The Hejaz (/hˈæz, hɪˈ-/, also US: /hɛˈ-/; Arabic: ٱلْحِجَاز, romanized: al-Ḥijāz, lit.'the Barrier', Hejazi pronunciation: [alħɪˈdʒaːz]) is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia. It includes the cities of Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah, Tabuk, Yanbu and Taif. It is also known as the "Western Province" in Saudi Arabia.[1] It is bordered in the west by the Red Sea, in the north by Jordan, in the east by the Najd, and in the south by the 'Asir Region.[2] Its largest city is Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia, with Makkah and Madinah being the fourth and fifth largest cities respectively in the country. The Hejaz is the most cosmopolitan region in the Arabian Peninsula.[3]

Above: Islam's holiest site, Al-Masjid Al-Ḥarām (The Sacred Mosque), which surrounds the Ka'bah (middle), in Mecca, land of Muhammad's birth and ancestry and an annual point of pilgrimage for millions of Muslims.

Below: Map of the Hejaz showing the cities of Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah, Yanbu and Tabuk. The Saudi Arabian region is outlined in red and the 1923 Kingdom is in green.
RegionsAl-Bahah, Mecca, Medina and Tabuk

The Hejaz is significant for being the location of the Islamic holy cities of Makkah[4] and Madinah,[5][6][7] the first and second holiest sites in Islam, respectively. As the site of the two holiest sites in Islam, the Hejaz has significance in the Arab and Islamic historical and political landscape. The region of Hejaz is the most populated region in Saudi Arabia,[8] Arabic is the predominant language as in the rest of Saudi Arabia, with Hejazi Arabic being the most widely spoken dialect in the region. Hejazis are of ethnically diverse origins.[3]

The region, according to Islamic tradition, is the birthplace of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who was born in Makkah, which is locally considered to have been founded by the Islamic prophets Abraham and Ishmael, and matriarch Hagar.[9][10] The area became part of his empire through the early Muslim conquests, and it formed part of successive caliphates, first the Rashidun Caliphate, followed by the Umayyad Caliphate, and finally the Abbasid Caliphate. The Ottoman Empire held partial control over the area; after its dissolution, an independent Kingdom of Hejaz existed briefly in 1925 before being conquered by the neighbouring Sultanate of Nejd, creating the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd.[11] In September 1932, the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd joined the Saudi dominions of Al-Hasa and Qatif, creating the unified Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.[12][13]

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