chapter  11
The Railway’s Advantages for Muslims in General
Pages 6

One should not maintain that steamships render the railway unnecessary. I maintain that whoever wishes to travel to Medina by sea-whether via Yanbu‘ or Jedda-has to undergo considerable hardship. For between Yanbu‘ and Medina there is a distance of six days in an almost uninhabited and unsafe savage desert. He who wishes to travel from Yanbu‘ to Medina has to join a caravan. Cara­ vans cannot be found all the time, nor do they have appointed dates. In addition, traveling with a caravan is not devoid of great danger too. Between Jedda [46 miles from Mecca] and Medina there is a distance of twelve days. We have already listed the days on which caravans leave Mecca for Medina. Should the traveler not chance on these days, he would be unable to join a caravan. Furthermore, there is considerable hardship in riding with the caravans. All this, in brief, adds up to the great dangers of the sea voyage, the storms, and the impossibility of traveling at any [unscheduled] time, for known reasons.