From Kufa to Makkah: Reliving the Zubaida Trail

1 / 4
More than 100 people took the initiative of reviving the Zubaida Trail, participate in a camel convoy along the historical path. (SPA)
2 / 4
More than 100 people took the initiative of reviving the Zubaida Trail, participate in a camel convoy along the historical path. (SPA)
3 / 4
More than 100 people took the initiative of reviving the Zubaida Trail, participate in a camel convoy along the historical path. (SPA)
4 / 4
More than 100 people took the initiative of reviving the Zubaida Trail, participate in a camel convoy along the historical path. (SPA)
Short Url
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.

Related


Saudi Arabia ‘sending right message to region,’ says Cyprus FM

Updated 9 min 22 sec ago

Saudi Arabia ‘sending right message to region,’ says Cyprus FM

  • Ties between Saudi Arabia and Cyprus have strengthened since the two countries reopened embassies in their respective capitals four years ago

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s growing role in resolving regional issues has been praised by Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides during a visit to Riyadh.

“More and more countries are coming to understand that no solution can be found in the region without Saudi Arabia playing a leading role in the efforts,” Christodoulides told Arab News on Tuesday.

“It was something we believed in from the very beginning, and we are glad that more countries are understanding this reality,” he said.

Ties between Saudi Arabia and Cyprus have strengthened since the two countries reopened embassies in their respective capitals four years ago.

Christodoulides said that working together on the bilateral, regional and EU level, a “vast number of achievements” have taken place during that time.

An updating of agreements on air traffic was a major development, he said.

The foreign minister also called for greater discussion and mediation to promote the interests of the region.

“Cyprus is a member of the EU, but at the same time we are a country of the region and what we want to do is to raise awareness in Brussels about the region and especially about Saudi Arabia. A lot of times I feel that the Europeans don’t know the region — they talk about the region, but they don’t really know it,” he said.

Discussions on regional security were among the highlights of his visit, which included meetings with his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan.

“We looked at how we can enhance our cooperation because security is an issue of concern for all of us,” Christodoulides said.

“We discussed ways to enhance regional cooperation, not just with the UAE and Saudi Arabia but also with Egypt and Greece,” he said, adding that like-minded countries in the region are coming together in order to face the challenges “and to discuss the economic and investment opportunities that we have.”

“What I want out of this visit (to the UAE and Saudi Arabia) is to present the right narrative and the right picture to my colleagues in Brussels. Sometimes during our discussions in the EU and in Brussels, I get the impression that they don’t know the region.”

Christodoulides said that it was also important to “send a common message” to the new Biden administration in the US.

“We have common challenges, common threats, but at the same time our region is not the same as it used to be during the Obama administration. We see a lot of people from the Obama administration coming back to key positions. So we need to send them the same message in order to avoid the mistakes of the past.”

Speaking of the changes taking place in Saudi Arabia, Christodoulides said: “I can see it on the faces of the people and, for me, this is most important. I am amazed by the changes in the country.”

The foreign minister also accused Turkey of “promoting its interests through gunboat diplomacy” with its energy exploration off the coast of Cyprus.

“When President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan was first elected, Turkey’s relations with other countries were very different. Turkey had no problems with its neighbors,” he said.

“How quickly things have changed in the past eight years. We end up today with (Turkey) having problems with all its neighbors. At the same time, we can’t change geography. We can’t change our neighbors. But we are in a position and we are ready to discuss all issues at the negotiation table.”

He said that Cyprus had signed a maritime borders agreement with Egypt, Lebanon and Israel based on international law and 1982 UN convention on the law of the sea, but when the country asked Turkey to talk and agree on maritime zones, Ankara refused.

“I’m wondering if Turkey feels so comfortable with its position. Why do they refuse to discuss with Cyprus, a member of the EU and the UN?” he asked.
 

Related