Personal Narrative Of A Pilgrimage To Al-Madinah & Meccah - Volume 1 of 2 - By Captain Sir Richard F. Burton




























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[P.376]CHAPTER XVIII.

AL-MADINAH.

IT is equally difficult to define, politically and geographically, the
limits of Al-Hijaz - Page 490
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[P.376]CHAPTER XVIII.

AL-MADINAH.

IT is equally difficult to define, politically and geographically, the limits of Al-Hijaz. Whilst some authors, as Abulfeda,[FN#1] fix its Northern frontier at Aylah (Fort Al-'Akabah) and the Desert, making Al-Yaman its Southern limit, others include in it only the tract of land lying between Meccah and Al-Madinah. The country has no natural boundaries, and its political limits change with every generation; perhaps, therefore, the best distribution of its frontier would be that which includes all the property called Holy Land, making Yambu' the Northern, and Jeddah the Southern extremes, while a line drawn through Al-Madinah, Suwayrkiyah, and Jabal Kora-the mountain of Taif-might represent its Eastern boundary. Thus Al-Hijaz would be an irregular parallelogram, about two hundred and fifty miles in length, with a maximum breadth of one hundred and fifty miles.

Two meanings are assigned to the name of this venerated region. Most authorities make it mean the "Separator," the "Barrier," between Nijd and Tahamah,[FN#2] or between Al-Yaman and Syria. According to others, it signifies the "colligated," i.e. by mountains. It is to be observed that the people of the country, especially the Badawin, distinguish the lowlands from the high region

[p.377]by different names; the former are called Tahamat al-Hijaz-the sea coast of Al-Hijaz, as we should say in India, "below the Ghauts;" the latter is known peculiarly as Al-Hijaz.[FN#3]

Madinat al-Nabi,[FN#4] the Prophet's City, or, as it is

[p.378]usually called for brevity, Al-Madinah, the City, is situated on the borders of Nijd, upon the vast plateau of high land

[p.379] which forms central Arabia.

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