YeQasmi

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Phase I Variables (polity-based)

General variables

♠ RA ♣ Eva Brandl; Dennis Spencer ♥ DS contributed the general description.

♠ Original name ♣ Yemen - Qasimid Dynasty ♥

♠ Alternative names ♣ ♥

♠ Peak Date ♣ ♥


Temporal bounds

♠ Duration ♣ 1637-1805 CE ♥ 'Al-Qasim b. Muhammad claimed the Imamate in 1597 and fought the Turks for slightly more than two decades.' When he died in 1620, his son al-Mu'ayyad Muhammad took the Imamate and renewed the war, but it was not until 1636 that the Turks were all driven out and the Zaydis came to hold all Yemen.' [1] Parts of Yemen were re-taken by the Ottoman empire in the 19th century: 'By the 16th century and again in the 19th century, North Yemen became part of Ottoman Empire, from which it gained independence in 1918.' [2]

♠ Degree of centralization ♣ loose ♥ Tribal leaders held lands, collected taxes, and defended forts, enabling them to form a power base in their own right: 'Whatever setbacks they suffered, however, Bayt al-Ahmar were not displaced permanently. In the year after Abu 'Alamah's rising, when the Sharif of Abu 'Arish and a rival claimant to the Imamate were active in the north-west, they were again a power to be reckoned with." Certainly they collected taxes as well as rents in the nineteenth century, and local memory credits them with taking revenue even from coastal towns in the north Tihamah, They retain considerable lands in the west to the present day.' [3]

♠ Supra-polity relations ♣ none ♥ Zaydi imams expelled Ottoman forces with tribal support: 'In response to growing Portuguese strength in the Indian <?cean, a Circassian Mameluke army was sent to Yemen from Egypt In 15I 5· The Mamelukes destroyed the Tahirid state that ruled Lower Yemen at the time but were prevented from tackling the Zaydi Imam in his turn by the Ottoman invasion of Egypt (1517), and, when they withdrew, the Imam Sharaf al-Din extended his own influence down to Aden; but in 1538 the Ottomans themselves dispatched an army and within ten years conquered ~pper Ye~~n, beginning a century of often fiercely resisted occupation.' [4]

Supra-cultural relations

♠ preceding (quasi)polity ♣ TrOttm3 ♥ Zaydi imams expelled Ottoman forces with tribal support: 'In response to growing Portuguese strength in the Indian <?cean, a Circassian Mameluke army was sent to Yemen from Egypt In 15I 5· The Mamelukes destroyed the Tahirid state that ruled Lower Yemen at the time but were prevented from tackling the Zaydi Imam in his turn by the Ottoman invasion of Egypt (1517), and, when they withdrew, the Imam Sharaf al-Din extended his own influence down to Aden; but in 1538 the Ottomans themselves dispatched an army and within ten years conquered ~pper Ye~~n, beginning a century of often fiercely resisted occupation.' [5]
♠ relationship to preceding (quasi)polity ♣ continuity ♥ Zaydi imams expelled Ottoman forces with tribal support: 'In response to growing Portuguese strength in the Indian <?cean, a Circassian Mameluke army was sent to Yemen from Egypt In 15I 5· The Mamelukes destroyed the Tahirid state that ruled Lower Yemen at the time but were prevented from tackling the Zaydi Imam in his turn by the Ottoman invasion of Egypt (1517), and, when they withdrew, the Imam Sharaf al-Din extended his own influence down to Aden; but in 1538 the Ottomans themselves dispatched an army and within ten years conquered ~pper Ye~~n, beginning a century of often fiercely resisted occupation.' [6]
♠ succeeding (quasi)polity ♣ TrOttm4 ♥ Parts of Yemen were re-taken by the Ottoman empire in the 19th century: 'By the 16th century and again in the 19th century, North Yemen became part of Ottoman Empire, from which it gained independence in 1918.'[7]
♠ Supracultural entity ♣ ♥ 'The Yemenis are a Muslim and Arabic-speaking people who are mainly Arabs, although a small percentage of the population has African and Asian ancestry. Yemeni values have traditionally relied on a hierarchical, tribally organized, and sex-segregated society. In 1962, following the overthrow of a conservative monarchy that had been supported by members of the Zaydi Islamic sect, the Republic was established, marking Yemen's entry into the modern world.' [8]
♠ scale of supra-cultural interaction ♣ ♥ km squared.

♠ Capital ♣ Shaharah; Dawran ♥ 'The state the Qasimis formed in the midst of this was none the less impressive (for the rulers' genealogy see Fig. 6.1). Al-Qasim himself, who early in his fight against the Turks had wept over his children starving at Barat, was wealthy when the truce was signed. He built the mosque at Shaharah, then built houses for himself and his followers, planted coffee in al-Ahnum, and amassed more land than the public treasury (Nubdhah: 258, 334-6). The court expanded with the southern conquests. Al-Mutawakkil received an embassy from Ethiopia and exchanged gifts of fine horses with Aurangzib of India (Serjeant 1983: 80-1), while his relatives expressed concern about his monthly demands for funds from Lower Yemen. Further criticism of his taxation policy came from Muhammad al-Ghurbani at Barat, but in 1675 the levies on Lower Yemen were redoubled (ibid. 82). Under Muhammad Ahmad, 'He of al-Mawahib'" (1687-1718), the exactions became more severe still, in support of a grandiose court and a large standing army complete with slave soldiers (ibid., Zabarah 1958: 451, 457; alShawkani 1929: ii. 98).' [9] Dresch implies that the imamic capital was moved at least once: 'At times of truce, al-Qasim had acted against some of the tribes' own practices: for example, he put a stop to pilgrimages and sacrifices at a tree near Wadi Mawr and flogged men from alAhnurn for drinking (ibid. 338); his appointee even wheedled out of the tribes their 'books of tiighiit' and duly burned them (ibid. 435). Under al-Qasirn's successors, however, the tribes were treated carefully. Al-Mu'ayyad (1620-44), for example, seems not to have pressed the point of Islamic inheritance law and to have left the taxation of Barat in the hands of Bayt al-'Ansi, while his successor, al-Mutawakkil (1644-76), paid the tribes of Barat to support his campaign against Hadramawt (Serjeant 1983: 79-82). Aden and Lahj, which had already seceded, were retaken; a decade later alBaYQa' and Yafi' were subdued; Hadramawt was invaded; and the Zaydi arms were carried at one point to the borders of Dhufar in what is now Oman. The Qasimis also became involved in, though they did not conquer, areas north of Najran and 'Asir: 'the conquests spread with the support of the Hamdan tribes and the leadership of the Qasimi family' (al-Sharnahi 1972: 145), and alMutawakkil moved his capital from Shaharah to Dawran, south of San'a'. The state (now called a dawlah by its own chroniclers) had to link the north, where armed force still lay, to the richer tax base of Lower Yemen.' [10]


♠ Language ♣ Arabic ♥ The native language was Arabic: 'Yemenis speak the dialect of Arabic spoken in the region or urban center from which they originate. Regional variations in the pronunciation of certain Arabic phonemes (especially the phoneme /q/) differentiates the speech of northerners from southerners, for example. The speech pattern of Tihama residents is marked not only by dialectal variations but by characteristic accents, intonations, and inflections.' [11]

General Description

The land now contained within the nation-state of Yemen, in the southwest of the Arabian Peninsula, has a long history of human occupation.[12] Here, however, we focus on its more recent history. The Ottoman Empire gained control of the region in the first half of the 16th century CE before being overthrown by the Qasimi dynasty.[13] The Qasimi dynasty ruled until the 19th century, when Yemen was divided up between the Ottomans in the north and the British in the south.[14] North Yemen became independent in 1918, while South Yemen did not gain its independence until decades later in 1967. The two countries were united in 1990.[15]

Population and political organization

During the Qasimi period, Qasimid imams and their retainers and courtiers co-existed and occasionally competed with tribal shaykhs and their followers.[16] Tribal leaders retained significant power, although the imams still collected taxes.[17] Tribal authority remained important even under British and Ottoman rule. Some Yemeni leaders sided with the colonial powers, while others continued to resist.[18] Nor did the new government supplant autonomous tribal power after independence: the tribes were stronger than the new imamate, although they remained fragmented.[19] After 1962, when the imamate was overthrown, the new government created a more structured bureaucracy.[20]
Secure population estimates for the Qasimi or colonial period in Yemen are lacking. In 1990, the population of Yemen was estimated at between 10 and 11 million.[21]

Social Complexity variables

♠ RA ♣ Eva Brandl ♥

Social Scale

♠ Polity territory ♣ ♥ in squared kilometers

♠ Polity Population ♣ ♥ People.

♠ Population of the largest settlement ♣ ♥ Inhabitants.

Hierarchical Complexity

♠ Settlement hierarchy ♣ 3 ♥ levels.

(3) Capital cities; (2) Port cities and larger towns; (1) Rural towns and villages

The following material was imported from the later data sheets. Most Yemenis lived in rural villages and towns: 'Yemen is an overwhelmingly rural country, with about three-fourths of the people living in the countryside. With only a few exceptions, the rural population is distributed fairly evenly. The monsoon rainfall that causes the western slopes of the massif to be so well-dissected makes the area the most densely populated part of the country. Fertile soils are another regional asset. In varying concentrations, Yemenis inhabit nearly all the country’s geographic zones - from sea level to 10,000 feet (3,000 metres) and higher. (In fact, the intricate variety of subregions and microclimates produces an agricultural base of astonishing diversity.) The scarcity of farmland has greatly influenced rural settlement and construction patterns, as has the need for security. Villages tend to be small, and buildings are erected on ground that cannot be cultivated - frequently along cliffs and rock outcroppings. Homes often consist of several stories (as many as five or more), with the lower floors being made of hand-hewn stone. Upper stories, where the family resides, are usually made of mud brick, a superior insulator. These quarters also have many windows, providing ventilation in the heat of the summer. The location of the living quarters in these upper stories offers the capacity for storage in the lower stories, as well as an element of security. Cities in Yemen follow patterns seen in other parts of the Arab world. Original construction consisted of a walled and fortified old city, in which the ornate multistory home was standard. The old city also contained shops, souks, schools, and mosques. In the modern period, urban areas began to sprawl outside the old city, and the wealthy began to build larger and more-ornate mansions and villas in nearby suburbs.' [22] Specialists were concentrated in larger towns: 'But the ideological power of the Imamic state did not erase rural political idioms and leadership. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the economic power of urban forces remained circumscribed. Craft production and trade remained small-scale, and specialists were divided in status between those who ruled (families with literate and religious specialties or engaged in long-distance trading) and those who served (the craftsmen and market-service families). In the countryside arms-bearing farmers regarded the groups who worked in craft production, petty trading and market services as a dependent service class attached to their local political communities. Even in large towns the men who performed such occupations were distinguished as Jews or as Muslim strata (mazayinah, bani 'l-khums, nuqqas) marked by sumptuary customs or regulations. Literate specialists, who sought to govern, to regulate the market, and to control long-distance trade, distinguished themselves from the labouring specialists of the market.' [23] Cities served as economic and political centres and grew significantly only during the 20th century: 'Most Yemenis live in small, widely dispersed farming villages and towns. Three-quarters of the population lives in roughly 50,000 settlements with less than 500 inhabitants. The cities of Aden, Abyan, Al-Houta, Al-Hudaydah (a port), Sana, and Taizz have more than 100,000 residents each. Many foreign countries have assisted in the building of roads, hospitals, and schools, but improvements such as sanitary water facilities and power supply typically remain local development projects.' [24] We have provisionally adopted a similar distinction while being aware of urban growth in the modern period. This remains in need of confirmation and more material is needed.

♠ Administrative levels ♣ 3 ♥ levels.

(3) Imams; (2) Retainers, advisers and other courtiers of imams; (1) Shaykhs and other tribal leaders

Political authority was loose and fluid. Accordingly, it is difficult to establish precise hierarchies and the code provided is only a rought approximation. Dresch describes the establishment of the Qasimi court: 'Besides the wealth to be extracted from the southern peasantry, the Imams of the period also had available, if they could retain control, taxes from a burgeoning coffee trade. The rise and fall of the Yemeni coffee trade with Europe matches almost exactly the trajectory of the Imamate's wealth (see Boxhall 1974; Niebuhr 1792). The English and Dutch established factories at Mocha in 1618; the trade was probably at its height around 1730; and the world price of coffee finally crashed at the start of the nineteenth century, at which point one gets mention of Imams debasing the currency (al-'Amri 1985: 59). This wealth, however, had always to be fought for; the rulers became wealthier and more powerful than hitherto, but still were liable to dispute among themselves.' [25] 'The state the Qasimis formed in the midst of this was none the less impressive (for the rulers' genealogy see Fig. 6.1). Al-Qasim himself, who early in his fight against the Turks had wept over his children starving at Barat, was wealthy when the truce was signed. He built the mosque at Shaharah, then built houses for himself and his followers, planted coffee in al-Ahnum, and amassed more land than the public treasury (Nubdhah: 258, 334-6). The court expanded with the southern conquests. Al-Mutawakkil received an embassy from Ethiopia and exchanged gifts of fine horses with Aurangzib of India (Serjeant 1983: 80-1), while his relatives expressed concern about his monthly demands for funds from Lower Yemen. Further criticism of his taxation policy came from Muhammad al-Ghurbani at Barat, but in 1675 the levies on Lower Yemen were redoubled (ibid. 82). Under Muhammad Ahmad, 'He of al-Mawahib'" (1687-1718), the exactions became more severe still, in support of a grandiose court and a large standing army complete with slave soldiers (ibid., Zabarah 1958: 451, 457; alShawkani 1929: ii. 98).' [26] Leading shaykhly families rose to prominence in this period: 'At precisely this period, and in the space of a decade, the names of several great shaykhly families important nowadays all appear for the first time: al-Ahmar of Hashid, for instance, juzaylan of Dhu Muhammad, ani Hubaysh of Sufyan, Some of the lesser shaykhly houses, such as al-Ziyadi, al-Rarnmah, 'Irnran, ~lGhashrni, and al-Barawi, are attested as much as a century earlier (see e.g, Nubdhah: III, 121, 123, 175, 453). Many of the tribal divisions familiar nowadays had been present far longer, as readers will have gathered from Chapter 5, but the leading families now identified with them appear only at this later date. They were associated with the state and with events elsewhere than in tribal territory.' [27] The relationship between imams and tribal leaders could be supportive as well as hostile: 'Sali1}. Hubaysh of Sufyan is first mentioned in 1698 as putting down a revolt of Raymah and Wa~ab (south-west of San'a') against al-Mawahib's governor: women's earrings taken by his men were sold in San'a' with fragments of ear still attached, provoking certain 'ulama's» preach against Hubaysh's cruelty (Zabarah 195 8: 670). Then, after a disastrous attempt on Yafi' (in what is nowadays South Yemen), which resulted in Ibb being lost to the tribes of the eastern desert, al-Mawahib called to account the northern tribes who had failed him. In 1702 he sent his nephew to deal with 'Hamdan and their chief Ibn Hubaysh', but a truce was made instead (ibid. 428; Zabarah 1941: 297). Five years later, after another failure in Yafi', al-Mawahib sent al-Qasim b. al-Husayn and Sali1}. Hubaysh to Khamir to deal with Hashid, where the two fell out. In 1709 Hubaysh was again sent to Khamir by alMawahib, this time to deal with al-Qasim, but Hubaysh was finally tricked and killed there (ibid. 778-80; Zabarah 1958: 357)·' [28] 'In the intervening period he had been placed in charge of an army to fight the tribes of the east and Yafi'. Al-Mawahib had ordered his minister to strike a balance between Hubaysh and Bin juzaylan of Dhii Muhammad (again, this is the earliest clear reference to this famous family), but the governor's own aim was to balance the pair of them with the eastern tribes whom the Imam wanted conquered. The result of his intrigue was that the two Bakil chiefs opposed each other and the easterners won (ibid. 875; Zabarah 1941: 773). Soon after this Hubaysh was sent with al-Qasim b. al-Husayn to Hiith, and the Imam's men razed a house nearby which belonged to Muhammad 'Ali al-Gharibi of Hashid (ibid. 778-80; id. 1958: 684; al-Shawkani 1929: ii. 46), who, as we shall see, is probably Bayt al-Ahmar's immediate forebear.' [29] Conflict between rival imams also occurred and tribal support could be decisive for the outcome: 'A few years later, in 1713, al-Husayn b. al-Qasim declared himself Imam in opposition to al-Mawahib, and 'Ali Hadi Hubaysh (probably Sali1}.'s brother) supported him (Zabarah 1941: 601-9). 'Ali al-Ahmar of al-Usayrnat was sent by al-Mawahib to oppose him (again, this is the first mention of the family by name), but the tribes preferred the new claimant (ibid. 356,607). The country was at one point divided among several of these rival Imams-although, significantly, none of them claimed control of the major tribes (ibid. 616)-and the struggle between.the different Qasimis dragged on, with the shaykhs holding the balance, until al-Mawahib died in 1718.' [30] 'Al-Mutawakkil al-Qasim then took the Imamate (Serjeant 1983: 84), and at this stage al-Ahmar was apparently on good terms with al-Husayn, the new Imam's son (Zabarah 1941: 539); but when alNasir Muhammad made a rival claim in 1723 al-Ahrnar and many other shaykhs went over to him. The leading sayyids were meanwhile divided among themselves over the perennial problem of taxation (ibid. 289). In 1726 the Dhayban section of Arhab cut the roads, and a group of them made trouble in San'a' itself (Zabarah 1958: 359). The Imam had them hunted through the streets, in response to which "Arhab tribesmen invited Hashid and Bakil to join them in taking revenge and wiping out the dishonour they had sustained. The tribes responded. 'All b. Qasim al-Ahmar, Paramount Shaykh of Hashid, and Nasir b. juzaylan, Paramount Shaykh of Bakil, proceeded to 'Amran where they met al-Husayn, the Imam's son, whom they persuaded to join them ... (al]iriifi 1951: 181, trans. Stookey 1978: 151-2).' [31] 'As Stookey points out, al-Husayn's combination with the tribes against his father availed him little since when his father died, in the following year, and he claimed the Imamate himself under the title al-Mansiir, they supported his cousin, al-Nasir Muhammad.' [32] 'But al-jirafi goes on, more importantly, to relate that al-Ahmar wrote al-Mansur al-Husayn a brusque letter demanding a meeting. The Imam feared an attempt at assassination; so he'assassinated alAhmar first, stuck his head on a lance, and galloped off with it through a hail of bullets from the shaykh's enraged tribesmen (aljirafi 1951: 182). In fact, al-Ahrnar, accompanied by Bin juzaylan of DhU Muhammad and by Ahmad Muhammad Hubaysh of Sufyan, seems to have come to 'Asir, just outside San'a', to seek a settlement (Zabarah 1941: 539 and 1958: 486). The details are probably lost forever, and we are told only that al-Ahmar 'had wished to make independent his own rule of part of the country' (ibid.), which he very well may have done; but al-Mansur alHusayn's view of the matter, as recorded in the histories, has all the vigorous clarity of the Zaydi tradition. The taunt to the tribesmen at the time was, typically, that they were no better than polytheists: he brandished al-Ahmar's head on his spear and cried 'this is the head of your idol'.' [33] Dresch also mentions millenarian militant movements: 'In 175I, however, a millenarian rising broke out in the western mountains, led by Abu 'AIamah, a black 'magician' who preached a puritanical renewal of Islam. Accounts of the rising mention several forts in the west being taken from Bayt al-Ahmar: al-Qahirah at alMahabishah was lost, then Qaradah and al-Gharnuq at Najrah, just south of Hajjah, then Sabrah, and finally the fort near alMadayir that al-Mansur had bought several years earlier (Zabarah 1941: 53-5). During the forty years since al-Mansur al-Husayn b. al-Qasim (a rival of al-Mawahib) came to power in 1712, says a contemporary witness, the state had counted for little: "The rule of 'All al-Ahmar and his sons after him and of other tribesmen from Hashid remained over-great and excessive until God destroyed what they had built and extinguished their flame, proclaiming their weakness and perdition by the appearance of this dervish. (Quoted ibid. 54)' [34] Tribal leaders held lands, collected taxes, and defended forts, enabling them to form a power base in their own right: 'Whatever setbacks they suffered, however, Bayt al-Ahmar were not displaced permanently. In the year after Abu 'Alamah's rising, when the Sharif of Abu 'Arish and a rival claimant to the Imamate were active in the north-west, they were again a power to be reckoned with." Certainly they collected taxes as well as rents in the nineteenth century, and local memory credits them with taking revenue even from coastal towns in the north Tihamah, They retain considerable lands in the west to the present day.' [35] 'Nor were Bayt al-Ahrnar of Hashid the only shaykhly family in the area: Nasir juzaylan of Dhu Muhammad lost forts to Abu 'Alamah at al-Masiih, and a garrison from Dhii Husayn were chased out of al-Sha'iq in Bani 'Awam (again near Hajjah), but the shaykhly families of Barat retained or re-established a hold there. Al al-Shayif of Dhfi Husayn, for example, still own land in Hajjah province, and Bayt Hubaysh of Sufyan have considerable holdings near al-Mahwit (Tutwiler 1987). The picture which emerges between the lines of eighteenth-century histories and tariijim is of myriad forts in the western mountains, each garrisoned by twenty or thirty tribal soldiers and controlling an area for some shaykh of the northern plateau. As the eighteenth century wears on, so the same pattern comes more clearly to light in Lower Yemen too: in his entry for 1752, for example, al-jirafi records for the first time what will punctuate his history thereafter, Barat tribesmen at odds with the Imam south of San'a' (al-jirafi 195I: 183). They continued to appear there into the present century, leaving behind great numbers of tribal families and large shaykhly holdings of land outside tribal territory.' [36] However, written records are often silent on these matters: 'These shaykhs are not the subject of Imamic history. Although the Imamate could not have functioned as it did without them, and although the granting of 'fiefs' to them went on for centuries, the details of their financial and administrative position are nowhere written up. Nor has local documentation come to light. Until it does, we must form what estimate we can by looking at the great shaykhly houses nowadays.' [37] In addition, sayyids also quarreled amongst themselves: 'AI-Mahdi al-iAbbas (1748-75) was very much a Sanani Imam, being based on the city throughout his reign. Among learned San'anis he retained a high reputation (al-Shawkani 19 29: 310-12; Serjeant 1983: 85 ff.), but it is plain that all was not well elsewhere. Abu 'Alamah's 175I rising in the north-west has already been mentioned. Two years earlier a campaign had been fought in Lower Yemen against a 'sorcerer' who promised his followers immunity against sword wounds and gun shots.V In the year before that, Hasan al-Tlkarn, of the qadi family from Barat and the north-east, was leading tribesmen at odds with the new Imam in Lower Yemen (Zabarah 1958: 684)Y In both the west and the south, the incursion of tribesmen over the preceding generation had not been quietly absorbed, and the affairs of the Barat tribes in particular (Dhii Muhammad and Dhu Husayn) became involved with those of the Imam's capital at San'a'.' [38] 'The connections of learning which were often important in an Imam's rise to power (Ch. 5) could also readily generalize a threat to that power if one emerged; and the language of equality, justice, and religious probity linked the learned with the tribesmen also. In 17 68, for instance, the 'ulamd' of Barat (particularly Bayt al-'Ansi) wrote to Zaydi centres such as Huth and Dhamar, calling for the expulsion of al-Mahdi al-Abbas and his Qasimi relatives on doctrinal grounds (al-jirafi 1951: 187; Zabarah 1958: 521-2; al-Shawkani 1929: ii. 134-5), though the Barat tribes' incursions in preceding years suggest that doctrinal detail was not the main motive force (see e.g. Zabarah 1958: 13).' [39] 'The Qasimis were accused of 'innovations' (bida'). Zaydism had always recognized ijtihad (the formation of new law by extrapolation from scripture), but in the mid-eighteenth century a pronounced movement of criticism was under way. Ibn al-Amir, for instance, a Zaydi scholar who kept his political distance from the Imamate, blurred the distinction between his own school and the Shafi'i,14 with the result that conspicuous details, such as postures of prayer, became matters of contention among those less learned than he. The Barat qadis blamed the Qasimis for supporting him. On at least one occasion, an intestine squabble among San'ani 'ulamd' over mosque appointments, phrased in these terms, led one faction to demand arbitration from al-'Ansi, 'the qadi of Hashid and Bakil' (Zabarah 1941: 617), rather than from their Qasimi rulers.' [40] Imams were often reduced to negotiate protection money with tribes under the threat of incursions: 'Hasan al-'Ansi and the Barat tribes appeared outside San'a' in 1770. They were successfully driven off, which provoked some vainglorious poetry from the victors (Serjeant 1983: 86; d. alShawkani 1929: i. 459), but elsewhere al-Shawkani suggests (ibid. ii. 136) how this was achieved: an addition to the tribesmen's stipend of 20,000 riyals per annum, the implication being that they already received regular payment. These incursions and payments continued for several decades.P and the Barat tribes remained active in Lower Yemen until the Turks took the area in the late nineteenth century.' [41] 'Al-Mansiir 'All b. al-Mahdi (1775-1809) was, like his father, a San'ani Imam, and from the city's point of view was at first a considerable success (Serjeant 1983: 86-7; al-Shawkani 1929: i. 359 ff.). But at the state's periphery, Sharif Harniid of Abu Arish was forced south by the Nejd Wahhabis into territory the Imamate had held or at least had part access to. The resulting loss of port revenue was almost certainly serious. I? From now on, the Imams' ability to buy off the tribes declined sharply.' [42] 'At the centre, al-Mansur's grip on affairs failed when his sons fell out with each other, and the qadis of Bayt al-'Ulufi fell out with those of Bayt al-'Ansi, in part over stipends to the tribes (al-jirafi 1951: 192; al-tAmri 1985: 52-64; al-Hibshi 1980: 4; Zabarah 1929: i, 343-4). In 1818, in the time of the Imam al-Mahdi, a large body of tribesmen from Barat arrived at the capital in search of pay to fight in the Tiharnah (al-Hibshi 1980: 18). The Imam, having collected support of his own from Khawlan and Nihm, had 'All 'Abdullah al-Shayif of Dhii Husayn beheaded and the body strung up for three days, then thrown in the rubbish ditch outside Bab Sha'ub (ibid. 20-1; Zabarah 1929: ii. 66). But Bayt al-Shayif's call for support to avenge this was answered by Wa'ilah, Hashid, al' Amalisah, Sufyan, and Arhab, among others; in short, by tribes from as far away as what is now the Saudi border. They looted the city's outskirts and carried off enough plunder 'to suffice the son's son' (ibid. 23-4; al-Arnri 1985: 88-91).' [43] This lead to a gradual break-down of imamic authority: 'In 1823 a severe drought in the east forced a meeting of tribes at Jabal Barat, where they decided to seek aid from the Imam. When he refused and they turned on Lower Yemen, he seems to have been able to do nothing but warn others they were coming. 'When they reached Sarnarah [the pass that is sometimes taken to define Lower Yemen's border; see Chapter I], each put down his pledge on a place, and they divided it all up as if their father had left them the land as inheritance' (al-Hibshi 1980: 34). It is quite possible, of course, that many had indeed been left inheritance there, either property or presumed rights to 'fiefs' (quta'): they had been involved with the area for the best part of a century. From 1823 onwards, though, they are said to have held the area unopposed: 'they took control of it by force and coercion, then settled there, married there, and forgot the east until the Faqih Sa'Id threw them out in [1840]' (ibid.i.l" Even that was not sufficient, and when a further drought struck in 1835, Dhii Husayn, under Muhsin 'Ali alShayif, began raiding the north-west, while their women and children moved westwards by themselves in great numbers (ibid. 60-2). The Tiharnah had meanwhile fallen to the Egyptians.' [44] 'At the centre, in San'a', the Imamate under al-Mansiir 'All b. alMahdi 'Abdullah lost not only its resources but its ~oral vigour: 'drunkenness was the prevailing vice among the higher orders, and ... the corpses of men, women and children lay about the streets, no one taking the trouble to bury them .. .' (Playfair 1859: 145)· Al-Mansiir squabbled with one of his relatives, who fled to Ta'izz and handed it over to the Egyptians. Al-Nasir 'Abdullah Ahsan was then raised to the Imamate by the soldiers in San'a', only to be assassinated at Wadi Dahr in 1840.19 Al-Hadi Muhammad took the throne and succeeded briefly in regaining Mocha and Ta'izz, but when the Egyptians withdrew-under indirect pressure from Britain (Baldry 1976: I6I)-the Tiharnah fell under the control of Sharif Husayn.' [45] 'The geographical pattern of power had now changed beyond recognition. Hashid (led in part by the qadis of Bayt Hanash), were in Raymah, as well as further north in the western mountains, Dhii Muhammad and Dhii Husayn were in the south, as well as in the Tihamah, and all were involved with Yam, whose homeland in Najran had usually been outside the field of Yemeni events but whose presence in Haraz and the Tiharnah was nothing new. The land of Hashid and Bakil, on the northern plateau, was itself a dead centre to the whirl of events involving tribesmen elsewhere. Sharif Husayn's movements in 1845 make the point: starting from the north-west, in the Tihamah, he moved to the south, around Ta'izz, then to Barat, in the extreme north-east (al-Hibshi 1980: 120-31). The Imamate, at San'a', retained a mere rump of territory.' [46] 'There was -violence enough in the north itself, particularly in times of drought (see e.g. ibid. 306); but the tribal divisions, one should note, changed very little, and then rather in a longue duree than in the order of events recorded year by year. As we shall see in Chapter 9, the geographical detail even of sections within tribes changes hardly at all from al-Qasim's time (early seventeenth century) to our own, and where change occurs it does so by recognizable quanta. Inequality and movement alike are registered in other terms. The prominence of major shaykhs, for instance, whom the tribesmen followed much as they did Imams, derived from wealth in the west and in Lower Yemen, and this is also where the great non-quantum shifts in territorial control resulted from tribesmen fighting each other. Inequality, power, and geographical change all attach, not to tribal self-definition, but to the history of successive Imams, to the history of a tradition or of a dynasty; and the dynasty had, by this point, collapsed because it had lost control of non-tribal land.' [47] 'The Imams' attempts to regain the south met with little success. Ahmad Salih Thawabah of Dhu Muhammad, who had controlled a large ;wa~he of Lower Yemen, was defeated by al-Mutawakkil Muhammad and finally executed in 1848, to the delight of the Imam's supporters (Dresch 1987b). Within three years, however, his sons were formally granted land in much the same area (al-Hibshi 1980: 166). In the interim the Imam had been forced to send Dhii Muhammad horses as slaughter-beasts ('aqa'ir), which they took but did not have killed, and then pay them to fight again in the south (ibid. 146).20 Dhu Muhammad, Dhii Husayn, Arhab, Khawlan, and Hashid were also all fighting in the west, on the Imam's side, the Sharif's, or both; but the Ottoman Turks now seized the Tihamah. Hufash, near al-Mahwit, and al-Haymah were both contested, and several rival claimants to the Imamate appeared at once.' [48] This enabled the eventual Ottoman re-conquest: 'In despair al-Mutawakkil asked the Turks to intervene in the highlands. They arrived at San'a' in 1849 with 1,200 foot and 500 horse, but a riot ensued and they withdrew after only three weeks (Zabarah 1929: ii, 346 ff.; al-Sayaghi 1978: 25-7). AlMutawakkil was killed by his rivals. One of the Ashraf of the northern Tihamah, supported by 'a large following from Hashid, was then bought off with a gift of 2,000 riyals, robes of honour, and a horse (al-Sayaghi 1978: 31). The combination of a Tihamah Sharif and Hashid at the gates of San'a' is symptomatic enough of the Imamate's weakness.' [49] 'From the summary histories one forms an impression of steadily increasing disorder through the next twenty years, until 'the people of San'a' and others' invited the Turks again to take the city 'after they had tired of the chaos which prevailed there, the dominion of men from the tribes, the cutting of the roads, and the lack of any ordered security' (al-jirafi 1951: 205-6). A more recently available, and more detailed, source gives a different impression (al-Hibshi 19 80: 29 6 ff.). But the Turks seem in any case to have had designs on the highlands: they had increased their forces on the coast 'until stores were coming ashore with San'a' printed on every load' (ibid. 315), and when they finally arrived, in 1872, they demanded the tax registers which would reveal to them the administration and resources of the whole country (al-Wasi'I 1928: IIO). They were to remain in highland Yemen until 19 18.' [50] 'For much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, then, Yemen had been plagued by disputes between rival Imams and by tribal disorder. The Imamate had taken the form of an elaborate dynastic state, yet failed to secure the means to support itself or to transmit authority without dispute. Al-Shamahi credits the Qasimi dawlah with surviving until the middle of the nineteenth century. In name it did. He rationalizes the great decline of its power by saying that al-Mu'ayyad Muhammad (d. 1686) was the last of the Qasimis to possess all the qualities needed of an Imam, and that the rulers after him were more like kings (al-Shamahi 1972: 144-6). Similarly, al-Wazir (1971: 50) attributes the collapse of the state to the appearance of 'evil Imams'. Authors writing nearer the time each choose some point at which the real decline starts, always simply by reference to the actions or fate of a particular Imam (e.g. al-Hibshi 1980: 193).' [51]

♠ Religious levels ♣ 3 ♥ levels.

(3) Zaydi imams; (2) Other sayyids and scholars; (1) Local preachers

Most Yemenis were Muslims: 'Islam is the major force that unifies Yemenis across social, sexual, and regional boundaries. Yet most adherents of the different schools of Islam reside in distinct sections of the country, and this fact has certain political implications. Zaydis, who belong to the Shia subsect of Islam, are located in the northern and eastern parts of Yemen, whereas Shafis, orthodox Sunnis, live in the southern and coastal regions. Location in the highlands apparently enables Zaydis more successfully to repel invasions than Shafis in the lower lying areas. A smaller Shia subsect, the Ismaili, and also the remnants of an ancient Jewish community, may still be found in certain parts of Yemen.' [52] 'As Muslims, Yemenis aspire to fulfill the five tenets of Islam: affirmation of the Islamic creed, prayer, fasting, charity, and pilgrimage.' [53] 'In the Shafi areas of Yemen, the tombs of certain holy men are visited by believers for their special healing and other powers.' [54] 'Being of sayyid status, even in contemporary Yemeni society, still validates (but does not necessarily guarantee) one's access to religious learning. Men gather at the mosque for prayers and sermons on the Sabbath, which in Yemen occurs on Friday. Strict segregation of the sexes usually does not permit women to worship in public.' [55] 'Yemenis observe the major holidays, such as Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, as well as lesser festivals in the Arabian calendar.' [56] Religion was an important social divider: 'Throughout society, the broadest distinctions between population groups are based not on ethnicity but on religious affiliation. Islam is the state religion, and the Sunni branch of Islam, represented by the Shāfiʿī school, predominates. The Shīʿite minority consists of the Zaydī school, which has long been politically dominant in the mountainous highlands of the north, and the Ismāʿīlīs, now a relatively small group found in the Haraz region of northern Yemen and in Jabal Manakhah, the mountainous area west of Sanaa. The non-Muslim community is very small, consisting mostly of foreign visitors and workers. All are free to worship as they wish - including the Jewish community - but, as in most conservative Muslim countries, proselytizing of Muslims by non-Muslims is illegal.' [57] Yemen has a history of religious militancy: 'Yemen’s distance from any Islamic central authority has made it historically an attractive haven for militant offshoots of normative Sunni Islam, particularly the two smaller branches of Shi˜ism: Ismaili, or “Sevener,” Shi˜ism, and Zaydi, or “Fiver,” Shi˜ism. Zaydism was established in Yemen by the imam Yahya al-Hadi (d. 911), a descendant of ˜Ali’s son Hasan who migrated from Medina to Yemen late in the ninth century and established his capital at the northern highland city of Sa˜da.1 Unlike Ismaili or Twelver Shi˜ite doctrine, Zaydi theology posits an active, visible imam, or leader of the Muslim community, descended from either Hasan or his brother Husayn, who is learned in the religious sciences and who publicly proves himself worthy of leading the Muslim community, in battle if necessary.2 What this has meant in Yemeni history is that scions of numerous lines of Hasanid and, less frequently, Husaynid descendants have proclaimed their da˜was, or “calls” - occasionally simultaneously, so that the supporters of one line were obliged to fight it out with supporters of another.' [58] While Yemen was nominally under the control of a Zaydi imamic dynasty, sayyids also quarreled amongst themselves: 'AI-Mahdi al-iAbbas (1748-75) was very much a Sanani Imam, being based on the city throughout his reign. Among learned San'anis he retained a high reputation (al-Shawkani 19 29: 310-12; Serjeant 1983: 85 ff.), but it is plain that all was not well elsewhere. Abu 'Alamah's 175I rising in the north-west has already been mentioned. Two years earlier a campaign had been fought in Lower Yemen against a 'sorcerer' who promised his followers immunity against sword wounds and gun shots.V In the year before that, Hasan al-Tlkarn, of the qadi family from Barat and the north-east, was leading tribesmen at odds with the new Imam in Lower Yemen (Zabarah 1958: 684)Y In both the west and the south, the incursion of tribesmen over the preceding generation had not been quietly absorbed, and the affairs of the Barat tribes in particular (Dhii Muhammad and Dhu Husayn) became involved with those of the Imam's capital at San'a'.' [59] 'The connections of learning which were often important in an Imam's rise to power (Ch. 5) could also readily generalize a threat to that power if one emerged; and the language of equality, justice, and religious probity linked the learned with the tribesmen also. In 17 68, for instance, the 'ulamd' of Barat (particularly Bayt al-'Ansi) wrote to Zaydi centres such as Huth and Dhamar, calling for the expulsion of al-Mahdi al-Abbas and his Qasimi relatives on doctrinal grounds (al-jirafi 1951: 187; Zabarah 1958: 521-2; al-Shawkani 1929: ii. 134-5), though the Barat tribes' incursions in preceding years suggest that doctrinal detail was not the main motive force (see e.g. Zabarah 1958: 13).' [60] 'The Qasimis were accused of 'innovations' (bida'). Zaydism had always recognized ijtihad (the formation of new law by extrapolation from scripture), but in the mid-eighteenth century a pronounced movement of criticism was under way. Ibn al-Amir, for instance, a Zaydi scholar who kept his political distance from the Imamate, blurred the distinction between his own school and the Shafi'i,14 with the result that conspicuous details, such as postures of prayer, became matters of contention among those less learned than he. The Barat qadis blamed the Qasimis for supporting him. On at least one occasion, an intestine squabble among San'ani 'ulamd' over mosque appointments, phrased in these terms, led one faction to demand arbitration from al-'Ansi, 'the qadi of Hashid and Bakil' (Zabarah 1941: 617), rather than from their Qasimi rulers.' [61] Dresch also mentions millenarian militant movements: 'In 175I, however, a millenarian rising broke out in the western mountains, led by Abu 'AIamah, a black 'magician' who preached a puritanical renewal of Islam. Accounts of the rising mention several forts in the west being taken from Bayt al-Ahmar: al-Qahirah at alMahabishah was lost, then Qaradah and al-Gharnuq at Najrah, just south of Hajjah, then Sabrah, and finally the fort near alMadayir that al-Mansur had bought several years earlier (Zabarah 1941: 53-5). During the forty years since al-Mansur al-Husayn b. al-Qasim (a rival of al-Mawahib) came to power in 1712, says a contemporary witness, the state had counted for little: "The rule of 'All al-Ahmar and his sons after him and of other tribesmen from Hashid remained over-great and excessive until God destroyed what they had built and extinguished their flame, proclaiming their weakness and perdition by the appearance of this dervish. (Quoted ibid. 54)' [62] Accordingly we have opted for a rough approximation of the complex religious landscape of Yemen for the time being. More material is needed.

♠ Military levels ♣ 4 ♥ levels.

(4) Imams and their advisers; (3) retainers; (2) Shaykhs and other tribal leaders; (1) Armed tribesmen

Political and military authority was loose and fluid. Accordingly, it is difficult to establish precise hierarchies and the code provided is only a rought approximation. Dresch describes the emergence of the Qasimid court, including the establishment of a retainer army: 'Besides the wealth to be extracted from the southern peasantry, the Imams of the period also had available, if they could retain control, taxes from a burgeoning coffee trade. The rise and fall of the Yemeni coffee trade with Europe matches almost exactly the trajectory of the Imamate's wealth (see Boxhall 1974; Niebuhr 1792). The English and Dutch established factories at Mocha in 1618; the trade was probably at its height around 1730; and the world price of coffee finally crashed at the start of the nineteenth century, at which point one gets mention of Imams debasing the currency (al-'Amri 1985: 59). This wealth, however, had always to be fought for; the rulers became wealthier and more powerful than hitherto, but still were liable to dispute among themselves.' [63] 'The state the Qasimis formed in the midst of this was none the less impressive (for the rulers' genealogy see Fig. 6.1). Al-Qasim himself, who early in his fight against the Turks had wept over his children starving at Barat, was wealthy when the truce was signed. He built the mosque at Shaharah, then built houses for himself and his followers, planted coffee in al-Ahnum, and amassed more land than the public treasury (Nubdhah: 258, 334-6). The court expanded with the southern conquests. Al-Mutawakkil received an embassy from Ethiopia and exchanged gifts of fine horses with Aurangzib of India (Serjeant 1983: 80-1), while his relatives expressed concern about his monthly demands for funds from Lower Yemen. Further criticism of his taxation policy came from Muhammad al-Ghurbani at Barat, but in 1675 the levies on Lower Yemen were redoubled (ibid. 82). Under Muhammad Ahmad, 'He of al-Mawahib'" (1687-1718), the exactions became more severe still, in support of a grandiose court and a large standing army complete with slave soldiers (ibid., Zabarah 1958: 451, 457; alShawkani 1929: ii. 98).' [64] Leading shaykhly families rose to prominence in this period, partly due to the military support they had provided to the Qasimids in their anti-Ottoman campaigns: 'At precisely this period, and in the space of a decade, the names of several great shaykhly families important nowadays all appear for the first time: al-Ahmar of Hashid, for instance, juzaylan of Dhu Muhammad, ani Hubaysh of Sufyan, Some of the lesser shaykhly houses, such as al-Ziyadi, al-Rarnmah, 'Irnran, ~lGhashrni, and al-Barawi, are attested as much as a century earlier (see e.g, Nubdhah: III, 121, 123, 175, 453). Many of the tribal divisions familiar nowadays had been present far longer, as readers will have gathered from Chapter 5, but the leading families now identified with them appear only at this later date. They were associated with the state and with events elsewhere than in tribal territory.' [65] The relationship between imams and tribal leaders could be supportive as well as hostile, in both political and military terms: 'Sali1}. Hubaysh of Sufyan is first mentioned in 1698 as putting down a revolt of Raymah and Wa~ab (south-west of San'a') against al-Mawahib's governor: women's earrings taken by his men were sold in San'a' with fragments of ear still attached, provoking certain 'ulama's» preach against Hubaysh's cruelty (Zabarah 195 8: 670). Then, after a disastrous attempt on Yafi' (in what is nowadays South Yemen), which resulted in Ibb being lost to the tribes of the eastern desert, al-Mawahib called to account the northern tribes who had failed him. In 1702 he sent his nephew to deal with 'Hamdan and their chief Ibn Hubaysh', but a truce was made instead (ibid. 428; Zabarah 1941: 297). Five years later, after another failure in Yafi', al-Mawahib sent al-Qasim b. al-Husayn and Sali1}. Hubaysh to Khamir to deal with Hashid, where the two fell out. In 1709 Hubaysh was again sent to Khamir by alMawahib, this time to deal with al-Qasim, but Hubaysh was finally tricked and killed there (ibid. 778-80; Zabarah 1958: 357)·' [66] 'In the intervening period he had been placed in charge of an army to fight the tribes of the east and Yafi'. Al-Mawahib had ordered his minister to strike a balance between Hubaysh and Bin juzaylan of Dhii Muhammad (again, this is the earliest clear reference to this famous family), but the governor's own aim was to balance the pair of them with the eastern tribes whom the Imam wanted conquered. The result of his intrigue was that the two Bakil chiefs opposed each other and the easterners won (ibid. 875; Zabarah 1941: 773). Soon after this Hubaysh was sent with al-Qasim b. al-Husayn to Hiith, and the Imam's men razed a house nearby which belonged to Muhammad 'Ali al-Gharibi of Hashid (ibid. 778-80; id. 1958: 684; al-Shawkani 1929: ii. 46), who, as we shall see, is probably Bayt al-Ahmar's immediate forebear.' [67] Conflict between rival imams also occurred and tribal military support could be decisive for the outcome: 'A few years later, in 1713, al-Husayn b. al-Qasim declared himself Imam in opposition to al-Mawahib, and 'Ali Hadi Hubaysh (probably Sali1}.'s brother) supported him (Zabarah 1941: 601-9). 'Ali al-Ahmar of al-Usayrnat was sent by al-Mawahib to oppose him (again, this is the first mention of the family by name), but the tribes preferred the new claimant (ibid. 356,607). The country was at one point divided among several of these rival Imams-although, significantly, none of them claimed control of the major tribes (ibid. 616)-and the struggle between.the different Qasimis dragged on, with the shaykhs holding the balance, until al-Mawahib died in 1718.' [68] 'Al-Mutawakkil al-Qasim then took the Imamate (Serjeant 1983: 84), and at this stage al-Ahmar was apparently on good terms with al-Husayn, the new Imam's son (Zabarah 1941: 539); but when alNasir Muhammad made a rival claim in 1723 al-Ahrnar and many other shaykhs went over to him. The leading sayyids were meanwhile divided among themselves over the perennial problem of taxation (ibid. 289). In 1726 the Dhayban section of Arhab cut the roads, and a group of them made trouble in San'a' itself (Zabarah 1958: 359). The Imam had them hunted through the streets, in response to which "Arhab tribesmen invited Hashid and Bakil to join them in taking revenge and wiping out the dishonour they had sustained. The tribes responded. 'All b. Qasim al-Ahmar, Paramount Shaykh of Hashid, and Nasir b. juzaylan, Paramount Shaykh of Bakil, proceeded to 'Amran where they met al-Husayn, the Imam's son, whom they persuaded to join them ... (al]iriifi 1951: 181, trans. Stookey 1978: 151-2).' [69] 'As Stookey points out, al-Husayn's combination with the tribes against his father availed him little since when his father died, in the following year, and he claimed the Imamate himself under the title al-Mansiir, they supported his cousin, al-Nasir Muhammad.' [70] 'But al-jirafi goes on, more importantly, to relate that al-Ahmar wrote al-Mansur al-Husayn a brusque letter demanding a meeting. The Imam feared an attempt at assassination; so he'assassinated alAhmar first, stuck his head on a lance, and galloped off with it through a hail of bullets from the shaykh's enraged tribesmen (aljirafi 1951: 182). In fact, al-Ahrnar, accompanied by Bin juzaylan of DhU Muhammad and by Ahmad Muhammad Hubaysh of Sufyan, seems to have come to 'Asir, just outside San'a', to seek a settlement (Zabarah 1941: 539 and 1958: 486). The details are probably lost forever, and we are told only that al-Ahmar 'had wished to make independent his own rule of part of the country' (ibid.), which he very well may have done; but al-Mansur alHusayn's view of the matter, as recorded in the histories, has all the vigorous clarity of the Zaydi tradition. The taunt to the tribesmen at the time was, typically, that they were no better than polytheists: he brandished al-Ahmar's head on his spear and cried 'this is the head of your idol'.' [71] Dresch also mentions millenarian militant movements: 'In 175I, however, a millenarian rising broke out in the western mountains, led by Abu 'AIamah, a black 'magician' who preached a puritanical renewal of Islam. Accounts of the rising mention several forts in the west being taken from Bayt al-Ahmar: al-Qahirah at alMahabishah was lost, then Qaradah and al-Gharnuq at Najrah, just south of Hajjah, then Sabrah, and finally the fort near alMadayir that al-Mansur had bought several years earlier (Zabarah 1941: 53-5). During the forty years since al-Mansur al-Husayn b. al-Qasim (a rival of al-Mawahib) came to power in 1712, says a contemporary witness, the state had counted for little: "The rule of 'All al-Ahmar and his sons after him and of other tribesmen from Hashid remained over-great and excessive until God destroyed what they had built and extinguished their flame, proclaiming their weakness and perdition by the appearance of this dervish. (Quoted ibid. 54)' [72] Tribal leaders held lands, collected taxes, and defended forts, enabling them to form a power base in their own right: 'Whatever setbacks they suffered, however, Bayt al-Ahmar were not displaced permanently. In the year after Abu 'Alamah's rising, when the Sharif of Abu 'Arish and a rival claimant to the Imamate were active in the north-west, they were again a power to be reckoned with." Certainly they collected taxes as well as rents in the nineteenth century, and local memory credits them with taking revenue even from coastal towns in the north Tihamah, They retain considerable lands in the west to the present day.' [73] 'Nor were Bayt al-Ahrnar of Hashid the only shaykhly family in the area: Nasir juzaylan of Dhu Muhammad lost forts to Abu 'Alamah at al-Masiih, and a garrison from Dhii Husayn were chased out of al-Sha'iq in Bani 'Awam (again near Hajjah), but the shaykhly families of Barat retained or re-established a hold there. Al al-Shayif of Dhfi Husayn, for example, still own land in Hajjah province, and Bayt Hubaysh of Sufyan have considerable holdings near al-Mahwit (Tutwiler 1987). The picture which emerges between the lines of eighteenth-century histories and tariijim is of myriad forts in the western mountains, each garrisoned by twenty or thirty tribal soldiers and controlling an area for some shaykh of the northern plateau. As the eighteenth century wears on, so the same pattern comes more clearly to light in Lower Yemen too: in his entry for 1752, for example, al-jirafi records for the first time what will punctuate his history thereafter, Barat tribesmen at odds with the Imam south of San'a' (al-jirafi 195I: 183). They continued to appear there into the present century, leaving behind great numbers of tribal families and large shaykhly holdings of land outside tribal territory.' [74] However, written records are often silent on these matters: 'These shaykhs are not the subject of Imamic history. Although the Imamate could not have functioned as it did without them, and although the granting of 'fiefs' to them went on for centuries, the details of their financial and administrative position are nowhere written up. Nor has local documentation come to light. Until it does, we must form what estimate we can by looking at the great shaykhly houses nowadays.' [75] In addition, sayyids also quarreled amongst themselves: 'AI-Mahdi al-iAbbas (1748-75) was very much a Sanani Imam, being based on the city throughout his reign. Among learned San'anis he retained a high reputation (al-Shawkani 19 29: 310-12; Serjeant 1983: 85 ff.), but it is plain that all was not well elsewhere. Abu 'Alamah's 175I rising in the north-west has already been mentioned. Two years earlier a campaign had been fought in Lower Yemen against a 'sorcerer' who promised his followers immunity against sword wounds and gun shots.V In the year before that, Hasan al-Tlkarn, of the qadi family from Barat and the north-east, was leading tribesmen at odds with the new Imam in Lower Yemen (Zabarah 1958: 684)Y In both the west and the south, the incursion of tribesmen over the preceding generation had not been quietly absorbed, and the affairs of the Barat tribes in particular (Dhii Muhammad and Dhu Husayn) became involved with those of the Imam's capital at San'a'.' [76] 'The connections of learning which were often important in an Imam's rise to power (Ch. 5) could also readily generalize a threat to that power if one emerged; and the language of equality, justice, and religious probity linked the learned with the tribesmen also. In 17 68, for instance, the 'ulamd' of Barat (particularly Bayt al-'Ansi) wrote to Zaydi centres such as Huth and Dhamar, calling for the expulsion of al-Mahdi al-Abbas and his Qasimi relatives on doctrinal grounds (al-jirafi 1951: 187; Zabarah 1958: 521-2; al-Shawkani 1929: ii. 134-5), though the Barat tribes' incursions in preceding years suggest that doctrinal detail was not the main motive force (see e.g. Zabarah 1958: 13).' [77] 'The Qasimis were accused of 'innovations' (bida'). Zaydism had always recognized ijtihad (the formation of new law by extrapolation from scripture), but in the mid-eighteenth century a pronounced movement of criticism was under way. Ibn al-Amir, for instance, a Zaydi scholar who kept his political distance from the Imamate, blurred the distinction between his own school and the Shafi'i,14 with the result that conspicuous details, such as postures of prayer, became matters of contention among those less learned than he. The Barat qadis blamed the Qasimis for supporting him. On at least one occasion, an intestine squabble among San'ani 'ulamd' over mosque appointments, phrased in these terms, led one faction to demand arbitration from al-'Ansi, 'the qadi of Hashid and Bakil' (Zabarah 1941: 617), rather than from their Qasimi rulers.' [78] Imams were often reduced to negotiate protection money with tribes under the threat of military incursions: 'Hasan al-'Ansi and the Barat tribes appeared outside San'a' in 1770. They were successfully driven off, which provoked some vainglorious poetry from the victors (Serjeant 1983: 86; d. alShawkani 1929: i. 459), but elsewhere al-Shawkani suggests (ibid. ii. 136) how this was achieved: an addition to the tribesmen's stipend of 20,000 riyals per annum, the implication being that they already received regular payment. These incursions and payments continued for several decades.P and the Barat tribes remained active in Lower Yemen until the Turks took the area in the late nineteenth century.' [79] 'Al-Mansiir 'All b. al-Mahdi (1775-1809) was, like his father, a San'ani Imam, and from the city's point of view was at first a considerable success (Serjeant 1983: 86-7; al-Shawkani 1929: i. 359 ff.). But at the state's periphery, Sharif Harniid of Abu Arish was forced south by the Nejd Wahhabis into territory the Imamate had held or at least had part access to. The resulting loss of port revenue was almost certainly serious. I? From now on, the Imams' ability to buy off the tribes declined sharply.' [80] 'At the centre, al-Mansur's grip on affairs failed when his sons fell out with each other, and the qadis of Bayt al-'Ulufi fell out with those of Bayt al-'Ansi, in part over stipends to the tribes (al-jirafi 1951: 192; al-tAmri 1985: 52-64; al-Hibshi 1980: 4; Zabarah 1929: i, 343-4). In 1818, in the time of the Imam al-Mahdi, a large body of tribesmen from Barat arrived at the capital in search of pay to fight in the Tiharnah (al-Hibshi 1980: 18). The Imam, having collected support of his own from Khawlan and Nihm, had 'All 'Abdullah al-Shayif of Dhii Husayn beheaded and the body strung up for three days, then thrown in the rubbish ditch outside Bab Sha'ub (ibid. 20-1; Zabarah 1929: ii. 66). But Bayt al-Shayif's call for support to avenge this was answered by Wa'ilah, Hashid, al' Amalisah, Sufyan, and Arhab, among others; in short, by tribes from as far away as what is now the Saudi border. They looted the city's outskirts and carried off enough plunder 'to suffice the son's son' (ibid. 23-4; al-Arnri 1985: 88-91).' [81] This lead to a gradual break-down of imamic authority: 'In 1823 a severe drought in the east forced a meeting of tribes at Jabal Barat, where they decided to seek aid from the Imam. When he refused and they turned on Lower Yemen, he seems to have been able to do nothing but warn others they were coming. 'When they reached Sarnarah [the pass that is sometimes taken to define Lower Yemen's border; see Chapter I], each put down his pledge on a place, and they divided it all up as if their father had left them the land as inheritance' (al-Hibshi 1980: 34). It is quite possible, of course, that many had indeed been left inheritance there, either property or presumed rights to 'fiefs' (quta'): they had been involved with the area for the best part of a century. From 1823 onwards, though, they are said to have held the area unopposed: 'they took control of it by force and coercion, then settled there, married there, and forgot the east until the Faqih Sa'Id threw them out in [1840]' (ibid.i.l" Even that was not sufficient, and when a further drought struck in 1835, Dhii Husayn, under Muhsin 'Ali alShayif, began raiding the north-west, while their women and children moved westwards by themselves in great numbers (ibid. 60-2). The Tiharnah had meanwhile fallen to the Egyptians.' [82] 'At the centre, in San'a', the Imamate under al-Mansiir 'All b. alMahdi 'Abdullah lost not only its resources but its ~oral vigour: 'drunkenness was the prevailing vice among the higher orders, and ... the corpses of men, women and children lay about the streets, no one taking the trouble to bury them .. .' (Playfair 1859: 145)· Al-Mansiir squabbled with one of his relatives, who fled to Ta'izz and handed it over to the Egyptians. Al-Nasir 'Abdullah Ahsan was then raised to the Imamate by the soldiers in San'a', only to be assassinated at Wadi Dahr in 1840.19 Al-Hadi Muhammad took the throne and succeeded briefly in regaining Mocha and Ta'izz, but when the Egyptians withdrew-under indirect pressure from Britain (Baldry 1976: I6I)-the Tiharnah fell under the control of Sharif Husayn.' [83] 'The geographical pattern of power had now changed beyond recognition. Hashid (led in part by the qadis of Bayt Hanash), were in Raymah, as well as further north in the western mountains, Dhii Muhammad and Dhii Husayn were in the south, as well as in the Tihamah, and all were involved with Yam, whose homeland in Najran had usually been outside the field of Yemeni events but whose presence in Haraz and the Tiharnah was nothing new. The land of Hashid and Bakil, on the northern plateau, was itself a dead centre to the whirl of events involving tribesmen elsewhere. Sharif Husayn's movements in 1845 make the point: starting from the north-west, in the Tihamah, he moved to the south, around Ta'izz, then to Barat, in the extreme north-east (al-Hibshi 1980: 120-31). The Imamate, at San'a', retained a mere rump of territory.' [84] 'There was -violence enough in the north itself, particularly in times of drought (see e.g. ibid. 306); but the tribal divisions, one should note, changed very little, and then rather in a longue duree than in the order of events recorded year by year. As we shall see in Chapter 9, the geographical detail even of sections within tribes changes hardly at all from al-Qasim's time (early seventeenth century) to our own, and where change occurs it does so by recognizable quanta. Inequality and movement alike are registered in other terms. The prominence of major shaykhs, for instance, whom the tribesmen followed much as they did Imams, derived from wealth in the west and in Lower Yemen, and this is also where the great non-quantum shifts in territorial control resulted from tribesmen fighting each other. Inequality, power, and geographical change all attach, not to tribal self-definition, but to the history of successive Imams, to the history of a tradition or of a dynasty; and the dynasty had, by this point, collapsed because it had lost control of non-tribal land.' [85] 'The Imams' attempts to regain the south met with little success. Ahmad Salih Thawabah of Dhu Muhammad, who had controlled a large ;wa~he of Lower Yemen, was defeated by al-Mutawakkil Muhammad and finally executed in 1848, to the delight of the Imam's supporters (Dresch 1987b). Within three years, however, his sons were formally granted land in much the same area (al-Hibshi 1980: 166). In the interim the Imam had been forced to send Dhii Muhammad horses as slaughter-beasts ('aqa'ir), which they took but did not have killed, and then pay them to fight again in the south (ibid. 146).20 Dhu Muhammad, Dhii Husayn, Arhab, Khawlan, and Hashid were also all fighting in the west, on the Imam's side, the Sharif's, or both; but the Ottoman Turks now seized the Tihamah. Hufash, near al-Mahwit, and al-Haymah were both contested, and several rival claimants to the Imamate appeared at once.' [86] This enabled the eventual Ottoman re-conquest: 'In despair al-Mutawakkil asked the Turks to intervene in the highlands. They arrived at San'a' in 1849 with 1,200 foot and 500 horse, but a riot ensued and they withdrew after only three weeks (Zabarah 1929: ii, 346 ff.; al-Sayaghi 1978: 25-7). AlMutawakkil was killed by his rivals. One of the Ashraf of the northern Tihamah, supported by 'a large following from Hashid, was then bought off with a gift of 2,000 riyals, robes of honour, and a horse (al-Sayaghi 1978: 31). The combination of a Tihamah Sharif and Hashid at the gates of San'a' is symptomatic enough of the Imamate's weakness.' [87] 'From the summary histories one forms an impression of steadily increasing disorder through the next twenty years, until 'the people of San'a' and others' invited the Turks again to take the city 'after they had tired of the chaos which prevailed there, the dominion of men from the tribes, the cutting of the roads, and the lack of any ordered security' (al-jirafi 1951: 205-6). A more recently available, and more detailed, source gives a different impression (al-Hibshi 19 80: 29 6 ff.). But the Turks seem in any case to have had designs on the highlands: they had increased their forces on the coast 'until stores were coming ashore with San'a' printed on every load' (ibid. 315), and when they finally arrived, in 1872, they demanded the tax registers which would reveal to them the administration and resources of the whole country (al-Wasi'I 1928: IIO). They were to remain in highland Yemen until 19 18.' [88] 'For much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, then, Yemen had been plagued by disputes between rival Imams and by tribal disorder. The Imamate had taken the form of an elaborate dynastic state, yet failed to secure the means to support itself or to transmit authority without dispute. Al-Shamahi credits the Qasimi dawlah with surviving until the middle of the nineteenth century. In name it did. He rationalizes the great decline of its power by saying that al-Mu'ayyad Muhammad (d. 1686) was the last of the Qasimis to possess all the qualities needed of an Imam, and that the rulers after him were more like kings (al-Shamahi 1972: 144-6). Similarly, al-Wazir (1971: 50) attributes the collapse of the state to the appearance of 'evil Imams'. Authors writing nearer the time each choose some point at which the real decline starts, always simply by reference to the actions or fate of a particular Imam (e.g. al-Hibshi 1980: 193).' [89]

Professions

♠ Professional military officers ♣ present ♥ 'The state the Qasimis formed in the midst of this was none the less impressive (for the rulers' genealogy see Fig. 6.1). Al-Qasim himself, who early in his fight against the Turks had wept over his children starving at Barat, was wealthy when the truce was signed. He built the mosque at Shaharah, then built houses for himself and his followers, planted coffee in al-Ahnum, and amassed more land than the public treasury (Nubdhah: 258, 334-6). The court expanded with the southern conquests. Al-Mutawakkil received an embassy from Ethiopia and exchanged gifts of fine horses with Aurangzib of India (Serjeant 1983: 80-1), while his relatives expressed concern about his monthly demands for funds from Lower Yemen. Further criticism of his taxation policy came from Muhammad al-Ghurbani at Barat, but in 1675 the levies on Lower Yemen were redoubled (ibid. 82). Under Muhammad Ahmad, 'He of al-Mawahib'" (1687-1718), the exactions became more severe still, in support of a grandiose court and a large standing army complete with slave soldiers (ibid., Zabarah 1958: 451, 457; alShawkani 1929: ii. 98).' [90]

♠ Professional soldiers ♣ present ♥ 'The state the Qasimis formed in the midst of this was none the less impressive (for the rulers' genealogy see Fig. 6.1). Al-Qasim himself, who early in his fight against the Turks had wept over his children starving at Barat, was wealthy when the truce was signed. He built the mosque at Shaharah, then built houses for himself and his followers, planted coffee in al-Ahnum, and amassed more land than the public treasury (Nubdhah: 258, 334-6). The court expanded with the southern conquests. Al-Mutawakkil received an embassy from Ethiopia and exchanged gifts of fine horses with Aurangzib of India (Serjeant 1983: 80-1), while his relatives expressed concern about his monthly demands for funds from Lower Yemen. Further criticism of his taxation policy came from Muhammad al-Ghurbani at Barat, but in 1675 the levies on Lower Yemen were redoubled (ibid. 82). Under Muhammad Ahmad, 'He of al-Mawahib'" (1687-1718), the exactions became more severe still, in support of a grandiose court and a large standing army complete with slave soldiers (ibid., Zabarah 1958: 451, 457; alShawkani 1929: ii. 98).' [91]

♠ Professional priesthood ♣ absent ♥ Most Yemenis were Muslims.

Bureaucracy characteristics

♠ Full-time bureaucrats ♣ present ♥ [92]

♠ Examination system ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Merit promotion ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Specialized government buildings ♣ present ♥ [93]

Law

♠ Formal legal code ♣ present ♥ Formal Islamic and informal tribal law co-existed.

♠ Judges ♣ absent ♥ Political leadership and judicial duties overlapped in the person of the imam: 'Hakim, the standard term for “judge” (qadi was also used), as in hakim sharʿi or “shariʽa judge,” had another sense, which meant “ruler,” as in the identification of Imam Yahya as hakim al-yaman, “ruler of Yemen.?”3 In this domain of overlapping terminology a verb from the same h-k-m root, followed by bainahum (lit. “between them”) can mean “he governed” when used of an imam or, beyond the sphere of the state, ofan important rural shaykh, and “he adjudicated their case” (p.169) when used in reference to a judge. One is reminded of a similar double resonance of the English word “court,” held by both kings and judges. While the categories judge and imam are not to be confused, it is also true that the activity of governing in Yemen was in general very much devoted to settling disputes, with only a specialized part of this activity being handled by the shariʽa court variety of hakim.' [94] Messick describes the interaction of imams, judges and muftis with the public: 'To Yemenis, judges in this type of open setting, accessible to the public, appeared in a posture known as muwajaha, from wajh meaning “face,” the quintessential face-to-face encounter of official public life (see fig. 9). Muwajaha was also the format in which the mufti received afternoon fatwa seekers, and the same sort of generic activity was characteristic as well of both ruling imams and local governors. Direct accessibility, based on a public presence that enabled personal encounters and personal solutions to problems, was a fundamental value of the old administrative style.' [95]

♠ Courts ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Professional Lawyers ♣ absent ♥ Traditional Islamic law does not recognize professional lawyers.

Specialized Buildings: polity owned

♠ irrigation systems ♣ absent ♥ According to Ethnographic Atlas variable 28 'Intensity of Agriculture', the Yemenis practice 'Intensive irrigated agriculture.' Yemen has a long tradition of irrigated terraced agriculture, although most land was under dry cultivation: 'Yemen’s difficult terrain, limited soil, inconsistent water supply, and large number of microclimates have fostered some of the most highly sophisticated methods of water conservation and seed adaptation found anywhere in the world, making possible the cultivation of surprisingly diverse crops. The most common crops are cereals such as millet, corn (maize), wheat, barley, and sorghum; myriad vegetables from a burgeoning truck farm industry have appeared on the market in recent years. There has also been extensive cultivation of fruits-both tropical (mangoes, plantains, bananas, melons, papayas, and citrus) and temperate (pears, peaches, apples, and grapes).' [96]
♠ drinking water supply systems ♣ absent ♥ Traditionally, water was gathered from freshwater springs: 'Traditionally, springs were used for drinking water supply as well asfor agricultural purposes.' [97]
♠ markets ♣ present ♥ The coffee trade was an important source of revenue for the imamate: 'Besides the wealth to be extracted from the southern peasantry, the Imams of the period also had available, if they could retain control, taxes from a burgeoning coffee trade. The rise and fall of the Yemeni coffee trade with Europe matches almost exactly the trajectory of the Imamate's wealth (see Boxhall 1974; Niebuhr 1792). The English and Dutch established factories at Mocha in 1618; the trade was probably at its height around 1730; and the world price of coffee finally crashed at the start of the nineteenth century, at which point one gets mention of Imams debasing the currency (al-'Amri 1985: 59). This wealth, however, had always to be fought for; the rulers became wealthier and more powerful than hitherto, but still were liable to dispute among themselves.' [98] Accordingly, public markets were probably present.
♠ food storage sites ♣ present ♥ Imams kept food in storehouses, which was distributed to the poor in times of need: 'The structure of payments was that of the state itself. From the time of the Turks (1636) to that of al-Mahdi of al-Mawahib (1687) Yemen supposedly 'was spared hunger and strife, and that wealth was taken which the law permits'. (As we have seen, this is too rosy a view; but the perception is what concerns us.) 'When this man [alMawahib] arose he took what wealth is permitted and what is not permitted. His state grew strong, his prestige became great, his power expanded, the number of his troops increased, and he became more like a king than a caliph' (al-Shawkani 1929: ii. 298). Yet the control of such wealth from taxation was surely vital where the country's agricultural. base was so vulnerable; as in 1723-4, for instance, when "a drought struck San'a' and most of the mountains of Yemen. Most people (sic. akthar al-niis) died of hunger and the villages were emptied of their inhabitants ... People ate even carrion. The price of all grains rose and a qadab reached eight [silver] riyals. Prosperous people gave what they had as alms. AI-Mutawakkil Qasirn b. al-Husayn gave out all that was edible from his store-houses ... and it was distributed among the poor in the alleyways of San'a'. Then there was abundance at the start of the next year [i.e. from the end of summer 1724], which went on until prices reached four qadahs of wheat for only one riyal, or six of sorghum, or eight of barley. Praise God, then, the Lord of the worlds. (Zabarah 1941: 588)" The role of the Imams' public store-houses in smoothing such fluctuations would be an interesting subject. But what is important for the present purpose is the concept of generosity at work here.' [99] But Jews were excluded from this after the emergence of a Messianic movement: 'Various natural disasters, especially a severe drought. that struck Yemen in the years following the execution of Jamal reinforced the opinion among Ihe Muslims in Yemen that the country was being punished for the act. For their part the Jews worked 10 spread and estab· Iish this view. II was also reported that a certain Jewish leader lOl vowed to take Muslim property to compensate for what the Imam Isma'il had confiscated from the Jews. It is related that he actually did so by means of witchcraft that destroyed Muslim propeny and harmed their villages and fields. 102 From a Hebrew source at our disposal, a lament by Shelo~ mo ben Ho!er al_'Uzayri,IOJ we learn that the reference is to the serious drought that occurred in 1669 throughout Yemen. This calamity struck the Jews in panicular, not only on account of the economic structure of the country, in which they were chiefly anisans remote from farming, but also owing to their poverty resulting from the heavy fines imposed on them and the expropriation of their property two years previously. The government, as was its wont, exploited these terrible circumstances, and did not supply the Jews with grain from its stores unless they convened. And indeed, as Hamami,l04 "about five hundred or more of Israel altered their faith, and it was as the generation of apostasy owing to the poverty that was from the start and owing to the famine that visited the earth", 'Uzayri points out not only the great famine but also the wandering of the Jews from place (0 place in search of food, and the decrees imposed on them by the "kingdom of evil" precisely at the time of their woe.' [100]

Transport infrastructure

♠ Roads ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Bridges ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Canals ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Ports ♣ present ♥ The coffee trade was an important source of revenue for the imamate: 'Besides the wealth to be extracted from the southern peasantry, the Imams of the period also had available, if they could retain control, taxes from a burgeoning coffee trade. The rise and fall of the Yemeni coffee trade with Europe matches almost exactly the trajectory of the Imamate's wealth (see Boxhall 1974; Niebuhr 1792). The English and Dutch established factories at Mocha in 1618; the trade was probably at its height around 1730; and the world price of coffee finally crashed at the start of the nineteenth century, at which point one gets mention of Imams debasing the currency (al-'Amri 1985: 59). This wealth, however, had always to be fought for; the rulers became wealthier and more powerful than hitherto, but still were liable to dispute among themselves.' [101] Accordingly, ports were probably present.

Special purpose sites

♠ Mines or quarries ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Information

Writing System

♠ Mnemonic devices ♣ absent ♥ No information on mnemonic devices has been found so far.
♠ Nonwritten records ♣ ♥ Poetry was important even in the modern period: 'The most widespread and traditional cultural outlet is oral, in the form of proverbs, popular stories, and poetry; poems that deal with timeless themes such as love and death as well as with Yemeni history, biography, and Islamic themes and traditions are particularly prevalent.' [102] Men engaged in competitive poetry duels: 'Despite the imposition of modernity, Yemenis remain proud of their architectural and oral-poetry traditions. Houses and mosques found in different regions of the country reflect unique stylistic and functional variations. Highlanders construct multistoried buildings from smooth, layered mud, mud brick, or cut stone. Dwellings in San\??\a are particularly impressive with their decorative colored-glass windows. In the rural highlands, houses constructed atop terraced embankments were fortresses against enemy tribes. In cities along the coastal plain, the former elegance of houses and mosques can be seen in their elaborate doors and facades. Rural towns in the Tihama usually include a walled compound that contains mud and thatched-roof huts identical to those found in Africa, on the other side of the Red Sea. The interiors of Tihama houses may be highly ornamented. Buildings constructed of cinder blocks are routinely replacing the huts. Competitive poetry duels performed at weddings by men of tribal status are highly valued. In the past, celebrations for circumcision (required of all Muslim males) were particularly elaborate, but now government officials discourage postinfancy circumcisions, thereby undermining the importance of ceremonial specialists.' [103]
♠ Written records ♣ present ♥ Written records in Arabic have a long scholarly tradition in Yemen.
♠ Script ♣ present ♥ Written records in Arabic have a long scholarly tradition in Yemen.
♠ Non-phonetic writing ♣ absent ♥
♠ Phonetic alphabetic writing ♣ present ♥ Written records in Arabic have a long scholarly tradition in Yemen.

Kinds of Written Documents

♠ Lists, tables, and classifications ♣ present ♥ Dresch mentions tax registers: 'From the summary histories one forms an impression of steadily increasing disorder through the next twenty years, until 'the people of San'a' and others' invited the Turks again to take the city 'after they had tired of the chaos which prevailed there, the dominion of men from the tribes, the cutting of the roads, and the lack of any ordered security' (al-jirafi 1951: 205-6). A more recently available, and more detailed, source gives a different impression (al-Hibshi 19 80: 29 6 ff.). But the Turks seem in any case to have had designs on the highlands: they had increased their forces on the coast 'until stores were coming ashore with San'a' printed on every load' (ibid. 315), and when they finally arrived, in 1872, they demanded the tax registers which would reveal to them the administration and resources of the whole country (al-Wasi'I 1928: IIO). They were to remain in highland Yemen until 19 18.' [104]
♠ Calendar ♣ present ♥
♠ Sacred Texts ♣ present ♥ The primary works of reference were Qur'an and Sunna: 'A primary sort of textual authority was derived:4 it followed from the existence and importance of an original, genuine, and ultimately reliable text, which refers back to the position and identity of the Quran. “In the genealogy of texts,” Edward Said writes (1983: 46), “there is a first text, a sacred prototype, a scripture, which readers always approach through the text before them.” A genealogy of authoritative texts in Islam must begin with a consideration of the Quran as the authoritative original. The paradigmatic, Ur text qualities of the Quran concern both content and textual form. Substantively, the Quran and the Sunna, the practice of the Prophet, constituted the two fundamental “sources” (usul, sing. asl) for the elaboration of shariʽa jurisprudence. Discursively, the Quran represents both the end and the beginning of the kitab (text, scripture, writing, book). Just as Muhammad was the last, the “seal,” of the Prophets, and also the first Muslim, the Quran was the definitive and final kitab, whose particular authority would initiate and delimit a discursive tradition.' [105]
♠ Religious literature ♣ present ♥ Scholars of Islamic law referred to biographical literature and legal manuals: 'For many centuries now, Ibb has supported an active community of Shafiʿi scholars. Despite their seemingly remote mountain valley location, town jurists were far from parochial. In terms of texts studied, theirs was not an unconventional local version of the shariʽa, Beginning with Ibn Samura and continuing to the present century, biographical histories provide views of the changing scholarly community in Ibb. A recently published work (Zabara 1979) devoted to noted individuals of the just-completed (fourteenth) Hegira century contains an entry on a distinguished Ibb scholar and prominent political figure who lived from 1876 to 1922, some seven and a half centuries after Faqih al-Nahi. Like al-Nahi, ʿAbd al-Rahman al-Haddad was an adherent of the Shafiʿi school of shariʽa jurisprudence. Both men were connected to the school through their relations with particular teachers and specific texts. In al-Haddad's case the teacher was his father, and the key text was a celebrated old manual known as Al-Minhaj. [...] Ibb scholars such as ʿAbd al-Rahman al-Haddad and, in the next generation, men such as his nephew and son-in-law, Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Haddad, whom I knew in the 1970s as an old man and a practicing court judge, commenced their higher studies with two standard Shafiʿi texts, the just-mentioned Al-Minhaj by Muhyi al-Din al-Nawawi, a Syrian who died in A.D. 1277,10 and a still more radically concise manual, known as Al-Mukhtasar (“the abridgment”) or simply as the matn, the “text,” of Abu Shuja, a resident of Basra active in the twelfth century.' [106]
♠ Practical literature ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ History ♣ inferred present ♥ Historiography and Islamic theology may have been present along with treatises on Islamic law. More material is needed on scholarly writings in the Qasimid period.
♠ Philosophy ♣ inferred present ♥ Historiography and Islamic theology may have been present along with treatises on Islamic law. More material is needed on scholarly writings in the Qasimid period.
♠ Scientific literature ♣ inferred present ♥ Historiography and Islamic theology may have been present along with treatises on Islamic law. More material is needed on scholarly writings in the Qasimid period.
♠ Fiction ♣ inferred present ♥ "Fictional" literature may have been present, given the fact that this was a literate culture. Expert confirmation needed.


Money

♠ Articles ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Tokens ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Precious metals ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Foreign coins ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Indigenous coins ♣ present ♥ Taxation was a majour source of public income: 'Besides the wealth to be extracted from the southern peasantry, the Imams of the period also had available, if they could retain control, taxes from a burgeoning coffee trade. The rise and fall of the Yemeni coffee trade with Europe matches almost exactly the trajectory of the Imamate's wealth (see Boxhall 1974; Niebuhr 1792). The English and Dutch established factories at Mocha in 1618; the trade was probably at its height around 1730; and the world price of coffee finally crashed at the start of the nineteenth century, at which point one gets mention of Imams debasing the currency (al-'Amri 1985: 59). This wealth, however, had always to be fought for; the rulers became wealthier and more powerful than hitherto, but still were liable to dispute among themselves.' [107] 'The state the Qasimis formed in the midst of this was none the less impressive (for the rulers' genealogy see Fig. 6.1). Al-Qasim himself, who early in his fight against the Turks had wept over his children starving at Barat, was wealthy when the truce was signed. He built the mosque at Shaharah, then built houses for himself and his followers, planted coffee in al-Ahnum, and amassed more land than the public treasury (Nubdhah: 258, 334-6). The court expanded with the southern conquests. Al-Mutawakkil received an embassy from Ethiopia and exchanged gifts of fine horses with Aurangzib of India (Serjeant 1983: 80-1), while his relatives expressed concern about his monthly demands for funds from Lower Yemen. Further criticism of his taxation policy came from Muhammad al-Ghurbani at Barat, but in 1675 the levies on Lower Yemen were redoubled (ibid. 82). Under Muhammad Ahmad, 'He of al-Mawahib'" (1687-1718), the exactions became more severe still, in support of a grandiose court and a large standing army complete with slave soldiers (ibid., Zabarah 1958: 451, 457; alShawkani 1929: ii. 98).' [108] Shaykhs also collected funds from landholdings: 'Whatever setbacks they suffered, however, Bayt al-Ahmar were not displaced permanently. In the year after Abu 'Alamah's rising, when the Sharif of Abu 'Arish and a rival claimant to the Imamate were active in the north-west, they were again a power to be reckoned with." Certainly they collected taxes as well as rents in the nineteenth century, and local memory credits them with taking revenue even from coastal towns in the north Tihamah, They retain considerable lands in the west to the present day.' [109] 'Nor were Bayt al-Ahrnar of Hashid the only shaykhly family in the area: Nasir juzaylan of Dhu Muhammad lost forts to Abu 'Alamah at al-Masiih, and a garrison from Dhii Husayn were chased out of al-Sha'iq in Bani 'Awam (again near Hajjah), but the shaykhly families of Barat retained or re-established a hold there. Al al-Shayif of Dhfi Husayn, for example, still own land in Hajjah province, and Bayt Hubaysh of Sufyan have considerable holdings near al-Mahwit (Tutwiler 1987). The picture which emerges between the lines of eighteenth-century histories and tariijim is of myriad forts in the western mountains, each garrisoned by twenty or thirty tribal soldiers and controlling an area for some shaykh of the northern plateau. As the eighteenth century wears on, so the same pattern comes more clearly to light in Lower Yemen too: in his entry for 1752, for example, al-jirafi records for the first time what will punctuate his history thereafter, Barat tribesmen at odds with the Imam south of San'a' (al-jirafi 195I: 183). They continued to appear there into the present century, leaving behind great numbers of tribal families and large shaykhly holdings of land outside tribal territory.' [110] 'These shaykhs are not the subject of Imamic history. Although the Imamate could not have functioned as it did without them, and although the granting of 'fiefs' to them went on for centuries, the details of their financial and administrative position are nowhere written up. Nor has local documentation come to light. Until it does, we must form what estimate we can by looking at the great shaykhly houses nowadays.' [111] Taxation and stipends were a major bone of contention between imams and tribes: 'Al-Mutawakkil al-Qasim then took the Imamate (Serjeant 1983: 84), and at this stage al-Ahmar was apparently on good terms with al-Husayn, the new Imam's son (Zabarah 1941: 539); but when alNasir Muhammad made a rival claim in 1723 al-Ahrnar and many other shaykhs went over to him. The leading sayyids were meanwhile divided among themselves over the perennial problem of taxation (ibid. 289). In 1726 the Dhayban section of Arhab cut the roads, and a group of them made trouble in San'a' itself (Zabarah 1958: 359). The Imam had them hunted through the streets, in response to which "Arhab tribesmen invited Hashid and Bakil to join them in taking revenge and wiping out the dishonour they had sustained. The tribes responded. 'All b. Qasim al-Ahmar, Paramount Shaykh of Hashid, and Nasir b. juzaylan, Paramount Shaykh of Bakil, proceeded to 'Amran where they met al-Husayn, the Imam's son, whom they persuaded to join them ... (al]iriifi 1951: 181, trans. Stookey 1978: 151-2).' [112] Dresch mentions tax registers: 'From the summary histories one forms an impression of steadily increasing disorder through the next twenty years, until 'the people of San'a' and others' invited the Turks again to take the city 'after they had tired of the chaos which prevailed there, the dominion of men from the tribes, the cutting of the roads, and the lack of any ordered security' (al-jirafi 1951: 205-6). A more recently available, and more detailed, source gives a different impression (al-Hibshi 19 80: 29 6 ff.). But the Turks seem in any case to have had designs on the highlands: they had increased their forces on the coast 'until stores were coming ashore with San'a' printed on every load' (ibid. 315), and when they finally arrived, in 1872, they demanded the tax registers which would reveal to them the administration and resources of the whole country (al-Wasi'I 1928: IIO). They were to remain in highland Yemen until 19 18.' [113] More details on the currency used may be needed. Dresch mentions Riyals in his discussion of stipends: 'Hasan al-'Ansi and the Barat tribes appeared outside San'a' in 1770. They were successfully driven off, which provoked some vainglorious poetry from the victors (Serjeant 1983: 86; d. alShawkani 1929: i. 459), but elsewhere al-Shawkani suggests (ibid. ii. 136) how this was achieved: an addition to the tribesmen's stipend of 20,000 riyals per annum, the implication being that they already received regular payment. These incursions and payments continued for several decades.P and the Barat tribes remained active in Lower Yemen until the Turks took the area in the late nineteenth century.' [114]
♠ Paper currency ♣ absent ♥

Postal System

♠ Couriers ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Postal stations ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ General postal service ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Warfare variables

♠ RA ♣ Eva Brandl ♥

Military Technologies

Military use of Metals

♠ Copper ♣ absent ♥
♠ Bronze ♣ absent ♥
♠ Iron ♣ present ♥ Rifles were present: 'But al-jirafi goes on, more importantly, to relate that al-Ahmar wrote al-Mansur al-Husayn a brusque letter demanding a meeting. The Imam feared an attempt at assassination; so he'assassinated alAhmar first, stuck his head on a lance, and galloped off with it through a hail of bullets from the shaykh's enraged tribesmen (aljirafi 1951: 182). In fact, al-Ahrnar, accompanied by Bin juzaylan of DhU Muhammad and by Ahmad Muhammad Hubaysh of Sufyan, seems to have come to 'Asir, just outside San'a', to seek a settlement (Zabarah 1941: 539 and 1958: 486). The details are probably lost forever, and we are told only that al-Ahmar 'had wished to make independent his own rule of part of the country' (ibid.), which he very well may have done; but al-Mansur alHusayn's view of the matter, as recorded in the histories, has all the vigorous clarity of the Zaydi tradition. The taunt to the tribesmen at the time was, typically, that they were no better than polytheists: he brandished al-Ahmar's head on his spear and cried 'this is the head of your idol'.' [115]
♠ Steel ♣ present ♥ Rifles were present: 'But al-jirafi goes on, more importantly, to relate that al-Ahmar wrote al-Mansur al-Husayn a brusque letter demanding a meeting. The Imam feared an attempt at assassination; so he'assassinated alAhmar first, stuck his head on a lance, and galloped off with it through a hail of bullets from the shaykh's enraged tribesmen (aljirafi 1951: 182). In fact, al-Ahrnar, accompanied by Bin juzaylan of DhU Muhammad and by Ahmad Muhammad Hubaysh of Sufyan, seems to have come to 'Asir, just outside San'a', to seek a settlement (Zabarah 1941: 539 and 1958: 486). The details are probably lost forever, and we are told only that al-Ahmar 'had wished to make independent his own rule of part of the country' (ibid.), which he very well may have done; but al-Mansur alHusayn's view of the matter, as recorded in the histories, has all the vigorous clarity of the Zaydi tradition. The taunt to the tribesmen at the time was, typically, that they were no better than polytheists: he brandished al-Ahmar's head on his spear and cried 'this is the head of your idol'.' [116]

Projectiles

♠ Javelins ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Atlatl ♣ absent ♥ New World weapon.
♠ Slings ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Self bow ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Composite bow ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Crossbow ♣suspected unknown ♥
♠ Tension siege engines ♣ ♥
♠ Sling siege engines ♣ ♥
♠ Gunpowder siege artillery ♣ ♥
♠ Handheld firearms ♣ present ♥ Rifles were present: 'But al-jirafi goes on, more importantly, to relate that al-Ahmar wrote al-Mansur al-Husayn a brusque letter demanding a meeting. The Imam feared an attempt at assassination; so he'assassinated alAhmar first, stuck his head on a lance, and galloped off with it through a hail of bullets from the shaykh's enraged tribesmen (aljirafi 1951: 182). In fact, al-Ahrnar, accompanied by Bin juzaylan of DhU Muhammad and by Ahmad Muhammad Hubaysh of Sufyan, seems to have come to 'Asir, just outside San'a', to seek a settlement (Zabarah 1941: 539 and 1958: 486). The details are probably lost forever, and we are told only that al-Ahmar 'had wished to make independent his own rule of part of the country' (ibid.), which he very well may have done; but al-Mansur alHusayn's view of the matter, as recorded in the histories, has all the vigorous clarity of the Zaydi tradition. The taunt to the tribesmen at the time was, typically, that they were no better than polytheists: he brandished al-Ahmar's head on his spear and cried 'this is the head of your idol'.' [117]

Handheld weapons

♠ War clubs ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Battle axes ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Daggers ♣ inferred present ♥ We have assumed that daggers and swords were present alongside rifles.
♠ Swords ♣ inferred present ♥ We have assumed that daggers and swords were present alongside rifles.
♠ Spears ♣ inferred present ♥ 'But al-jirafi goes on, more importantly, to relate that al-Ahmar wrote al-Mansur al-Husayn a brusque letter demanding a meeting. The Imam feared an attempt at assassination; so he assassinated al Ahmar first, stuck his head on a lance, and galloped off with it through a hail of bullets from the shaykh's enraged tribesmen (aljirafi 1951: 182). In fact, al-Ahrnar, accompanied by Bin juzaylan of DhU Muhammad and by Ahmad Muhammad Hubaysh of Sufyan, seems to have come to 'Asir, just outside San'a', to seek a settlement (Zabarah 1941: 539 and 1958: 486). The details are probably lost forever, and we are told only that al-Ahmar 'had wished to make independent his own rule of part of the country' (ibid.), which he very well may have done; but al-Mansur alHusayn's view of the matter, as recorded in the histories, has all the vigorous clarity of the Zaydi tradition. The taunt to the tribesmen at the time was, typically, that they were no better than polytheists: he brandished al-Ahmar's head on his spear and cried 'this is the head of your idol'.' [118] This could be 'present' but I don't understand the context/time period from the quote so inferred present until more specific information.
♠ Polearms ♣ ♥

Animals used in warfare

♠ Dogs ♣ absent ♥
♠ Donkeys ♣ absent ♥
♠ Horses ♣ inferred present ♥ The following paragraph suggests that horses were present: 'But al-jirafi goes on, more importantly, to relate that al-Ahmar wrote al-Mansur al-Husayn a brusque letter demanding a meeting. The Imam feared an attempt at assassination; so he'assassinated alAhmar first, stuck his head on a lance, and galloped off with it through a hail of bullets from the shaykh's enraged tribesmen (aljirafi 1951: 182). In fact, al-Ahrnar, accompanied by Bin juzaylan of DhU Muhammad and by Ahmad Muhammad Hubaysh of Sufyan, seems to have come to 'Asir, just outside San'a', to seek a settlement (Zabarah 1941: 539 and 1958: 486). The details are probably lost forever, and we are told only that al-Ahmar 'had wished to make independent his own rule of part of the country' (ibid.), which he very well may have done; but al-Mansur alHusayn's view of the matter, as recorded in the histories, has all the vigorous clarity of the Zaydi tradition. The taunt to the tribesmen at the time was, typically, that they were no better than polytheists: he brandished al-Ahmar's head on his spear and cried 'this is the head of your idol'.' [119]
♠ Camels ♣ inferred present ♥ We are unsure whether camels were present in the South of the peninsula at the time. We have assumed so for the time being, but more detail is needed.
♠ Elephants ♣ absent ♥

Armor

♠ Wood, bark, etc ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Leather, cloth ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Shields ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Helmets ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Breastplates ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Limb protection ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Chainmail ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Scaled armor ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Laminar armor ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Plate armor ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Naval technology

♠ Small vessels (canoes, etc) ♣ absent ♥ We have found no indication of naval battles.
♠ Merchant ships pressed into service ♣ absent ♥ We have found no indication of naval battles.
♠ Specialized military vessels ♣ absent ♥ We have found no indication of naval battles.

Fortifications

♠ Settlements in a defensive position ♣ present ♥ Rural fortresses built on hilltops were present and remained significant into the modern period: 'Dresch mentions forts of great military importance held by imams and shaykhs: 'Ali al-Ahrnar is mentioned by name in connection with events in 1713, trading his support between rival Imams. His tombstone, and the local tradition that no doubt incorporates what is writtenthere, gives al-Ahmar the .further name of al-Gharibi, and Muhammad 'Ali al-Gharibi, as we have seen, is mentioned as a great shaykh based near Hiith in 1709. Before that we know nothing of the family or of what they were called? But after al-Mansiir al-Husayn declared himself Imam, in 1727, he bought a strategic fort near alAhnum from Qasim al-Ahmar for one thousand riyals and razed it (Zabarah 1941: 55). When al-Mansiir was succeeded by al-Mahdi in 1748, al-Ahmar went down to Habur, took the area and rebuilt the fort. In the interim, in 1729-30, the Najran tribe of Yam had attacked the Tihamah and the west, after Hashid had opened the route to them through Dhibin, Bayt al-Ahmar are mentioned specifically as taking (and very probably retaking) areas of Hufash and Milhan, and then sending part of the spoil to the Imam as if to legitimate their position (Zabarah 1958: 890-2). No details are given of how extensive their possessions were.' [120] 'In 175I, however, a millenarian rising broke out in the western mountains, led by Abu 'AIamah, a black 'magician' who preached a puritanical renewal of Islam. Accounts of the rising mention several forts in the west being taken from Bayt al-Ahmar: al-Qahirah at alMahabishah was lost, then Qaradah and al-Gharnuq at Najrah, just south of Hajjah, then Sabrah, and finally the fort near alMadayir that al-Mansur had bought several years earlier (Zabarah 1941: 53-5).[121] 'Nor were Bayt al-Ahrnar of Hashid the only shaykhly family in the area: Nasir juzaylan of Dhu Muhammad lost forts to Abu 'Alamah at al-Masiih, and a garrison from Dhii Husayn were chased out of al-Sha'iq in Bani 'Awam (again near Hajjah), but the shaykhly families of Barat retained or re-established a hold there. Al al-Shayif of Dhfi Husayn, for example, still own land in Hajjah province, and Bayt Hubaysh of Sufyan have considerable holdings near al-Mahwit (Tutwiler 1987). The picture which emerges between the lines of eighteenth-century histories and tariijim is of myriad forts in the western mountains, each garrisoned by twenty or thirty tribal soldiers and controlling an area for some shaykh of the northern plateau.' [122]
♠ Wooden palisades ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Earth ramparts ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Ditch ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Moat ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Stone walls (non-mortared) ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Stone walls (mortared) ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Fortified camps ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Complex fortifications ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Long walls ♣ 0 ♥ km.
♠ Modern fortifications ♣ suspected unknown ♥


Phase II Variables (polity-based)

Institutional Variables

♠ RA ♣ Eva Brandl ♥

Limits on Power of the Chief Executive

Power distributed

♠ Constraint on executive by government ♣ ♥
♠ Constraint on executive by non-government ♣ ♥
♠ Impeachment ♣ ♥

Social Mobility

Status

Elite status

♠ elite status is hereditary ♣ present ♥ The following material was imported from the Ottoman- and modern-period data sheets, but might hold true for the Qasimid period as well, at least in part. Ascribed status determined membership in patrilineages; the same was true of sayyid, scholar and servant groups: 'Yemeni society is hierarchically organized on the basis of birth status and occupation. Until relative political stability was achieved in the late 1970s, birth and occupational statuses were legitimized as ascribed social categories. The elimination of practical barriers that restrict power and privilege-especially through marriage and education-to certain members of the society has only just begun. Under the system of ranked social categories, members of respectable groupings recognized their own noble descent and considered themselves the protectors of servants, former slaves, artisans, and certain farmers, all of whom were thought of as “deficient,” either because they provided a service or craft-such as bloodletting, butchery, or barbering-that involved contact with polluting substances, or because their origins were discredited as ignoble. The tribal code of protection was also extended to elites at the top of the social scale, especially to sayyids, the reputed descendants of the Prophet, who originally came to Yemen to serve as mediators between tribes and who are respected for their religious expertise. Another social category, that of legal scholars, also inherits high status in the ranking order. Scholars, along with shuyukh (sing. shaykh ), who are tribal leaders, typically serve as village administrators. The majority of Yemenis use various equivalent or substitute terms to identify themselves within the social hierarchy, including qaba\??\il in the northern highlands to connote tribal membership, ra\??\iyah in the south to mean “cultivators,” and \??\arab along the coast to signify respectable ancestry. Former slaves continue to act as agents and domestics in the households of former masters, but the most menial jobs (e.g., removing human waste from the street) are reserved for Yemenis who are alleged descendants of Ethiopians of the pre-Islamic era. In addition, Yemen relies on a range of foreigners from the East and West for professional, technical, and custodial services.' [123] 'Being of sayyid status, even in contemporary Yemeni society, still validates (but does not necessarily guarantee) one's access to religious learning. Men gather at the mosque for prayers and sermons on the Sabbath, which in Yemen occurs on Friday. Strict segregation of the sexes usually does not permit women to worship in public.' [124] Tribal affiliation was an important social identifier: 'Among Arab groups, tribal affiliation is another deep-seated component of social identity. Some tribal confederations have histories spanning more than two millennia. These affiliations continue to serve as a key basis for political and social organization throughout the country, although the postindependence governments of both South Yemen and, to a lesser extent, North Yemen set out to eradicate what then were considered reactionary cultural institutions. Although efforts toward detribalization were at least in part effective, subsequent events indicated that such identifications were still socially, economically, and politically relevant.' [125] 'Yemeni society is tribally based, and trust and assurance most often are measured by degree of consanguinity. Families are very close and are the focus of the individual’s primary devotion; one’s second allegiance is to the tribe, an extended family unit that ordinarily traces its ties to a common eponymous ancestor. In rural Yemen, state authority is weak, and disputes between tribes are frequently solved through violence. The art of the feud is still quite real, and, as a consequence, Yemen is a gun culture. Virtually every household has at least one weapon, and men and boys often carry firearms in public. Even when not carrying a pistol or a rifle, most Yemeni males-particularly those belonging to a rural tribe-will carry a dagger, the traditional janbiyyah (or jambiyyah), a short, broad, curved blade sheathed on a belt worn across the abdomen and serving as a signal of one’s status within social and tribal hierarchies.'[126] 'It is a continuing challenge of governmental strategies to achieve a stable balance between relatively autonomous tribes and the state. Alliance with dominant tribal confederation therefore may still be influential in the distribution of development projects by central authorities.' [127] Religion was another important social divider: 'Throughout society, the broadest distinctions between population groups are based not on ethnicity but on religious affiliation. Islam is the state religion, and the Sunni branch of Islam, represented by the Shāfiʿī school, predominates. The Shīʿite minority consists of the Zaydī school, which has long been politically dominant in the mountainous highlands of the north, and the Ismāʿīlīs, now a relatively small group found in the Haraz region of northern Yemen and in Jabal Manakhah, the mountainous area west of Sanaa. The non-Muslim community is very small, consisting mostly of foreign visitors and workers. All are free to worship as they wish-including the Jewish community-but, as in most conservative Muslim countries, proselytizing of Muslims by non-Muslims is illegal.' [128] Low social status often intersected with ethnicity: 'Ethnic minorities include the Mahra, a people whose roots are unclear and who occupy a part of eastern Yemen, as well as the island of Socotra, and who speak a variant of the ancient Himyaritic language. (See Mahra Sultanate.) On the Tihāmah coastal plain, in-migrations from Ethiopia and Somalia have occurred over many centuries. There is a clear African admixture in the coastal population as well as a distinct social group known as the Akhdām, who perform menial tasks and are the closest thing to a caste in Yemen. In the far north there are still small remnants of the once-large Jewish communities (most migrated to Israel after 1948), while in the area of Aden and the eastern regions there are distinct Somali, Indonesian, and Indian elements in the population, legacies of the British colonial era as well of economic and political ties extending back over two millennia.'[129] The intersection of low social status with the performance of 'impure' and subservient economic roles and the determination of rights to social support by tribal affiliation seem to justify coding this variable for the more hierarchical option. Inequality co-existed with the notion of 'noblesse oblige': 'Looking back from the early twentieth century to the great days of the Qasimis, an anonymous chronicler paints a picture of righteous patronage (al-Hibshi 1980: 300-4): "The times smiled on the people of that age, and the reason was that all of Yemen was in the hand of the state: its ports, [Lower] Yemen, Raymah, 'Utmah, and everywhere, so fodder evengrewin the lands beyondBarat ... The first thing was that the Imam followed the pure shari'ah, even as it affected himself and what he owned. Then the Shaykh al-Islam was reverenced for executing affairs in accordance with God's Book and His Prophet's usage, and no-one accusedhim of taking evena pip or a pip-skin from the parties to a case. The reason for that was that he had a fief ... which paid not less than about 1,000 qadab ... and still had al-Haymah which paid about 100 silverpieces a month. Andeveryone he knewor was close to ate with him [i.e. lived off him], and he himselfsaved nothing of what he got. After him came the sayyids of the Imam's family ... After them came the ministers, five or six of them ... everyone of whom had limitless people living with him [i.e. off his largesse] ..." And so on through the ranks (all of them ad hoc; Zaydi theory says not a word of this organization), down through the servants of servants all claiming their bread, clothes, and money from someone above them, to the lists of the great's benefactions for poor people at the several festivals. A cataract of pious largesse; and the other half of the cycle (the question of income to support this expenditure) is nowhere addressed in detail.' [130] 'So far as the tribes are concerned, this need not surprise us. The complement of segmentary equality is very often the gift min allah, from God, which therefore does not require reciprocity; indeed, the position of wealthy leaders in an egalitarian system is scarcely possible without this." But here the ethic of largesse permeated the whole functioning of the state, applying equally to townsfolk and traders, peasants and tribesmen, to everyone who wished for wealth. The lines of payment all ran normal to the axis of precise reciprocity which defines tribes or sections against their neighbours, and each line thus ran parallel to the others; their arrangement in an ordered series ('all of Yemen was in the hand of the state') depended solely on the Imam's 'prestige' (haybah). With or without such subordination, however, local lines of subsidy to this tribe or that persisted, and in practice this was a period at which a distinction was made clear which one finds still in documents very close to our own time: that between tribesmen (qabii'il) and peasants (ra'iyyah), 'subjects', people who pay tax.l" It was prominent shaykhs who formed the link between the two.' [131]

Religion and Normative Ideology

♠ RA ♣ Eva Brandl; Enrico Cioni ♥ EC responsible for editing this page and re-coding some variables.

Deification of Rulers

♠ Rulers are legitimated by gods ♣ present ♥ Zaydi imams were legitimated by their sayyid status: 'Yemen's distance from any Islamic central authority has made it historically an attractive haven for militant offshoots of normative Sunni Islam, particularly the two smaller branches of Shiism: Ismaili, or "Sevener," Shiism, and Zaydi, or "Fiver," Shiism. Zaydism was established in Yemen by the imam Yahya al-Hadi (d. 911), a descendant of Ali's son Hasan who migrated from Medina to Yemen late in the ninth century and established his capital at the northern highland city of Sada. Unlike Ismaili or Twelver Shiite doctrine, Zaydi theology posits an active, visible imam, or leader of the Muslim community, descended from either Hasan or his brother Husayn, who is learned in the religious sciences and who publicly proves himself worthy of leading the Muslim community, in battle if necessary. What this has meant in Yemeni history is that scions of numerous lines of Hasanid and, less frequently, Husaynid descendants have proclaimed their dawas, or "calls"-occasionally simultaneously, so that the supporters of one line were obliged to fight it out with supporters of another.' [132] More material on theology and ideology may be needed.

♠ Rulers are gods ♣ absent ♥ Islam is monotheistic [133]

Normative Ideological Aspects of Equity and Prosociality

♠ Ideological reinforcement of equality ♣ present ♥ “In Islam all men are equal, whatever their colour, language, race or nationality. Islam addresses itself to the conscience of humanity and banishes all false barriers of race, status and wealth.”[134]

♠ Ideological thought equates rulers and commoners ♣ present ♥ “In Islam all men are equal, whatever their colour, language, race or nationality. Islam addresses itself to the conscience of humanity and banishes all false barriers of race, status and wealth.”[135]
♠ Ideological thought equates elites and commoners ♣ [present; absent] ♥ On the one hand, “In Islam all men are equal, whatever their colour, language, race or nationality. Islam addresses itself to the conscience of humanity and banishes all false barriers of race, status and wealth.”[136]. On the other hand, ascribed status determined membership in patrilineages; the same was true of sayyid, scholar and servant groups: 'Yemeni society is hierarchically organized on the basis of birth status and occupation. Until relative political stability was achieved in the late 1970s, birth and occupational statuses were legitimized as ascribed social categories. The elimination of practical barriers that restrict power and privilege-especially through marriage and education-to certain members of the society has only just begun. Under the system of ranked social categories, members of respectable groupings recognized their own noble descent and considered themselves the protectors of servants, former slaves, artisans, and certain farmers, all of whom were thought of as "deficient," either because they provided a service or craft-such as bloodletting, butchery, or barbering-that involved contact with polluting substances, or because their origins were discredited as ignoble. The tribal code of protection was also extended to elites at the top of the social scale, especially to sayyids, the reputed descendants of the Prophet, who originally came to Yemen to serve as mediators between tribes and who are respected for their religious expertise. Another social category, that of legal scholars, also inherits high status in the ranking order. Scholars, along with shuyukh (sing. shaykh ), who are tribal leaders, typically serve as village administrators. The majority of Yemenis use various equivalent or substitute terms to identify themselves within the social hierarchy, including qaba\??\il in the northern highlands to connote tribal membership, ra\??\iyah in the south to mean "cultivators," and \??\arab along the coast to signify respectable ancestry. Former slaves continue to act as agents and domestics in the households of former masters, but the most menial jobs (e.g., removing human waste from the street) are reserved for Yemenis who are alleged descendants of Ethiopians of the pre-Islamic era. In addition, Yemen relies on a range of foreigners from the East and West for professional, technical, and custodial services.' [137] 'Being of sayyid status, even in contemporary Yemeni society, still validates (but does not necessarily guarantee) one's access to religious learning. Men gather at the mosque for prayers and sermons on the Sabbath, which in Yemen occurs on Friday. Strict segregation of the sexes usually does not permit women to worship in public.' [138]

♠ Ideology reinforces prosociality ♣ present ♥

♠ production of public goods ♣ present ♥ Qasmid imams distributed food from their court's storehouses to the poor in times of need: 'The structure of payments was that of the state itself. From the time of the Turks (1636) to that of al-Mahdi of al-Mawahib (1687) Yemen supposedly 'was spared hunger and strife, and that wealth was taken which the law permits'. (As we have seen, this is too rosy a view; but the perception is what concerns us.) 'When this man [alMawahib] arose he took what wealth is permitted and what is not permitted. His state grew strong, his prestige became great, his power expanded, the number of his troops increased, and he became more like a king than a caliph' (al-Shawkani 1929: ii. 298). Yet the control of such wealth from taxation was surely vital where the country's agricultural. base was so vulnerable; as in 1723-4, for instance, when "a drought struck San'a' and most of the mountains of Yemen. Most people (sic. akthar al-niis) died of hunger and the villages were emptied of their inhabitants ... People ate even carrion. The price of all grains rose and a qadab reached eight [silver] riyals. Prosperous people gave what they had as alms. AI-Mutawakkil Qasirn b. al-Husayn gave out all that was edible from his store-houses ... and it was distributed among the poor in the alleyways of San'a'. Then there was abundance at the start of the next year [i.e. from the end of summer 1724], which went on until prices reached four qadahs of wheat for only one riyal, or six of sorghum, or eight of barley. Praise God, then, the Lord of the worlds. (Zabarah 1941: 588)" The role of the Imams' public store-houses in smoothing such fluctuations would be an interesting subject. But what is important for the present purpose is the concept of generosity at work here.' [139] But Jews were excluded from this after the emergence of a Messianic movement: 'Various natural disasters, especially a severe drought. that struck Yemen in the years following the execution of Jamal reinforced the opinion among Ihe Muslims in Yemen that the country was being punished for the act. For their part the Jews worked 10 spread and estab· Iish this view. II was also reported that a certain Jewish leader lOl vowed to take Muslim property to compensate for what the Imam Isma'il had confiscated from the Jews. It is related that he actually did so by means of witchcraft that destroyed Muslim propeny and harmed their villages and fields. 102 From a Hebrew source at our disposal, a lament by Shelo~ mo ben Ho!er al_'Uzayri,IOJ we learn that the reference is to the serious drought that occurred in 1669 throughout Yemen. This calamity struck the Jews in panicular, not only on account of the economic structure of the country, in which they were chiefly anisans remote from farming, but also owing to their poverty resulting from the heavy fines imposed on them and the expropriation of their property two years previously. The government, as was its wont, exploited these terrible circumstances, and did not supply the Jews with grain from its stores unless they convened. And indeed, as Hamami,l04 "about five hundred or more of Israel altered their faith, and it was as the generation of apostasy owing to the poverty that was from the start and owing to the famine that visited the earth", 'Uzayri points out not only the great famine but also the wandering of the Jews from place (0 place in search of food, and the decrees imposed on them by the "kingdom of evil" precisely at the time of their woe.' [140] The construction of terraced irrigation networks might also qualify. More information is needed.

Moralizing Supernatural Powers

♠ Moral concern is primary ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is certain ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing norms are broad ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is targeted ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement of rulers ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by elites ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by commoners ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in afterlife ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in this life ♣ present ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is agentic ♣ present ♥

These data were reviewed by expert advisors and consultants. For a detailed description of these data, refer to the relevant Analytic Narratives, reference tables, and acknowledgements page. [141] [142] [143]

References

  1. Dresch, Paul. "Tribes, Government and History in Yemen", 198p
  2. Safa, Mohammad Samaun 2005. "Socio-Economic Factors Affecting the Income of Small-scale Agroforestry Farms in Hill Country Areas in Yemen: A Comparison of OLS and WLS Determinants", 119
  3. Dresch, Paul 1989. "Tribes, Government and History in Yemen", 206
  4. Dresch, Paul 1989. "Tribes, Government and History in Yemen", 198
  5. Dresch, Paul 1989. "Tribes, Government and History in Yemen", 198
  6. Dresch, Paul 1989. "Tribes, Government and History in Yemen", 198
  7. Safa, Mohammad Samaun 2005. "Socio-Economic Factors Affecting the Income of Small-scale Agroforestry Farms in Hill Country Areas in Yemen: A Comparison of OLS and WLS Determinants", 119
  8. Walters, Dolores M.: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Yemenis
  9. Dresch, Paul 1989. "Tribes, Government and History in Yemen", 200
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