Tihamah or Tihama ( ar|تِهَامَةُ ') refers to the Red Sea coastal plain of the Arabian Peninsula from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Bab el Mandeb.


Tihāmat is the Proto-Semitic language's term for 'sea'. Tiamat (or Tehom, in masculine form) was the ancient Canaanite god of the sea and of chaos. The word appears in the Hebrew Bible as təhōm (Genesis 1:2), meaning "primordial ocean, abyss".


Era of Muhammad

During the era of the Islamic ''Nabi'' (Prophet) Muhammad, many military expeditions took place here including the Battle of Hamra al-Asad and caravan raids. Beginning in January 623 CE, some of the Muslims resorted to the tradition of raiding the Meccan caravans that traveled along the eastern coast of the Red Sea from Mecca to the Syrian region. Communal life was essential for survival in desert conditions, as people needed support against the harsh environment and lifestyle. The tribal grouping was thus encouraged by the need to act as a unit. This unity was based on the bond of blood kinship that granted regional tribes a common heritage with each other. Peoples of Arabian Peninsula were either nomadic or sedentary, the former constantly travelling from one place to another seeking water and pasture for their flocks, while the latter settled and focused on trade and agriculture. The survival of nomads (or Bedouins) was also partially dependent on raiding caravans or oases, thus they saw this as no crime. While at Ḥamra' al-Asad (), Muhammad made an agreement with Mabad al-Khuzaah at Tihamah, in which Mabad pledged not to conceal anything from him. Mabad was then sent to Mecca to dissuade Abu Sufyan ibn Harb from fighting. In Mecca, Mabad met with Abu Sufyan and exaggerated that Muhammad had gathered a great force to fight Abu Sufyan. Abu Sufyan and his companions were planning a massive and decisive attack on Medina to finish off the Muslims once and for all. Hearing Mabad's talk of the great military strength of Muhammad, Abu Sufyan retreated from his plan of an immediate attack on the Muslims. In this fashion Muhammad successfully managed to prevent the massive onslaught the Meccans were planning.


The region is sometimes subdivided into two parts, ''Tihāmat Al-Ḥijaz'' (; northern part) and ''Tihāmat ʿAsīr'' (; southern part). The Yemeni part ( ar|تِهَامَة ٱلْيَمَن|Tihāmat Al-Yaman) is an extension of ''Tihamat ʿAsir''. The plain is constricted and attains its greatest widths () south of Medina and Mecca. The cities of Yanbu, Jeddah and Al Qunfudhah are located in the Hijazi part of the Tihamah. The Asiri-Yemeni part of the Tihami plain includes the cities of Jizan and Al Hudaydah. The temperatures in Tihamah are probably some of the hottest on earth. ''Tihamah'' in Arabic means severe heat and lack of wind.


The extensive sandy coastal plain (the Tihamah) is a hot and inhospitable area parallel to the Red Sea, and most of it, north of Zabid (Yemen), is devoid of trees. However, in a few places there is dense shrub composed almost exclusively of ''Acacia ehrenbergiana'' and it may be assumed that this was originally the dominant natural vegetation of the Tihamah. ''Salvadora persica'' occurs in thickets, and there are odd trees of ''Balanites aegyptiaca'' and colonies of wild doum palm (''Hyphaene thebaica''), as well as planted date palms (''Phoenix dactylifera'').


Over sixteen megalithic menhirs were discovered by Edward Keall, director of the Royal Ontario Museum's Canadian Archaeological Mission near the village of Al-Mutaynah () in the Tihami area. The stones were made of granite and weighted up to . Three of the upright stones measured around tall with one fallen being over in length. Copper tools suggested to date to the same era as the construction of the stones were dated to around 2400 to 1800 BCE. An even more archaic lithic industry was found along with pottery sherds that were dated between 1200 and 800 BCE.

See also

* Al Harrah, Saudi Arabia * Idrisid Emirate of Asir * Kingdom of Hejaz * List of battles of Muhammad * Najahids * Najd * Rasulids * Sulaymanids * Sarat Mountains ** 'Asir Mountains ** Fifa Mountains ** Hijaz Mountains *** Midian Mountains


Further reading


External links

{{Middle Eastern megaliths Category:Megalithic monuments in the Middle East Category:Geography of Saudi Arabia Category:Landforms of Saudi Arabia Category:Plains of Asia Category:Historical regions in Saudi Arabia Category:Historical regions Category:Tiamat