By: Muhammad Wajid Akhter
There is no place on Earth as venerated, as central or as holy to as many people as Mecca. By any objective standard, this valley in the Hijaz region of Arabia is the most celebrated place on Earth.
Thousands circle the sacred Kaaba at the centre of the Haram sanctuary 24 hours a day. Millions of homes are adorned with pictures of it and over a billion face it five times a day.
The Kaaba is the epicenter of Mecca.
The cube shaped building is at the heart of the most well-known real estate in the history of mankind; it is shrouded in black and its fair share of mystery.
Here are just a few things that most people may not know about the Kaaba:
By: Andrew Johnson
The site in Mecca where the Prophet Mohamed is said to have been born is about to be “buried under marble” and replaced by a huge royal palace. The work is part of a multibillion-pound construction project in the holy city which has already resulted in the destruction of hundreds of historic monuments.
Tawaaf by swimming. Makkah 1941. Absolutely beautiful. Ṭawāf (طواف) is one of the Islamic rituals of pilgrimage. During the Hajj and Umrah, Muslims are tocircumambulate the Kaaba (most sacred site in Islam) seven times, in a counterclockwise direction. The circling is believed to demonstrate the unity of the believers in the worship of the One God, as they move in harmony together around the Kaaba, while supplicating to God.
Birthplace of Muhammad
Located in souther part of Hijaz
Most loved place of Almighty Allah
Founded by the prophet Ibrahim Al- Khalil
Surrounded by dry hills and mountains
Monuments are: Birthplace of the Holy Prophet (may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him and his pure progeny), Sayyidatu Khadijah’s house, Al-Ar’qam house, Graveyard of Al-Mu’ali, Birthplace of Sayyidatu Fatimah (peace be upon her), Imam Ali’s birthplace (peace be upon him), Grave of Aaminah bintu Wahab, the Holy Prophet’s mother (may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him and his pure progeny) ـ Jabalu An-Nur, Ghar Hiraa, Dar Al-Khizraan.
Non-Muslims aren’t permitted to enter because it is a holy city
A pilgramage to Mecca is required of all Muslims as one of the five pillars.
The importance of Mecca for Muslims is inestimable. All Muslims, wherever they are on the earth, are required to pray five times a day in the direction of the Ka’bah in Mecca. The direction of prayer is known as the qiblah.Muslims regard the al-Masjid al-Haram as the holiest place on Earth. Both the mosque and the city itself are strictly off-limits to non-Muslims.
The focal point of Mecca is the Ka’bah, the “House of God”, believed by Muslims to have been built by Abraham and his son Ishmael, and is covered in a gold-embroidered black fabric. The Pilgrims circle the Ka’bah seven times and may also try to touch or kiss its cornerstone, the Black Stone. Pilgrims then drink from the well of Zamzam. The water of Zamzam is believed to have special properties and is alleged to have health benefits. Few pilgrims return from the Hajj without a large plastic bottle of the Zamzam water.
For Muslims, a pilgrimage to Mecca is required as one of the Five Pillars of Faith of the faith. In recent years, about two to three million have gathered for the major pilgrimage or Hajj, during the Muslim month of Dhu’l-Hijjah, and many more perform the minor pilgrimage or Umrah, which may be performed at any time of year. Few non-Muslims have ever seen the rites and rituals of the Hajj as non-Muslims are strictly prohibited from entering Mecca and Madinah.
For most English-speakers, Mecca has long been the accepted spelling for the holy city. The word is a transliteration of the original Arabic, and has become part of the English language. The wordMecca is nowadays used to mean not only the city in Saudi Arabia but any center of activity sought or converged upon by a group of people with a common interest.