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Al-Ta'if

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Al-Ta'if and Mecca

Ṭāʾif (Arabic: طائِف) is a city in the east south of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Due to its high altitude from sea level, it has a pleasant and mild climate contrary to the peninsula's hot and burning weather. Lat, one of the famous idols of Arabs pre-Islamic period was in Ta'if and people circumambulated around it. Ten years after the beginning of the Prophet's (s) mission, the Prophet (s) went to Ta'if and called Thaqif and other chiefs of Ta'if to Islam, but he was not successful. In 8 AH, the Prophet (s) besieged Ta'if for twenty days in the Battle of Ta'if but no serious fighting happened between them. In 9 AH, a delegation from Ta'if came to Medina, accepted Islam and returned to Ta'if. Some notable people from Ta'if in the history were Umayya b. Abi al-Salt al-Thaqafi, the poem, Hajjaj b. Yusuf al-Thaqafi, Nadr b. Harith and Mukhtar al-Thaqafi. Ibn Abbas mosque, Adas mosque and al-Hadi mosque are historical sites of the city.

Geographical Location

The city is located at 40 degrees 21 minutes east longitude and 21 degrees 15 minutes north latitude, 90 km from Mecca, 160 km from Jeddah and 900 km from Riyadh at the altitude of 1680 from sea level.

Yaqut Hamawi wrote that many mountains and vast deserts surrounded Ta'if.

Cause of Naming

The name Ta'if is derived from the word "tawaf" meaning "to circumambulate". There are different accounts on the cause of naming Ta'if, most of which seem to be superstitious. In one account, Damudan, son of 'Abd al-Malik from the family of Sadf killed his cousin, 'Amr and escaped to the land of Wajj and made allegiance with Mas'ud b. Mu'tab al-Thaqafi. He promised to build an invincible wall around the neighborhood where Thaqif was living if he could marry in Wajj. Mas'ud accepted that his daughter marries with him and he built his promised wall. Since, he had to turn around the wall in order to enter the city, he called it Ta'if.

In another account, Gabriel separated a piece of the land of Palestine and turned it around Ka'ba and place it where now Ta'if is located and so it was called Ta'if.

Climate

Due to its high altitude from sea level, it has a pleasant and mild climate contrary to the peninsula's hot and burning weather. All Muslim geographers agree that Ta'if has a mild and almost cold climate. According to Abu l-Fida', Ta'if is the coldest part of Hijaz and water freezes on top of its mountain peaks.

The annual amount of rain is between 150 to 300 millimeters. Different water springs are flowing from the mountains around Ta'if such as al-Mithna, al-Faysaliyya, al-Wahit and Shibra. The temperature in Ta'if reaches 37 Celsius in the hottest days and goes below zero in the coldest days.

History

When Islam Emerged

'Adwan and 'Amaliqa are among the old inhabitants of Ta'if. When Islam emerged, tribes of Thaqif, Himyar and a branch of Quraysh were living in Ta'if. One of the famous idols of pre-Islam Arabs which was Lat was in Ta'if. There, people had built a building for it and put a screen on it and circumambulated it.

'Ukkaz and Habasha were important Arab markets which were held in Ta'if and around it. According to Jurji Zaydan, Arabs went to 'Ukkaz from different places and Quraysh helped in its establishment and attraction. Different products (including raisin, skin and oil) were sent to other cities such as Mecca. Therefore, many businessmen and noblemen of Quraysh used to go to Ta'if and had house and garden there.

In Early Islamic Period

10 years after beginning of the Prophet's (s) mission, he (s) went to Ta'if and called Thaqif and other chiefs of Ta'if to Islam, but he was not successful. In their opposition with the Prophet (s), Quraysh always enjoyed the support of Thaqif's tribe. After the Battle of Hunayn, the noble Prophet (s) besieged Ta'if for twenty days in the Battle of Ta'if but no serious fighting happened between them. In 9 AH/630, a delegation from Ta'if came to Medina, accepted Islam and returned to Ta'if. The Prophet (s) appointed 'Uthman b. Abi al-'As as the governor Ta'if; who governed during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and a part of 'Umar's caliphate.

During the Rule of Umayyads and Abbasids

During the caliphate of Umayyads (41-132 AH/661-749), Ta'if became a part of the caliphate of the Emir of Mecca. During the rule of Abbasids (132-465 AH/749-1072), Ta'if was considered as an important city; since, the tomb of 'Abd Allah b. 'Abbas was located in Ta'if and its function as a defense shield against Bedouin Arab tribes. Since the rule of 'Uthmanids over the Arabian peninsula until the coming of Wahabis, great military centers were established in that city and it became very populated and many government offices were transferred from Mecca to Ta'if and many people immigrated from different parts of Saudi Arabia to Ta'if. Therefore, trade thrived in that city.

Rule of Wahhabis

In 1305 AH/1888, Wahhabis took over Ta'if. Saudis took over Ta'if in 1327/1909 after they established the foundation for an Arabian state in the Arabian Peninsula. The Ta'if Treaty which resulted in the end of war between Saudi Arabia and Yemen was signed in 1347/1928 in Ta'if.

Notable Personalities

Intelligence and social and political awareness of the people of Ta'if has been famous in different periods. When Dohat[1] of Arabs were known to be less than 10 people, three of them (Mughira b. Shu'ba, Ziyad b. Abih and Umayya b. Abi al-Salt) were from Thaqif and Ta'if. Ta'if has had many famous persons during its history such as Umayya b. Abi al-Salt al-Thaqafi (poet), Hajjaj b. Yusuf al-Thaqafi, Harith b. Galdi al-Thaqafi (the famous Arab physician), Nadr b. Harith and Mukhtar al-Thaqafi.

Area and Population

Ta'if's current area is 360 square kilometers. In the census of 1413 AH/1992, Ta'if's population was 416,121. In the Summer, its population reaches 500,000.

Products

Due to suitable climate and existence of water springs and subterranean water resources, agriculture, producing different fruits (especially grapes), farming flowers and bees are very successful in Ta'if. Many of its products are exported to other cities of Saudi Arabia or to other countries.

Historical Sites and Scenery Places

There are different historical sites in Ta'if including Ibn Abbas Mosque, 'Adas mosque, al-Hadi mosque, a cemetery holding graves belonging to fourth and fifth AH which are in Kufi and Naskh writing style and the famous Shibra Palace. The garden of Malik Fahd is among its recreation places.

Notes

  1. the plural of dahiya, means astute

See Also

References

  • The material of this article is mainly taken from طائف in Farsi WikiShia.