Zubaida Canal – built for Hajj pilgrims in 809 A.D

Who was Zubaida?

Zubaida was a queen in Iraq and was the wife of Haroon al-Rashid (170-193 Hijri), the fifth Abbasid caliph. She built the Zubaida canal (nehre zubaida) which served Hajj pilgrims for 1000 years.

Zubaida canal is a remarkable effort of engineering, construction, and modern technology. During your visit to KSA, it is one of the most historic places to visit in Makkah.

Zubaida canal

 

Why did she build Zubaida Canal?

Omer bin Khattab رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ was performing Hajj in 17 Hijri and he felt the shortage of water. He tried to make arrangements to overcome the water shortage, but nothing of substance could be reached.

When Queen Zubaida came to perform Hajj in 809 A.D (193 Hijri), there was an extreme shortage of water. The water shortage was so massive that a single pail of water was worth 20 dirhams.

Zubaida Canal

Upon this, Queen Zubaida immediately ordered to find a solution to the water shortage. At the valley, a water spring was there which provided plenty of water to the residents and was used for irrigation purposes as well.

Yet, as the land was barren, and the temperature would rise immensely, it was not possible to build a canal on the surface of the land, and thereby it was built through an aqueduct.

nahr e zubaida

How was the Canal built?

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.

Zubaida Canal

Later the Zubaida canal was extended towards Jabal-e-Rahma in Arafat, and then to Mina and Muzdalfa. It served Hajj pilgrims for around 1,000 years.

Zubaida Canal

Phases in the life of Zubaida Canal

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

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

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

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

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.