Dam ruined due to ingratitude

Опубликовано: 10.05.2017


Archeological findings often overturn conventional ideas about the events that occurred in different civilizations or even the fates of whole cities. However, some historical investigations, on the contrary, confirm what has been described long before the modern archeological surveys.

Among such events there is the story of the Marib dam, which was situated on the territory of modern Yemen, which was home to the descendants of the famous Sabaean kingdom.


The dam in the area of Marib (the capital of Saba) is considered to be one of the most ancient of all dams known at present. Some scholars believe that its construction started in the 1700-s b.c. approximately. But even before the construction of the actual Marib dam, there were already some small earthen weirs and a networks of canals which date back to 2000 b.c.e. The dam was damaged several times but was always repaired, as the prosperity of the whole region depended on the functioning of this important construction.

However, in about 570 A.D. there was a massive and colossal dam burst. The Marib dam was not just damaged by mudslides: this time there was a veritable flood. The lush oasis was transformed into marshland. In the area of desert fields, gardens, palm forests, thorny trees and shrubs with small and bitter fruit started appearing. The majority of residents left these territories to move to other regions. The once-prosperous country turned into a wasteland…


What is this story remarkable for? What are our sources for this event, which is so important on a regional scale? And how do the archeological investigations correlate to the existing stories and parables?

The only source that refers to this historical event is the last Revelation sent down by the Supreme God to His creatures. It is here that an account is given of the destruction of the Marib dam, in a fashion that is both brief, as well as clear and laconic:

“There was for Saba, aforetime, a Sign in their home land two Gardens to the right and to the left. Eat of the Sustenance (provided) by your Lord, and be grateful to Him: a territory fair and happy, and a Lord Oft-Forgiving.

But they turned away (from Allah), and We sent against them the flood (released) from the Dams, and We (i.e. Almighty Allah) converted their two garden (rows) into: gardens producing bitter fruit, and tamarisks, and some few (stunted) Lote trees.

That was the Requital We (Almighty) gave them because they ungrateful rejected Faith: and never do We (Almighty) give (such) requital except to such as are ungrateful rejecters.” (34:15-17)


The first thing worth noticing here is the word “gardens” which is used in this case in the dual form. It is obvious that this form, which is characteristic of the Arabic language, is not used by chance here. For the fact is that on each side of the dam there was the cultivated ground mentioned in the Revelation as “two gardens on the right and on the left”. After the dam burst there appeared “two gardens on the right side and on the left side” as well. But they were no longer fragrant, but wild and thorny.

One might object that the mention of “two gardens” is not peculiar and noteworthy. However, this is not the only sign contained in the words of the Almighty. The use of the word “ ‘arim ” sometimes translated as “dam, dike” and at times as “strong, furious flood” is more surprising here. This Arabic word appears only once in the last Revelation and it is not so common as, for instance, the word “Sadd” meaning “fence, barrier, dam”. But still God used the word “ ‘arim ”. So what is the point here?

It turns out that, according to the inscriptions found on the ruins of the Marib dam, the dam that partitioned Wadi Adhana valley was called… ‘Arim. That is, this word was the name of the construction that was discovered only after research conducted in the modern age.


So what was sent down in the last Revelation regarding the Marib flood does not just recount far-off events, but accurately points to certain relevant aspects that are connected with it, as well as revealing the actual name of the Marib dam given to it by the locals themselves. This, with no doubt, should make one take God’s word with all solemnity, rejecting all the myths and prejudices that unfortunately still exist in the modern world.

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