I am buried deep in the heart of the Middle East (not Texas as the song goes) My examination of Middle East history is taking place because I am tracing the life of the Mohammed (pbuh) in two separate books. To make an extremely long story short (for those of you with short attention spans) people have been trying to compete with Mecca and the wonder of the Kaale for centuries, and centuries and more even centuries. Other countries are become unseeingly jealous and want those pilgrims, with their dollars and their gifts. But Mecca has won, hands down – they continue to win says this woman who has just returned from the wonders of Mecca. (Unseeingly is the perfect words as it means with one’s eyes open but without noticing or seeing anything.)
Do have to admit that, in my pre Islamic years , I did feel sorry for Saudi Arabia thinking that their major industry was Mecca and how could a country make any money from that? But by going there learned that Saudi Arabia spends vast amounts of its oil revenue making sure that the pilgrims (and their own inhabitants) can worship in comfort and safety in Mecca. Not only in Mecca but also in Medina and other places where the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) walked and talked and bathed and knelt,. Perhaps, even upon places where he is thought thought about waling and talking and bathing and kneeling. Saudi Arabia does not face stern competition from any of those other Middle East countries. Not Dubai with its lax standards, its ridiculous attractions like skiing (and perhaps dog sledding). Not Abu Dhabi with its Grand Mosque which had (at one point in time) turned itself into a Disneyland with a vast supply of shops and shopping underneath it. Not even Qatar with its World Cup and several prestigious museums. None are going to compare and to attract tourists in the vast numbers that come to the magical cities of Mecca and Medina.
This is the history that competitive Middle East Rulers should be reading and heeding.
“Abrahah, who came from Abyssinia-a country in Africa-conquered Yemen and was made vice-regent there. Later, he noticed that at a certain time of the year large numbers of people would travel from all over Yemen and the rest of Arabia to Mecca. He asked the reason for this and was told that they were going on pilgrimage to the Ka’bah. Abrahah hated the idea of Mecca being more important than his own country, so he decided to build a church of colored marble, with doors of gold and ornaments of silver, and ordered the people to visit it instead of the Ka’bah. But no one obeyed him.”
“Abrahah became angry and decided to destroy the Ka1bah. He prepared a large army led by an elephant and set out to destroy the Ka1ah.
“In the morning Abrahah prepared to enter the town. He put armor on his elephant and drew up his troops for battle. He intended to destroy the Ka’bah and then return to Yemen. At that moment, however, the elephant knelt down and refused to get up, no matter how much the soldiers tried to get it to move by beating it.
The army was stalled, could not or would not move and then “birds appeared from over the sea. Each bird carried three stones as small as peas and they dropped them on Abrahah1s army. The soldiers suddenly fell ill. Even Abrahah was hit by the stones and fled in fear with the rest of his army back to Yemen, where he later died. On seeing their enemy flee the Arabs came down from the mountains to the Ka’bah and gave thanks to Allah.”
“After this, Quraysh gained great respect and became known as ‘the people of Allah’, and the year in which these events took place, 570A.D, was named the ‘Year of the Elephant’. In that year Allah had saved the Ka’bah and he would soon bring forth a Prophet from among Quraysh. ”
Excerpts From: Islam Way. “This is Muhammad.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/this-is-muhammad/id565861936
If I were a Middle East Ruler (which I am not, by the way) I would read, listen and learn and have this conversation with myself.
He: Look what happened, what Allah caused to have happen to those who tried to take away the tourism from Mecca. Perhaps I should not found airlines to bring in tourists, crowd the desert with attractions that are not natural to the area, spoil the lands and sands of the Middle East. Perhaps not attract hordes of people, build stadiums and such to have people that I do not trust befoul my country. It did not work before, and look what Allah did to those guys with the birds and the elephants. I will just give up and go myself to worship at Mecca and Medina.
I doubt that this conversation will be taking place. All that stuff has already been built. So too bad, so sad. Maybe Allah might just take it away in some way. I would be a little bit nervous if I was a Middle East Ruler (which, by the way, I am not). Hahaha. Not me, I am just an old lady born in Saskatchewan who, at the age of 79 – only two years a Muslim – was able to visit and observe the vast numbers of tourists in Mecca. I also, for some unknown reason, have visited both Dubai and Doha. They absolutely do not compare in any way. Nope they do not.
This seems unbelievable but is the truth. I just got a newsflash from a Dubai on line news source. It is not looking good there at all. speaking of water logging in the UAE. Police have announced heavy rains are closing off roads for both tourists and for residential areas. Emeritus Air has announced that more points are needed for an upgrade to Business Class. Forty fast food outlets have been shut down with massive food violations. Dubai’s Global Village shut down. On demand buses are shut donw. Advisory against adventurous trips because of flash floods and slippery roads. But Prince Hamdan seems not to have read this because this appeared: “As strong wind and heavy rain lashed the UAE over the weekend, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, took out time from his busy schedule to drive around the emirate and enjoy the cool weather — and also a hot meal.” He took to Instagram on Saturday to post video clips of himself driving around in the rains while also enjoying an outdoor picnic. The clips shows an elaborate meal laid out on a carpet inside a tent which has been set up somewhere in the desert, but with a view of the Dubai skyline This could be a big mistake Prince Hamdan, maybe I should warn him? Maybe not, he is after all a Crown Prince and would not (actually has not) listened to an old lady born in Saskatchewan.
Not sure what is going to happen. You see because it does not rain very much in the UAE there is no storm sewers or drains. So when it rains there is no where for the rain to go. How do I know that? Please remember, you inattentive souls, I lived there and saw what happened when it rained. Also, because I have studied the Middle East, know there are vast projects to seed the clouds to make it rain. Millions, if not billions, of dollars are spent on such projects, not used in any other place in the entire world, no other country despite drought conditions.
So after you read this blog check to see what is happening in the UAE – to the roads and careless Prince Hamdan. He has a history of taking needless risks with his life. As a Muslim he is prevented from taking his own life, but has a history of severe depressions, and elations. He was recently in London riding on the tube, I guess he is back. Perhaps he should have stayed in London.
There are clear skies here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The conclusion of this blog shalll be a photo taken from my window at sunrise, when the moon was still there. You can see how beautiful it is. There are also three cartoons from The New Yorker. This has not been a particularly cheerful blog and some of you faithful readers read to cheer up. The cartoons are blessedly funny,
Another news flash from Dubai – all major roads are being closed. This does not look good.As Write it is Saturday January 7, 2023 at 11 am MST. This may be a photo of Prince Hamdan’s jeep. It got accidentally unloaded from the online paper and I cannot seem to get rid of it.