Sunday, 7 April 2013

Hadramaut, Yemen

Yemen is Yaman in Malay. Hadramaut is spelled many ways - Hadramaut, Hadramawt, Hadramout, etc. The people of Hadramaut are Hadrami or Hadromi. Some Malays have used the term Al-Yamani as a suffix in their names to indicate that their ancestors hailed from Hadramaut. I am not a student of Arabic but I hear the soothing and welcoming words "Ahlan wa sahlan ... min Yamani, mu barrokah Hadramaut" from one of the tourism promotional videos. The opening words alone tell us of a background of a very different culture from what we are used to (western culture), of a highly cultured people and civilisation, that which is careful about what is said, and that touches the hearts. That is Hadramaut.

Why is Hadramaut important?

Hadramaut is important for many things in our human civilisation. There are many things discussed and buzzed about Hadramaut. Two ancient cities of Hadramaut are of note - Tarim and Seyoun (Seioun and other spellings).

The Quran (Surah Hud) also mentions of the ancient peoples who once lived there and then disappeared. The expansive graves at Tarim have appeared in a history documentary on the National Geographic (on ASTRO). The documentary mentioned and showed that Nabi Hud (Hood) a.s. and Nabi Salleh a.s. are buried here.

Hadramaut is the centre of higher learning, for almost everything. Hadramaut is what science and medicine are about. It is from a peaceful mind that thinks, the peaceful life of the Hadromi, that the mind can grasp new knowledge and man comes to accept his surroundings as provided to him by the Supreme Creator. That peaceful mind is the source of a lot of knowledge, and the Hadromi people have traveled far and wide to spread their knowledge, not only of Islam, but everything they knew.

Hadramaut has never been acknowledged to be of any significance in the universities of the west. Westerners failed to know that Hadramaut is the source of a lot of knowledge we have today. Hadromis are responsible for the spread of real knowledge of our existence. Medicine is only a small part of the much larger and infinite store of knowledge that man needs.

There are institutions of learning. The main one is Darul Mustafa. Many young men go to study there. Learning is in small groups, like what we do today, which is the best way to learn in the face-to-face learning mode. The teacher is perched slightly higher than the students who sit around him, this, to enable knowledge to transcend easily, which we have it reversed and which results in many failures of our modern learning system. Students are not seated on chairs but on soft carpets. There is a separate learning institution for women. There is a separate institution for syari'ah.

What is most special is the way the Hadromi men live their lives. There is buying and selling at the local markets - trading cattle and grains. There is dancing at night and tea is served in the open cool night with mats spread for everyone. The young and old men smile a lot; smiling itself is advocated for health and social reasons, but not laughing, which actually darkens the heart - something that the rest of the world believes is good for health.

I think it is high time, that we all take a good look at what Hadramaut had done for generations before us and how we can take up Hadramaut and place it high among the cities we already know. We cannot simply forget Hadramaut.

YouTube videos:
Hadramaut video 1
Hadramaut video 2
Tarim, Hadramaut video 3