THE dusty dunes of Saudi Arabia’s deserts have miraculously turned from sand to grass confirming what some believe is a thousand-year prophecy.
Surprisingly heavy rainfall and flooding throughout December have led to the striking scenes of green desert hills surrounding the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
Videos and photos circulating on social media show animals grazing on the grass that has emerged out from the flooded lands in the west of the country.
Nature has taken over from once deathly-dry landscapes across Saudi Arabia to create blossoming green vegetation that can be seen from NASA satellite images.
For some excited locals, this is a clear sign that the Day of Judgement or the end of the world is coming.
The prophet Muhammad is reported to have said 1400 years ago that “The last hour will not come till… the land of Arabia turns into meadows and rivers”.
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Although, others have questioned just how unique this phenomenon is, citing recent times in the kingdom’s history that luscious vegetation has sprouted in the desert.
Yet, climate scientists agree that this could be an omen of the end of the world, just not in the godly sense.
They believe that the excessive showers and flash floods are a more likely consequence of changing weather caused by climate change.
Leo Meyer, director of ClimateContact said: “You cannot necessarily say that one extreme rain shower in Saudi Arabia in December is due to climate change.
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“After all, the weather is always erratic, but the chance of these kinds of extremes is increasing all over the world,” he told Dutch newspaper, Postsen.
Mecca, known as the holiest city in Islam, has summers that average 41°C and a average monthly rainfall of only around 2-3 millimetres.
This December, however, rainfall reached record-levels and lethal floods wreaked chaos across the city.
Pilgrims visiting the Great Mosque of Mecca had to make their way through largely flooded areas under heavy rainfall to pay their respects.
If not the end of the world, the grass seems to be a welcome gift for the holy cities after months of thunderstorms and hardship caused by the floods.