After exploring Aynat and its collection of Sufi tombs, we continue driving further east. The sun is burning on the land around us, and a haze blurs the steep cliffs of the wadi walls on both sides. As before in Wadi Hadramaut, we see patches of green land being cultivated. Still, the general feel is that we are in the middle of a desert. We pity the few people we see working those lands. There is very little traffic on this road, and after we take a right turn on a road going directly east, we see no more cars. We are heading to Qabr Nabi Hud, where a prophet from ancient Arabian times is supposedly buried. After driving through the dusty branch of Wadi Hadramaut, we cross a river where we are supposed to see women taking a bath. At the foot of the brown wall of the canyon, we see white buildings. We have arrived.
We drive through the village that has been built around the shrine. It is completely deserted. Our guide explains that only four days a year, pilgrims flock to Qabr Nabi Hud, in worship of the prophet who lived in pre-Islamic times. On that occasion, pilgrims fill all the houses, and the village comes alive. The last time was a few months prior to our visit. For the rest of the year, the mud-brick houses are just scorched by the sun. I will later see pictures of this same village, overflowing with pilgrims dressed in white. The war and Covid situation have diminished the number of visitors coming from far away - Qabr Nabi Hud used to draw visitors from eastern Asia as well. These days, most of them come from nearby Tarim. We drive the last stretch uphill, and park next to a flight of stairs, painted white.
We walk up to the pointy domed prayer hall. The bright sunlight is reflected on the white building, and I have to put on my sunglasses. Inside the prayer hall, we see a rock, also painted white. According to legend, this is where Prophet Hud stood to preach to the people of Aad. They were a wealthy people living in the lands now occupied by Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and followed idols instead of God. Prophet Hud tried to convince them to respect God, but they scorned him. Ultimately, God sent them a powerful message through a thunderstorm that destroyed their beautiful buildings and their wealth. The Aad people were no more. Prophet Hud has been identified as Eber, who is mentioned in the Old Testament. He is also mentioned in the Quran. He became a revered prophet for Muslims, many of whom believe he lies buried here - some believe he was buried in Mecca or Damascus.
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