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Yemen

Based on a number of historical, and not so historical, accounts the news of the advent of Islam and the reports of its teachings were first taken to Yemen by such individuals as the trader Hanzah b. Abi Sufyan, and it was propagated by Ibn Waqshah, the guardian of the temple of Qurras. Shortly before the hijrah, a number of Yemenis had heard the words of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) during their pilgrimage and converted to Islam. In the aftermath of the letter sent by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) to Khosrow Parviz, the king of Iran, the latter appointed his governor in Yemen, Badhan, to look into the matter, a development that constituted a watershed in the history of the Islamic religion. The contacts made in the course of Badhan’s mission resulted in the attraction to the new faith of him and other Yemeni notables and their subsequent conversion to Islam. This was followed by the dispatching of a group of distinguished Companions, such as Imam `Ali (PBUH) and Ma`adh b. Jabal, to the various parts of Yemen in order to spread the knowledge of the Qur`an and Islamic teachings, a mission which proved hugely successful. 

The increasing trend of Islamic expansion in the Yemen area reverberated throughout the greater region, a development whose dimensions are echoed in the reports of the delegations of the 10th year of hijrah. As a result, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) appointed regional representatives such as Ma`adh b Jabal and Abu Musa Ash`ari to the fringes of Humar (Najd Humayr) and the interior regions of Tahamah, respectively. Other examples included the leadership of Qays b. Salmah Ja`fi over his own people and that of Farwah b. Musayk over Murad, Zubayd and `Anas. Toward the end of the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Yemen witnessed the claim to prophecy of Aswad `Ansi who managed to gather round him a following, which raised concern among the Muslims. The situation became acute after the death of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and led to further unrest in the region, where many of the Yemeni tribes refused to make their zakat payments to the central government. However, the unrest was extinguished as a result of the success of the wider campaign mounted by Abu Bakr against the wave of insurrections which had swept across the Arabian Peninsula. 

From a cultural-historical point of view, the presence of local personalities in the sphere of Islamic propagation in Yemen such as Hujr Madri who had been instructed in Medina by such illustrious Companions as Zayd b. Thabit is noteworthy. However, this was to assume a greater significance with the appearance on the scene of the distinguished men of the second generation of Successors, such as Tawus b. Kaysan, Wahab b. Munbah and Mu`ammar. The level of the Islamic knowledge of some Yemeni scholars, such as Abu ’l-Ash`as San`ani, reached to such level that they became instructors in other regions including Syria. Broadly speaking, Yemen became a major center of Islamic learning from early on, a fact backed by an extensive body of historical evidence. For instance, Yemen was among the major population centers to which a copy of the newly compiled Qur`an was sent during the caliphate of `Uthman. It was also considered as a misr (major city) in the fiqhi discussions of the congregational Friday prayer.

 source: Hajmanoochehri , Faramarz "Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 , pp. 502

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