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The Arabian Peninsula’s Climate

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Description: Recent geological and archeological discoveries confirm what the Prophet Muhammad said about the land of Arabia once having meadows and rivers. 

  • By IslamReligion.com
  • Published on 01 Oct 2018
  • Last modified on 10 Oct 2018
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The-Arabian-Peninsulas-Climate.jpgFrom the miracles of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, is that the Arabian Peninsula was once a lush green land full of trees and rivers.  Prophet Muhammad said, "The Last Hour will not come… till the land of Arabia once again becomes meadows and rivers."[1]   

There was no way Prophet Muhammad who was illiterate could have known, given the limitation of scientific and technological capabilities at the time, such a fact by himself.  What is equally striking is that currently the Arabian Peninsula is the complete opposite of a lush green place.  Instead it has one of the hottest climates in the world, with zero permanent rivers and about 85% of the 2nd largest desert in the world, the "Arabian Desert" lies in it as well as the entire largest sand desert in the world, the "Empty Quarter" (the "Empty Quarter" has an average rainfall of 4 inches annually and temperatures can reach an unbearable 54 degrees centigrade).[2]  

Studies in geology and archeology have recently confirmed to a degree beyond any doubt that the Arabian Peninsula once had a much cooler climate and that it truly was a lush green area full of trees, lakes and rivers.  Such is based on the following:

1)   Scientists have documented that earth witnessed its most resent ice age during the Pleistocene Epoch period that began about 2.59 million years ago and ended about 11,700 years ago.[3]  During this period large parts of the earth were covered in ice and the climate was much cooler than what it is today with average global temperatures 5°C to 10°C below current average temperatures.  While ice covered parts of Europe, Asia and the America’s, the Arabian Peninsula witnessed a pleasant climate much like Europe’s current climate.      

2)   In 2014 researchers in Saudi Arabia discovered fossilized remains of an elephant in the Nafud Desert.  With over 60% of the elephant’s fossilized bones intact, including an entire tusk, it remarkably indicates that the Nafud desert once had a climate suitable for elephants to live in.  It is also worth mentioning that the discovered elephant was 50% larger in size and about twice the weight of the current day elephant.[4]

      More so, in 2017 Saudi Arabia’s Centre for International Communication announced the discovery of fossils of other creatures including crocodiles and seahorses, and more remarkably the discovery, in total, of 10,000 ancient lake and river beds across the Arabian Peninsula.[5]  Furthermore, in 2017 Dr.  Eid Al Yahya, a well-known archeologist, discovered the first ever fossilized mammoth in Saudi  Arabia; and throughout the past decade has discovered and documented over a thousand flint spearheads (made of silica) and other advanced large-prey hunting tools in remote desert locations that indicate that civilizations once hunted in these now barren areas. 

3)   The huge discoveries of oil and gas in the Arabian Peninsula.  Oil is the remains of dead microscopic plants and animals that lived in oceans, rivers or lakes millions of years ago.  The lack of oxygen enabled the dead microorganisms to maintain their hydro-carbon bonds which is needed for the formation of oil and gas.  River basins in particular have low oxygen levels due to constricted water circulation making them the optimum place for the formation of oil and gas.  Heat and pressure and the passing of millions of years then caused the formation of oil and gas.[6]

      Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, as well as other countries in the Arabian Peninsula need no introduction when it comes to their proven oil reserves.  Remarkably the oil fields in the Arabian Peninsula are both offshore and onshore (over land; not sea).  The legendary Ghawar field in eastern Saudi Arabia is the largest oil field in the world (in proven reserves), has been operating since the 1950’s, has an estimated 70 billion barrels of remaining reserves, and remarkably geographically it is located onshore in both the Empty Quarter and the Arabian Desert.  Likewise, the Burgan field in Kuwait is the 2nd largest oil field in the world and is also located onshore within the Arabian Desert.  The discovery of such onshore oil fields means that for millions of years, even before the last ice age started, the Arabian Peninsula was not the dry barren land it is today, instead was a paradise of lakes, rivers and river basins.   

4)   Satellite images taken from space have confirmed that the Arabian Peninsula once had a totally different geography and climate.  The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage reported that in the 1990’s "Landsat" provided imagery of eastern and southern parts of Saudi Arabia, including the Empty Quarter.  The satellite images revealed old trade routes, river paths and valleys; all of which are now covered by sand dunes. 

In conclusion, geological and archeological discoveries confirm the saying of the Prophet Muhammad, that the Arabian Peninsula was once full of meadows and rivers; a fact that Prophet Muhammad could not have known by himself except through revelation from God Almighty.



Footnotes:

[1] Saheeh Muslim, Book # 05, Hadeeth # 2208

[2] Elizabeth Howell, August 2013, The 10 Biggest Deserts on Earth, Live Science, Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/38592-biggest-deserts.html

[3] Kim Ann Zimmermann, August 2017, Pleistocene Epoch: Facts about the Last Ice Age, Live Science Contributor, Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/40311-pleistocene-epoch.html

[4] Kim Ann Zimmermann, August 2017, Pleistocene Epoch: Facts about the Last Ice Age, Live Science Contributor, Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/40311-pleistocene-epoch.html

[5] Habib Toumi, September 2018, Ancient Saudi Arabia was once lush and green, Gulf News, Retrieved from https://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/ancient-saudi-arabia-was-once-lush-and-green-1.2153218

[6] Roger N.  Anderson, Why is oil usually found in deserts and arctic areas? Scientific American, Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-is-oil-usually-found

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