A noticeable architectural feature, surviving the test of time and modernisation is the “Spring of Zubaidah” in Arafaat. The aqueduct for centuries brought fresh water to the pilgrim routes in Makkah from the Hunayn springs 95 kilometres away.
Part of a series of canals and reservoirs that extended from Baghdad via Madinah and into Makkah, the project was the largest man made feat since the Great Wall of China.
This Women’s month, let’s not forget the personality whose intent, passion and finance served as the project’s driving engine. Zubaidah, the wife of Khalif Harun Ar Rasheed, saw the acute need for water along the bustling trade and Haj route to Makkah and during the Haj period.
Despite the “no can do” response from the best engineers of the era, she persisted and Allah Ta’ala realised her dream. Ibn Khallikan, a historian, figuratively described the cost as a dinar (gold coin) for every strike of a pick axe. The eventual cost ran into millions of dinars, the result, however, served the Hujjaj on a scale that remains unparalleled.
Zubaidah,her pet name meaning little butter ball and given to her by her grandfather Khalif Al Mansur, her real name being Sukhaina Amatul Aziz reaped the rewards.
Although the aqueduct remains decommissioned today, having been replaced by current technology, she remains an inspiration to the Ummah. A beacon for all those wishing to serve humanity for the sake of Allah Ta’ala
Ml. Junaid Kharsany