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Hundreds of years old, the Al-Nour Center in Hadramout is struggling to save the precious manuscript

The Al-Noor Center in #Hadramout saves thousands of manuscripts from damage and smuggling out of #Yemen, but it is struggling to survive after 20 years of steadfastness.
ترميم مخطوطة في مركز النور حضرموت
Restoration of a manuscript in Al-Nour Center, Hadramout

Despite the fact that thousands of rare manuscripts have been rescued across Yemen, the Al-Noor Center for Studies, Research, and Manuscripts Service is still under pressure due to limited resources and the need for additional assistance. To carry on his mission in the fortune of intellectual production inherited over hundreds of years.

In 2002, the Al-Noor Center for Studies, Research, and Manuscripts Service was established in Tarim, Hadramout Governorate. Over the course of two decades, the center was able to collect and save 1,900 original manuscripts, copy 750 other manuscripts via photocopying and paper printing, and photograph and keep a digital copy of 6,400 manuscripts.

In addition to 11,200 digital and paper documents and correspondence, there are numerous old publications, magazines, and newspapers. The Center has worked hard to restore and preserve this vast intellectual heritage. To make it available to today's generation and leave it to future generations.

the Al-Noor Center works to collect and serve as much intellectual heritage content as possible in one place, as well as to care for and protect it from damage and obliteration. It aspires to be a research hub, a repository for intellectual heritage, and a beacon for raising awareness about the importance of preserving manuscripts and valuable historical documents.

Over the years, the center has assisted many researchers in obtaining master's and doctoral degrees, as well as identifying features of the country's history and intellectual development, and even proving ownership of real estate after restoring old documents. Furthermore, the Al-Noor Center's efforts helped to prevent manuscripts from being smuggled out of Yemen, which is common in the country, particularly in the northern regions.

The Al-Noor Center began its work in Hadramout with a field survey to identify private and public libraries, but it quickly expanded its work throughout Yemen's governorates. Since its inception, the center has conducted over 145 field surveys.

However, finding manuscripts and documents, restoring, preserving, and cataloging them is time-consuming and costly. It takes a lot of effort to research and persuade the owners of the manuscripts, and it also requires special skills and expensive materials for the restoration, preservation, and archiving process, which the center strives to do to the best of its ability.

Hadramout, and Yemen in general, particularly cities with a long history of intellectual activity like Zabid and Sana'a, have a rich legacy of manuscripts in a variety of fields, particularly jurisprudence, religious sciences in general, Arabic language and literature, and even other sciences like medicine and astronomy. Some of these manuscripts date back hundreds of years and are still in use today. The oldest manuscript in the Al-Nour Center dates from the sixth century AH.

Hadramout, like any other society, experienced various stages of intellectual production, ranging from prosperity to decline. According to Hussein Al-Aidarous, deputy director of the Al-Nour Center, the tenth-century AH is the most intellectually productive in Hadramout's history. Although the majority of manuscripts date from the thirteenth century AH, Al-Aidarous claims that it is based on intellectual production from the tenth century.

It is noteworthy that the manuscripts discovered, restored, and preserved have different writers or copyists between males and females, despite the fact that the majority of the manuscripts belong to men, indicating a recognized activity for women in Hadramout and their role in intellectual production throughout history. Some manuscripts were also the work of the sultans, such as Ghalib al-Qaiti, who wrote a manuscript on jurisprudence principles. According to Al-Aidarous, the integration of sultans and jurists in Hadramout has always been remarkable.

Despite the many challenges that the Al-Noor Center faces, it continues to carry out its duties with passion in order to preserve the history and identity of Hadramout and other regions, while also looking forward to expanding its capabilities in order to preserve more of this rare heritage, which will necessitate additional efforts. Financial, human, and qualification resources.

Preserving history and intellectual production, as well as documenting sources does not imply highlighting and exploring the nation's history solely to enhance identity and a sense of pride and belonging, but also to make today's production - in various sciences - more reliable and objective, which contributes to clarifying many facts, interpreting more events, improving communication, and building peace.


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