From Kufa to Makkah: Reliving the Zubaida Trail

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More than 100 people took the initiative of reviving the Zubaida Trail, participate in a camel convoy along the historical path. (SPA)
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More than 100 people took the initiative of reviving the Zubaida Trail, participate in a camel convoy along the historical path. (SPA)
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More than 100 people took the initiative of reviving the Zubaida Trail, participate in a camel convoy along the historical path. (SPA)
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More than 100 people took the initiative of reviving the Zubaida Trail, participate in a camel convoy along the historical path. (SPA)
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Updated 13 January 2021

From Kufa to Makkah: Reliving the Zubaida Trail

  • The trail was named after Zubaydah bin Jafar, wife of Caliph Harun Al-Rashid
  • Ten days ago, more than 100 men and women took the initiative of reviving the Zubaida Trail, participating in a camel convoy along the historical path

MAKKAH: Darb Zubaida, or the Zubaida Trail, is one of the most important humanitarian and social projects of Islamic civilization. It stretches from Kufa, in Iraq, to Makkah, covering 420 kilometers inside the Kingdom alone, and was once known as a route for pilgrims and traders.
The trail was named after Zubaydah bin Jafar, wife of Caliph Harun Al-Rashid, who contributed to its construction and revival for convoys and passersby.
Ten days ago, more than 100 men and women took the initiative of reviving the Zubaida Trail, participating in a camel convoy along the historical path.
Turki Al-Muhaifer, one of the initiators, said that the project seeks to revive the heritage of the trail by charting it as it would have been in Zubaydah’s era.
“The road has an important historical dimension, which tells of a rich culture lived by our ancestors,” he told Arab News.
Al-Muhaifer explained that the road is valued for its vital role in connecting Iraq and Saudi Arabia and allowing pilgrims a passageway to Makkah to perform Umrah.
He noted that participants in the initiative started on Jan. 4 and will continue until Jan. 19, after traveling the 420 kilometers.
“We passed through several historical stops and through monuments that are still standing, despite the great passage of time,” he said.
Each day, the team wakes up early before the morning prayer. Following prayer, they have breakfast, get ready and then start off on the journey, stopping every 10 kilometers to rest. This continues until they stop for the night to sleep and repeat the process the next morning.
Thirteen nationalities were supposed to be represented in the convoy. Due to the exceptional circumstances created by the pandemic, however, that number was limited.
So far, the group has completed half the distance, traversing a variety of terrains, including rocky territory and sand.
“The project provides good lessons for youth and history lovers,” Al-Muhaifer said.
Fureih Al-Shamri, another member of the team, said that the main goal of the initiative is not so much to explore the Zubaida Trail as it is to shed light on this civilizational achievement, give the deserved historical and civilizational recognition to the place and encourage walking.
Al-Shamri said the unique experience was sure to delight lovers of history, archaeology, photography and the environment.
“Our goal is to allow them to practice their hobby and protect this historical heritage,” he said.
Another of the initiative’s goals is to show the world the Islamic civilization’s strong identity.
“This trail shows only a small part of the Islamic civilization and its wonderful legacy,” he said. “We are not only cameleers or shepherds, as we are portrayed in some Western media, but we are people with a rich and enduring legacy.
We had a civilization before petrol, and the Zubaida Trail is a testament to this. This road passes through stations, each containing wells and ponds. There were small markets, some of which were buried hundreds of years later, while others still exist.”
Sarah Al-Modaymagh, a businesswoman participating in the initiative, said that this is one of the most important experiences of her life. She described being part of a motivated group and traveling the Zubaida Trail as an enriching experience, encouraging physical fitness and promoting the study of culture and history.
“This initiative tells the story of a great lady who dedicated her life and effort to humanitarian and cultural work and managed to create a trail from Kufa to Makkah, despite the circumstances and hardships, in order to secure trade and Hajj routes,” she said.
She described the Zubaida Trail as a piece of “forgotten heritage” with an untold story and praised the initiative for bringing attention to it.
“It renews hope and sheds light on the story of a woman whose actions and foresightedness will last forever,” she said.

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Crown prince announces new 5-year strategy for kingdom’s economy

Updated 25 January 2021

Crown prince announces new 5-year strategy for kingdom’s economy

  • Crown prince pledges 1.8m new jobs
  • PIF to invest $40bn a year until 2025

JEDDAH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday launched a new five-year strategy for the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund as Saudi Arabia drives toward achieving its Vision 2030 goal to diversify the economy away from dependence on oil.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) will pump at least $40 billion a year into the local economy, double its assets to $1.07 trillion, contribute U$320 billion to non-oil GDP and create 1.8 million jobs by 2025, said the crown prince, the fund’s chairman.

“We’ve launched many vital sectors and investment projects in Saudi Arabia and the private sector is a strategic partner for the PIF,” he said.

“The new strategy comes to represent a major pillar in achieving the aspirations of our country and aims to achieve the concept of comprehensive development.”

The 2021-2025 strategy will focus on launching new sectors, empowering the private sector, developing the PIF’s portfolio, achieving effective long-term investments, supporting the localization of sectors and building strategic economic partnerships.

“Our goal is to make our country a pioneer for the new human civilization,” the crown prince said. The PIF would “contribute to supporting development and economic diversification efforts in the Kingdom, in addition to consolidating its position as the preferred global investment partner.”

PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said: “Over the past four years, PIF has demonstrated its important role in contributing to the Kingdom’s economy, in line with the ambitions of Vision 2030. Up to the end of 2020, we tripled assets under management to nearly $400 billion, created 10 new sectors and generated 331,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“And as part of our strategy, we will continue to drive the economic transformation of Saudi Arabia and enable the private sector. We also partner with innovative, transformative and disruptive companies around the world to consistently serve as an important catalyst for the development of the industries and opportunities of the future.

“Core to our strategy is our focus on funding new human futures by improving quality of life, driving environmental and economic sustainability, and developing new sectors and jobs.”

Meanwhile Fahad Al-Mubarak was appointed governor of the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) on Sunday, replacing  Ahmed Al-Kholifey, who becomes an adviser at the royal court.