Zubaida Canal – 20 Km long canal built for Hajj pilgrims in 809 A.D

Who was Zubaida?

Zubaida was a queen in Iraq and was the daughter Abbasid caliph Mansur’s elder son, Jaffer. She married her cousin Haroon al-Rashid (170-193 Hijra), the fifth Abbasid caliph.  Al-Rashid is known as the richest Caliph of Muslim history.

All her life was devoted to serving humanity and she is remarked as one of the humblest Queens of all time. She also has the credit of building the Nehr-e-Zubaida or the Zubaida Canal. The canal, which served the pilgrims for more than one thousand years, is a remarkable effort of engineering, construction, and modern technology.


Zubaida Canal is not only her greatest humanitarian work, she once declared that none of her debtors would be asked to pay the dues while those who owe her shall be given double.

She got the road improved that connected Kufa to Makkah and Madinah. The road was 900 miles long and was used by the pilgrims. The road still has a marking in her memory known as Darb-e-Zubaida.

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What was the need of Zubaida Canal?

The history claims that during that time an acute shortage of water hit the city of Makkah causing the pilgrims to depend on the Zamzam water during the Hajj days. This difficulty alarmed the then Caliph Hazrat Umar bin Khattab, who was performing his Hajj in the 17 Hijrah.

He and the companions of Prophet Muhammad PBUH tried to make arrangements to overcome the water shortage, but nothing of substance could be reached. So much so that by the time of Caliph Haroon Al-Rashid the water shortage became so massive that a single of a pail of water was worth 20 dirhams.

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Queen Zubaida performed Hajj in 809 A.D

In 193 Hijrah when Queen Zubaida went for Hajj, she was saddened by the water shortage in Makkah and ordered for an immediate solution. On her call, engineers and experts from different regions came in to solve the problem. They posed to build a canal from the Valley of Hunain.

At the valley, a water spring was there which provided plenty of water to the residents and was used for the irrigation purpose as well. Yet, as the land was barren, and temperature would rise immensely, it was not possible to build a canal on the surface of land and thereby it was built through an aqueduct. This also helped to raise the water stations from different intervals allowing people to fulfill their needs.

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How did Queen Zubaida build the Canal?

This was not done without incurring a cost though, Queen Zubaidah bought the entire valley of Hunain so that its water resources could be used to the fullest. To attain water from the mountainous sources, the mountains were cut, manpower and tools were used and engineers were called. All the cost was incurred by Queen Zubaida as by this time her husband had died.

Later the canal was extended towards Jabal-e-Rahma (the Mountain of Blessings) in Arafat, and then to Mina and Muzdalfa. This was something that caused ease for the locals and the pilgrims.

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Different phases in the life of Zubaida Canal

In 860 A.D, an Earthquake posed cracks and cuts to it and it repaired by the then caliph. It was later neglected badly and thereby suffered from cracks and leakages.

It was as late as 1878 Hijra that a committee was formed by the Saudi Government to maintain the canal yet by 1980 Hijra the water from the canal stopped for a various reason and dried up.

Currently, the Saudi government is working to restore the canal so that the great Muslim heritage could be restored. May Allah rest queen Zubaida's soul in peace!

Source: Facebook

نہرِ زبیدہ، وہ ایک ہزار کلومیٹر لمبی نہر جو ملکہِ زبیدہ نے حجاج کی سہولت کے لیے عراق سے عرفات تک تعمیر کروائی تھی،

Posted by Ishq-e-ilahi on Thursday, January 31, 2019