Abdur-Rahman al-Mu'allimee al-Yamani

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Muslim scholar
`Abd al-Rahman ibn Yahya ibn `Ali al-Mu`allimee
Title "the al-Dhahabi of the era"[1]
Born 1894
Died May 1966 (aged 71–72)
Region Yemen then Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Main interest(s) Hadith, biographical evaluation

Abu `Abdillah `Abd al-Rahman ibn Yahya ibn `Ali al-Mu`allimee (Arabic: عبد الرحمن بن يحيى المعلمي) was a recent Sunni Islamic scholar who specialized in hadith and biographical evaluation. He was born in Yemen, then under Ottoman control, then spending time as an editor in India before returning to the then nascent Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he was head of the main library in Mecca. He was responsible for editing numerous classical religious works primarily in his field of specialization. For his efforts, he has been lauded as "the al-Dhahabi of the era", referring to the prominent medieval scholar of history.[1]

Early life[edit]


The Dhamar Governorate in Yemen in which al-Mu`allimi was born.

Al-Mu`allimee's father Yahya ibn `Ali was raised in the village of al-Tufan in the Automah district of Dhamar, Yemen. He relocated for a period of five years to pursue religious studies before returning and marrying. He married al-Mu`allimee's mother who was from one of the Yemeni tribes. She bore him one daughter and three sons: Fatimah, Muhammad, `Abd al-Rahman and `Atiyyah. Al-Mu`allimee – `Abd al-Rahman- was born in 1894 in the village of al-Mahaqirah in the vicinity of al-Tufan. Yahya also married Fatimah bint Ahmad al-Mu`allimee who also bore four children.

After some time in al-Tufan, he moved with his family to a village in al-Rimah, building a house atop a terraced mountain – Jabal al-Wali- that had been abandoned previously. This house came to be known as Bait al-Rimi. He split his time between teaching the local children, leading the Friday and `Eid prayers, farming and teaching his own children. He died in 1941 when al-Mu`allimee was 59 years old.[2]


Al-Mu`allimee began studying the Quran with his father and another family member, writing and memorizing it systematically. Before completing the Quran, his father moved with him to Bait al-Rimi where he continued to teach his son. Al-Mu`allimee then moved to al-Hajariyyah in the Ta'izz region with his brother Muhammad who was employed as a clerk in the Shariah court there. He studied Quranic recitation, math and the Turkish language while a student at a public school. Upon visiting his son, Yahya was dismayed to learn of his slow progress in studying Arabic grammar. Upon his father's encouragement, he then progressed in his grammar studies and upon returning to Bait al-Rimi focused his studies in the company of a local scholar. He also studied jurisprudence and inheritance before being appointed a judge.[3]

Al-Mu`allimee read Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim in the audience of Muḥammad `Abd al-Qadīr al-Ṣiddīqī at the college of al-Jami`ah al`Uthmaniyyah in Hyderabad, India. He was also authorized by him to narrate the Six Canonical Books: Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan al-Nasa'i, Sunan Abi Dawood, Sunan al-Tirmidhi and Sunan Ibn Majah, in addition to Al-Muwatta by Imam Malik.[3]


A photograph, circa 1920, of the Ajyād district of Mecca just outside the gate of the Grand Mosque. Al-Mu'allimi died in the public library not far from here in 1966.

For him, his teachers were the following:[2]

  1. His father Yahya
  2. His elder brother Muhammad
  3. Ahmad ibn Sulaiman al-Mu`allimee
  4. Muhammad ibn `Ali al-Idrisi
  5. Muḥammad `Abd al-Qadīr al-Ṣiddīqī
  6. Salim ibn `Abd al-Rahman Basihi


Al-Mu'allimee then traveled to Jizan, now in South-western Saudi Arabia, in the year 1911.[3] There he was appointed head judge by Muhammad al-Idrisee the then governor of Asir and given the title Shaykh al-Islam.[3] Al-Mu'allimee continued to teach throughout this period and remained with al-Idrisee until the later's death in 1923.[3]

Following the death of al-Idrisee, al-Mu'allimee moved to Aden in Yemen where he taught and delivered sermons for a year.[3] From Aden, he went to Hyderabad, India where he was appointed an editor at Dāʻirah al-Maʼārif al-ʼUthmāniyyah. There he edited books of hadith in addition to works history and literature[3] for approximately 25 years beginning in about 1927.[4]

In 1952, he moved to Mecca, Saudi Arabia[3][4] where he began working at the Library of Mecca (Maktabah al-Ḥaram al-Makkī).[4] After a year,[4] he was appointed head (amīn) of the library in November–December 1952.[3] During his time there, he continued to edit books for Dāʻirah al-Maʼārif al-ʼUthmāniyyah in India.[3]


On Thursday, May 27, 1966, al-Mu`allimee prayed the morning prayer at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Afterwards, he returned to the library in which he was working and died in his bed.[3]


Al-Mu'allimee authored several books and edited many more:


  1. Ṭalīʼah al-Tankīl bimā fī Taʻnīb al-Kawtharī min al-Abāṭīl[5]:25
  2. al-Tankīl bimā fī Taʻnīb al-Kawtharī min al-Abāṭīl[5]:26
  3. al-Anwār al-Kāshifah bimā Aḍwāʻ ʼalā al-Sunnah[5]:36
  4. ʼIlm al-Rijāl wa Ahimmiyyatuh[5]:38


  1. ^ a b Abu Zaid, Bakr Ibn `Abdillah. Tahrif al-Nusus. Al-Rudud. Riyadh: Dar al-`Asimah, 1993. 107.
  2. ^ a b Ahmad ibn Ghanim al-Asadi, al-Imam `Abd al-Rahman ibn Yahya al-Mu`allimee al-Yamani Hayatuhu wa Athaaruhu (Egypt: Maktabah al-Ridwan, 2006)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k al-Mu`allimee, `Abdullah ibn `Abd al-Rahman ibn Yahya, Introduction, Al-Tankil bima fi Ta'nib al-Kawthari min al-Abatil. By Abd al-Rahman ibn Yahya, al-Mu'allimee. Ed. Muhammad al-Albani. Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma'arif, 1985. 9–14.
  4. ^ a b c d al-Halabi, `Ali, Introduction, `Ilm al-Rijal wa Ahimmatuhu, `Abd al-Rahman al-Mu`allimee. Ed. `Ali al-Halabi. Riyadh: Dar al-Rayah, 1996. 9–12.
  5. ^ a b c d Mansur ibn `Abd al-`Aziz al-Samari, al-Shaikh `Abd al-Rahman al-Mu`allimee wa Juhuduhu fi al-Sunnah wa Rijalihi (Khubar: Dar Ibn `Affan, 1998)