Tarim, A Historic Landmark of Hadramout

One of the centers of knowledge and enlightenment
August 3, 2022

Tarim, A Historic Landmark of Hadramout

One of the centers of knowledge and enlightenment
August 3, 2022
Photo Credit: Abdullah Al-Baiti - © Khuyut

Tarim is one of the historic cities of Wadi Hadramout (Valley of Hadramout) famous until today, which are: Shibam, Sayun, and Tarim. It is located northeast of Shibam in Wadi Hadramout, where Wadi Al-Masila begins. It was said: “it was named after Tarim bin Al-Sukoon bin Al-Ashras bin Kinda.” It is said: “it was first build by Tarim bin Hadramout bin Saba Al-Asghar.” It was mentioned in the ancient Yemeni inscriptions Tarm (in the Irian inscription 32), and Tarim in (Naqsh Jam 547).

In the Islamic era, Tarim became a center of science and knowledge in Yemen. Al-Hamdani described it in the book (Al-Sifa) as a "great city". Its famous mosque, founded in the fourth century AH, was one of the most prominent of these centers, as students used to come to study from all over Yemen and the neighboring East African regions.

Ibn Ubaid Allah Al-Saqqaf said in his book (Edam Al-Qooat in the Remembrance of the provinces of Hadramout) on the authority of Tarim: “Tarim is the base of Hadramout.” Al-Hamdani said about it: “Trim is a great city", and Yaqoot said: "Tarim is a name for one of the two cities of Hadramout; Because Hadramout is a name for the region as a whole, and its two cities are Tarim and Shibam, which were two tribes named after the two cities.”

 The poet Al-A'sha said:

The mourning for Tarim was long, and we departed from Bakr bin Wael

The poet (Katheer) said:

It was as if her load was filled with tampering, as ships in Shuaiba would not move 

Al-Hamdani also said: “Tarim, is the house of Tameem, and Taris in, Hadramout.”

And he said in the eighth part of the Akleel: “The forts of Hadramout are Damoun for Hemyar, and Al-Najir is for Bani Maadi Karb from Kinda, Hadramout, and Kinda Hura in today, and Tarim is the place of kings from Bani Amr bin Muawiyah, including Abu Al-Khair bin Amr who came to Kisra, to seek support from him to fight Ibn Al-Harith Ibn Muawiyah.

And from what the author of the book (Taj Al-Arous) mentioned on (The Qamoos) he said: “And Tarim, as the prince of the city of Hadramout, was named after its builder, Tarim bin Hadramout. Our sheikh said: It is the nest of the saints and their origin, and in it there is a group of those who witnessed the Battle of Badr, and it is the residence of the masters of Al Ba’alawi family, from which they dispersed in the country. ".

As soon as the letter of the Prophet Mohammad (may God bless him and grant him peace) calling Yemeni to believe in Islam was received, the people of Tarim embraced Islam, and Islam spread in Hadramout. Salim bin Amr Al-Ansari was the preacher of Islam in Hadhramaut, and he succeeded resoundingly.

  And when the Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) died, and some of the residents of Hadhramaut converted, the Caliph of the Muslims, Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq, sent a letter to Labid bin Ziyad, who was in the city of Hadhramaut, and he read it to its people, and they pledged allegiance to him. Then most of the people of Hadhramaut pledged allegiance to him. When Abu Bakr knew the news, he prayed for the people of Tarim for goodness and blessing, the effects of which are still tangible in Tarim to this day.

As for Tarim Mosque, its building was completed in 215 AH, and then it was rebuilt by Al-Hussein bin Salama. However, Al-Shalli did not mention its building until the year 581 AH. He said: Then it was renewed in the year 585 AH. Then, in the year 903 AH, Sheikh Abdullah bin Abdul Rahman Bafadel Belhaj wrote to Sultan Amer bin Abdul Wahhab asking him to expand the mosque. Because it was crowded with praying people, he sent him a large sum of money with the great master Mohammad bin Ahmed Baskuta, so he built it, which is the building that exists until now.

Among the scholars of Tarim was Sheikh Ali bin Muhammad bin Ali bin Hatem, who died - as in the history of Bashrahil - in Tarim in Sha’ban in the year 603 AH.

Moreover, among the scholars is the righteous jurist Ali bin Mohammad bin Maimoon, who died in the year 604 AH. As for Sheikh Salem bin Fadl bin Muhammad bin Abdul Karim bin Muhammad Ba Fadhl, who was known of his trip to Iraq, he died as a martyr in Tarim in the year 581 AH, as stated by the scholar Abdullah bin Abi Bakr Qadri Ba shuaib.

Many distinguished scholars, writers and poets emerged from Tarim, such as Abdullah bin Alawi al-Haddad, Abd al-Rahman bin Abdullah Balfaqih, Abu Bakr bin Shihab, the famous Mufti Tarim Abd al-Rahman, the historian Muhammad bin Ahmad al-Shatri, Salem Bakir, and many others who are not counted, and there is no limit for them. 

Ibrahim Al-Maqhafi said about it: "Tarim - an ancient city of scientific and historical fame located at the end of Wadi Hadramawt, northeast of the city of Seiyun, about 32 km away. It was named after Tarim bin Hadramout Ibn Saba the Younger". The excavations that were found indicate that the date of its foundation dates back to the fourth century BC; That is, in the Sabaean era, and there is another opinion that says: Tarim was founded at the time of Asaad al-Kamil of the Himyarite Tabahs in the fourth century AD, and its location was on the Incense Road.

After Islam, it gained wide religious fame as a center of scientific, intellectual and religious radiation, where many scientific centers were established. Therefore, students of science came to it from various Yemeni regions, as well as from nearby African countries, neighboring countries, and even Indonesia and the Far East.

Further, the reason for its publicity as the pioneering role by the large number of its scientific centers, mosques, and teaching corners. As well as the multiplicity of its scholars, and the most important of these ligaments, mosques and angles: the Ribat of Tarim, the Ribat of the Al-Fateh Mosque, which some described at the height of its scientific activity as Al-Azhar Al-Saghir, and the school of Abu Maryam, who is Muhammad bin Omar bin Mohammad bin Ahmed Ibn Al-Faqih Al-Mokadam, who died in 822 AH, and the Sheikh Salem School Ba Fadhl, located in front of his mosque, which is one of the oldest Tarim schools, and Sheikh Hussein bin Abdullah Al-Hajj school, which is located to the west of Tarim cemetery, and is called today the “Shukrah” mosque as well as the Baghrib School, and the Al Ba Juma'an School.

 As for the most famous mosques in the city, they are listed below: 

• The Great Mosque, which was established in the period between 375 and 402 AH.

• Al-Wael Ahmed Abbad Bin Bishr Al-Ansari Mosque.

• Ashiq Mosque, formerly known as Abu Hatim Mosque.

• Ba'alawi Mosque, which was built by Imam Ali bin Alawi, known as Khali Qism.

• Al-Fath Mosque, which was built by Imam Abdullah bin Alawi bin Muhammad Al-Haddad, a mosque that has been renovated and expanded in recent years by skilled local engineers and builders, as well as from India, Pakistan and Morocco.

• Al-Mihdhar Mosque, which is famous for its minaret that rises more than fifty meters. This minaret is considered one of the most famous Islamic and architectural landmarks in Yemen, being built of mud, and with a unique engineering style, which made it withstand geographical factors for more than 100 years so far.

These mosques, booksellers, and libraries that were built during the Islamic golden age, between the tenth and thirteenth centuries AH, have given the city a wide fame until today. Historians have mentioned that there were about 365 mosques in the city of Tarim, representing each day of the Hijri year.

Many of the people of Tarim have excelled in various scientific and religious fields, and they have also produced hundreds of books in Qura'an interpretation, hadith, language, geography and other sciences, and most of this heritage is still preserved in the Al-Ahqaf Library, which occupies the top floor of the Great Mosque in Tarim, and it comes second in its importance, after the Library of the Great Mosque in Sana’a, which contains six thousand and two hundred titles, including Hadrami hand manuscripts written in a wonderful artistic script, endowed by science students from the city of Tarim and some other regions.

The city of Tarim has beautiful houses and buildings characterized by a unique architectural art, especially the houses of the Al-Kef family. The old city had a circular wall of mud with two gates to enter and exit the city. The main gate is called the Hashem Gate, and in Tarim there are many edges and alleys, including:

Al-Khalif neighborhood: which is located to the west of Tarim to the north, then Al-Radhimah, then Al-Suhail, then Al-Nuwaidrah, including the eastern side of Tarim Al-Souq and then Al-Hajf.

The people of Wadi Hadramout call the city of Tarim (the paradise); Due to the large number of palm trees from which the distinctive dates fall, and the shadows of the palaces that are famous for this beautiful city, which is characterized by the freshness of its water and the purity of its air.

The city of Seiyun and Tarim are linked by an asphalt road, on both sides of which are palm trees that have covered the valley with evergreen greenery. Many villages are spread around Tarim, including:

• Aidid, located at the southern foot of Mount Makharan, which is the mountain in whose eastern trough lies the Al-Khalif neighborhood. The village of Al-Hawi in the east of Tarim, and its residents include the Al-Jafri family, the Al-Haddad family, and the Ba salem family. The village of Al-Muhaidhara, in the Al ASumait family resided. Al-Misnadah, Khababa, Al-Najir, Roga, Mashta, and in it are the Al-Aidaros family, Kourat Al-Awad, and on the left of the one going from Tarim to the East, the first is the village of Damoun, and in it are the homes of the Salamah family of Tamim, then the village of Al-Fajir, then Al-Ghawedah and then Qaher for the Abd Al-Sheikh family from Tamim, then Lasak, then the city of Aynatt and others.


• (Edam Al-Qooat in the Remembrance of the provinces of Hadramout), Abd Al-Rahman bin Obaidullah Al-Saqqaf, Dar Al-Minhaj, investigated by Mohammad Abu Bakr Ba dheeb, 1st edition, 2005.

• The Yemeni Encyclopedia, Al-Afif Cultural Foundation, 2nd Edition, January (January), 2003 AD / 1423 AH.

• Dictionary of Countries and Yemeni Tribes, Ibrahim Al-Maqhafi, Al Jeel Al Jadeed Library, 5th Edition, 2011.

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