In the Shammar Mountains, west of the Hail valley, lies Hail. To the north is the northern border of the Kingdom. To the south is the Qasim region. East is the Riyadh region; to the west are the Tabouk and Madinah regions.
For centuries, Hail was seen as the “key to the desert” because it was the main transit point for pilgrims heading for the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah and for traders traveling north or south in the Arabian peninsula.
When, towards the end of the Abbasid Caliphate, the purity of the Arab language was threatened with dilution by foreign influences, the Muslim scholars of Hail took upon themselves responsibility for protecting and promulgating Arabic in its purest form. As a result the city became an important center of scholarship and learning.
Hail boasts a number of famous heroes and prominent poets – amongst them Zeid Al-Khair (or Al-Khail) Al-Tayee, Hayyan bin Olaiq, Ruwaished bin Kuthair, Qais bin Jerwah, Al-Trimmah bin Adie and Antarah bin Shaddad. The last of these wrote one of the most famous of all Arab poems, Mu’allaqat.