Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, Phenomena, virtual tours

…further east of Haram…

By In

…the previous virtual tour east of Haram ended at the site of the proposed railway station…journeying a little further east, as seen on the above google image, one is soon in the haunting volcanic landscape of al-Harra al-Sharqiya…the huge black ink-like splotched area…

After the evening prayer, according to one account quoted by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, “a fire burst out in the direction of al-Hijaz; it resembled a vast city with a turreted and battlemented fort, in which men appeared drawing the flame about, as it were, whilst it roared, burned and melted like a sea everything that came in its way. Presently a red and bluish stream, bursting from it, ran close to al-Madinah, and at the same time the city was fanned by a cooling zephyr from the same direction.”

The eruption lasted for 52 days. At its fiery zenith those further afield also witnessed strange sights, with reports of the light of the eruption visible in Makkah and Tayma’, six days’ journey from Madinah. Historians relate that the depth of the lava flow was a long spear’s length, around three meters (10′), and that it flowed like a red-blue boiling river, carrying in its way gravels, stones and trees, with thundering noises. Al-Qastalani asserts that the fire was so fierce that no one could approach within two arrow flights, and that at night “the brilliant light of the volcano made the face of the country as bright as day; and the interior of the haram was as if the sun shone upon it.” The governor and citizens prayed for the safety of the city, and as the lava inexorably approached, many, including women and children, wept and prayed around the Prophet’s tomb. Then, the lava current turned north, and the city was spared.


…the formations are weird and wonderful…one is awed by Allah Ta’ala’s Qudrat in up heaving the earth, revealing such a variety of forms and eerie twisted shapes…

Travel across the harraat, “more often a vast bed and banks of rusty and basaltic bluish blocks,” was a formidable task: “Because of this cumber of stones and sharp cutting lavas, the Harra country is hard to pass, out of the paths, for any other than Harra-bred camels. The heavy poised stones sliding and toppling to the tread, the herdsmen’s feet are oftentimes sorely bruised; of which, and because the stones are as glowing coals in the summer sun, the Beduin hinds in the Harra commonly sit all day upon the croups of their browsing camels.”

Charles M. Doughty TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA also quoted from the same edition of Saudi Aramco World as above, which is a must read for fascinating details about the volcanic history and activity across the Kingdom…

The Harrat Rahat between Madinah and Makkah is twice as large as the nation of Lebanon, and the combined area of the haraat of Saudi Arabia is larger than the US state of Missouri.

The Madinah volcano erupted in 654 AH (1258 G) Rasulullah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam had said that the Day of Judgement would not not take place until a huge fire appeared in the Hijaz whose light would illuminate the necks of the camels. The volcano erupted violently with some historians saying it was preceded by an earthquake followed by several tremors with such force that the ceiling of Masjid Nabawi creaked making a grating sound.

The Prophet SallaAllahu alaihi Wasallam had a dream where Allah Ta’ala told him to tell Umar Radhiallahu anhu, that there will be a volcano during his Khalifat and when it happens he is to find a Sahaba called Tamim Ad Dar and tell him to go to the source of this volcano and put his hands up and tell it to stop. And true enough, during the Khalifat of Umar Radhiallahu anhu when the volcano was erupting Umar Radhiallahu anhu found this Sahaba and told him what to do….of course he was taken aback and said he had no such powers, but due to his Tawakkal and Yaqeen on Allah Ta’ala, went and did as instructed….and hence the miracle that Madinah was spared. Subhanallah. A truly incredible sign from the Signs of the Almighty Ta’ala. This place is very nearby and amazing to visit…as of course are all the places around in around Madinah.

From a 2006 archive.

…there are a few ‘settlements’ within the lava field…usually of illegal overstayers eking out a very harsh existence with a few goats and camels…

…these camels were at the edge of the Haraa…the white in the far distance being the closest sign of a suburb…

…the remains of a ‘home’…

…as is clearly seen on the google image the lava flow miraculously solidified in an almost straight line. Non-Muslim vulcanologists have said that this must have been an ‘act of God’ as no volcano ever ends so abruptly…

Additional information, stories,photos and Ahadith here.

…the above and the following photos are from the older lava flow to the south east of Haram…it is not as thick, nor as dense as the Sharqiya tract…Jabal Eyre, the Bab of Jahannam is in the distance…

…the marker delineating the border of the Sacred Boundary of Haram sits in the middle of this area that is being developed as a sub division for residential housing…

…where many grand villas have already been constructed…

…this area is relatively hilly and higher than Haram…

…where interesting views of surrounding landmarks can be seen…this is the water tower as it is appears strung with lights each Eid…

…the four shorter minarets of Masjid Quba are to the left, with the distinct Masjid Nabawi minarets to the right, as seen from Harra Rahat…

No kind of calamity can occur, except by the leave of Allah, and if anyone believes in Allah, He guides hearts aright, for Allah knows all things. (64:11)

All good is from Allah Ta’ala whereas mistakes are from this humble speck. May Allah Ta’ala Bless all readers, bringing you all closer to Him and His Rasul SallAllahu alaihi wasallam.  May He accept our humble efforts and grant us the capacity to be good and do good. Ameen.


  • almiskenah Reply
    October 30, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Assalamu alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
    apologies for all the chaotic quotation marks…the net connections have been dismal for weeks…such a test of patience getting a post done…so much so that the supply ran out attempting to fix this hassle…and in a rush to meet people:) …Alhumdulillah ‘ala kulli hal…
    Wassalamu alaikum

    October 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    subhanallah…. nice to know about the volcanic history in this blessed land. just wishing i had the money to buy a villa over there inside the haram boundary and move there. 🙂

  • Yasmin Reply
    October 30, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Jazakallah khair for this very interesting historical post!

  • Asiyah Reply
    October 31, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Assalaamu Alaikum,
    What an amazing and interesting post!!!
    ** LOVE** the last picture.
    Jazakallahu Khairan Katheeran for sharing!

    Lotsa love A 🙂

  • Iffat Reply
    November 1, 2011 at 2:26 am

    Dear Khala, ‘alaiykum asalaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
    No kind of calamity can occur, except by the leave of Allah, and if anyone believes in Allah, He guides hearts aright, for Allah knows all things. (64:11)… that connection of hearts of which you speak often is something quite special. This is exactly the reminder I have needed. Thank you.
    The journey east to the lava tracts is one that is difficult to forget. I had never seen earth so barren and destitute and doubt if I ever shall . …because it was beyond the holy precincts, we were given permission to take a rock with us … it serves not only as a reminder of His Jalal and Jamal, but that of dua’ as well. And so, we continue to ask… may He grant us from His Beauty. Ya Rabbi.
    Thank you for taking me back.

  • almiskenah Reply
    November 1, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Wa ‘alaikumus Salam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
    Dear Brother Ahamed, unfortunately even if you had the money, as a non-Saudi, you could not purchase any property inside the Sacred Boundary, either in Madinah or in Makkah…but you could, with relatively new laws buy outside the Boundary. Some foreigners buy using a Saudi connection, but I have heard of several cases where they end up with nothing due to corruption. Best we keep our sites on the Eternal Home, striving to secure an abode there 🙂
    Dear Yasmin, Alhumdulillah you found it interesting and have increased your historical knowledge of this blessed land.
    Dear Bint Asiyah, I too found that last blurry night scape having a sort of captivating appeal.
    Dearest Sister Iffat, oh to understand the intricacies of the heart language..but then trusting the feeling may be sufficient, and just go with the flow of serenity that this brings 🙂
    Indeed this area is so surreal…as if one is not even on ‘earth’…the scoria is razor sharp, the contortions, the remains of gaseous bubbles so alien…but whatever the descriptions, the final realization is always HIM, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, SUBHANALLAH! ALLAHU AKBAR!
    Wasslamu alaikum

  • sajid Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Salam alaikum, Alhumdulliah voted for this site today . 🙂

  • almiskenah Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Wa ‘alaikumus Salam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
    GREATLY appreciated Dear Brother Sajid…Insha’Allah pass the word around, a few days left before closing 🙂
    Wassalamu alaikum

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