'the Barrier', Hejazi pronunciation: [alħɪˈdʒaːz]
) is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia
. The name of the region is derived from a verb ḥajaza
), from the Arabic root ḥ-j-z
), meaning "to separate,"
and it is so called as it separates the land of the Najd
in the east from the land of Tihāmah
in the west. It is also known as the "Western Province."
It is bordered in the west by the Red Sea
, in the north by Jordan
, in the east by the Najd, and in the south by the 'Asir Region
Its largest city is Jeddah
, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia, with Mecca
being the fourth and fifth largest cities respectively in the country.
The Hejaz is significant for being the location of the Islamic holy cities
the first and second holiest sites in Islam
, respectively. As the site of the two holiest sites in Islam, the Hejaz has significance in the Arab
and Islamic historical and political landscape. The Hejaz is the most populated region in Saudi Arabia,
containing 35% of the population of Saudi Arabia.
Arabic is the predominant language as in the rest of Saudi Arabia, with Hejazi Arabic
being most widely spoken dialect in the region. Hejazi Saudis are of ethnically diverse origins.
The region is the birthplace of the Islamic Ummah
(Community) of Muhammad
, who was born in Mecca, which is locally considered to have been founded by the Biblical figuresAbraham
The area became part of his empire through the early Muslim conquests
, and it formed part of successive caliphates, first the Rashidun caliphate
, followed by the Umayyad caliphate
, and finally the Abbasid caliphate
. The Ottoman Empire
held partial control over the area; after its dissolution, an independent Kingdom of Hejaz
existed briefly in 1925 before being conquered by the neighbouring Sultanate of Nejd
, creating the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd
In September 1932, the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd joined the Saudi dominions of Al-Hasa
, creating the unified
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Prehistoric and ancient times
The city of Al-'Ula
in 2012. The city's archaeological district is in the foreground, with the Hijaz Mountains
in the background.
Al-Hijr Archaeological Site
Era of Abraham and Ishmael
According to Arab and Islamic sources, the civilization of Mecca started after Ibrāhīm
(Abraham) brought his son Ismāʿīl
(Ishmael) and wife Hājar
(Hagar) here, for the latter two to stay. Some people from the Yemeni
tribe of Jurhum
settled with them, and Isma'il reportedly married two women, one after divorcing another, at least one of them from this tribe, and helped his father to construct or re-construct the Ka'bah
which would have social, religious, political and historical implications for the site and region.
Era of Muhammad
As the land of Mecca
the Hejaz was where Muhammad was born, and where he founded a Monotheistic Ummah
of followers, bore patience
with his foes or struggled against them, migrated from one place to another, preached or implemented
his beliefs, lived and died. Given that he had both followers and enemies here, a number of battles or expeditions
were carried out in this area, like those of Al-Aḥzāb
("The Confederates"), Badr
. They involved both Meccan companions
, such as Hamzah ibn Abdul-Muttalib
, Ubaydah ibn al-Harith
and Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas
, and Medinan companions.
The Hijaz fell under Muhammad's influence as he emerged victorious over his opponents, and was thus a part of his empire.
Due to the presence of the two holy cities in the Hejaz, the region was ruled by numerous empires. The Hejaz was at the center of the Rashidun Caliphate
, in particular whilst its capital was Medina from 632 to 656 ACE
. The region was then under the control of regional powers such as Egypt
and the Ottoman Empire
, throughout much of its later history.
In modern Saudi Arabia
The region is located along the Red Sea Rift
. It is also known for its darker, more volcanic sand
. Depending on the previous definition, the Hejaz includes some of the mountains of the Sarat range
, which topographically separate the Najd from Tehamah. Bdellium
plants are also abundant in the Hijaz. Saudi Arabia, and in particular the Hejaz, is home to more than 2000 dormant volcanoes.
Lava fields in the Hejaz, known locally by their Arabic name of ḥarrāt
, singular: ḥarrah
)), form one of Earth's largest alkali basalt
regions, covering some 180,000 km2
(69,000 sq mi), an area greater than the state of Missouri
International tourism development
As a component of Saudi Vision 2030
, a 28,000 square kilometer tourism destination is under development
on the Red Sea
coast between the towns of Umluj
) and Al-Wajh
), in the northern section of the Hejazi coast. The project will involve "the development of 22 of the 90+ islands"
that lie along the coast to create a "fully integrated luxury mixed-use destination."
and will be "governed by laws on par with international standards".
People of the Hejaz
People of Hejaz, who feel particularly connected to the holy places of Mecca and Medina, have probably the most strongly articulated identity of any regional grouping in Saudi Arabia.
Most people of Hejaz are Sunni
of Shafi'i rite
with a Shia
minority in the cities of Medina, Mecca and Jeddah. Many consider themselves more cosmopolitan because Hejaz was for centuries a part of the great empires of Islam from the Umayyads
to the Ottomans
Pre-6th century CE
- Qusai ibn Kilab ibn Murrah ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy ibn Ghalib ibn Fihr ibn Malik ibn An-Nadr ibn Kinanah ibn Khuzaymah ibn Mudrikah ibn Ilyas ibn Mudar ibn Nizar ibn Ma'ad ibn Adnan the descendant of Isma'il ibn Ibrahim ibn Azar ibn Nahor ibn Serug ibn Reu ibn Peleg ibn Eber ibn Shelakh, Chief of the Tribe of Quraysh, and an ancestor of Muhammad
- Qusai's son Abd-al-Dar the father of Uthman the father of Abdul-Uzza the father of Barrah the maternal grandmother of Muhammad
- Abd Manaf ibn Qusai, paternal ancestor of Muhammad
- Abdul-Uzza, son of Qusai, and an ancestor of Barrah bint Abdul-Uzza
- Hashim, son of Abd Manaf, paternal great-grandfather of Muhammad, and the progenitor of Banu Hashim in the Tribe of Quraysh
- Hubbah bint Hulail ibn Hubshiyyah ibn Salul ibn Ka‘b ibn Amr al-Khuza'i, wife of Qusai, and an ancestor of Muhammad
- Atikah bint Murrah ibn Hilal ibn Falij ibn Dhakwan, wife of Abd Manaf, and an ancestor of Muhammad
- Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib
- Abu Bakr Abdullah ibn Uthman Abu Quhafah ibn Amir ibn Amr ibn Ka'b ibn Sa'd ibn Taym ibn Murrah ibn Ka'b, father-in-law of Muhammad, and Caliph
- Umar ibn Al-Khattab ibn Nufayl ibn Abdul-Uzza the descendant of Adi ibn Ka'b ibn Lu'ayy, father-in-law of Muhammad, and Caliph
- Ali ibn Abi Talib, cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, and Caliph
- Hamzah, son of Abdul-Muttalib, and a paternal uncle of Muhammad, and other Muhajirun or Meccan followers of Muhammad, including Ubaydah and Sa'd
- Abu Talib, son of Abdul-Muttalib, Chief of Banu Hashim, paternal uncle of Muhammad, and the father of Ali
- Abd al-Muttalib ibn Hashim, Chief of Bani Hashim, and the paternal grandfather of Muhammad
- Khadijah bint Khuwaylid ibn Asad ibn Abdul-Uzza ibn Qusai, and other Meccan wives of Muhammad
- Fatimah, other daughters of Muhammad, and other Muhajir women
- Umm Ammar Sumayyah bint Khayyat, wife of Yasir ibn Amir ibn Malik al-Ansi, believed to be the first martyr from the followers of Muhammad
- Aminah bint Wahb ibn Abd Manaf ibn Zuhrah ibn Kilab ibn Murrah, wife of Abdullah, and the mother of Muhammad
Pre-6th century CE
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