Categories: INTERNATIONALTravel

Escaping To Taif: A Calm Oasis Perfect For a Summer Retreat

Whether you’re in Saudi Arabia for Umrah, Hajj, tourism, to visit family or for business, you have to visit Taif! 

Surrounded by breathtaking mountains and only an hour’s drive east of Makkah, Taif promises a world like no other in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Beautiful and prominent in its very own way, the city is steeped in history and filled with flowers and agricultural produce!

For those of us looking for something a little more rural set within a historic context, Taif is the place to be! With a more relaxed and tranquil setting, the city is characterised by its rich farms, rich history and strong traditions. 

While Taif’s history stretches back many years, it was a place of both tribulation and great success in Islam and for the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. On his initial trip there, he was ridiculed and ushered out as he attempted to spread the message of Islam to the inhabitants and leaders of the city. Despite this tough event which saw him being stoned as he made his way out of the city, years later it transformed into something entirely different thanks to the unfeigned Dua the Prophet PBUH made for the place and its people. Many of the inhabitants began accepting Islam as their way of life, and today, it has become one of the best cities to visit for Muslims and non-Muslims. 

Cooler in temperature than Makkah, many of the locals and international visitors make it a point to flock here for a well-deserved summer retreat. Every year, millions of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims travel 70 km from Makkah to visit not only the flora and fauna of Taif but also the many Islamic heritage sites scattered throughout the city. 

One such place is the Al-Qantara Mosque, located in the Al-Mathnah neighbourhood. Whilst this mosque was only built around 160 years ago by the Ottomans, many visit this site because it sits opposite a farm where its believed that the Prophet PBUH rested after he was expelled from Taif. At the time, the entire area was renowned for its many fruits and agriculture and it was here that the Prophet PBUH was offered fruit by Addas; a Christian Iraqi farmer who later converted to Islam.

Latifa Al-Adwani, head of the Taif History Center mentioned Taif when she said, “It has been the first resort for Makkah’s residents during the pre-Islamic and Islamic eras and still is. Taif is known to be Makkah’s orchard as more than 16 paths connect both cities.” (Arab News)

Why Visit Taif?

There are so many reasons to visit Taif. Beyond being a place to escape the heat of nearby cities, Taif is also home to places like the Al Shafa Mountains which is the perfect place for a picnic. You can also visit the bustling Taif Central Market or the Taif Souq for some dates, souvenirs and rich local honey. The Bani Saad Village is worth a visit as this is supposedly the place where one will find the house of Halima Sa’diya; the wet nurse of the Prophet PBUH. Its also believed that the Prophet PBUH spent the early years of his childhood here. 

Whilst the city is home to all these important and wonderful sites, many pilgrims will visit this city to pay their respects to the prominent Sahaba, Abdullah Ibn Abbas RA. Not only was he the paternal cousin of the Prophet PBUH, but he was also renowned for his exceptional knowledge and understanding of the Quran. Because of this, he is known today as one of the leading authorities in the field. 

The city of Taif is a reminder and symbol of hope. Over a thousand years ago – whilst he was freshly mourning the death of his beloved wife and uncle – the Prophet Muhammad PBUH approached this city with the hope to find supporters. Yet despite this, he was mocked, rejected and kicked out. As he rested on his way out of the city, he was offered a choice; to have the city destroyed or that the inhabitants are rightly guided. It was no surprise that he chose the latter. 

Despite all that he faced here, he chose to hope for the best for the people of Taif. Thanks to his supplication, Taif has manifested into what it is today; a tranquil city with some of the friendliest people and a pleasant climate in comparison to the rest of the country. 

Taif travel tip: be sure to drive to the highest peak of Taif known as Jabal Daka by taking the curvy roads up to get some awesome views of the city. 

Juber Ahmed

Juber Ahmed is our Digital Editor and travel enthusiast with a keen interest in Islamic history and heritage. He travels with his wife to various places around the world and writes about his experiences.   Juber's favourite Quote... "The World Is a Book and Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page" [Saint Augustine]

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