Mecca’s deserted mountains turned lush green

Mecca, the holiest city in Islam, is located in a desert valley in western Saudi Arabia. Images showing the otherwise arid and deserted mountains in and around the holy city, turned green after weeks of heavy rains, became viral.

The satellite images provided by NASA, captured green scenery particularly in western Saudi Arabia. In November and December, the Kingdom witnessed record levels of rainfall, with flash floods submerging the city of Mecca, which caused the growth of vegetation. Rain is normally extremely rare in Mecca, receiving an average of only about 2-3 days of measurable precipitation per year.

Mecca, the birthplace of the prophet Muhammad, receives millions of Muslims pilgrims yearly, for Hajj, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, and is considered a demonstration of a Muslim’s devotion to God. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the city of Mecca. This year Haji takes place in June and after three years of COVID restrictions, the number of attendees will not be limited.

The phenomena of mountains in the region turning green, was even associated by some believers with the prophecy of the end of the world, made by Prophet Muhammad. There were also reports that due to the drought across Saudi Arabia, at the beginning of November the King had asked mosques to perform Istiqaa prayers (or Salat Al Istisqa), special prayers for seeking rain. Shortly after that, the heavy rain started and lasted almost continuously until now. The current weather predictions for Mecca are still moderate to heavy rain and low temperatures until Sunday.