Qalb al-Yaman (The Heart of Yemen) is a book published in 1947 in Baghdad by the Iraqi military advisor Muḥammad Ḥasan. This is a fascinating account of Yemen about an Iraqi Military Mission to Yemen in 1940-1943 with details on Yemen at that time under the rule of Imām Yaḥyā. It is now available for reading online and downloadable.
first page of the author’s text
The text consists of 256 pages with a detailed table of contents, illustrations and a large map. The major chapters deal with Yemen’s geography and resources, history, the author’s travel experience to Yemen, the capital Ṣan‘ā’, Imām Yaḥyā, social life, major routes, local medicine, the government and soldiers, social and regional groups, women, marriage customs, festivals and greeting behavior, Yemenite Jews, the Iraqi advisors in Yemen, diplomatic relations and correspondence, Islamic sects, and his return to Iraq. There are numerous photographs, which unfortunately did not reproduce well in the publication.
photograph of Imām Yaḥyā (who did not want his image copied as noted in the bottom left)
beheading of soldier overseen by Sayf al-Islām Ibrāhīm
one of the earliest photographs of Yemeni bara‘
respective genealogies of Iraqī King Faysal and Yemeni Imām Yaḥyā
The World Digital Library of the U.S. Library of Congress has 273 items available online regarding Yemen. These include old books in various languages, several manuscripts from the Egyptian National Library and maps.
One of the indigenous forms of Arabic poetry in Yemen is called ḥumaynī. For those who have not read the chronicle of Yaḥya b. al-Ḥusayn (d. 1100/1689) entitled Ghāyat al-amānī, it might be of interest to note that he claims the first appearance of this poetic form in the year 838/1434-5. This reference appears to be to the first collection of this poetry, since such a local form would not originally have been written. I attach the relevant pages from the edited text by Muḥammad al-Akwa‘ published in 1388/1968 in Cairo.
Congratulations to Flagg Miller on the Arabic translation of his ethnographic study of cassette poetry. The English original is available here.
There is a useful bibliography of Arabic texts related to Yemen on the website Alukah.net. Several of these are available in pdf.
For access to a major collection of downloadable pdfs on Yemen, go here.
Here is the start of the bibliography noted above.
هذه قائمة بالمصادر الأساسية في تاريخ اليمن، القديم والمعاصر.
مصادر ومراجع تاريخ اليمن
فصل من كتاب (جامع مؤلفات أهل اليمن ، المخطوطة والمطبوعة منذ أول تأليف ختى عام 2005م، بيليوجرافيا شاملة : تأليف : عمر عوض خريص ، مخطوط
* أئمة اليمن .
محمد بن محمد بن يحيى زبارة ، ت (1380هـ) طبع بتعز سنة 1952م . وطبعته الدار اليمنية
عبدالقادر محمد الصبان ، مخطوط ، لدى ورثة المؤلف بسيئون .
* أبرز الأحداث اليمنية في ربع قرن : سبتمبر 1962ـ سبتمبر1987: من ارشيف صحيفة الرأي العام .، دمشق : مطبعة الكاتب العربي 1987، 175ص 24سم .
* الاتجاه القومي في حركة الاحرار اليمنيين .
عبدالله أحمد الذيعاني ، رسالة ماجستير ، بغداد ، (طع 256).
* آثار ونقوش العقلة .
محمد عبدالقادر بافقيه ، مطبعة لجنة التاليف والترجمة ، القاهرة 1967.
* اثبات ماليس مثبوت من تاريخ يافع في حضرموت .
عبدالخالق بن عبدالله بن صالح البطاطي (1324ـ 1410هـ) ،مطابع دار البلاد بجدة ، 122 ص ، والمؤلف رجل من رجال الدولة القعيطية ، تولى نيابة السلطان على مدينة الشحر ، وكان مخلصا وفيا لبلاده ، شارك في عملية التنوير والبناء ، وكتابه هذا ردا على مؤلف المؤرخ محمد عبدالقادر بامطرف (الاقطاعيون كانوا هنا ) . والذي كتبه بامطرف في ظروف حرجة .
There are many more texts listed on the site.
Arafāt ‘Abd al-Raḥīm al-Ḥaḍramī (shown above) paid a visit to the AIYS on Wednesday, February 6 to submit a final report on his project for the Kaplan Foundation Grant regarding preservation of manuscripts in Zabīd. He provided a copy for the AIYS library of his book entitled Indexing Community Library of Yemen’s Scholars— City of Zabid. He is currently working on a new book about the documentation of the preservation of the Old of City Zabīd from 1985 through 2017.
Arafāt al-Ḥaḍramī’s book entitled Indexing Community Library of Yemen’s Scholars— City of Zabīd is aimed to fill a literary gap by providing a publication with an accurate and updated index prepared professionally. The book includes indices of the entire collection of the manuscripts held in the center of manuscripts in Zabīd. Such a publication will fill both a literary and an academic gap. It will help in documenting the manuscripts, preserving authors’ intellectual rights, protecting the manuscripts from burglary, preserving Zabīd’s cultural heritage of Zabīd and as a service to scholars.
This is an important article on missing folios of the Ṣan‘ā’ Quranic palimpsest appearing at auction houses. Yemen’s heritage is being sold to the highest bidder, an incredible travesty on top of the humanitarian crisis. Below is the leaf that was sold in 2008 for £2,484,500.
The anthropologist John Kennedy, who wrote an early study (The Flower of Paradise) on the use of qāt in Yemen, also took a number of videos in Ṣanā’ in 1975. Several of these are now online on Youtube. Most deal with making the qamariyya windows, but there is also one on architecture, another on Bab al-Sabāḥ and another on a walk through the old suq. The quality of the filming and its reproduction online is poor, but it is well worth watching. The soundtrack is also a useful guide to the actual sounds and dialogue.
Here are the links:
Dutch Consul Cornelis Adriaanse (on the right, sitting against a tree) in Yemen with his hosts, early 1930s (UBL Or. 26.374)
by Arnoud Vrolijk, Curator of Middle Eastern Special Collections
The Yemeni manuscripts of Leiden University Libraries are now being digitised as part of The Zaydi Manuscript Tradition, a project coordinated by Professor Sabine Schmidtke (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton).
For a number of years a war has been raging in Yemen, which not only devastates cities and villages, but also brings the population on the verge of famine. Only few people in the Netherlands are aware that Yemen has a rich culture which is now under heavy pressure. Historical buildings are being destroyed, but much less visible is the damage inflicted on the written heritage, the backbone of an ancient civilisation.
From times immemorial, Yemen has been the home country of the Zaydis, an early community in Shi’ite Islam. Until 1962 the imams, the religious leaders, were simultaneously the rulers of Yemen. Contrary to expectation, Zaydi Islam has never lived in isolation: there were extensive contacts with the Sunnis in the north and, for example, the Shi’ites of Iran. Their cultural treasures in the domains of religion, science and literature have been preserved in the Arabic manuscripts of Yemen. These handwritten books have an individual style that sets them off against the mainstream traditions of the Middle East.
Yemen has always had a rich library tradition. At present it is impossible to ascertain the current state of the collections. As a result, scholars from Yemen and abroad are now basically cut off from their source materials. In Europe and America, however, there are relatively small but important collections of Yemeni manuscripts. Most of these were collected in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by scholars, diplomats and travellers.
For the rest of this article, click here.