The Place: Antarah’s rock, located in KSA’s Uyun Al-Jiwa governorate

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“The Poem of Antar,” in which he mentions Uyun Al-Jiwa as the place where Ablah lived

Known locally as Sakhrat Antarah (Antarah’s rock), the precariously perched boulder in Uyun Al-Jiwa governorate is rumored to be the place where knight, adventurer, and celebrated poet Antarah bin Shaddad met with his sweetheart Ablah. It is also known as the Lover’s Rock.
Situated northwest of Qassim, the site was settled by the Abs tribe that Shaddad originated from. One of the region’s oldest and most famous tribes, it was known for its trading prowess and hardworking, honest, loyal people.
Although only 30 kilometers from Buraidah, the people of Uyun Al-Jiwa share a different dialect from those in Qassim.
Uyun Al-Jiwa is locally referred to as the “oasis celebrated by Arab poets” in reference to its historical significance in several poetry collections known as the “suspended odes” or Mu’allaqat.
Shaddad, whose name still carries resonance through school curriculums and storytellers, often wrote about his love, Ablah. In one of his most famous pieces, “The Poem of Antar,” in which he mentions Uyun Al-Jiwa as the place where Ablah lived, he said: “Oh house of Ablah situated at Jiwa, talk with me about those who resided in you. Good morning to you, O house of Ablah, and be safe from ruin.”
The rock has for years acted as a monument for Saudis and visitors from Arab countries to the popular romantic tale. The former Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), now the Ministry of Tourism, gave it a new look and helped restore it in 2019.
A specialized team from SCTH used the latest technology to preserve inscriptions on the rock and clean it.

This article was first published in Arab News

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