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This article is about the geographical region. For other uses, see Hejaz (disambiguation).
Map with the Saudi region outlined in red and the 1923 Kingdom in green
Mountains of Hejaz

Al-Hejaz, also Al-Hijaz (Arabic: الحجاز‎‎ al-Ḥiǧāz, literally "the barrier"), is a region in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia. It is bordered on the west by the Red Sea, on the north by Jordan, on the east by the Najd, and on the south by Asir.[1] Its main city is Jeddah, but it is probably better known for the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina. As the site of Islam's holy places, the Hejaz has significance in the Arab and Islamic historical and political landscape

Historically, the Hejaz has always seen itself as separate from the rest of Saudi Arabia.[2] The Hejaz is the most populated region in Saudi Arabia;[3] 35% of all Saudis live in Hejaz.[4] Hejazi Arabic is the most widely spoken dialect in the region. Saudi Hejazis are of ethnically diverse origins.[5]

The Hejaz is the most cosmopolitan region in the Arabian Peninsula.[5] People of Hejaz have the most strongly articulated identity of any regional grouping in Saudi Arabia. Their place of origin alienates them from the Saudi state, which invokes different narratives of the history of the Arabian Peninsula. Thus, Hejazis experienced tensions with people of Najd.[6]



One or possibly two megalithic dolmen have been found in Al-Hijaz.[7]

Ancient times[edit]

The Hejaz includes both the Cradle of Gold at Mahd adh Dhahab (23°30′12.96″N 40°51′34.92″E / 23.5036000°N 40.8597000°E / 23.5036000; 40.8597000) and a potential water source now dried out that used to flow 600 miles (970 km) north east to the Persian Gulf via the Wadi Al-Rummah and Wadi Al-Batin system. Archaeological research led by of Boston University and the University of Qassim indicates that the river system was active in 8000  BCE[citation needed] and 2500–3000 BCE.[8]

The northern part of the Hejaz was part of the Roman province of Arabia Petraea.[9] The region is so called as it separates the land of the Najd in the east from the land of Tihamah in the west. It is also known as the "Western Province".[10]

Era of Abraham and Ishmael[edit]

According to Islamic sources, the civilization of Mecca started after Ibrahim (Abraham) brought his son Isma‘il (Ishmael) and wife Hajar (Hagar) here, for the latter two to stay. After some people from the Tribe of Jurhum settled with Hajar and Isma‘il, the latter 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 religious, political, historical implications for the sight and region.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]

Era of Muhammad[edit]

As the region of Mecca and Medina, it was where Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah, himself a descendant of Isma‘il ibn Ibrahim, was born, and where he lived, preached or implemented his beliefs, migrated from one place to another, and died. Given that he had both followers and enemies here, a number of battles or military campaigns were carried out in this area, which involved both Meccan companions, such as Hamzah ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib, `Ubaydah ibn al-Harith and Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, and Medinan companions (See: List of expeditions of Muhammad).[14][16][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]

Subsequent history[edit]

Due to the presence of two holy cities in the Hijaz, the region went under numerous empires throughout its Islamic history. Al-Hijaz was at the centre of the Rashidun Caliphate, in particular whilst its capital was in Medina from 632 to 656. The region was then under the control of regional powers such as Egypt and the Ottoman Empire through much of its later history.

Brief independence[edit]

Main article: Kingdom of Hejaz

In 1916, Sharif Hussein ibn `Ali proclaimed himself King of an independent Hejaz, as a result of the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence. The ensuing Arab Revolt overthrew the Ottoman Empire. In 1924, however, ibn `Ali's authority was replaced by that of Ibn Saud of the Najd.

In modern Saudi Arabia[edit]

At first, Ibn Saud ruled the two as separate units, though they became known as the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd. Later they were formally combined as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Flags of entities that have dominated the Hejaz[edit]



The region is located along the Red Sea Rift. The region is also known for its darker, more volcanic sand. Depending on the previous definition, the Hejaz includes the high mountains of Sarawat which topographically separate the Najd from Tehamah. Bdellium plants are also abundant in the Hijaz.

People of the Hejaz[edit]

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.[6]

The people of Hejaz have never fully accommodated to Saudi rule and their Wahhabi religion. They continue to be Sunni of Maliki 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.[25]

Notable Hijazis[edit]



Pre-6th century ACE[edit]

  • 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

6th–7th centuries ACE[edit]



Pre-6th century ACE[edit]

6th–7th centuries ACE[edit]


8th century ACE[edit]


9th Century ACE[edit]


6th–7th centuries ACE[edit]

Post-7th century ACE[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary. 2001. p. 479. ISBN 0 87779 546 0. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Oman, UAE & Arabian Peninsula. p. 316. 
  3. ^ "Mecca: Islam's cosmopolitan heart". The Hijaz is the largest, most populated, and most culturally and religiously diverse region of Saudi Arabia, in large part because it was the traditional host area of all the pilgrims to Mecca, many of whom settled and intermarried there. 
  4. ^ "Saudi Arabia Population Statistics 2011 (Arabic)" (PDF). p. 11. 
  5. ^ a b Britain and Saudi Arabia, 1925-1939: The Imperial Oasis. p. 12. 
  6. ^ a b Beranek, Ondrej (January 2009). "Divided We Survive: A Landscape of Fragmentation in Saudi Arabia" (PDF). Middle East Brief. 33: 1–7. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  7. ^ Gajus Scheltema (2008). Megalithic Jordan: an introduction and field guide. ACOR. ISBN 978-9957-8543-3-1. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Sullivan, Walter (March 30, 1993). "SCIENCE WATCH; Signs of Ancient River". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Kesting, Piney (May–June 2001). "Well of Good Fortune". Saudi Aramco. Retrieved March 20, 2007. 
  10. ^ Mackey, p. 101. "The Western Province, or the Hijaz[...]
  11. ^ Quran 2:127 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)
  12. ^ Quran 3:96 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)
  13. ^ Quran 22:26 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)
  14. ^ a b Mecca: From Before Genesis Until Now, M. Lings, pg. 39, Archetype
  15. ^ Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, C. Glasse, Kaaba, Suhail Academy
  16. ^ a b Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad (1955). Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad Translated by A. Guillaume. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 88–9. ISBN 9780196360331. 
  17. ^ Karen Armstrong (2002). Islam: A Short History. p. 11. ISBN 0-8129-6618-X. 
  18. ^ a b Firestone, Reuven (1990). Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis. Albany, NY: State University of NY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-0331-0. 
  19. ^ a b al-Tabari (1987). Brinner, William M., ed. The History of al-Tabari Vol. 2: Prophets and Patriarchs. Albany, NY: State University of NY Press. ISBN 978-0-87395-921-6. 
  20. ^ Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar p. 127
  21. ^ Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar p. 147
  22. ^ Haykal, Husayn (1976), The Life of Muhammad, Islamic Book Trust, pp. 217–218, ISBN 978-983-9154-17-7 
  23. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:57:74
  24. ^ Witness Pioneer "Pre-Badr Missions and Invasions"
  25. ^ Riedel, Bruce (2011). "Brezhnev in the Hejaz" (PDF). The National Interest. 115. Retrieved April 23, 2012. 
  26. ^ Quran 7:73–78
  27. ^ Hizon, Danny. "Madain Saleh: Arabia's Hidden Treasure – Saudi Arabia". Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  28. ^ Kesting, Piney. "Saudi Aramco World (May/June 2001): Well of Good Fortune". Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  29. ^ Maqsood, Ruqaiyyah Waris. "The Prophet's Line Family No 3 – Qusayy, Hubbah, and Banu Nadr to Quraysh". Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood Dawah. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  30. ^ Book of Genesis: Chapters 10, 11, 16, 17, 21 and 25
  31. ^ 1 Chronicles: Chapter 1
  32. ^ Ibn Hisham. The Life of the Prophet Muhammad. 1. p. 181. 
  33. ^ "Pusat Sejarah Brunei" (in Bahasa Melayu). www.history-centre.gov.bn. Retrieved 2016-08-23. 


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