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)

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.

 
 
 
 
 
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