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Volume :4 Issue : 15 1978      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

THE ALHEERAH-MECCA ROAD

Auther : By Sultan Najji

 

In an attempt to compile information about the Heerah-Mecca Road the author goes back to the books of several Arab famous geographers and of modern geographers as well as those of the classical Arab historians, but finds little or no mention made of this main connection between Iraq and Mecca during pre-Islamic and Islamic Ages.  This road became, after the Islamic conquest of Mesopotamia, to be the Al- Kufah-Mecca Road.  It is mentioned that Al Kufah was built near Al Hederah in South Iraq by in other places it is said that Al Kufah was built on the ruins of Al Heerah.

 

Al Heerah was built at the early 3rd Century when the irrigation systems were destroyed in Yemen and several Yemeni tribes were forced to emigrate northwards.  Some settled in and around Mecca, other in Great Syria and the rest near ancient Babylon in South Mesopotamia where they lived in tents.  This “camp” soon became the capital of the “Lakhmiah” State and was called Al- Heerah, derived from the Assyrian word “Herta”, meaning Camp.

 

Al Heerah later on represented a bridge between Persia and the Arab Peninsula and the connecting point for the three main roads in the Peninsula; the MeccaAl Heerah Road, Nijran (Saudi-Yemeni boarder on the Red Sea) – Al Heerah, and Al Heerah – BasraPalmyra Road.

 

Besides the importance as a commercial route between Persia and the Arab Peninsula, Al Heerah played a decisive role in spreading the Persian culture there.  The Heerah Arabs used to teach reading and writing on their commercial trips and helped teaching Christianity in the Peninsula.

 

With the Advent of Islam, Al Heerah was the first town to be captured in order to secure the Al Heerah – MeccaMedina Road.  Al Heerah and later Al Kufah was the gate to Mesopotamia which became the centre of all military operations lead to conquer the Easter parts of the later Islamic Empire.

 

Al Kufah became the most important town in Iraq and became a commercial, military and cultural center.  So the Al Kufah – Mecca Road continued to be the most important road between Iraq and Mecca during the Islamic Rule and was referred to later by the Arab geographers as the Pilgrimage (Hajj) Road or the Iraq Pass.

 

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