Shame on the forbidden land for explorers … The desert of the empty neighborhood

It is not easy to cross or exit.

It’s like a maze. No one knows her secrets except her children, who have been born from the womb of her sand, and she embraces a fierce sun, a deceptive sand kingdom, which is able to enchant the viewer and create for him oases and tree, then turn it over. thirsty.

When you see and read it, the memory reminds you of “Aziz”, who woke up after a hundred years to find the ruined and ruined village.

It is the Empty Quarter desert in the Arabian Peninsula, divided by four countries: Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates.

Talking about the empty neighborhood is not without mentioning the folk tales about the jinn, because that vast desert, where the noise of sandstorms and winds scattering sand, is capable of creating a myth, the cries of the fairies fill the place, and the pedestrians scare, as The name “Hamda” is often repeated, which is said to be a fairy who likes to quarrel with passers-by and makes sounds that scare them. Who believes that these are the voices of elves.

Not all tales of the disappearance of towns and villages are ancient. Sand is like the seas that know no friends.

More than thirty years ago, in the village of Wadi Al-Murr in the Sultanate of Oman, specifically in the Vilayet of Jalan Bani Bu Ali, in that isolated area, a village was buried under sand in 1991 after a sandstorm engulfed it. , and streams of sand penetrated towards the houses until they were buried and the traces were hidden, which prompted the villagers to emigrate and they return every year to see the ruins of their houses and the ruins of the village, which has become a shrine that proves the wrath of the sand.

The question always remains, was it a barren desert from the beginning of history, or was it a green paradise, separated by rivers and water bodies?

A question that has surprised researchers. The Empty Quarter Desert has always formulated this mystery for its origins and explorers have tried to decipher its mysteries. How did Paradise turn into a sea of ​​sand?

“Water was flooding the empty neighborhood about a million years ago and we found a hippopotamus tooth west of the empty neighborhood, in addition to the presence of meteorite debris that hit parts of the empty neighborhood, the most famous of which is the Philby meteorite or “Hodeidah, which fell 290 years ago,” says Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Laaboun, a member of the science team that visited the Empty Quarter.

It is told of the sounds of drums in those empty spaces, as if the elves performed their rituals and dances, and the cries of the fairies filled the place and terrified the passers-by.

This leads us to what Muslims believe about the “small signs of the Hour” and they repeat a hadith attributed to the Prophet of Islam: “Kamja will not come until the land of the Arabs is turned into meadows and rivers.” In fact, the richness of the oil region proves their religious belief in the saying, as oil, as it is known, is a fossil fuel, the origin of which is traced back to ancient organic fossils, such as zooplankton and algae.

Some say that the reason for turning Paradise into a desert is divine punishment and refer to the story of the Prophet of God, Hud, who was sent to the people of Aad, one of the extinct Arab tribes mentioned in the Qur’an, who were destroyed. from a stormy wind that took them and their tall buildings.

The English traveler Bertram Thomas, (the first Orientalist to cross the desert of the empty neighborhood) wrote in his book “Happy Land”: “Man was able to discover the distant regions of the globe, with its north and south poles, as and discovering the sources of the Amazon River, the jungles, and the lands of the continents of Africa and Asia. the civilization of Egypt and the civilization of Babylon.However, the Arabian Peninsula remained a forbidden land for explorers and no more than twenty European explorers were able to penetrate each other.inhabited areas.

The reason why that desert region hindered European exploration, Thomas attributed to two factors:

First: the lack of rainfall in it and the severity of the heat, allowed only the presence of nomadic Bedouin groups, involved in constant wars, depriving them of a sense of security and stability.

Second: the intolerance of the inhabitants of that region towards their religious belief.

Thomas was able to gain the respect and friendship of the people of the southeastern region of the Arabian Peninsula after being appointed as an adviser to the Council of Ministers of the Sultan of Oman.

He wondered about the Arabian Peninsula in general, and its area is equal to half of the European continent, how was it left isolated from the world and not included in the maps?

Among those who were fascinated by Arabia, he mentions Richard Burton, who offered his services to the Royal Geographical Society in 1852 for what he called the “process of erasing this shame” from the history of modern adventure, but his hopes fell victim to officials. obstruction.

You may be wondering what distinguished Thomas and described him as the first Orientalist to emerge into the depths of the Bosh Quarter?

The truth is that his thirteen years in the political body after the First World War in three parts of the Arabian Peninsula, mastery of the local dialects of the tribes, close acquaintance with the Arab customs and his adaptation to them, were the main reasons. for the success of his travels, which lasted from 1927 to 1930, wearing in all cases the dress of the Bedouins.

Thomas wrote: “I was speaking the local dialect as well as living as the people of this area live, and I did not drink alcohol or smoke, in an attempt to pretend to respect the customs of the people of the region. Which made it easier for me to pass Saharan.

“Bedouins walk barefoot, with large braids hanging behind their heads, which protect them from the heat of the sun, and sometimes when they are riding camels, they draw daggers and rub the braids with them without shame or disgrace,” he said. .

Thomas noted the peculiarity of gun culture in the desert, as Bedouins generally carry his rifle in one hand when riding, while Rawashd tribes carry their rifles in their bags, and Murrah tribes, the rifle hangs from the shoulder to the arm. , while the heels of the rifles are embroidered with embroidered threads hanging from them.

“Between 1930 and 1953, expeditions did not stop to discover the Empty Quarter, and much of the focus shifted to a lost city buried under sand dunes, which many legends tell and some believe is” Iram and the Pillars “mentioned in the Qur’an. It is Uber.

In 1981, this myth of the buried city fascinated documentary writer and director Nicholas Clapp, who researched the oldest available maps of the area and its secrets.

In that isolated area, a village was buried under sand in 1991 after a sandstorm engulfed it and swept sand streams toward homes until they were buried and their footprints were hidden, prompting villagers to emigrate as well. return every year to see the ruins of their houses and the ruins of the village that has become a shrine.In the wrath of the sand

In the 1990s, Nicholas contacted NASA to take pictures of southern Oman, in the Shasr region, using the Makouk imaging radar, which is able to image what the naked eye cannot see. Old photos of the streets of the incense trade caravan appeared, buried under the sand on the shores of the empty quarter.

A mission was sent in 1990 by the United States, Britain and Oman. A year later, the mission discovered the tower, a castle, rooms and tools, dating back to two thousand years BC, and it is likely that the city had disappeared in 300 AD, after the collapse of the cave roof on which the castle was built “Ubar”.

Clapp gathered all this information and research, which took him two years, in the book The Road to Ubar.

In the past, “Wabar” has been mentioned in a number of poems, dating back to the pre-Islamic era, and is believed to be a distortion of the name “Ubar”. Maymun bin Qays, nicknamed “Al-Asha,” says: “The people of the jaw came against them / and ruined their lives, so they fought.” An age passed in “Vabar.” She lost openly and “rightly so.”

Al-Nabigha Al-Dhibani draws attention, as he describes the date as “Wabar”, saying: Thus they wore nomads as if their load was dum on the Beast or palm “Wabar”.

While Bishr bin Abi Khazem Al-Assad says: And our fear descended happily to the earth / There, when we are carpenters and there is no carpenter / and Amer is closest to us alive / Achilles is a gentleman and righteous. ”

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