An Instagram reel brought back memories of Taif. The reel graphically showing heavy rain and hail with the following caption: While its been 45 degrees in Riyadh in Taif city its been raining and hailing heavily. .
I responded (liked by 8 people): Wow! I have been there when the weather was better! The Prophet (PBUH) was rebuked there. An interesting piece of history,
We shall first speak of the Yesterdays of Taif. During prayer I was reading from my favorite Quran of all in my possession. It is a tiny paperback version, purchased at the Edmonton Alhambra Used Book Store for a mere $5 Canadian. It is of course, an English translation – clearer and much more understandable than any of the other versions in my possession – those in print or those on my iPad. This from the forward: This translation of the Quran is copyright free. First published by Woodward Books in 2009. Www. goodwords.com; www.goodwords.net. It is translated by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
During the prayer, while reading from this Quran, happened upon the Chronological Table of the Quran. This entry came as a total surprise to me – I have examined the Prophet’s (PBUH) in some detail but was not aware of this episode in his life.
619 The Prophet visits Taif for support, but the people there give him humiliating treatment.
It must have been devastating to the Prophet (PBUH) because that was the same year his beloved wife Khadijah died followed in death by his beloved uncle Abu Tahib.
The journey undertaken by the Prophet must have been exhausting, all of that uphill climbing. I was driven in a SUV to reach the mountains of Taif. There were no roads, and no SUVs in 619 – that I know for sure. The sacrifices made by the Prophet (PBUH) are monumental. It is interesting to note the events that followed this 619 hardship.
620 The Prophet’s Night Journey to Jerusalem and then to the Seventh Heaven
622 The Prophet’s migration (Hijra) from Makkah to Medinah, which marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
There is a lesson to be learned, which is oft repeated in the Islamic Faith. The horrible hardships of 619 were followed by gifts, by glories; the 620 Night Journey and then the 622 migration to Makkah which allowed the flourishing of the faith.
You shall now journey back to a more recent yesterday in Taif, specifically July 13, 2023. An adventure was planned by Eish’ha Tours. Ak, his colleague TAF and I travelled from Jeddah to Taif. There was a surprise on the way – Hanan and her husband joined us as we travelled through the outskirts of Mecca. The five of us drove up the steep mountainside, passing some baboons on the way (the photograph might be included.) This was the plan – I was staying in a trailer (it was too tiny to be called a mobile home.) These are the accommodations provided for those wishing to ‘get away from it all.’ And we got away from it all. It is impossible to describe the beauty and isolation of the area – which is uncommonly close to the bustle of Mecca. Some photographs and a reel or two shall follow so you can get an idea. A picture is worth a thousand words, as well you know. Up there, in the isolation, there wee two amazing occurrences – a call to prayer drifted up from the village and a rainbow appeared. The five of us gathered around the fire pit. TAF (a nickname of course) brought a box of games. Snakes and Ladders was the only one I knew how to play – so TAF, Hanan and I joyfully competed. (I won, by the way). It was so much fun, gathering around a campfire, in the wilderness. It reminded me of some happy family times in my past; but this was not my beloved Aunt Alice’s cabin near Edson, Alberta, Canada. This was in Saudi Arabia near Mecca. We laughed, talked and prayed. TAF and Hanan were conversing in Arabic – their melodious voices inspired courage.
Me: I am listening to you two talk. Perhaps I could learn Arabic. There does not appear to be difficult sounds – like rolling rs in French and the guttural sounds in German.
TAF: Yes. I will teach you one word at a time.
Me: Great. When do we start?
She taught me a word, easy to pronounce. (But not spell). It is Arabic for ‘ My Beloved.” Uttering that word got me in so much trouble when I said it to men. They got the wrong Idea but I got at least two marriage proposals, which ended in serious dowry negotiations taking place. It is usually the role of a woman’s father – mine is dead, so AK assumed the role. He did an excellent job.
But back to our night in Taif. loved it there. Decided that I would make the trailer my first Saudi residence. I could attach it to a SUV and pull it around, deciding where in the vast expanse of Saudi Arabia I would finally settle.
Night fell on that marvelous day. Everyone was planning to leave, I was going to be alone, up there with the animals. I got scared but there was a solution. We all just drove down the hill, staying on the outskirts of Mecca in a very nice inexpensive hotel.
Driving down to Mecca we passed a check point. I could not find my passport, panic ensued. I was not covered, but had a scarf around my neck.
TAF: Put your scarf around your head.
Me: Okay, okay.
It worked, the car was not stopped, we drove through.
But then TAF laughingly threatened to blackmail me. She took a picture of the back of my head, which was uncovered. I do forget the amount of ransom nor to who she was going to show it to. I think Royalty.
Our excursion did not include spending time in Taif itself but a Google search revealed its extreme importance in history. Learning about Taif inspired me to send an email to AK the owner of Eish’ha Tours.
Me: Ali, the owner of my wonderful Edmonton cleaners (that had your gifted abaya hemmed and found replacement ribbon for Hanan’s hat) is a Muslim. He has been to Saudi Arabia for Hajj – that is all. Has never seen any of the rest of Saudi Arabia, which is true of most pilgrims. He, and countless others like him, would be definite candidates for a Saudi trip where he could see other important sites – ones visited by the Prophet (PBUH) Taif (where we visited) is one, Tabuk (where I visited) another. I am sure there are many others. Such a trip would allow nonMuslims to tour. I do believe that it is only Mecca and Medina that require its visitor to be Muslims. You would know more about that then me. (I say humbly). If I ever (and I do mean ever) get back to Saudi Arabia we could plan such tours. Progress is steadily being made.
He: It’s clear that your determination and efforts to return to Saudi Arabia are resonating with the universe. Take care of yourself and don’t forget to rest when needed. Your journey is an inspiring one, and I’m here to support you along the way. Stay strong and keep moving forward,
Well, I am, with each passing day. The end possibly in sight.
Photos and reels of the magical night in Taif will follow.