Islam in Yemen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cemetery in Sa'dah.

Islam in Yemen dates back to about 630AD, when it was introduced into the region by Ali when Muhammad was still alive. It was during this period that the mosques in Janad (near Ta'izz) and the Great Mosque of Sana'a were built. Yemenis are divided into two principal Islamic religious groups: 65% Sunni and 35% Shia.[1][2][3] Others put the numbers of Shias at 30%.[4][5][6] The denominations are as follows: 65% primarily of the Shafi'i and other orders of Sunni Islam. 33% of the Zaidi order of Shia Islam, 2% of the Ja'fari and Tayyibi Ismaili orders of Shia Islam. Yemen is home to the Sulaymani Bohra community, a subdivision of Tayyibi Mustali Ismailism.[7] The Sunnis are predominantly in the south and southeast. The Zaidis are predominantly in the north and northwest whilst the Jafaris are in the main centres of the North such as Sana'a and Ma'rib. There are mixed communities in the larger cities.

According to WIN/Gallup International polls, Yemen has the most religious population among Arab countries and it is one of the most religious population world-wide.[8]


The Zaidis of the northern highlands dominated politics and cultural life in northern Yemen for centuries; with Unification of Yemen, and the addition of the south’s almost totally Sunni Muslim population, the numerical balance has shifted dramatically away from the Zaidis. Nevertheless, Zaidis are still over represented in the government and, in particular, in the former North Yemeni units within the armed forces.

Houthi authorities in Sana’a formally enacted new regulations on the collection and use of zakat, the Islamic obligation for individuals to donate a portion of their wealth each year to charitable causes. The executive bylaw, signed by Mehdi al-Mashat, president of the Houthi-run Supreme Political Council (SPC), imposes a khums tax (literally meaning “one-fifth”, or 20 percent) on economic activities involving natural resources in areas under the group’s control in Yemen, which includes most of northern Yemen where some 70 percent of the population lives.[9]


Public schools provide instruction in Islam but not in other religions, although Muslim citizens are allowed to attend private schools that do not teach Islam. In an effort to curb ideological and religious extremism in schools, the government does not permit any courses outside the officially approved curriculum to be taught in private and national schools. Because the government is concerned that unlicensed religious schools deviate from formal educational rirements and promote militant ideology, it has closed more than 4,500 of these institutions[10] and deported foreign students studying there.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yemen Embassy in Canada Archived 2007-01-27 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Yemen". Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Yemen- Middle East". The World Fact Book. Archived from the original on 9 May 2021.
  4. ^ a b Country profile: Yemen. Library of Congress Federal Research Division (August 2008). Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ Merrick, Jane; Sengupta, Kim (20 September 2009). "Yemen: The land with more guns than people". The Independent. London. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  6. ^ Sharma, Hriday (30 June 2011). "The Arab Spring: The Initiating Event for a New Arab World Order". E-international Relations. Archived from the original on 29 August 2020. In Yemen, Zaidists, a Shiite offshoot, constitute 30% of the total population
  7. ^ Momen, Moojan (2015-11-05). Shi'i Islam: A Beginner's Guide. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-78074-788-0.
  8. ^ Oliver Smith, Digital Travel Editor (15 April 2017). "Mapped: The world's most (and least) religious countries". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2020-02-21. {{cite news}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  9. ^ "Yemen Economic Bulletin: Tax and Rule – Houthis Move to Institutionalize Hashemite Elite with 'One-Fifth' Levy". Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies. 2020-10-06. Retrieved 2021-09-14.
  10. ^ "Yemen Economic Bulletin: Tax and Rule – Houthis Move to Institutionalize Hashemite Elite with 'One-Fifth' Levy". Sana'a Center For Strategic Studies. 2020-10-06. Retrieved 2021-09-14.

External links[edit]