Oct 2011

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In the early 12th century another split occurred, and Ismailis in Yemen, where they lived and frequently fought with adherents of Zaidi Islam another branch of Shia Islam that became prevalent in Yemen, carried forward the beliefs and rule of the Fatimid dynasty. 4The 2004 Saudi census puts the number of inhabitants in Najran at around 408,000. 8 Ismailis, widely believed to constitute a large majority of the Najrani population, share a homogeneous identity based on historical, cultural, and religious roots. In Najran city, the Khushaiwa compound, with its Mansura mosque complex, is the spiritual capital of the Sulaimani branch of the Ismaili faith, one of two major strands of contemporary Ismailism. Ismailis in Najran belong mainly to one of two tribes—the Yam and the Hamadan. These tribes extend into territory that today lies in Yemen. There are also some Sunnis of the Yam tribe, both recent converts and adherents to Sunni Islam for generations. The Ismaili sense of pervasive discrimination against them appears stronger today than at any point in the first six decades of Saudi rule. In the 1960s, Saudi authorities had held al Da´i al Mutlaq under house arrest variously in Ta´if and Mekka for some five years because he had demanded the independence of Ismaili mosques and religious teaching, which the Wahhabi religious establishment opposed. 12 Despite this, many Ismailis have relatively fond memories of Khalid al Sudairy, who governed Najran from 1962 to 1980, and his son Fahd who succeeded him until 1996. Then, Prince Mish´al bin Sa´ud bin Abd al ´Aziz Al Sa´ud became the first member of the ruling family to govern the region.

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Oct 2011

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