29 August, 2012

The Extensive Influence of the Hadharem

Of all Arabs, none have migrated in large numbers, to places near and far, and have had so much influence in the places they settled in, as the Hadharem from Hadhramaut. To seek a better life and security, the Hadharem fled their homeland in large numbers. By dhows or sambooks, by sea, they did. Most of them left behind, their families; many of them left their wives and even children. To the places they went, they settled; most married the converted local, native women. Wherever they migrated, most of them became traders. Many, preached Islam and helped in spreading it. Many of them became leaders in their new homelands. Most, never returned to Hadhramout.

From the beginning of Islam, Hadhramis have been very much involved in it: as the Messenger of God's (صلى الله عليه وسلم) companions, as soldiers in the early Islamic periods, and as scholars and preachers - helping in the collection of the Hadiths and the writing of Islamic history; and preaching and spreading the message and the teachings of Islam. Hadhramis love adventures and to travel. Through out history, they have ventured to distant places; at first, it was mainly to preach and spread; or defend Islam. But, from the 18th Century onwards, and especially in the 20th Century, Hadhramis were forced to flee their homeland due to poverty, hunger and insecurity. To distant places they went.

Most went to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and other parts of South-East Asia. Many went to Eastern Africa, the Horn of Africa, Sudan and to as far as Egypt. Many more went to India, especially to Kerala and Hyderabad. They never colonized any of these places. They adapted, integrated and assimilated as much as they can. In most of these places, they introduced and preached Islam; very much helping in propagating it. Especially the sayyids or the sadas from Tarim. In: Eastern Africa, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, the Maldives and the many other parts of Southern and South-Eastern Asia, it is mainly the sayyids who introduced and taught Islam to the locals. It is they who very much helped in the converting of many of the locals. It is mostly through them, that many in Kerala, Hyderabad and many other parts of India, converted to Islam; that most of Indonesia, Malaysia and many other parts of Southern Asia became Muslim; and mainly through them - that many, if not most, in Eastern Africa initially converted to Islam.

The Hadhramis so much settled in their new homelands that most never returned to Hadhramaut. In most of the places they migrated and settled in, they thrived. They prospered as traders and as merchants. Many became religious and political leaders. And by marriage, they increased in numbers. Today: descendants of the Hadharem outside - in: Indonesia, Malaysia, India, other parts of Southern and South-Eastern Asia; parts of Eastern Africa and South-Eastern Africa, North-Eastern Africa and many parts of the Arabian Peninsular; in particular, Saudi Arabia - outnumber those in Hadhramout, by millions. Today: most descendants of the Hadhrami migrants have very much lost touch or contact with Hadhramout. Most do not even speak Arabic at all. Although all are still Muslims, most have very much taken in to the cultures and the ways of the places they are in.

More Reading:

+ Hadhramis in Massawa, Eritrea
+ Hadhramis in Ethiopia
+ Lamu: history, society, and family.......
+ Hadhramis and Lamu
+ The Hadhrami Diaspora in Southeast Asia 
+ Hadhramis in Saudi Arabia