Location and Naming
Yanbu is located on the coast of the Red Sea in Hijaz. The city is part of Medina, at a distance of seven or nine stations. The distance between Yanbu and Medina is about 225 km.
In the past, the area had many palm groves, agricultural lands, and springs of water. It was called “Yanbu” because of the abundance of its springs of water.
Yanbu was located on the paths of hajj caravans from Egypt and Levant to Medina and Mecca. It is one station away from Mount Radwa. During al-Mansur's reign, al-Nafs al-Zakiyya hid in Mount Radwa for a while.
Imam ʿAli’s Endowments
Yanbu was conquered by Muslims without a war during the second ghazwa of the Prophet (s) under the Battle of Dhu-l-'Ashira in 2/623. The Prophet (s) gave the area to a group of Muslims. Imam ʿAli (a) bought the area from them and began agriculture and water extraction there. Some people believe that the lands were given to Imam ʿAli (a) by the Prophet (s) or 'Umar as an iqtaʿ (a form of tax farming).
Some sources talk about Amir al-Mu'minin’s many endowments in this area. Imam al-Husayn (a) gave the interests of its agricultural products to 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far b. Abi Talib, who in turn gave it to Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan. Imam ʿAli’s household still had estates in the area. For instance, during the Event of Harra Imam al-Sajjad (a) went to Yanbu, and on some accounts, he took with him his own as well as Marwan's family.
During Saffah's reign, 'Abd Allah b. Hasan al-Muthanna tried to reclaim the area from the caliph, which led to disputes among the progeny of ʿAli (a) over Yanbu’s endowments. Finally, Mahdi al-'Abbasi gave the lands to 'Alids.
People of the Area
In early sources, most people of Yanbu are said to be Ansar, Hasanids, Zaydis, and the Jahmi tribe. A prominent figure from this area was Hasan b. Qasim b. Muhammad who left Yanbu to Morocco in 664/1265. He was the ancestor of Alawite (Alaouite) noblemen in Morocco who later established a government there.
- Yanbuʿ is derived from the root n-b-ʿ, which means springing
- The material for this article is mainly taken from ینبع in Farsi WikiShia.