Notes: Proposed Railway to Mecca
The Light (Pakistan), 16th February 1923 Issue (Vol. 2, No. 4, p. 1)
The Indian Muslims will be glad to learn that a number of the wealthy Arabs in Mecca have formed a syndicate in order to finance a scheme of building a railway between Mecca and Medina. This is good news for Muslims in India, as large numbers of them now perform the pilgrimage to these sacred places of Islam and, owing to lack of easy means of communication, have to undergo great hardships when travelling in caravans.
There is, already, a direct railway connection between Medina and Damascus and Aleppo [Syria]. From Aleppo, the railway runs to Scutari [Üsküdar near Istanbul, Turkey], on the Bosphorus [Strait of Istanbul] opposite Constantinople [Istanbul, Turkey]. With the railway from Medina to Mecca completed, there is a likelihood of the route for pilgrims from India, Java [Indonesia], and China being changed. Rather than undergo the hardships of the marches from Jeddah to Mecca, these pilgrims, or at least many of them, are likely to go to Damascus and then go by train to the sacred city. The railway will also enable Muslim pilgrims to visit the Holy Land. Now only the wealthy among them proceed on such an extended itinerary as to include Jerusalem, Damascus, or Constantinople in their pilgrimage.
The construction of the proposed railway, while providing easy means of communication with the holy places of Islam, will also, like the Hijaz Railway, contribute to the fulfilment of the mighty prophecy of the Prophet [Muhammad (pbuh)] who is reported to have said that “travelling by camels will be abandoned.” This was foretold as the sign for the appearance of the Messiah. Let the Muslims now ponder if the Messiah has appeared.