بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Historical Places in Makkah

The House of Allah: The Ka’bah is the house of Allah. Pilgrims circumambulate around it. It has the honour of being the first house (of Allah) ever built on the earth for mankind as Allah says, “The first house set up for the people is surely the one in Makkah having blessings and guidance for all the worlds.” (Aal-`Imran) The house of Allah stands majestically in the centre of al-Masjid al-Haram. Muslims face towards it in their prayers forever. The circumambulation (tawaf) of the house of Allah continues during day and night except only at the time of five daily prayers. The height of the house of Allah is 14 meter and 12 meters in width on all four sides.  Abdullah ibn Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, ‘Allah sends down 120 blessings on the Ka’abh every day. Sixty are claimed by the Pilgrims circumambulating around Ka’abh, 40 are received by the people offering prayers around it and 20 go to the onlookers.’ The estimated time of doing seven circumambulation around Ka’abh is about thirty minutes if done from close quarters. And if a pilgrim circumambulates around it from far, it may take as long as two hours. During Hajj, it sometimes takes even more than that. It is recorded in a Hadith that the prayer done upon the first sight at the Ka’abh is responded by Allah. According to the prophetic tradition, the Ka’bah is cleaned and washed from inside annually.

The construction, renovations & reconstructions of the Ka’bah: The Ka’abh has been reconstructed several times over so many centuries after its original construction.

  1. The angels built it before the birth of Adam (PBUH).
  2. Adam (PBUH) reconstructed it.
  3. Shith (Seth) (PBUH) had it reconstructed again.
  4. Ibrahim (PBUH) along with his son Ismail (PBUH) reconstructed it after centuries. This reconstruction of Ka’abh  is historically significant and  is mentioned in the Qur’an too. Allah says, “When Ibrahim was raising up the foundations of the House, along with Ismail (Ishmael)  they supplicated: .Our Lord accept (this service) from us! Indeed, You - and You alone - are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing!”   (al-Baqarah: 127)
  5. The reconstruction of Amaliqah.
  6. The reconstruction of Jurhum. Note: Amaliqah and Jurhum are two ancient tribes of Arabia.
  7. The reconstruction of Qusai (The great grandfather of the Messenger (PBUH) in the fifth generation before him).
  8. The reconstruction of the Quraish. At the time of this reconstruction, the Prophet (PBUH) was 35 years of his age and he had the honour of placing the black stone back to its place.
  9. Abdullah ibn Zubair (may Allah be pleased with him) took up the reconstruction of Ka’abh in 64 Hijri and placed Hateem into the part of the Ka’abh. He set the door near to the ground and got fixed another door on the other side to make it convenient to enter from one and exit from the other according to the will of the Prophet (PBUH).
  10. Hajjaj ibn Yusuf undid the changes made in the previous reconstruction by excluding Hateem, heightening one door and closing the other in 73 Hijri.
  11. Sultan Ahmad Turki reconstructed the ceiling and renovated the walls in 1021 Hijri.
  12. The flood demolished the walls of Ka’abh during the reign of Sultan Murad in 1039. He renovated the walls.
  13. Shah Fahd bin Abd al-Aziz renovated the architecture in 1417.

The cover of the Ka’abh : The house of Allah is the holiest building on earth and deserves utmost care and respect. Therefore it has been a tradition  to drape the Ka’abh in a cover to make it look even more majestic and magnificent. According to historians, Ismail (PBUH) has the honour of being the first man to drape Ka’abh in a cover. After him, Adnan, the great grandfather of the Prophet (PBUH) up in the twentieth generation draped the Ka’abh in the cover. Following the same tradition, Tubba al-Himyari, the emperor of Yemen, draped Ka’abh in a new cover 700 years before the advent of Islam. The ritual continues even in the pre-Islamic Days of Ignorance.  The Prophet (PBUH) put a brand new black cover made in Yemen on the building immediately after the conquest of Makkah. Abu Bakr al-Siddique (may Allah be pleased with him) replaced it with a white fabric. Umar and Uthman (may Allah be pleased with them) also carried out replacement of covers during their respective rules. The tradition then was continuously practiced all through the reigns of Banu Umayyah (91 years) and Banu Abbas (almost 5 centuries). The colour remained either black or white. However, black became a permanent colour of the cover of Ka’abh after 575 Hijri. Later on, the Qur’anic verses started to be embroidered on the fabric of the cover. Currently, the ritual of changing the cover takes place every 9th of Dhul al-Hijjah (ninth day of the month of Hajj). Previously, the dates of changing the covers have been Muharram 10, Ramadhan 27, Dhu al-Hijja 8 or Dhu al-Hijja 10.

Hateem: This constitutes a part of Ka’abh originally. When Quraish decided to rebuild the Ka’abh, they left out Hateem due to the lack of funds earned only through the legitimate means. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reports that she once wished to perform prayer inside the Ka’abh. Rusulullah (PBUH) held her hand and took her into the Hateem and said, ‘Whenever you feel like performing prayer inside the Ka’abh, perform prayer standing here. This is part of the house of Allah too. Your people (due to the lack of clean funds) raised the walls without the roof at the time of reconstruction of the  Ka’abh.’ As Hateem constitutes a part of the Ka’abh hence the Pilgrims have to circumambulate around the Ka’abh from outside the boundary of Hateem. The circumambulation is invalid if done inside. The spout for rainwater on one side of the roof of the Ka’abh is called meezab al-rahma (the spout of mercy).

The black stone:The black stone embedded in the Ka’abh is the most valuable stone in the world. Had Allah not taken away its light, it would have illuminated the whole world. The stone descended from the Heaven more white than milk but soaking the sins of visitors blackened it. Allah will resurrect the Black Stone with eyes to see and tongue to speak. It will spot those who kissed it properly and sincerely and speak for them. The kiss of the Black Stone or waving at it with hand marks the beginning and the completion of circumambulation.

Multazam: The literal meaning of the Arabic word Multazam is ‘a place to cling to’. The wall of the Ka’abh between the Black Stone and the door is called Multazam because the Prophet used to cling to this part and pray to Allah. The place brings quick response to the prayers.

Al-Rukn al-Yamani: The third corner of the house of Allah is called al-Rukn al-Yamani. This corner eliminates sins. 70,000 angels are always stationed there. When a pilgrim stands there and says, ‘Ya Rabb, give us best in the world and best in the hereafter and save us from the punishment of fire.’ the angels call out Ameen.

The Station of Ibrahim: It is the stone Ibrahim (AS) stood on while reconstructing the Ka’abh. It displays the imprints of the feet of Ibrahim (AS). For the Pilgrims, it remains on display in a crystal container with delicate brass screens around it. Just like the Black Stone, it came down from the Heaven. Allah extinguished its light or it would illuminate everything between the East and the West. After circmambulaing around the Ka’abh, it’s advisable to offer two rak’ahs optional prayer behind Maqam of Ibrahim if conveniently possible. Allah recommends, ‘Make from the Station of Ibrahim a place of prayer.’

The Well of Zamzam: Allah bestowed Ismail (PBUH) with the water of Zamzam to quench his thirst in a scorching desert in the close radius of Ka’abh. It stands as a continuous miracle that although the millions and millions Pilgrims have been drinking from it and exporting it to the far off countries, the well refuses to dry up. The water of Zamzam is continuously supplied both in al-Masjid al-Haram and Masjid of the Prophet (PBUH). The water contains minerals and salts that cater to the nutritious and medicinal needs of human body. For the convenience of the Pilgrims circling around, the well has been covered from the above. However, the water is always available for Pilgrims to drink. It is good to say alhamdulillah and drink after reciting the following dua:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ عِلْمَاً نَافِعَاً وَرِزْقَاً وَاسِعَاً وَشِفَاءً مِنْ كُلِّ دَاءٍ

“O Allah, indeed I ask you for the beneficial knowledge, abundant sustenance and healing from all diseases.”

The water of Zamzam is better consumed standing. Abdullah ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) said, ‘once I offered the water of Zamzam to the Prophet (PBUH) and he stood up to drink it.’ It is also desirable to sprinkle Zamzam on the head and the body. Rasulullah (PBUH) said that whatever intention the water of Zamzam is taken with, it serves the purpose. Similarly, the Prophet (PBUH) also said, ‘The water of Zamzam serves as food for hungry and remedy for the sickness.’ Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) used to take Zamzam (from Makkah to Madinah) and said that the Prophet (PBUH) carried it too.

Al-Masjid al-Haram: The grandest Masjid in the history of Islam is situated in the centre of the Makkah city. In the heart of al-Masjid al-Haram, the Ka’abh fascinatingly stands on a place which all the Muslims face in their daily prayers all around the globe. The first Masjid to be built on the earth is al-Masjid al-Haram. In a hadith, Abuzar Ghifari (may Allah be pleased with him) said, ‘I enquired the Prophet as to which Masjid was built first? ‘al-Masjid al-Haram’ he replied. ‘Which one after that?’, he asked. ‘al-Masjid al-Aqsa’, he replied again. ‘What was the distance of time between (construction of )the two?’ Abuzar asked. ‘40 years’, said the Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Do not set out on a journey except for three mosques: Al-Masjid al-Haram, my Mosque, and the al-Masjid al-Aqsa.” In another Hadith, the Prophet is reported to say, ‘One prayer in my mosque is better than one thousand prayers in any other mosque except al-Masjid-al-Haram.’

Safa & Marwa: Safa and Marwa were two small hills now almost levelled with the ground and air-conditioned corridors run through them for the convenient of the Pilgrims.  Hajirah (AS) desperately ran from Safa to Marwa seven times in search of water for her thirsty son Ismail (AS).  Between the two hills, there used to be a valley, wherefrom she could not see her son. That would make her quicken the pace to lay her eyes on her son. This sincere sacrifice received divine acknowledgment and as a reward Allah decreed all the male Pilgrims to replicate her running around to commemorate her sacrifice. In consideration of the delicate body structure of female, Islam only obligated it for male Pilgrims. A round of running/hasty walking between the two hills measures 395 meters. Thus seven passes account to 2.75 kilometres. The ground floor normally remains more crowded than the upper floor. One of the signs of the Judgement Day will be the emergence of a beast out this hill that will speak like a human.

Mina:Located about 4-5 kilometres out of Makkah, Mina is a huge valley spread between two mountains. The Pilgrims stay in the valley on 8, 10, 11, 12, and 13 Dhul al-Hijja. A Masjid is also situated in Mina namely Masjid Khaif. Jamaraat, the place where Pilgrims stone the devil, is located in the neighbourhood of Masjid Khaif.

Arafat: Arafat is a vast plain which lies at the distance of 10 kilometres from Mina. At one corner of Arafat, there stands a colossal Masjid named Nimrah. The Imam commences the sermon of Hajj in the Masjid immediately after forenoon (zawaal time) and leads the prayer of Zuhr and Asr respectively each with separate iqamah. The Prophet (PBUH) delivered his departing sermon here known as ‘Sermon of Hajjat al-wada’.  The front portion of Masjid Nimrah lies outside the boundary of Arafat. Unlike Mina and Muzdalifa, Arafat is located outside the vicinity of Haram (hudood al-haram). The most important ritual of the pilgrimage takes place in Arafat as the Prophet said, ‘The stay in Arafat is Hajj.’ The period of stay in Arafat starts from morning until the sunset. Pilgrims who cannot make it to Arafat until the sunset but manag to arrive even a minute before the daybreak,  will not harm thier Hajj. However, all such Pilgrims have to offer a sacrifice as penance to atone for the violation. The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘There is no other day on which Allah frees people from the Fire more than the day of Arafah. He comes close to those (people standing on Arafah), and then He revels before His angels saying, ‘What are these people seeking?”  Similarly the Prophet (PBUH) also said, “Shaytan is not considered more abased or more cast out or more contemptible or more furious on any day than on the Day of Arafah other than the day of Badr. That is only because he sees the descent of the Mercy and Allah's forgiveness for grave sins”. A hill stands in the plain of Arafat called ‘Jabal al-Rahmah’. The Prophet stood by it, facing the direction of Ka’bah and prayed. However, no virtues has been recorded for ascending the hill in the Hadiths. Instead, the prayer standing by the hill or anywhere in the plain of Arafat is recommendable.

Muzdalifah: The Pilgrims leave Arafaat shortly after sunset on Thul al-Hijja 9 for overnight stay at Muzdalifah and they perform the prayer of Maghrib and Isha together. After the prayer of Fajr, they stand facing the direction of the Ka’bah and make prayers. Allah said, “Later, when you flow down from Arafat, recite the name of Allah near al-Mashar al-Haram (the Sacred Monument).” There is a Masjid called Mashar al-Haram. Muzdalifah is located at about 3-4 kilometres distance from Mina.

Valley of Muhassir: Located between Mina and Muzdalifah, the valley of Muhassir is the site where Allah destroyed the army of Abrahah marching with the intention of demolishing the House of Allah. According to the teachings of the Prophet, the wayfarers should hasten in walking through this valley.

Jamarat: The famous site in Mina where three pillars are erected to demarcate the exact location. Following the command of Allah, the way of the Prophet (PBUH) and to commemorate the act of Ibrahim (PBUH), the Muslims fling stone pebbles at the three jamrahs (the symbols of Shaitan). The one closer to Masjid Khaif is called jamrha oola, the second is called jamrah thaniya and the last one in the direction of Makkah is called jamrah uqbah or jamrah kubra. It happened at these three places that Shaitan tried to tempt Ibrahim against the will of Allah and Ibrahim (AS) flung pebbles at him. Allah obligated on the Pilgrims to replicate it every year in commemoration of Ibrahim’s (AS) faith. The Pilgrims fling pebbles at the symbols of Shaitan symbolically expressing their distaste with him. Rami (throwing pebbles at Jamrahs) is one of the required rituals of the Hajj. It is obligatory to exercise Rami on 10, 11 and 12 Dhu al-Hijja (49 pebbles in total). However, the Rami (21 pebbles) on the 13th of the month is optional.

The birthplace of the Prophet (PBUH): Located next to Marwa, it is the place where the last Prophet of Allah (PBUH)  was born. A library has been built over this holy piece of land.

The cave Thaur: Located near the peak of the Mount Thaur at 4 kilometres distance from Makkah after about a mile of stony ascension, this is the cave where the Prophet (PBUH) along with his Companion Abu Bakr al-Siddique (may Allah be pleased with him) took refuge just before the migration to Madinah.

The cave Hira: In this holy cave, the revelation of the Quran commenced. The first few verses of Surat al-Alaq were revealed in there. The cave runs into the mount Noor which is located on the main road running from Makkah to Mina at a distance of 4 kilometres from al-Masjid al-Haram. Its approximate height is 2000 feet.

Jannat al-Muallaa: The cemetery of Makkah where rest the likes of the Mother of the Believers Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) and many other personalities of great spiritual and academic ranks.

Masjid Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her):The area between meeqat and Haram is called Hill (the area of non-prohibition). A pilgrim can cut the self-grown hedges and trees plus he is allowed to hunt the animals there too. The nearest place of non-prohibition from Haram is Tan’eem almost seven and a half kilometres away from al-Masjid al-Haram. Incidentally, this is also the place where Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) changed into Ihram with intention of Umrah after successfully performing Hajj. A grand Masjid stands there now which is named after her. The whole neighbourhood is now called Masjid Aisha owing to the Masjid. When a resident of Makkah intends to perform Umrah, he goes out of the vicinity of Haram usually to Masjid Aishah to change into Ihram.

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (www.najeebqasmi.com)