Category Archives: Literature

Dictionary on Tribal Customary law in Yemen

covergabali

Culminating its support for Yemen’s cultural heritage, AIYS has recently printed and published Qāmūs al-‘urf al-qabīlī fī al-Yaman (Dictionary of Tribal Customary Law in Yemen) in three volumes. This is a remarkable work aimed to fill a gap in the Yemeni literature. The author is Ahmed al-Gabali, a senior researcher at the Yemeni Center for Studies and Research.

qabali1
Ahmad Gabali with Dr. Salwa Dammaj in the AIYS office

This dictionary is the first of its kind in the Yemeni literature. It is designed to gather, document and explain terms and idioms regarding tribal norms and rules in different regions of Yemen from north to south and from east to west. The author conducted a nationwide field survey in the most famous tribal regions in Yemen. Study of the available literature provided a key resource for the content. This was based on original tribal documents, works by Yemeni authors, as well as studies by foreign researchers. In addition, geographical and historical literature was consulted as a reference to support the work. Local folk poetry in several Yemeni regions also proved valuable help for explaining the terms and concepts. Generally speaking, the content of the dictionary is based on reliable and credible sources and authentic references. It will serve as a main reference for researchers in the future.

title

The author Aḥmad Ṣāliḥ al-Gabalī has been a sociology and anthropology researcher at the Yemen Center forStudies and Research since 2004. He received an M.A. degree in Bulgaria in 1988. His previous publications include studies of the terms hajar and jawār in ancient Yemen as well as the Contract of Medina written during the lifetime of the Prophet. He began research for this book on Yemeni tribes in 2006.

back

Continue reading Dictionary on Tribal Customary law in Yemen

​Modern Yemeni Theatre: A Brief History

novelists
Yemeni novelists and playwrites  Nadiah al-Kokabany, Wagdi al-Ahdal, Ali al-Moqri and Samir Abdul-Fatah

by Sara Forcella

Over the past two centuries, Yemen has been the scene of an important literary flowering. Despite the never-ending struggle of play-writers against the socio-political difficulties of the country, the emergence of the Modern Yemeni Theatre doubtless represents an example both of an innovative and high value literary production. Continuously facing social, political and cultural problems, Yemeni authors and players have always shown a great capability of keeping up with the times. Their works talk about doubts, questions, passions and issues of the modern man, going beyond the “local” dimension and constantly dialoguing with their Western counter-parts.

awlaqi
Sa‘īd ‘Awlaqī

According to Saʿīd ʿAwlaqī (Sabʿūna ʿāmān min al-masraḥ fī-al-Yaman [Seventy Years of Yemen Theatre], 1983), the first information available about the early Yemeni dramas dates back to 1904 when the Indian acting company of Jamlat Shah came to Aden. The company went on stage with a mostly musical performance involving all its members, namely actors, dancers, musicians and circus animals. However, it was not until 1910 that the first Yemeni theatrical company was established in Aden, consisting of students that acted out a western play, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, in Arabic. As al-Mubarak (Arabic Drama, A Critical Introduction, 1986) wrote, these first companies adopted the western model of playwriting once they came in direct contact with it during the 19th century, both in Greater Syria (the ancient region including Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestine territories till the collapse of the Ottoman empire in 1918) and Egypt. Western models melded with previous forms of Arabic art performances, spanning the traditional shadow play, storytelling and poetry recitation.
Continue reading ​Modern Yemeni Theatre: A Brief History

Yemen’s Ḥumaynī poetry

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.

ghaya1
ghaya2

ghaya3

Bibliography of Arabic Texts on Yemen

muja

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.

اخي الكريم
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
ـــ
الأباضية بحضرموت.
عبدالقادر محمد الصبان ، مخطوط ، لدى ورثة المؤلف بسيئون .
ـــ
* أبرز الأحداث اليمنية في ربع قرن : سبتمبر 1962ـ سبتمبر1987: من ارشيف صحيفة الرأي العام .، دمشق : مطبعة الكاتب العربي 1987، 175ص 24سم .
ـــــــ
* الاتجاه القومي في حركة الاحرار اليمنيين .
عبدالله أحمد الذيعاني ، رسالة ماجستير ، بغداد ، (طع 256).
ــــــ
* آثار ونقوش العقلة .
محمد عبدالقادر بافقيه ، مطبعة لجنة التاليف والترجمة ، القاهرة 1967.
ـــــ
* 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.

A Boy’s View of Mocha Coffee

boy1

Trolling through archive.org can yield surprising and very obscure finds. Such is the case for this Orientalist book by Daniel Wise from 1885. The author has written it for boys (not sure if girls were on his mind) about a trip that a boy could make from Boston to Baghdad and back again. The author splices information from various travel accounts into his fanciful narrative, which has a missionary side as well.

What I found of interest was a brief discussion of coffee, probably taken from Niebuhr’s late 18th century travels.  There is nothing new here, but the style is fun to consider. It is interesting to note that even back then it seems that not all Mocha coffee was coming from Mocha.

boy2

boy5

boy3

boy4

Yemeni Arts on al-Madaniya

madaniya

Despite the turmoil and suffering in Yemen, a number of Yemeni artists are continuing to write, draw, photograph and film. One of the more exciting online resources for this is the website al-madaniya, published in English and Arabic.  Current posts include an article on Muhammad Mahmud al-Zubayri, Art in prehistoric Yemen, Yemeni songs, the poets ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Muqalih and ‘Abd Allah al-Baradduni, several short stories and much more. All the articles are published in Arabic and English, so they are also suitable for anyone interested in learning Arabic.

As note in the “About” section…

al-Madaniya magazine is a platform for Yemeni art, culture and civil society. It aims to highlight and nurture Yemeni art, culture and civil society initiatives through contributions from emerging and established writers, photographers and creatives

The magazine aims to impact the way Yemenis view their own society by providing a space for its cultural, intellectual and artistic productions, and by highlighting initiatives bridging social divisions. By presenting all contributions in both Arabic and English language, the magazine allows the international reader to explore an undiscovered side to Yemen, which differs from images of Yemen created in mainstream media

al-Madaniya magazine is a project implemented by the Yemen Polling Center and made possible by the generous funding of the German Institute of Foreign Affairs.  Yemeni artist Ibi Ibrahim has been commissioned to lead the project and serve as the Editor in Chief.

New Bibliographic Resource for Yemen

efatwa1

Much has been made of Iran’s alleged support of the Huthi regime in Yemen. Lost in the glare of the politics is a remarkable resource in Iran for anyone interested in the history of Yemen and its culture, and indeed for the whole history of Islam and the region. This is a website devoted to classical Arabic and Persian texts, including several which are relevant to Yemen. It boasts some 6,742 books and over 27,000 journal articles.

Among the texts available to read and to search online are al-Hamdānī’s Ṣifat jazīrat al-‘Arab, Nashwān ibn Sa‘īd al-Ḥimyarī’s Mulūk Ḥimyar wa-aqyāl al-Yaman, al-Burayḥī’s Ṭabaqāt ṣulaḥā’ al-Yaman, al-Janadī’s Sulūk, al-Khazrajī’s al-‘Uqūd al-lu’lu’iyya, plus many more. In addition there is an online searchable edition of al-Zabīdī’s Tāj al-‘arūs, the lexicon of lexicons.

yemensearchThe remarkable feature of this website is that you can search the entire collection or search within an individual text.  For example, if you type اليمن into the overall search function, it will give you hundreds of hits in a variety of Arabic books and journal articles, as noted above.

dhamar
If you go to a specific text, like al-Hamdānī’s geographical text, and type in a location (like ذمار), you get all the times it occurs in the text.

Continue reading New Bibliographic Resource for Yemen