Studying Islam in Yemen
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Studying in Yemen

Ibn Alwan Mosque in Yafrus

Shibam - Hadhramaut
It is said that if Adam, peace be upon him, would return to the Earth, the only place he would recognize would be Yemen because it hasnt changed.

Discover with us the beauty and mystery of Arabia Felix

The old Arabic legends and even the Yemenis say that AL-YAMAN derives from the word AL-YUMN (blessing and prosperity). This meaning agrees with the name "Arabia Felix".
Others say the classification AL-YAMAN derives from yumna (right from the Kaaba...). The Arabs orientate themselves towards the right direction, because the right side is a symbol of fortune.

Still some Yemenis always express with the word "AL-SHAM" the North and with AL-YAMAN the South. Today the Yemen is called "Republic of Yemen".

Since ancient times Yemen has enchanted travellers, merchants, philosophers and kings with its secrets and its wealth.
This country in the south-west corner of the Arabian Peninsula fascinates every visitor with the variety and the contrasts of the vegetation, landscape, the architecture and the people:

Gigantic mountains with villages like fortresses on the top of the peaks
Picturesque urban settlements with houses of clay, bricks and stone

Deserts and fertile valleys, magnificent terraces and dreamlike beaches

Colourful markets with the sounds, fragrances, and faces from 1001 Nights

When you visit Yemen child-dreams become to a personal experience.
You will meet the old wisdom and the art of the Land of the Queen of Sheba everywhere in the antique ruins, in the mosques and on the facades of the houses.

The old history and rich tradition of the Yemeni people are the sources of their identity, dignity, kindness and hospitality.

We are pleased to invite you!
Enjoy with us this majestic country!

Anyone who likes adventure, culture, sport and recreation is


The following account of the Hadramawt school Dar al Mustafa in Tarim, Yemen is written by Shadee Elmasry.

For two years, my most dominant thought was traveling to and being with the grand shaykhs and saliheen I had heard so much about. Without a doubt, not one day passed without me thinking about it. Alhamdulilah, in the momentous summer of 2000, it finally happened. As an act of gratitude, I would like to give a first-hand account of that experience, along with some helpful tips, for those hopeful aspirants who have yet to journey themselves. I know how it feels.

Physically getting to Yemen is easy. You can get a cheap flight to Sanaa, the capitol. The airport is tiny, smaller than an A & P food market. The Habaib have a house in Sanaa for people travelling through. A brother picked me up as I had informed them of my coming arrival a day before. But that is not necessary as the city is small relative to US cities. I spent a day there to rest. The school, Dar al Mustafa, is south of Sanaa in Tarim. You can take a 10-hour bus trip or a flight to Seyoun, where you may call the school, and a taxi will come for you. If you can get around in NY, LA, St. Louis, or any of these cities, travelling in Yemen should not be difficult for you. It is said that if Adam, peace be upon him, would return to the Earth, the only place he would recognize would be Yemen because it hasn’t changed.

Dar al Mustafa is nice, and the scenery is just as I imagined and more. It is a building of orange-like coloured stones with some parts roofless. Its two levels are comprised of student rooms, a kitchen, a tiny store, and the prayer hall. Goats and chickens run around the village; houses are of mud brick.

When a student arrives, he is tested rather informally. One of the things I found interesting was that the Shaykh asked if my father approved of the trip. I realized right away how much elders are respected; parents are near sacred. There are many teachers who can spend with you perhaps 30 minutes per day, and its pretty relaxed. I just asked a teacher, and I was given a time slot. I had four classes per day, and then later took nine per day, 5.5 days a week. One of the students helped me arrange my days routine.

At around 4am, you are roused from sleep for tahajjud prayer. Then, the Ninety-Nine Beatific Names are recited. That was my favorite. Also, before and after every prayer, the awrad are recited over the PA system. This helps to memorize them without even trying. After fajr, the classes begin and go up to 9am which is breakfast time, and usually people sleep after that until the dhuhr adhan. Sometimes a group jog is organized. The time after dhuhr is slow due to the heat. Lunch is served, and you have some free time for study, private classes, etc..

Asr is then called, and following that is the Rawha---readings from the Ihya with Habeeb Omar. On Mondays, we sang the Burda, and on Fridays there was khitaba, practicing Jumua Khutba. Again, a short break is given before Maghrib. I utilized this time for walks in the village. There is something deeply human about walking along a route absolutely free of anything synthetic. All you hear is the crunching of your feet against the dirt path. Once I hiked up a large hill; another time, I visited a goat-farm and fed Billy goats. This is a beautiful trait of Tarim. No matter what level of knowledge or certainty you’re at, you can fit in. I enjoyed the simplicity and quietness. Classes resume until Isha, which is followed by review of what you learned, and then dinner is served. That is a day at Dar al Mustafa. Visiting students can abate the schedule if it is too intense.

When in a good environment, ones diseases and ignorance become starkly apparent. When there, one realizes ones state. I thought, "Boy, I am seriously dysfunctional. This is scary. I better do something." Also, most newcomers get a little sick. I personally got very ill in the last week and actually thought I was going to die. In sha Allah, the illness was purification and not punishment. One of the good things about getting sick is that all the shuyukh visit you, especially if you are a visitor from a far away place. In regards to the shuyukh, I recommend two things: 1) have adab and 2) dont be shy to express yourself. Personally, I thought to myself, "I might never come here again," and it was as if an impulse picked me up and took me to Habeeb Alis or Habeeb Omars house. You must initiate intimate conversation and express yourself as this could be a once in a lifetime chance. Theres a hadith that say! s if you love someone, tell them. By doing so and by giving them gifts, they will remember you and in turn love you back. It is more important that the shaykh love the student than that the student love the shaykh. When I was sick, Habeeb Omar told me, "Hadha zayn lak"---"This is good for you." Tahooran in sha Allah.

I believe that Dar al Mustafa will be a school of choice for future Western Muslims in sha Allah. It combines the remoteness of Mauritania with the amenability of Damascus, meaning that it is not too difficult to live there. All the places are praiseworthy; I am just noting a quality that I found there. The Westerners have a committee to help new students and visitors, and in sha Allah an English program will be arranged for non-Arabic speakers to learn Arabic from scratch. Another great quality is Dar al Zahra, which is a school for sisters being built just across the road. There are many other surprises and secrets about Tarim, but I wont disclose them all. You’ll have to see for yourself.

Our communities will grow immensely if every year one or two people travel to a place like this. Your iman increases, and you return giving off vibes to be absorbed by those around you. Barak Allah fikum, wassalam alaikum.

Shadee Elmasry

Toms River, 2001

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