Hadramaut, Hadhramaut, Hadramout, Hadramawt or Ḥaḍramūt (Arabic:
حضرموت Ḥaḍramawt; Musnad: 𐩢𐩳𐩧𐩣𐩩) is a
region on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. The name is
officially retained in
Hadhramaut Governorate of the Republic of
Yemen. The people of
Hadhramaut are called Hadhrami and speak Hadhrami
3 Hadhrami diaspora
4 Modern history of the
6 See also
8 External links
The origin of the name "Ḥaḍramawt" is not exactly known, and there
are numerous competing hypotheses about its meaning.
The most common folk etymology is that the region's name means "death
has come," from حضر /ḥaḍara/ (Arabic for "he came") and موت
/mawt/ ("death"), though there are multiple explanations for how it
came to be known as such. One explanation is that this is a nickname
of 'Amar ibn Qaḥṭān, a legendary invader of the region, whose
battles always left many dead. Another theory is that
after the destruction of Thamūd, the Islamic prophet Ṣāliḥ
relocated himself and about 4,000 of his followers to the region and
it was there that he died, thus lending the region its morbid name
"death has come." A third related etymology posits that حضر refers
to the inhabitants of the area, themselves, and hints that the way of
life of the ancient
Hadhrami people was severe and ascetic in the eyes
of the bordering kingdoms situated in today's North Yemen.
Ḥaḍramawt is also identified with Biblical Hazarmawet (Biblical
Hebrew: חֲצַרְמָוֶת; Genesis 10:26 and 1 Chronicles
1:20). There, it is the name of a son of
Joktan (who is also
identified with Qahtan), the ancestor of the South Arabian kingdoms.
According to various
Bible dictionaries, the name "Hazarmaveth" means
"court of death," reflecting a meaning similar to the Arabic folk
Scholarly theories of the name's origin are somewhat more varied, but
none have gained general acceptance. Juris Zarins, rediscoverer of the
city claimed to be the ancient
Incense Route trade capital Ubar in
Oman, suggested that the name may come from the Greek word
ὕδρευματα hydreumata, or enclosed (and often fortified)
watering stations at wadis. In a Nova interview, he described Ubar
a kind of fortress/administration center set up to protect the water
supply from raiding
Bedouin tribes. Surrounding the site, as far as
six miles away, were smaller villages, which served as small-scale
encampments for the caravans. An interesting parallel to this are the
fortified water holes in the
Eastern Desert of
Egypt from Roman times.
There, they were called hydreumata.
Though it accurately describes the configuration of settlements in the
Wadi Ḥaḍramawt, this explanation for the name is
anachronistic and has gained no wider scholarly acceptance.
Already in the Pre-Islamic period, variations of the name are attested
as early as the middle of the First Millennium BC. The names ḥḍrmt
and ḥḍrmwt are found in texts of the
Old South Arabian
Old South Arabian languages
(Ḥaḍramitic, Minaic, Qatabanic, and Sabaic), though the second
form is not found in any known Ḥaḍramitic inscriptions. In
either form, the word itself can be a toponym, a tribal name, or the
name of the kingdom of Ḥaḍramawt. In the late Fourth or early
Third Century BC,
Theophrastus gives the name Άδρραμύτα, a
direct transcription of the Semitic name into Greek.
As Southern Arabia is the homeland of the South Semitic language
subfamily, a Semitic origin for the name is highly likely. Kamal
Salibi proposed an alternative etymology for the name which argues
that the diphthong "aw" in the name is an incorrect vocalization.
He notes that "-ūt" is a frequent ending for place names in the
Ḥaḍramawt, and given that "Ḥaḍramūt" is the colloquial
pronunciation of the name, and apparently also its ancient
pronunciation, the correct reading of the name should be "place of
ḥḍrm." He proposes, then, that the name means "the green place,"
which is apt for its well-watered wadis whose lushness contrasts with
the surrounding high desert plateau.
Region close to
Seiyun in the
An ancient sculpture of a griffin, from the royal palace at Shabwa,
the capital city of Hadhramaut
Hadhramaut refers to the historical
Qu'aiti and Kathiri
sultanates, which were in the
overseen by the British Resident at
Aden until their abolition upon
the independence of South
Yemen in 1967. The current governorate of
Hadhramaut roughly incorporates the former territory of the two
sultanates It consists of a narrow, arid coastal
plain bounded by the steep escarpment of a broad plateau (al-Jawl,
averaging 1,370 m (4,490 ft)), with a very sparse network of
deeply sunk wadis (seasonal watercourses). The undefined northern edge
Hadhramaut slopes down to the desert Empty Quarter.
In a wider sense,
Hadhramaut includes the territory of Mahra to the
east all the way to the contemporary border with Oman. This
encompasses the current governorates of Hadramaut and Mahra in their
entirety as well as parts of the Shabwah Governorate.
The Hadhramis live in densely built towns centered on traditional
watering stations along the wadis. Hadhramis harvest crops of wheat
and millet, tend date palm and coconut groves, and grow some coffee.
On the plateau, Bedouins tend sheep and goats. Society is still highly
tribal, with the old Seyyid aristocracy, descended from the Islamic
prophet, Muhammad, traditionally educated and strict
in their Islamic observance and highly respected in religious and
secular affairs.
See also: Hadhrami people
Since the early 19th century, large-scale
Hadhramaut migration has
established sizable Hadhrami minorities all around the Indian
Ocean, in South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Africa including
Hyderabad, Aurangabad, Bhatkal, Gangolli, Malabar, Sylhet,
Malay Archipelago, Sri Lanka, southern Philippines and Singapore.
In Hyderabad and Aurangabad, the community is known as
resides mostly in the neighborhood of Barkas. There are also
settlements of Hadhrami In Gujarat, such as in Ahmadabad and Surat.
In older history, several Sultans in Malay Archipelago, such as
Sultanate of Malacca, Sultanate of Pontianak or Sultanate of Siak
Indrapura, were descents of Hadhrami. In 19th century, Hadhrami
businessmen owned many of maritime armada of barks, bridges, schooners
and other ships in Malay archipelago. In modern time, several
Indonesian ministers, including former Foreign Minister
Ali Alatas and
former Finance Minister Mari'e
Muhammad are of Hadhrami descent, as is
the former Prime Minister of East Timor, Mari Alkatiri.(2006).
Hadhramis have also settled in large numbers along the East African
coast, and two former ministers in Kenya, Shariff Nasser and Najib
Balala, are of Hadhrami descent. Genetic evidence has linked the Lemba
people, an African
Jewish community of
Zimbabwe and South Africa, to
the people of the Hadramaut region. Among the Hadramaut region
there has been a historical
Jewish population, suggesting both
religious and ethnic continuity between Hadhramis and the Lemba.
Modern history of the
Qu'aiti sultans ruled the vast majority of Hadramaut[citation
needed], under a loose British protectorate, the
from 1882 to 1967, when the
Hadhramaut was annexed by
Qu'aiti dynasty was founded by 'Umar bin Awadh al-Qu’aiti, a
Yafa’i tribesman whose wealth and influence as hereditary
the Nizam of Hyderabad's armed forces enabled him to establish the
Qu'aiti dynasty in the latter half of the 19th century, winning
British recognition of his paramount status in the region, in 1882.
The British Government and the traditional and scholarly sultan Ali
bin Salah signed a treaty in 1937 appointing the British government as
"advisors" in Hadhramaut. The British exiled him to
Aden in 1945, but
Protectorate lasted until 1967.
In 1967, the former British Colony of
Aden and the former Aden
Protectorate including Hadramaut became an independent Communist
state, the People's Republic of South Yemen, later the People's
Democratic Republic of Yemen. South
Yemen was united with North Yemen
in 1990 as the Republic of Yemen. See History of
Yemen for recent
The capital and largest city of
Hadhramaut is the port Mukalla.
Mukalla had a 1994 population of 122,400 and a 2003 population of
174,700, while the port city of
Ash Shihr has grown from 48,600 to
69,400 in the same time. One of the more historically important cities
in the region is Tarim. An important locus of Islamic learning, it is
estimated to contain the highest concentration of descendants of the
Muhammad anywhere in the world.
Hadhramaut was known for being a major producer of
frankincense, which was mainly exported to
Mumbai in the early 20th
century. The region has also produced senna and coconut.
Currently, Hadhramout produces approximately 260,000 barrels of oil
per day; one of the most productive fields is Al Maseelah in the strip
(14), which was discovered in 1993. The Yemeni government is keen to
develop its oil fields to increase oil production in order to increase
national wealth in response to the requirements of economic and social
development in the country. Oil contributes 30-40% of the nation's
GDP, over 70% of total state revenues, and more than 90% of the value
of the country's exports.
Arabs in India
^ Genesis 10:26
^ 1 Chronicles 1:20
^ "Lost City of Arabia" (NOVA online interview with Dr. Juris
Zarins)format= requires url= (help). PBS. September 1996.
Missing or empty url= (help)
^ "General word list". DASI: Digital Archive for the Study of
pre-islamic arabian Inscriptions. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
^ Theophrastus: Historia Plantarum. 9,4.
^ Salibi, Kamal (1981). al-Qāḍī, ed. "Ḥaḍramūt: A Name with a
Story". Studia Arabica et Islamica: Festschrift for Iḥsān ʿAbbās
on His Sixtieth Birthday: 393–397.
^ Richard N. Schofield, Gerald Henry Blake, Arabian Boundaries:
Primary Documents, 1853–1957 Volume 22, Archive Editions, 1988,
ISBN 1-85207-130-3, pg 220 ...should be made along the coast to
the west as far as the DHOFAR-HADHRAMAUT frontier...
^ Engseng Ho, The Graves of Tarim: Genealogy and Mobility across the
Indian Ocean, University of California Press, 2006
^ Omar Khalidi, The Arabs of Hadramawt in Hyderabad in Mediaeval
Deccan History, eds Kulkarni, Naeem and de Souza, Popular Prakashan,
^ Leif Manger, Hadramis in Hyderabad: From Winners to Losers, Asian
Journal of Social Science, Volume 35, Numbers 4-5, 2007, pp.
^ Freitag, Ulrike; Clarence-Smith, William G. (1997). Hadhrami
Traders, Scholars and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean, 1750s to 1960s.
BRILL. ISBN 9004107711.
^ Ibrahim, Hassan; Shouk, Abu (2009-03-16). The Hadhrami Diaspora in
Southeast Asia: Identity Maintenance or Assimilation?. BRILL.
^ Agence France-Presse
^ Anne K. Bang, Sufis and Scholars of the Sea: Family Networks in East
Africa, 1860-1925, Routledge, 2003
^ Espar, David. "Tudor Parfitt's Remarkable Quest". www.pbs.org. PBS.
Retrieved 4 February 2015.
^ Wahrman, Miryam Z. (1 January 2004). Brave New Judaism: When Science
and Scripture Collide. UPNE. p. 150.
^ Alexandroni, S. No Room at the Inn. New Statesman, October 2007
^ Prothero, G.W. (1920). Arabia. London: H.M. Stationery Office.
^ Prothero, G.W. (1920). Arabia. London: H.M. Stationery Office.
Architecture of Mud: documentary Film about the rapidly disappearing
mud brick architecture in the
Nova special on Ubar, illustrating a hydreuma
Book review of a biography of
Qu'aiti sultan Alin din Salah
Hadhrami migration in the 19th and 20th centuries
Ba`alawi.com Ba'alawi.com The Definitive Resource for Islam and the
Wadis of Yemen
Gulf of Aden
Wadi Ar Ruqub