Madina

Quba Mosque

The Quba Mosque (Arabic: مسجد قباء‎, Masjid Qubā’), in the outlying environs of Medina in Saudi Arabia, is the oldest mosque in the world. Its first stones were positioned by the Islamic prophet Muhammad as soon as he arrived on his emigration from the city of Mecca to Medina[1] and the mosque was completed by his companions. Muhammad spent 14 days in this mosque during the Hijra praying qasr (a short prayer) while waiting for Ali to arrive in Medina after the latter stayed behind in Mecca to carry out a couple of tasks entrusted to him by the Prophet.[citation needed]

According to Islamic tradition, offering two rakaʿāt of nafl prayers in the Quba Mosque is equal to performing one Umrah.

Muhammad used to go there, riding or on foot, every Saturday and offer a two rak’ah prayer. He advised others to do the same, saying, “Whoever makes ablutions at home and then goes and prays in the Mosque of Quba, he will have a reward like that of an ‘Umrah.” This hadith is reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Al-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah and Hakim al-Nishaburi.

Masjid-al-Qiblatain

Masjid Al-Qiblatayn

Masjid al-Qiblatayn (Arabic: المسجد القبلتین‎), or the Mosque of the Two Qiblas, is a mosque in Medina that is historically important for Muslims as the place where, after the Islamic prophet Muhammad received the command to change the direction of prayer (qibla) from Jerusalem to Mecca, the entire congregation led by a companion changed direction in prayer. Thus it uniquely contained two prayer niches (mihrabs). Recently[when?] the mosque was renovated; the old prayer niche facing Jerusalem was removed, and the one facing Mecca was left.

The Qiblatayn Mosque is among the three earliest mosques in Islam’s history, along with Quba Mosque and Al-Masjid al-Nabawi.

rawda

Prophet’s Mosque and Rawdah

The interior of the Prophet’s Mosque is remarkable, first and foremost, for the sheer crush of humanity. The crowds are noticeable, but not claustrophobia-inducing, in the main hallways of the men’s section of the prayer hall. The crowd becomes exponentially denser as you proceed into the Riyad al-Jannah, the part of the mosque between Ar-Rawdah and the Minbar or pulpit. Tradition has it that any prayer uttered in this area cannot be refused. The crush continues past Ar-Rawdah, which is the central part of the mosque in which Muhammad is buried. Despite Wahhabi issues with photography and modernity in general, the number of people means that it is nearly impossible for the guards to prohibit pilgrims from snapping pictures. The interior of the mosque is richly appointed along its capitals and some of the columns, but nothing to the point of counter-reformation church in Spain. This is largely thanks to Wahhabi doctrine, whose followers would have destroyed the Rawdah and Muhammad’s tomb, if given the chance. Much of the Ottoman-era ornamentation, however, did not escape this fate, and was removed when Madinah was passed to Al-Saud rule in 1925.

magnet_1

Jabal Magnet

A gravity or magnetic hill is a place where a slight downhill slope appears to be an uphill slope due to the layout of the surrounding land, creating the optical illusion that water flows uphill or a car left out of gear will roll uphill, among others. Many of these sites have no specific name and are often called just “Gravity Hill”, “Magnetic Hill”, “Magic Road” or something similar.

Jabal Uhud & Baqee

Jabal Uhud & Baqee

The Battle of Uhud (Arabic: غزوة أحد‎ Ġazwat ‘Uḥud) was fought on Saturday, March 19, 625 (3 Shawwal 3 AH in the Islamic calendar) at the valley located in front of Mount Uhud, in what is now northwestern Arabia.[2] It occurred between a force from the Muslim community of Medina led by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and a force led by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb from Mecca, the town from which many of the Muslims had previously emigrated. The Battle of Uhud was the second military encounter between the Meccans and the Muslims, preceded by the Battle of Badr in 624, where a small Muslim army had defeated a larger Meccan army.

Marching out from Mecca towards Medina on March 11, 625 AD, the Meccans desired to avenge their losses at Badr and strike back at Muhammad and his followers. The Muslims readied for war soon afterwards and the two armies fought on the slopes and plains of Mount Uhud.

Al-Baqi

Al-Baqi

Maqbaratul Baqī’ (Arabic: مقبرة البقيع‎, The Baqi Cemetery) is a cemetery in Medina, present-day Saudi Arabia, located to the southeast of the Masjid al-Nabawi (The Prophet’s Mosque). The mosque is built where the Islamic prophet Muhammad used to live, and is currently buried. The cemetery is also known as Jannatul Baqi, meaning “The Garden of Baqi” and Baqiul Qarqad, which means “Baqi of the Boxthorn”.

The cemetery holds much significance. It contains many of Muhammad’s relatives and companions. Many traditions relate Muhammad issuing a prayer every time he passed it. A Jewish graveyard was once located behind Jannatul Baqi. The Umayyad rulers took down the wall of the Jewish cemetery and widened the Muslim graveyard to enclose the tomb of Caliph Uthman ibn Affan

Battle of Badr

Battle of Badr

The Battle of Badr (Arabic: غزوة بدر‎), fought on Tuesday, 13 March 624 CE (17 Ramadan, 2 AH in the Islamic calendar) in the Hejaz region of western Arabia (present-day Saudi Arabia), was a key battle in the early days of Islam and a turning point in Muhammad’s struggle with his opponents among the Quraish[1] in Mecca. The battle has been passed down in Islamic history as a decisive victory attributable to divine intervention, or by secular sources to the strategic genius of Muhammad. It is one of the few battles specifically mentioned in the Quran. Most contemporary knowledge of the battle at Badr comes from traditional Islamic accounts, both hadiths and biographies of Muhammad, recorded in written form some time after the battle.

Prior to the battle, the Muslims and the Meccans had fought several smaller skirmishes in late 623 and early 624. Badr, however, was the first large-scale engagement between the two forces. Advancing to a strong defensive position, Muhammad’s well-disciplined force broke the Meccan lines, killing several important Quraishi leaders including the Muslims’ chief antagonist Abu Jahl. For the early Muslims the battle was the first sign that they might eventually defeat their enemies among the Meccans. Mecca at that time was one of the richest and most powerful cities in Arabia, fielding an army three times larger than that of the Muslims.[4] The Muslim victory also signaled to the other tribes that a new power had arisen in Arabia and strengthened Muhammad’s position as leader of the often fractious community in Medina.

uhud1

Battle of Uhud

The Battle of Uhud (Arabic: غزوة أحد‎ Ġazwat ‘Uḥud) was fought on Saturday, March 19, 625 (3 Shawwal 3 AH in the Islamic calendar) at the valley located in front of Mount Uhud, in what is now northwestern Arabia. It occurred between a force from the Muslim community of Medina led by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and a force led by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb from Mecca, the town from which many of the Muslims had previously emigrated. The Battle of Uhud was the second military encounter between the Meccans and the Muslims, preceded by the Battle of Badr in 624, where a small Muslim army had defeated a larger Meccan army.

Marching out from Mecca towards Medina on March 11, 625 AD, the Meccans desired to avenge their losses at Badr and strike back at Muhammad and his followers. The Muslims readied for war soon afterwards and the two armies fought on the slopes and plains of Mount Uhud.

Whilst outnumbered, the Muslims gained the early initiative and forced the Meccan lines back, thus leaving much of the Meccan camp unprotected. When the battle looked to be only one step away from a decisive Muslim victory, a serious mistake was committed by a part of the Muslim army, which altered the outcome of the battle. A breach of Muhammad’s orders by the Muslim archers, who left their assigned posts to despoil the Meccan camp, allowed a surprise attack from the Meccan cavalry, led by Meccan war veteran Khalid ibn al-Walid, which brought chaos to the Muslim ranks. Many Muslims were killed, and even Muhammad himself was badly injured. The Muslims had to withdraw up the slopes of Uhud. The Meccans did not pursue the Muslims further, but marched back to Mecca declaring victory.

For the Muslims, the battle was a significant setback: although they had been close to routing the Meccans a second time, their breach of Muhammad’s orders in favor of collecting Meccan spoils reaped severe consequences. The two armies would meet again in 627 AD at the Battle of the Trench.

saleh madina

Madain Saleh

Mada’in Saleh (Arabic: مدائن صالح, madāʼin Ṣāliḥ), also called Al-Hijr or Hegra, is a pre-Islamic archaeological site located in the Al-Ula sector, within the Al Madinah Region of Saudi Arabia. A majority of the vestiges date from the Nabatean kingdom (1st century AD). The site constitutes the kingdom’s southernmost and largest settlement after Petra, its capital. Traces of Lihyanite and Roman occupation before and after the Nabatean rule, respectively, can also be found.

The Qur’an places settlement of the area by the Thamud people after Noah but before Moses. According to the Islamic text, the Thamudis, who carved out homes in the mountains, were punished by Allah for their practice of idol worship, being struck by an earthquake and lightning blasts.[5] Thus, the site has earned a reputation as a cursed place — an image which the national government is attempting to overcome as it seeks to develop Mada’in Saleh for its tourism potential.

In 2008 UNESCO proclaimed Mada’in Saleh as a site of patrimony, becoming Saudi Arabia’s first World Heritage Site. It was chosen for its well-preserved remains from late antiquity, especially the 131 rock-cut monumental tombs, with their elaborately ornamented façades, of the Nabatean kingdom.

 

 

Al Wahaba crater

Al Wahaba Crater

The Al Waba crater (Maqla Tamia in Arabic) is 254 km from Taif on the western edge of the Harrat Kishb basalt plateau, which contains many volcanic cones. It is 250 m (820 ft) deep and 2 km (1.2 mi) in diameter. The bottom of the crater is covered with white sodium phosphate crystals.

While it was thought for some time that the crater was formed by a meteorite, as its appearance resembles that of the Barringer Crater, with its circular form and high sides, it is now commonly accepted by geologists that the crater is a maar crater, and was formed by volcanic activity in the form of an underground phreatic eruption – a massive steam explosion generated by molten basaltic magma coming into contact with subterranean water.

The remains of date palm plantations can be found halfway down the side of the crater, but they are disused. There are springs near the plantations. It’s easy to climb down from the rim to the bottom of the crater there from the North side on a prepared path, although most of the circumference has steep, unclimbable cliffs. At the top of the path is a stone hut which contains rubbish and debris, and some suitable places for camping, although there are better places to camp to the South (see below).

In the north of the Waba Crater, there is some vegetation located. It takes a person 15–25 minutes to go to the bottom of the crater. This crater is very slippery and it is hard for people to come up to the surface. To climb back up takes approx 20–40 minutes. There is only one paved route down into the crater. It is not recommended to climb down in groups of less than 3, as the path is quite loose in places and the risk of accident, whilst not huge, is ever present. Furthermore there is no mobile signal within the crater, and the site receives very few visitors indeed, even over weekends.

The best camping sites at the crater are on the south side just above the palm trees, which afford excellent views and where the ground is flat and secluded.

Since the year 2000, Saudi Tourism has discovered the site and paved roads and signs have been placed to expedite travel. To reach the site from Jeddah take the Taif-Riyadh highway. After 161 km from Taif leave the highway at Khanfariyah – Umm Al-doom exit and turn left over the bridge (this is the second bridge after the town of Radwan). After 31 km turn left again to Umm Al-doom town and after another 61 km turn right where the brown Al Wabah signboard is located; the road ends at the crater’s edge.

The road North to Mahd Adh Dhahab is now paved (signposted merely as Mahd, and is 90 km North of the crater), which allows much easier access to the site from Medinah, Rabigh, Yanbu, King Abdullah Economic City and KAUST, or allows visitors to do a trip north from the crater to Al-Ula or the White Volcanos, which would not have previously been feasible in a long weekend trip.