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Makkah refers to Bakka (previous name of Makkah), in Saudi Arabia where the first house of worship on earth was appointed by Allah (Glory be to him) for human beings. This house is the Kabah towards which all Muslims face while praying and go for Hajj (Pilgrimage). Makkah is a city of western Saudi Arabia near the coast of the Red Sea. The birthplace of Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace), it is the sacred city in Islam and a pilgrimage site for all devout believers of the faith.


The following ayath are from the Qur’an: "Verily, the first house (of worship) appointed for mankind was that in Bakka (Makkah), full of blessing, and guidance for all people." Qur’an.Surah 3:96. The word ‘Makkah’ is also mentioned in the Qur’an in Qur’an.Surah Fatah 48:24.


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The City of Makkah, which lies inland 73 kilometers east of Jeddah, is the place where the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) was born - the place where God's message was first revealed to him and the city to which he returned after the migration to Madinah in 622 CE. Makkah is the holiest city on earth to Muslims. It is variously known as Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Umm Al-Qura (the origin of the Cities), Al Balad Al-Ameen (the Secure City), and Al-Balad Al-Haram (the Sacred City). Five times each day, the world's more than one billion Muslims, wherever they may be, turn to the Holy City of Makkah to pray. And at least once in their lives, all Muslims who are not prevented by personal circumstance perform the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Makkah. Thus each year the sacred City of Makkah is host to some two million hajjis (pilgrims) from all over the world. The sacred masjid in Makkah houses the Kaaba, in the corner of which is set the Black Stone which marks the starting point for the seven circumambulations of the sacred masjid which every hajji must complete. The sacred City is served by the seaport and international airport of Jeddah. [1]




Makkah is located in a valley some 277 meters (909 feet) above sea level, surrounded by the barren, arid hills of the Sirat mountains which range from 375 to 766 meters (1,000 to 2,490 feet) in height. There are four gaps in the mountains which give access to the Holy City of Makkah. The north provides access to Makkah from Mina, Muzdalifah, Arafat and Ta'if. The north west gap provides access from Madinah. The western gap gives access from Jeddah. And the southern gap opens the way into Makkah from Yemen. [2]



In its long history Makkah has also been known as Bakkah. In ancient times, Makkah was chiefly notable as a staging post on the trade route linking the spice producers of the east with Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean. Makkah lay about midway between Marib, one of the main cities, perhaps the capital, of the kingdom of Sheba (Yemen) and Petra (in Jordan), a city founded by Nabatean Arabs around the 6th century CE and which became a thriving center with commercial interests spreading into Syria. The religious significance of Makkah was established long before Islamic times.


It was in Makkah that Allah (Glory be to him) commanded Ibrahim to leave Haajar and his young son Ishmael; it was in Makkah thatAllah (Glory be to him) brought forth water from the Well of Zamzam which saved the life of Ishmael and his mother and then allowed Makkah to develop as a habitable place; it was in Makkah that Allah (Glory be to him)instructed Ibrahim to build "the House of Allah" (the Holy Kaba). As a result, from earliest times, Makkah became a place of pilgrimage and, although as centuries passed the pure faith of the Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon Him) became corrupted by idolatry and paganism, Makkah retained its hold on the minds of men as a place where men should worship. When Makkah came under the control of the Quraysh tribe, it was a noted trading center, a place for pilgrimage and the site of festivals chiefly remarkable for intensely fought poetry competitions and the excessive behavior of the idolaters.


The Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) was born in Makkah in 570 CE. When, following revelations, Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) opposed the paganism of the Makkan establishment and began to spread the word of Islam, he was forced by the Makkans to leave the city. He went to Madinah which proved more receptive to his understanding of the will of Allah (Glory be to him). In 630 CE, the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) returned to Makkah, taking the city without resistance and purging it of all elements of idolatry. He cleared the Kaaba of the 360 "gods" within, dedicating the Kaaba once more to the pure worship of the one and only God ie, Allah  and establishing Makkah as a place of pilgrimage for all Muslims. From that time(Glory be to Him), the Holy City of Makkah has been the heart of the Muslim world. It grew in importance as Islam spread and, for the most part, retained a large degree of independence. When the seat of Muslim power moved to Damascus and then later to Iraq under the Abassid Caliphate, Makkah acknowledged each in turn.


In 1269 CE, the Mamluk Sultans from Egypt asserted their power over Makkah. And in 1517 CE, the Turks under the Ottomans in Constantinople held sway over the Holy City. Nevertheless, throughout these great shifts in power in the region, the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace)remained the local rulers of Makkah. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed at the end of the First World War, Abdul Aziz Al Saud (Ibn Saud) came out of central Arabia, the Najd, and, armed with a deep commitment to the pure form of Islam, took control of Makkah, accepting guardianship of the Holy Sites as a prime responsibility of the Kingdom he founded, the modern state of Saudi Arabia. [3]



Temperatures are high throughout the year and can reach the mid 40 degrees Celsius in the summer. Although sited well above sea level, Makkah is set low in relation to the surrounding hills and mountains. As a result, it is susceptible to flash floods at certain times of the year, mainly in winter when most of the limited rain falls.


City Layout today


At the heart of the sacred City of Makkah is the al Masjid al Haram (the Holy Mosque) which contains the sacred Kaaba (the House of God) and the Well of Zamzam. The expansion of the city has been constrained by its location between mountains to the east and west. The old city lies to the north and the southwest. In the last fifty years, there has been further enlargement by extending the city along the roads to Mina, Jeddah and Madinah. The city has also been modernized with new road networks At the same time, parts of the old city have been demolished to allow for further expansion of the Holy Mosque. It now occupies 1.7 million square meters and can accommodate 300,000 people at one time.


Historical Sites of Makkah

Al Taneem (Masjid-e-Ayesha)

It is located in “Al Hil about four miles away from the sacred Kabba between Makkah and Medina.



It is located about 25 kilometers away from Makkah. Pilgrims go to it on the 9th day of Zil-Hijjah until the sunset, and then they go to Muzdalifah.


It is a  valley situated between two mountains east of Makkah, about five kilometers away from Al Haram masjid.



It is a place between Mina and Arafat where people go, after standing in Arafat.


Masjid-e-Masha’r Al Haram

It is called Qazeh too , and it is the place where Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him), gave his sermon, which became an obligation to be followed . 


Birthplace of Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him)

The house in where Allah’s apostle was born is located close to the Al Haram Mosque. It is at a walking distance of 5 to 6 minutes away from the main mosque


Al Mua’lla

It is the cemetery of the people of Makkah. It is located on the way to Mina. The grave of Ummul Momeneen Bibi Khadija (the first wife of Prophet) and that of, Prophets’s son Qasim, Asma Bint Abu Baker, Abdullah Bin Zubair (may Allah be pleased with them all) and other members of the Prophet’s family like Abu Talib, Abd Manaf, Abdul Mutalib etc are in this cemetery. Al Mua’lla is situated  near the Al Haram masjid.


Thour Mountain

The mountain is one of the most significant historic sites in Makkah.  It contains Thour cave where Allah's apostle and his companion, Al Sideeq, spent three days before fleeing persecution in Makkah for Medina. The mountain is at the southern end of Mecca and rises about 760 meters above sea level.


Al Nour Mountain

It is located at the eastern edge of Mecca, northeast of Thour Mountain. At Al Nour, or "The Light," lies the Hira'a cave, where Allah's apostle reflected and prayed before he became a messenger of Allah. The Hira'a cave is also the site where Muhammad received his first revelations from Allah (Glory be to him) through the angel Gabriel.


Al Jaáranah Masjid

It is located  just north of the city is the site where Allah's apostle clothed himself in pilgrim's garb before traveling into Mecca to perform Hajj. Two drinking water wells, one called the Prophet's well, are at the site and are about 10 meters apart. Numerous date trees are at the site and the nearby mountain overlooking Al Jaáranah Mosque is the site where the  Prophet's companion, Bilal bin Rabah, called for prayer. [4]


Places attached to Masjid Al-Haraam

Ka'bah (Baitullah)

This is a somewhat cubic structure, which was built by Prophet Abrahim and Ismael by Divine Command. Since then it has become the source of peace and blessings and guidance for all mankind and the pilgrims circle around it with utmost enthusiasm and devotion. The mosque in which Ka’bah is situated is called Masjid al-Haraam.


Different corners of the Ka'bah

Rukn Yamaani is the south west corner towards the direction of Yaman and is highly sacred. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) has said:

"The one who touches Rukn Yamaani and Hajar-e-Aswad, has his sins anderrors removed." (Al-Targhib)


Rukn Iraqi is the corner towards the direction of Iraq.


Rukn Shami is the corner towards the direction of Syria


Hajar-e-Aswad: The sacred Black Stone fixed about breast high in the eastern corner of the Ka’bah was originally placed there by Prophet Abraham. Tawaf is started by kissing or touching or pointing towards the Black Stone and brought to completion at it, after seven circuits.



This is the wide, open pavement, oval in shape, around Ka’bah and Hatim, where pilgrims perform Tawaf with utmost devotion and enthusiasm day and night except prayer time.


Maqam Ibrahim (Station of Abraham)

To the north-east of the Ka’bah, a little away from its door, stands a glass and metal structure which contains a sacred stone bearing the impressions of the foot-marks of Prophet Abraham who stood here during the construction of the Ka’bah.



Zamzam is the historical well located to the east of the Ka’bah, which was provided by Allah for the sustenance of Prophet Ishmael and his mother in the wilderness of Mecca. Zamzam water possesses great merits and benefits, and the pilgrims have been urged to drink Zamzam water to fill, because it is food for the hungry and cure for the sick.


Safa and Marwah

Safa is a hill to the south of the Ka’bah, which has now been leveled down and remains only as a symbol. Opposite to it, to the north of the Ka’bah, there is the hill of Marwah. Performing Sa’ey between these two spots is an important Hajj and Umrah rite. [5]










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