Nebaioth – A New Direction and Pilgrimage
Fayd is a village in the region of Nebaioth that would have been an important oasis for the people of Nebaioth. A common saying in the Arabian Peninsula is, “Water is life.” Living in a harsh, desert region required finding water in order to survive. Fayd was known as a place of ‘life’ and hosted travelers because it was strategically located on a popular caravan trade route.
In 762 AD, the Abassid Caliphate (the third caliphate in Islamic history) founded the city of Baghdad in Iraq and made it the center of government. One of the most important parts of Islamic life was the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina for Hajj and a major task for the leaders was to ensure pilgrims could take this difficult journey in safety.
The route between Baghdad and Mecca was called the “Darb Zubaydah.” The “pilgrim road” is 1,935 km, or 1,161 miles long. If you walked 32 km (20 miles) a day, it would take 58 days to walk from Baghdad to Mecca. For almost five centuries, much planning, work, and upkeep went into maintaining this pilgrim road. The oasis of Fayd was the mid-point [منتصف الطريق] (the middle of the road), on the journey between Baghdad and Mecca. This oasis would have provided the pilgrims with a place to rest, safety from attack and freshwater. They might have had high hopes that their sins would be forgiven as they traveled to Mecca, but by the time they returned to Fayd on the homeward journey did they feel the constraints of Islam and sense the inability of the rituals to provide true forgiveness for their own sin?
Today, the ancient oasis of Fayd is desolate and not on any major roads. Once a bustling hub of activity and welcoming landmark for pilgrims headed to Mecca, there are only crumbling ruins and a museum with a tiny replica of the fortress. There is virtually nothing left of this major part of the overland Zubaydah road. While there are some newer homes due to the presence of freshwater, it is a forgotten place. Fayd was at the most strategic location of the Darb Zubaydah. It attracted pilgrims and merchants who converged on this oasis for many centuries.
However, there is another pilgrimage coming. The Lord is calling for the people of Nebaioth and Fayd to set out upon a new journey. It is a pilgrimage to the Lord Jesus, where their eyes will turn another direction, away from Mecca and toward Jerusalem. The Lord desires for them to bring their lives to Him today and gifts to His temple in the future.
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem:
Oh, praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
you who serve at night in the house of the Lord.
Lift up holy hands in prayer,
and praise the LORD.
May the Lord, who made heaven and earth,
bless you from Jerusalem.
Psalm 134:1-3 (NLT)