Brief Description of Dammaaj, Yemen
As-Salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullaah wa barakaatuh.
BACKGROUND ON DAMMAAJ
Dammaaj is the birthplace of the Reviver of the Sunnah, the Great Scholar Muqbil ibn Haadee Al-Waadi’ee. The Sheikh set up an institute of knowledge that by Allaah’s will has changed the face of Yemen. Before the da’wah of the Sheikh Yemen was plagued by tashayyu’ in the north and tasawwuf in the south and hizbiyyah.
Now by Allaah’s grace the da’wah of Ahlus-Sunnah can be found in all parts in Yemen, stronger in some areas than others. The institute in Dammaaj started as a small masjid made of mud then as the students numbers grew a bigger masjid was built adjacent to the Sheikh’s house then later a bigger masjid was built which is today the library then an even bigger masjid was built and now that masjid has just been expanded. The latest masjid is very big and is active day and night with classes and students memorizing Qur’aan and hadeeth and at night time some of the single students sleep in the masjid.
Other single students choose to sleep in the basement of the masjid while others choose to buy rooms in a section for the single brothers. The rooms are made of mud bricks and most of them have small bathrooms. There are also bathrooms adjacent to the masjid and presently even more are being built. The single brothers are given three meals a day usually beans and bread in the morning and evening and rice for lunch. There are also small restaurants where some choose to buy meals while some single brothers choose to cook there own meals in their rooms.
DESCRIPTION OF CLASS SCHEDULE
On top of the masjid is a musallaa for the women where Umm Abdillaah Aishah bint Ash-Sheikh Muqbil gives her classes for the women. Other women such as Umm Salamah the wife of Ash-Sheikh Muqbil and Umm Shu’aib the former wife of Ash-Sheikh Muqbil and presently one of Ash-Sheikh Yahyaa’s wives and other women also have classes for the women. Some of the women also listen to the classes of Ash-Sheikh Yayhaa by way of the speaker system. The women also have a large library next to their musallaa on top of the masjid where they can do research. Ash-Sheikh Yahyaa gives three general classes each day in the masjid for all students to attend; only those who are sick or are on security for the day or have asked permission from the Sheikh are excused from attending.
This is so the Sheikh can know the status of his students, how they are progressing and for other reasons. The first class of the Sheikh is after the Dhuhr prayer when he teaches Tafseer Ibn Katheer one day and Al-Jaami’ As-Saheeh by Ash-Sheikh Muqbil the next day. The next class is after the Asr prayer when he teaches Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree.
The students are expected to memorize the hadeeth read in the class of Al-Bukhaaree and
the class of Al-Jaami’ As-Saheeh unless the hadeeth is long then those who don’t memorize are not blamed. The third class is after the Maghrib prayer. This is the longest class. The Sheikh in these days starts the class with a brief explanation of Al-Aqeedah As-Siffaareenee then reads from Saheeh Muslim then reads from As-Sunan As-Sughraa by Al-Baihaqee then gives a brief explanation of matn al-waraqaat in usool al fiqh.
Those are the daily classes given by Ash-Sheikh Yayhaa, may Allaah protect him and aide him. Then there are classes announced in specific subjects in specific books. The class and it’s time and place and teacher are announced over the loud speaker and are written on a board for the students to know. Classes are opened in all sciences and go all year round only stopping for Ramadaan when most people focus on reviewing Qur’aan while some students go on Umr’ah and others go back to their home villages and cities to give da’wah.
Also it should be noted that Ash-Sheikh Abdur-Rahmaan Al-Adanee is presently giving a class in Aayaatul-Ahkaam (the verses that have legal rulings) and Umdatul-Ahkaam Al-Kubraa one day for each class after Asr after the class in Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree. Ash-Sheikh Abdur-Rahmaan also gives the women a class every thursday in the women’s musallaa in the housing section called the mazra’ah by way of loud speaker from a mic in a room adjacent to the women’s musallaa.
The women are also able to write down questions for the Sheikh in this class. There are also many English and French speaking students who teach Arabic to those who don’t know Arabic. Inshaallaah I plan on opening a class for the brothers after Ramadaan in one of the madeenah books and plan to continue with the brothers until we reach Ibn Aqeel, may Allaah help us. There are also women who teach the sisters that don’t know Arabic.
As for the housing situation for families, that differs depending on what you are looking for. Presently houses going for between $5,000 and $10,000.
Those who are poorer usually build there own houses on land that is cheaper on the mountain or even build on top of someone else’s house. Some people are given houses for free when one opens up on Ash-Sheikh Muqbil’s land which he made waqf for the students of knowledge. I know of two families from the west that have been given houses for free.
The houses are mostly made of mud bricks while some choose to build with cynder block. The houses have running water and some areas have electricity for a couple of hours at night time.
The cost of living here is cheap. A small family can easily get by on $100 a month. The cost of living varies depending on your lifestyle. The student of knowledge should spend his money wisely so he will be able to focus more on studying. Dammaaj is not the cleanest place in the world.
REMINDER TO WESTERNERS
Many westerners when they first arrive complain of the trash scattered around and the smell of a sewage system that has been blocked up and things like this. They also complain about the character of some of the Yemenee students who are new to seeking knowledge. I advise the brothers and sisters that they read the history of our Prophet, may the peace and praise of Allaah be upon him, and the history of our Salaf As-Saalih. And I remind them that this dunyaa is not everlasting. We are all on a journey to our Lord and we will leave behind these belongings we have in this life. Our Prophet, may the peace and praise of Allaah be upon him has said: Be in this life as if you are a stranger or a traveler.
And Ibn Umar said: Take (advantage) from your health for the time you are sick and from your life for your death. And it has been authentically reported on Umar that he said: Live hard for verily the ease will not continue. It seems many Muslims from the west are more concerned about things of the dunyaa than that which will benefit them in the hereafter. Look how people recommend Muslims to travel to a land because of the lifestyle there then they make a note that they have only seen one woman who wears the hijaab, subhaanallaah.
May Allaah increase us in beneficial knowledge.
Was-Salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullaah wa barakaatuh.
Abdullah MacPhee / Dammaaj – Yemen
- Renting apartments can cost between $15-$30 per month. The single brothers pay $15 for a share of a modest apartment, whereas married students get a little more space/privacy for $30.
- Most of the structures are mud houses. You can rent an entire house for a year with $400-$600.
- Read HERE for more info on living in Damaaj
SINGLE SISTERS IN DAMAAJ
- “And whosoever fears Allâh and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). (At-Talaq 65:2)”
- We have heard/read in several places the Shaykh Yahya Hajoree, who runs Dar-ul-Hadeeth in Damaaj discourages single sisters from entering. For this reasons, some single sisters opt to arrange for a mahram to come study with them, or to marry someone with the same intention.
- Also, some sisters choose to study in a different area of Yemen, like Sanaa’ (Markaz Medina) where they can study in the meantime.
- See HERE for information on the female students of knowledge in Damaaj