Most famous places in Mecca
Mecca (Makkah in Arabic) is the center of the Islamic world and the birthplace of both the Prophet Muhammad and the religion he founded. Located in the Sirat Mountains of central Saudi Arabia and 45 miles inland from the Red Sea port of Jidda (Jeddah), ancient Mecca was an oasis on the old caravan trade route that linked the Mediterranean world with South Arabia, East Africa, and South Asia. Mecca, in a desert valley in western Saudi Arabia, is Islam’s holiest city, as it’s the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the faith itself. Only Muslims are allowed in the city, with millions arriving for the annual Hajj (pilgrimage). Dating from the 7th century, the central Masjid al-Haram (Sacred Mosque) surrounds the Kaaba, the cloth-covered cubic structure that’s Islam’s most sacred shrine.
Mecca is home to the largest and holiest mosque in the world named Masjid Al-Haram. The has 160,000 yards of floor space capable of allowing up to 1.2 million people to pray at any one time. The reward granted by Allah (the Glorified and Exalted) for prayers performed at Masjid Al-Haram (Grand Mosque) is 100,000 that of any other mosque in the world with the exception of two other mosques. The first mosque is Masjid An-Nabawi (the Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina where the reward for prayers is 1,000 times that of any other mosque in the world. The second mosque is Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem where the reward for prayers are 500 that of any other mosque in the world.
The Kaaba is a large stone structure constituting a single room with a marble floor that lies at the center of Masjid Al-Haram. It now stands some 60 feet high and each side is approximately 60 feet in length. The Kaaba is the focal point around which Masjid Al-Haram was built. Its four walls are covered with a black curtain called the Kiswah that reaches to the ground and is fastened to the Shadharwan with copper rings. The door of the Kaaba is about seven feet from about the ground and is located at the south-east wall. There are pillars inside the Kaaba that support the roof. The interior is furnished with many gold and silver lamps. There are several bands of inscriptions on the inner walls on the Kaaba that record the many repairs that were done in the past.
The Ka’ba, The Great Mosque, Mecca
The Kaaba is the holy shrine dedicated to the worship of Allah (the Glorified and Exalted) built by both Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and Prophet Ismail (peace be upon him). There are some who believe that the founder of the Kaaba was either the Angels or Prophet Adam (peace be upon him). However, the Holy Quran provides irrefutable evidence that the founders of the Kaaba were Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and Prophet Ismail (peace be upon him).
The Well of Zamzam is a well located within the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, 20 m east of the Kaaba, the holiest place in Islam. Holy water from the Zamzam spring in Masjid al Haram believed to be divinely blessed is preferred among pilgrims to Makkah.
Sites involving Hajj include
- Mina. The site of the symbolic stoning of the Devil.
- Muzdalifah The desert where the pilgrims spend the night.
- Hill of Arafat and Jabal Rahma. The site of Prophet Muhammad’s last sermon.
- Jabal Al Noor (lit. The Mountain of Light). While its not part of the Hajj ritual this is still an important site; since atop this mountain is the famous Her’aa grotto, where Muslims believe Muhammed first had the Quran revealed to him.
- Jabal Al Thur. This is the cave in which Prophet Muhammed hid in as he made Hijra to Yathrib (Medina) while being pursued by Meccans who were going to kill him. According to legend, the cave entrance was blocked by a spider which had cast a web to cover it.
- Masjid e Taneem. This is a mosque which acts as a Miqat (boundary for Umrah) for people who have already just been in Makkah.
- Hudaibiyah. It is situated on the old road connecting old Jeddah to Makkah. It’s currently known as al-Syumaisi. This is the place where the famous ‘Hudaibiyah Treaty’ took place between the Muslims from Madinah led by Prophet Muhammed and the Quraish from Makkah. There is new masjid built next to the ruins of the old masjid.
- Jannat ul Mualla. This is the cemetary in which companions during the time of Prophet Muhammed are buried.
- Abraj Al Bait (also known as the Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower)- opened in 2012 complex that’s the centerpiece of a hotel and services complex. It definitely makes for an imposing sight as it towers over the pilgrims inside the mosque. It has a gigantic clock at the top, the tower also includes an Islamic Museum and a Lunar Observation Center. The tower is a part of project that aims to modernize the city in catering to its pilgrims.
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