Y Magazine

Destination: Samail

Shaquel al Balushi finds himself on an unexpected spiritual journey to Mazin bin Ghaduba’s Tomb.



My plan for this Destination was to explore the route on the way to Nizwa as I knew there were a couple of castles that I hadn’t checked out before. As usual, it was an early start; this time 4am, and again I was travelling solo as my friend Imran couldn’t make this trip. 

But my plan changed when I instinctively stopped the car near Samail Village. Daylight was just beginning to break. I looked left and saw a huge grove of date palm trees, which were starting to take on the golden hue of the sun.

And then it hit me: this was also an area that I had never explored before.

I found the turn-off to Samail Village but at this stage I still didn’t know what I was driving towards. I wondered if I’d find a wadi or an interesting castle but there were very few people about so I didn’t stop to ask for directions.

Instead, I continued to drive on and finally came to a sign for Mazin Bin Ghaduba’s Tomb, which was just 6km away. And it was at this moment that I understood why I had taken this route instead of sticking with my original plan.

As you know, Sahabi Mazin Bin Ghaduba is the Companion of the Prophet Muhammad, and the first person in Oman to convert to Islam. He also built the first mosque in Samail, in the 9th century – the Mosque of Mazin. So I knew this would be a very special journey for me.

But after driving for 6km, I couldn’t find the tomb. There were a few more people about by now so I asked a cab driver, who pointed towards a huge patch of very tall palm trees. He told me to retrace my steps for a short while and then turn right.

Because Samail is an ancient area, there looked to be a route taking me back inside a mountain. So I headed off-road, which was completely deserted.

Soon, I reached a very small bridge – it was so small that the width of two fingers could not fit in between the car and the safety rail of the bridge.

After another 10 minutes or so, I spotted another man to whom I offered a lift and when I dropped him off, he told me that the tomb was in the opposite direction, from where we had come. 

I retraced my steps and noticed a very bright cherry-red Cadillac and nearby, a well-dressed Omani collecting dates.

Again, I asked for directions. And this time, he said: “It’s here!” I was still puzzled as I couldn’t see anything so he kindly walked with me to a shaded footpath and told me to follow it around to the right. After feeling as if I’d been going around in circles for the better part of the morning, I suddenly turned the corner and there it was: Mazin Bin Ghaduba’s Tomb!

Inside the open-air tomb were beautiful mosaic tiles in traditional Islamic colours.

I stayed for an hour or so, immersed in my thoughts as I sat under a tree next to the tomb. The history and the connection to the Prophet Muhammad were very overwhelming and I just wanted to sit quietly for a while.

It was a calm place to be and I’ve promised myself that I will return – but next time with Imran, who will also appreciate the spirituality of this historic place.