The Makkan Railway

Tabsir illustrates an interesting anecdote of history from the Ottoman Empire, the birth of a railway link between Damascus and Makkah for pilgrims.

But besides these the general direction has been under Marshal Kiazim Pasha, to whom the greatest credit is due in bringing the line successfully into Medina, and to Hajj Mukhtar Bey, a brilliant Turkish engineer, who has absorbed all modern methods of construction, and compelted the last section into Medina without European assistance.

The Ruins of Hira

Yursil shares photographs from the Cave of Hira, littered with graffiti and garbage. While the site may not be considered a “holy site” of any sort, it is certainly an extremely historic site, as the location of the first revelations of the Quran. Forgetting Hira is to forget an important part of our history.

However, few places are mentioned as often in childrens tales as the Cave of Hira at Jabl al-Nur (Mountain of Light). Even these people with confused ideologies find their hearts drawn to the stories of the cave. What would it be like to see that cave, pray where the Prophet (S) first received Quran?

Recently family members have come back from Umrah and took some pictures of the situation of the cave.

During my own climb up the Mountain of Light to the Cave of Hira, nearly 10 years ago, I recall a man in the cave who would dress you up in traditional Arab garb and take a picture of you pretending to make du’a – just five riyyals! It offended me that such a historical site would be exploited for business, with the act of prayer also being mocked. I’m not sure what is more offensive; that we are selling our history for money, or that we are selling it for so cheap.

The Streets of Makkah

Faraz Ahmad illustrates life in Makkah as he performs Umrah.

What I saw next was probably one of the defining moments of the trip: not far was a homeless woman standing in the last third of the night, shoulders wide, arms on her sides, facing the Kabah, and her sheet which had just served as the bed, now being used as a prayer rug to offer the Tahajjud prayer while the more wealthy and cultured slept soundly in their soft beds.