30th October 2012
Everyday feels great whenever we are on a rihlah. There will always be memories to be cherish, moments to be thought, lesson to be learn.
As Jordan is a country fill with historical eras, we couldn’t miss to walk back to the Islamic eras during the prophets days and the chaliphates. It will be a good lesson to learn and to be remember as a muslim. Today we will be heading to Karak Castle which was the Crusaders stronghold defeated Sallahuddin Al Ayubi. Later on, we will be visiting Mu’tah war sites and the maqam of th martyrs of three great important people in the life of prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Both are an important event for the muslims.
We drove into town to Karak castle with the coordinate we obtain from google earth. The castle was in a middle of the a town on top of a hill. Making worst, the road entering the castle were small and crowded with cars parking at both sides of the road. The small roads were fill with small shops, restaurants, becoming more challenging when driving Chevrolet Traverse in this small road. Getting a car park was another challenge as well. We made three full rounds in the area just to get a park which we nearly give up. We ask the guards at the tourist booth for parking area but they couldn’t help as well. We saw one westerner cars behind us earlier got a parking space given by the shop owner to them though we were in front of them earlier. Maybe we need to be whiter with brown hair, then we able to get the same treatment . It frustrated us actually for the double standard we experienced but we just think positively to enjoy the trip.
Finally, on our forth attempt, we got the luck of a parking spot. We don’t mind walking quite far to the castle as we have been waiting for the moment to imagine the strength of SAllahuddin Al Ayubi and to see the majestic Karak castle as seen in pictures. There were no sign board telling the ticket booth but as we saw a few people lining up, w knew it must be the booth for the tickets. We need to pay JD1 each including children compare to what was print in the internet which were JD2 each and free for children below 13. Still, at the end we pay the same amount.
Karak Castle sure looks big from the outside. Touring inside the castle impress us more. There are many passages and rooms which can easily confuse anyone of their whereabouts. Many of the passages were dark which we didn’t enter as we didn’t bring any torchlight with us. We wish there were more sigh board telling us the used of the rooms and pathways. It will be great if there was a tourist guide to tell us more of the history. Gladly they have an archeological museum in the lower court of the castle introducing local history and archaeology of the region from the prehistoric period until theIslamic era. Wish we could spend longer time in the museum.
This Castle is one among many Crusaders castle which were built around the 12th centuries. Built in a plateau on higher side of a hill which is 1000-m height above sea level. One of the famous owner of this castle is Reynald de Chantillons who controlled the herd and trade path from and to Syria - Eqypt.
Most of the castle part has been renovated and added new parts- especially in the front section. Karak castle is an example of Crusader architecture, a mixture of European, Byzantine, and Arab designs. The castle was enlarged with a new west wing added by the Ayyubids and Mameluks.
At a very strategic location. On top of hill which can oversee the whole city..
Just imagine how Salahuddin Al Ayubi able to conquer this majestic castle from the crusaders…
Great view from a window in the castle..
One wing of the castle….
More view of the castle…worth exploring to get the ‘feeling’…
The Crusaders had a very impressive security system and Kerak was the centre of power for many years as they resisted attacks from Salahuddin al Ayubi and his troops. They were notorious for controlling the caravan routes and dominating the Red Sea but it was their attempted attack on Mecca that began their downfall, with Salahuddin al Ayubi finally capturing Kerak castle in 1189. Even after this, ownership of the Castle changed quite regularly between local families until it finally fell into British hands after the First World War.
We still hunger for more in exploring the cave but the smaller kids starts complaining of their hungry stomach. Like it or not, we have to move on. We ask our older kids to take some more pictures on other passage we unable to explore so we won’t miss that much.
Heavy hearted, we leave the castle with a deep aspiration of a great warrior…Sallahuddin Al Ayubi..the conqueror of Palestine who retook the holy land of Palestine from the hands of the crusader. Hope this trip will aspire them more in becoming a better muslim.
We continue our next journey to another Islamic historical sites which is the Battle of Mu’tah.`We first arrived at the battle sites before we encounter the shrine of the martyr of Mu’tah War. We mistook a masjid near the sites as where the shrine will be. As it was already Asr prayer, we went in to perform our solah but unable to find one for women. We were quite surprised at first not to find anybody at the masjid though we heard the Azan already. Just about 5 minutes later there was a man coming in and only we found out that it was not the mosque. After the guys perform their solah, we get back to our car in order to find the right masjid.
Alhamdulillah, we saw two Malaysian students passed by the area. it sure felt great when jumping into people from your own country. It makes you felt like you’re at home. With the help from them, we got the directions to the masjid for our next stop.
No wonder the masjid was small and unoccupied. We knew we must be at the wrong place. As we reach the right masjid, we can easily see the sign to the Zayd ibn Harithah and Ja’far ibn Abu Talib shrine. As me and my daughter haven’t perform our prayer yet, we went in the masjid to perform our prayer before proceeding to the shrine. The guys perform sunnah prayer while waiting for us.
Summary on the Battle of Mu’tah in 629, where the Byzantines outnumbered the Muslims by 200,000 to 3,000 of muslim army. Apparently the prophet Muhammad(PBUH) mobilized an army to confront Byzantine forces in the Levant (Jordan), because a Byzantine governor frequent attact on muslim caravan and had treacherously killed one of muslim emissaries. He appointed Zayd ibn Harithah as commander of the army and gave the following instructions: “If Zayd is wounded or killed, Ja’far ibn Abu Talib would take over the command. If Jafar ibn Abu Talib is killed or wounded, then your commander would be Abdullah ibn Rawahah. If Abdullah ibn Rawahah is killed, then let the Muslims choose for themselves a commander.” All three commanders were killed and replaced successively as prophet Muhammed(PBUH) instructed. (more detailed can be read at http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?id=157807&page=articles)
Sites of Battle of Mu’tah War. Some said the sands even smell like fresh blood…subhanallah. Only read about it after coming back…else shud try to smell.
Directions outside the masjid…
Inside the masjid…
The masjid entryway…
Shrine of Zaid bin Harithah ra and Jaafar bin Abu Thalib ra. The smell was so lovely…is this the smell of the syuhada’??
Once everyone finish praying, the imam of the masjid lead us to the shrine.A mix feeling altogether inside our heart. We felt grateful getting the opportunity to be able to visit the great warrior and sahabah of our beloved prophet Muhammad(PBUH). We pray the muslim ummah will look back at the seerah and turn back our life to the islamic teaching. This goes the same to us and our children. We really hope our kids will love and learn more of the sahabah who fought for Islam with all their heart.
A spiritual journey to bring awareness on how nothing we are comparing to those who fought their life for Islam.
We then continue our journey to Amman as we have book the hotel online for 2 days. While in Amman,we plan to visit the dead sea and Jerash.