Category Archives: Arabic Language

Al-Gabali Book Signing at YCSR

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Dr Salwa Dammaj, Dr Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh, Ahmed al-Gabali, Abdulbari Taher, left to right.

A cultural event was organized and held at the Yemen Center for Studies and Researches (YCSR) in Sanaa on Wednesday 17 July 2019 to celebrate the publication of Qāmūs al-‘urf al-qabīlī fī al-Yaman [The Lexicon of Tribal Norms in Yemen]. The author is Ahmed al-Gabali, the Head of the Sociology Department at the Center. The book was published by AIYS as part of a recent series to publish annually a book on Yemen’s cultural heritage in Yemen by a Yemeni author. It was really a wonderful moment to celebrate a publication of an important cultural work at this extremely gloomy time.

An elite group of senior Yemeni researchers and authors attended and contributed to the event including Yemen’s great poet Dr Abdulaziz al-Maqaleh, President of the YCSR. The event commenced with brief speech by the author and researcher Mohammed al-Shaybani in which he welcomed the audience. Then, the sponsor of the function Dr Abdulaziz delivered his opening remarks in which he voiced thanks and appreciation for the author, Ahmed al-Gabali, for his great efforts and hard work to get the lexicon accomplished. Dr al-Maqaleh also expressed thanks for AIYS for contributing toward printing the lexicon and getting it published.

Hear Dr. Maqaleh’s remarks

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After that the Resident Director of AIYS, Dr Salwa Dammaj, delivered a speech, expressing thanks for the audience and  deeply appreciating the attendance of Dr Al-Maqaleh and his extraordinary role and contribution to the Yemeni culture and literature. She said:

“It is very difficult for me, who grew up on al-Maqaleh’s poetry and his prominent humanitarian and cultural active role in the Yemeni national arena, to talk about him. I’m like my generation and several Yemeni generations who have been influenced by Dr al-Maqaleh’s literature. We are grateful for this great man who devoted his life to develop Yemeni culture, establish cultural institutions and encourage young authors and support them. His extraordinary poetical works and pioneering role will remain an outstanding landmark in the modern history of Yemeni culture and literature.

The rich Yemeni culture with its unique diversity expressively denotes the deep and great civilized heritage of our people and country. Today we are here to celebrate a noteworthy and valuable book aimed to shed light on a significant side of our cultural heritage and illustrate some of its components. I am referring to the issue of tribal norms in Yemen. Perhaps, it should be quite difficult today to talk about the Yemeni culture and its uniqueness, while Yemen has been enduring the current dilemma, suffering from misery and a humanitarian crisis. But, the opposite is true; culture is the key factor that can help over some of the country’s misery and it is a prerequisite to cope with political challenges and short-sighted visions, as we move forward to a better future.”

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Afterwards the much-respected researcher and political activist, Abdulbari Taher, made a significant comment on the importance of the ‘Lexicon’, describing the book as a pioneering work which will fill an important gap in the Yemeni literature and library. The chief researcher at the (CYSR). Qadiri Ahmed Haider, delivered a speech on behalf of the author’s friends; he highly praised the tireless efforts and hard work made by Mr al-Gabali over the years to see the Lexicon accomplished. “It is a remarkable and pioneering work, self-driven and plausible adventure that al-Jabili deserves to be congratulated for”, noted Haider.

Finally, the author expressed his pleasure for having his Lexicon published, voicing deep thanks and appreciation for AIYS for printing his book and getting it published. Mr al-Gabali talked about his work on the book over the years, describing his research methodology that involved him in field survey in different Yemeni regions to collect and verify the tribal norms and vocabularies of the Lexicon. He reiterated his thanks for Dr Al-Maqaleh’s support and encouragement. By the end of the session, Mr al-Gabali signed copies of the book, launching the distribution of copies of the Lexicon in three volumes.

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AIYS is please to announce that the annual book award will be named the “Abdulaziz al-Maqaleh Book Award for Yemen’s Cultural Heritage” in honor of Dr. Maqaleh’s contributions to Yemen’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.

Dr.Salwa A. Dammaj

Yemeni manuscript resource

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A website called The International Treasury of Islamic Manuscripts contains basic information on almost 250 Yemeni manuscripts, most in the Glaser collection in Vienna and Berlin. You can search these by clicking here. Several of the manuscripts listed are digitized and available to view online. An example is: النفحة الندية فى توالى ايام الاشهر العربية والرومية والفارسية .  This is described as follows:

“The author Muḥammad b. Aḥmad Ibn al-Imām gives instructions on how the following tables (ff.40v-94r) for the years 1215/1800 to 1241/1825 are to be used. Every year is dealt with on four pages, and on each page the Arabic, Greek, and Persian months and their days are juxtaposed. Then the four seasons, beginning with autumn, are listed in ff.94v–96r with their appropriate lunar mansions; ff.97r-100 provide tables on the length of day and night; 101v-131r, with every page divided into three columns, indicate the first day of each month for the years 1242/1826 to 1300/1883. Corrections of احمد بن يحيى المفتى الحبيشى, as necessitated by the leap years in calculating the beginning of the new year, from the year 1266/1849 to 1300/1883.”

Yemeni Musical and Linguistic Heritage for UNESCO

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A three-day international cultural seminar on the Ḥaḍramī musical genre of Dān was held in Cairo on July 5-6, 2019. The Yemeni Minister of Culture Marwan Dammaj contributed to the discussions intended to start necessary preparations for nominating Ḥaḍramī Dān music for inclusion in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The Ḥaḍramī Dān is a genre of folk singing that is very popular in the governorate of Ḥaḍramawt, as well as other parts of Yemen and Indonesia. In one session, the Director of the Culture Office in Ḥaḍramawt, Ahmed bin Dowis, provided a presentation of Ḥaḍramī Dān. He described it as a component of Ḥaḍramī cultural identity, involved in praising, disparaging, description and wisdom. Popular bands of Ḥaḍramī Dān can be found in Tarim, Say’ūn , Daw‘ān and Shibām. For examples of Yemeni Dān, click here and here.

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Zaydi Manuscript Tradition

The Zaydi Manuscript Tradition project, based at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton,  has issued a recent report on the ZMT’s ongoing efforts to capture the Yemeni manuscripts in Italian libraries and provide open access to them.

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V. Sagaria Rossi & S. Schmidtke, “The Zaydi Manuscript Tradition (ZMT) Project. Digitizing the Collections of Yemeni Manuscripts in Italian Libraries,” Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies (COMSt) Bulletin 5/1 (2019), pp. 43-60.

An online version of the paper is available at https://www.aai.uni-hamburg.de/en/comst/pdf/bulletin5-1/43-60.pdf as well as
https://albert.ias.edu/handle/20.500.12111/7824.

2019 AIYS Yemeni Fellowship Meeting

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2019 AIYS Fellows
(top row, left to right) Mansure Jubbara (Ṣa‘da University), Shadad Al-Ali,  Director of GOAM in Dhamar, Ahmad al-Shawafi, Walid Al-Murisi, Dr Efterkar Almekhlafi, Dr Halah Jabbori, Dr. Salwa Dammaj;
(bottom row), Mohammed Jazem, Salah al-Kowmani (Dhamār University), (far right) Khalid al-Dhafari (Ibb University).

A seminar was held on Thursday, June 2019 in the AIYS premises for the 2019 AIYS Fellowships. Eleven Yemeni researchers out of 72 applicants received the 2019 Fellowship award. AIYS is the only international institute currently providing fellowships to Yemeni scholars in Yemen. If you would like to contribute to a special fund only used for fellowships to Yemeni scholars, click here.

The 2019 Yemeni scholars’ research included a variety of specializations including the sciences, agriculture, social domain, history, Arabic inscriptions, antiquities, and law. Four awarded researches aimed to study topics in Yemen’s history and antiquities. One research topic is concerned with the war’s devastating impacts upon education and pupils in the northern region of Sa‘da. Another research  intended to verify some old Yemeni Kufic inscriptions. Scientific researches are focusing on water shortages in Yemen and exploring possible solutions, endemics disease outbreaks and how to contain risks.

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Mohammed Jazem

The following awarded researchers provided brief presentations about their researches.
1. Dr. Eftekar Almekhlafi, her research titled: Selling Children: a Study of Law and Fiqh.
2. Dr. Maher al-Maqtari, his research titled:  The Possibility of Planting Barley and Grain Plants with Saline Water Irrigation in Yemen.

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Dr Maher Maktari

3. Khalid al-Dhafari, his research titled : Edited Edition of the Herbal al-Mu’tamid  fi al-adwiya al-mufrida by the Rasulid Sultan al-Malik al-Muẓaffar Yūsuf.

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Khalad al-Dhafari (Ibb University)

4. Salah al-Kawmani, his research titled: Kufic inscriptions in Dhamar, Yemen.
5. Dr. Mansur Jubbara, his research titled: The Effect of the War on the Psychological Needs of Students at  Ṣa‘da University.
6. Dr. Hala Jabbori, her research titled: The Overall Legacy Left by Cemeteries and Their Impact on Groundwater Quality.
7. Walid al-Murisi, his research titled: Prevalence and Risk Factors of Soil-Transmitted Helminth and Schistosoma mansoni among School Children in Al-Nādira District, Ibb Governorate, Yemen.

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Walid al-Murisi

8. Ahmed al-Shawafi, his research titled: Assessment of Heavy Metals Contamination in Groundwater and Using Natural Zeolite to Remove Them in Banī al-Ḥarith District, Ṣan‘ā’.

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Ahmad al-Shawafi

9. Muhammad Jazem: Study and Analysis of a Manuscript about Irrigation Rights in Wadi Dhahr.
10. Saeed Baniwas, a researcher from Hadramout, provided a presentation about his research through Skype. His research is entitled: Ecological and Biological Study of the Varroa destructor Mite on Honey bees in Doan Valley, Hadhramout Governorate.

At the end of the seminar the researchers were paid 80% of the total amount of the fellowship grant, while the remain 20% was held back until the researchers get their studies finished.

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Dr Efterkar Almekhlafi, Dr Salwa Dammaj

Dr. Salwa Dammaj, Resident Director

Dictionary on Tribal Customary law in Yemen

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Al-Khazrajī’s “al-‘Uqūd al-lu’lu’īya”

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Twisting the “Strings” and Punishing the “Pearls”
The Editing Errors by the Historian Author Redhouse
concerning the Historian Narrator Alī b. al-Ḥasan al-Khazrajī

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The most famous history of Rasulid Yemen is ‘Uqūd al-lu’lu’īya fī ta’rīkh al-dawla al-Rasūlīya by the court historian ‘Alī b. al-Ḥasan al-Khazrajī (d. 1410 CE). This was published in a widely used edition by Brill from 1906-1918 in five volumes, but there are later editions edited by Muḥammad ‘Alī al-Akwa‘ and also by ‘Abd Allāh al-Ḥibshī. Unfortunately the Brill edition has multiple errors in both the translation and Arabic text. I have created a webpage discussing the errors in the edition, the range of editions available and a biography of Sir James William Redhouse (d. 1892), who was the translator.

I encourage anyone who uses this edition to send in errors they have noticed to be added the webpage.

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Workshop on Rasulid Sultan

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On Monday, May 13, 2019, AIYS President Varisco gave a workshop on the Rasulid sultan al-Malik al-Mujāhid ‘Alī, who was kidnapped in Mecca and taken to Cairo in 351/1351 (not 1331 as in the announcement…). The workshop was for four visiting Japanese students who work on Mamluk materials. The Rasulid sources describe the kidnapping in very general terms, but the Mamluk and Meccan sources add many more details, including what happened to the sultan in Egypt. Varisco is writing an article on this event as part of his fellowship at the Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg in Bonn.