al-Aqeeq Valley

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al-Aqeeq Valley (وادي العقيق), also spelled as Aqiq, is one of the most famous valleys of Medina, where the water gathers from Al-Naqi’e area, over 100km away from Medina to the south. It is adjacent to the outskirts of Medina, reaching Mount 'Ayr. This part of it is called the Upper Aqiq. Bukhari has narrated on the authority of Ibn Khattab that the al-Aqeeq is a blessed valley. One of the gates of Masjid Nabawi (Bab al-Aqeeq) is also named after this valley.

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Overview

The name al-Aqeeq (العقيق), means quartz in Arabic.

al-Aqeeq was once on ancient trade and pilgrim routes and has a significant role in Arabian history. A number of inscriptions discovered in the area are related to early Islamic history between the first and third centuries after the Hijra. As it was in the history the Wadi al-Aqiq is still a major water source for the entire Baha Province, and is replete with valleys spotted with green farms.

Askoubi mentions that there are several historical, geographical and religious sources that spoke volumes about the significance of the valley in ancient times.

Geography

al-Aqiq Valley floods in winter like a large river. The Valley decends about 30 kilometers from the south of modern city of Medina, and runs along the west of Mount 'Ayr, and passes through Dhul Hulaifa, until it reachs the end of , to turn eastwards and meet Bathan Valley near the Masjid al-Qiblatain area. Then heads north-west a little, then north, to meet Qanat Valley, coming from the east of Medina at Zaghaba area. The entire length of the valley is about 52 kilometers.

Religious Significance in Islam

circa 650 CE

Hadiths mention that a-Aqiq is a blessed valley. al-Bukhari notes on the authority of Umar ibn al-Khattab; that the prophet Muhammad said “al-Aqiq is a blessed valley”, another Hadith mentions, quoting Omar bin al-Khattab, God bless him, as saying: “I heard the Prophet at al-Aqiq Valley, saying: “A messenger came to me tonight from my God, and said: “Pray at this blessed valley”. During the expansion of Masjid an-Nabawi during the reign of Caliph Umar; the floor of the Prophet's Mosque was covered with soft gravels from the valley of al-Aqiq.

Notable Landmarks

circa 650 CE

Miqat Dhul Hulaifah Masjid
Also known as the Masjid Miqaat, it is located at Dhul Hulayfa, at the western side of al-Aqeeq Valley at a distance of twelve kilometers from The Prophet's Mosque. It is the place where pilgrims coming from Medina wishing to perform Umrah or Hajj enter into ihram before they set for Mecca. It was first built during the time of Umar bin Abdul Aziz as governor of al-Madinah 706-712 CE (87-93 Hj.) and renovated several times afterwards, the last of which was during the time of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz. Mosque's current layout is from this renovation and reconstruction.

circa 650 CE

Jabl 'Ayr
The Mount 'Ayr, Jabl 'Ayr (جبل عير), is situated about seven kilometers away from the Prophet's Mosque, in the south western region of Medina. It is called 'Ayr (donkey/ass) out of its resemblance to a sitting wild ass. Archaeological remains of a number of Ottoman era military and defensive structures can still be seen stop the mountain. Along its length, the mountain is oriented east-west. A small number of Hadiths mention this mount with various sentiments, in one it is called a mount from hell.

Archaeology

circa 650 CE

Qasr Urwah
The Qasr Urwah (Castle of Urwah ibn Zubair) is one of the most notable and best preserved structures in the al-Aqeeq Valley. The fertile land in the valley was also good for farming and had several gardens so the valley hosted several castles that belonged to prominent figures in the early Islamic history, including several of Prophet Muhammad's companions such as Saeed Bin al-Aas, Marwan Bin al-Hakam, and Saad Bin Abi Waqas, besides the castle of Sakeena, daughter of Hussein, and farms of Abu Hurairah. According to tradition Urwah bin Zubair purchased a portion of Khawwat bin Jubair's and converted it into a farm and also built a large fort on it, which still stands today.

circa 650 CE

Bir Rumah
The Bir Rumah (Well of Rumah), today known after the third caliph Uthman ibn Affan, who purchased it from a local Jew and made it in to a waqf for all. It is one of the oldest water wells in Medina, still functional. Today it is part of the larger Uthman ibn Affan waqf, which includes date-groves and a mosque. The original water well hole is situated near the northern edge of the date farm, while the modern and larger water well is located near the southern end north of the mosque of Bir Uthman.

circa 650 CE

Masjid Mu'aras
The Mu'aras Mosque (مسجد المعرس) was a small historic mosque, situated near the Masjid Meeqat, Dhul Hulaifah. Nothing much remains of the small structure, except a raised platform, marking the location where once the mosque stood. According to tradition, this is the site where prophet Muhammad used to stay on his way back to Mecca, if there was a night fall. He stayed here and

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References

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