amongst you is able to meet him [Uwais], then ask him to pray for your forgiveness,” and that, “Indeed, the best of the Followers [after the generation of my Companions] is a man named Uwais…” [Muslim]
Uwais al-Qarni was a man from Yemen who embraced Islam in the lifetime of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), but was not able to come to Medina to visit him since he was in the service of his aging mother.
The ahadith and narrations praising the land 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 (s.a.w.) would naturally long to visit Yemen and its people. Indeed, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) made these remarks according to his time, but when Allah (s.w.t.) 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 (s.a.w.) Sahabah. All of this in addition to the fact that Yemen has produced, and continues to produce, some of the greatest ‘ulama, mujtahidun, a’immah and awliya’ of this ummah.
Peace and Blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his Holy Progeny (as)
| Amir Zabidi