Eve’s tomb in Jeddah — myth or reality?

The inside view of the Cemetery of Eve in central Jeddah. (AN photo)
Updated 14 March 2018
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Eve’s tomb in Jeddah — myth or reality?

JEDDAH: The claim that the tomb of Eve, mother of mankind, is in the Cemetery of Eve in central Jeddah has sparked a controversy.
During a tour to the graveyard, Arab News learned that it is difficult to locate the tomb of Eve and to determine the exact date of her death. Some accounts claim that Eve was buried in this cemetery, while many academics stress that there is no reliable evidence to back this claim.
The cemetery is in Ammaria neighborhood in the center of Jeddah. According to elderly residents, it dates back thousands of years. But Mohammed Youssef Trabulsi, who authored a book on Jeddah and its history, explained that all historical references do agree to Eve’s presence in this part of the world at some point in the ancient past but they differ over the exact location of her tomb. However, the cemetery is undeniably ancient, and a number of historians and travelers said that it dates back to the 9th century AH.
Adnan Al-Harthi, professor of civilization at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, said the scientific opinion on the issue of the tomb’s existence in Jeddah remains neutral. Al-Harthi said Ibn Jubair, an Arab geographer and traveler from the 6th century AH, said that, during his visit to Jeddah, he saw an old dome said to be the home of Eve. Ibn Battuta, another Arab traveler, also pointed to the presence of the dome during his journey to Jeddah in the 7th century AH.
Al-Harthi said scientific sources confirm that the habitat of Adam and Eve was Makkah, but there is no evidence that Eve was buried in Jeddah.
A number of historians and travelers told many stories indicating that the site of the tomb of Eve is in the same cemetery. Some sources even identified the dimensions of the tomb, and there are drawings of it in books.
Muhammad Al-Makki, a historian, wrote in his book “The True History of Makkah and the Noble House of God” that the Cemetery of Eve used to receive a large number of visitors during the Hajj season. Pilgrims used to go there after Hajj rituals and were exploited by fraudsters who used to sell them some of the cemetery’s soil to take back home.
Despite these tales, some historians doubted the existence of the tomb of Eve in the same cemetery. The contemporary Saudi writer, Muhammad Sadiq Diab, author of “Jeddah: History and Social Life,” said: “There is no legitimate evidence to confirm the existence of the tomb in the cemetery. I think it is just a myth.”
Another old story says there used to be three domes built on one of the large tombs inside the cemetery, and it was believed to be the tomb of Eve. But now there are no domes in the cemetery, all graves are similar, and there is nothing to indicate the tomb’s existence.


Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

Updated 20 July 2019
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Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

  • The TV images beamed from 320,000km away in space left viewers astounded but happy
  • The TV coverage influenced thinking and attitudes in the Kingdom just like everywhere else

DUBAI: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before the end of the school vacation, and Saudis had their eyes glued to their TV sets as they waited for live coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Before July 20, 1969, the idea of a human walking on the moon was the stuff of science fiction. However, almost overnight, sci-fi had turned into reality with a live broadcast showing American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s dramatic descent onto the empty lunar landscape.

Between science fiction and science fact, the live coverage of the lunar landing amounted to an unusual fusion of news and entertainment.

Saudi TV technicians bring the first live images of Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing to
viewers around the Kingdom. (Supplied photo)

The historic images — beamed back to Earth more than 320,000 km away — left Saudi viewers astounded and confused, but mostly elated to be witnessing such an epoch-making event.

The event was covered live on television and radio stations in Saudi Arabia. Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old.

“It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

While most people were aware that going to the moon was risky, many Saudis believed that such a journey was impossible and all but unthinkable.


EVENTS WATCH

1. NASA’s Apollo 11 mission control room in Houston has been restored to its 1969 condition and regular tours
will be conducted by the Johnson Space Center.

2. NASA ‘Science Live’ will have a special edition on July 23 on board the aircraft carrier that recovered the Apollo 11 capsule.

3. A summer moon festival and family street fair will be held in Wapakoneta, Ohio, from July 17-20.

4. Downtown Houston’s Discovery green will host a free public screening of the ‘Apollo 11’ documentary, with an appearance by NASA astronaut Steve Bowen.

5. Amateur radio operators will host a series of events on July 20-21.

6. The US Space and Rocket Center is staging a special ‘Rockets on Parade’ exhibition.


The Apollo 11 mission prompted discussions across the Middle East over the reality of what people saw on their TV screens. Some Saudi scholars found it hard to believe their eyes.

“I watched it, and I clearly remember each and every detail of the coverage,” Hayat Al-Bokhari, 68, a retired school principal in Jeddah, said.

“My father, Abdul, was 56 at the time. He said the landing was faked. He couldn’t believe or accept that a human could go to the moon.”

Khaled Almasud, 70, a retired university lecturer, was a student in the US state of Oregon at the time of the mission. “Americans were stunned and over the moon, happy with their national achievement. But many Saudis like me were either in denial or insisting on more proof.”

Since the beginning of the 1960s, King Faisal had been rapidly transforming Saudi Arabia, inviting foreign-trained experts to help build a modern country with world-class infrastructure.

Billie Tanner, now 90, lived in the Kingdom for many years with her husband, Larry, and their two children, Laurie and Scott, aged six and four. The family had just arrived in Saudi Arabia and headed to the Aramco compound in Ras Tanura in the Eastern Province.

A screengrab of video of the first lunar landing beamed toward Earth and shown on television worldwide. 

“We were going through a culture shock,” she told Arab News. “I wasn’t thinking of the moon landing, but we heard about it on the news from Dhahran.

“My kids tried to see the astronauts on the moon with their binoculars and said they could see them walking around.”

The Apollo 11 spaceflight has become a milestone in the annals of human history and science. Since 1969 space exploration has greatly expanded man’s knowledge of the universe, far beyond Earth’s limits.

The captivating live coverage of the moon landing inspired millions of people around the world, profoundly influencing their thinking and attitudes.

The people of Saudi Arabia were no exception.