Tihāmat is the proto-Semitic 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 creation myth 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, 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 traveling 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 Hamra 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, Tihamat Al-Hejaz (northern part) and Tihamat ʿAsir (southern part). The Yemeni part (Tihamat Al-Yaman) is an extension of Tihamat ʿAsir. The plain is constricted and attains its greatest widths (60 to 80 km) south of Medina and south of Mecca.
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) and 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 Tihamah area. The stones were made of granite and weighted up to 20 tonnes (20,000 kg). Three of the upright stones measured around 8 feet (2.4 m) tall with one fallen being over 20 metres (66 ft) 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 to 800 BCE.
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- Al Harrah, Saudi Arabia
- Idrisid Emirate of Asir
- Kingdom of Hejaz
- List of battles of Muhammad
- Sarawat Mountains
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The Red Sea coastal plain is constricted throughout its length, attaining its greatest widths, 40 to 50 miles, south of Medina and south of Mecca. The name Tihāmah, used for the whole plain, is sometimes subdivided into Tihāmat Al-Ḥijāz and Tihāmat ʿAsīr.
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Yemen may be divided into five major regions: a coastal plain running north-south known as the Tihāmah (an extension of the Tihāmat ʿAsīr), the western highlands, the central mountains (the Yemen Highlands), the eastern highlands, and finally the eastern and northeastern desert regions.
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It is so called because of its severe heat and lack of wind, from the word At-Taham which refers to extreme heat and lack of wind.
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