Makkah (The Holiest City in Islam)
Makkah (Mecca) is the most globally planned city in Saudi Arabia that holds a place of paramount significance in life of every Muslim. Although there are many places that are highly venerated but Makkah is considered the ‘’Abode of Allah’’. With world’s population of approximate 2 million Muslims travelling each year to perform Hajj and Umrah to this holy place, Makkah has always been the dream destination of every believing Muslim who wishes to go on this pious Itimaar (visit).
To accommodate such a big number of people every year, the city also has an ongoing demand for hotels and other tourist facilities.
Makkah is the core of the Islamic world, the cradle of spirituality and the most sacred land in the world for Muslims. The holy mission of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and the Islamic civilization commenced from the hilly terrain of Makkkah. Since then, the place welcomes millions of pilgrims from every corner of the world.
Places to Visit in Makkah
Masjid-Al-Haram – The Grand Mosque of Makkah
Every year, Masjid al-Haram receives about 2 million Muslims in its holy premises to perform Hajj and Umrah. It was built to enclose the most sacred Kaabah. The oldest parts of the mosque dates back to 16th century. The great mosque comprises of a rectangular courtyard for pilgrims to perform tawaf (circumambulation) and covered prayer halls.
Two more sacred sites are located inside the courtyard, Maqam-e-Ibrahim (station of Abraham) and Zamzam well (sacred spring). Maqam-e-Ibrahim is associated with Quranic account of rebuilding of Kaabah by Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) and his son Prophet Ismael (AS). Makkah is also believed to be the place where Prophet Ismael (AS) and his mother Hagirah (RA) were endowed with the sacred water of Zam Zam. To the east and north of courtyard are the hills of Safa and Marwah that pilgrims must walk between seven times as a part of the ritual. Non-Muslims are forbidden from visiting this religious place.
The contemporary structure of the mosque is a product of centuries of development. Kaabah was also a sacred shrine for the Arab polytheists in the pre-Islamic era where worshippers gathered to pray and perform their rituals.
On emigration to Madinah, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his companions worshipped toward Jerusalem as Qiblah (direction of the prayer) for a short time before finally conquering Makkah and returning back. He ordered the destruction of idols at the holy Kaabah and cleansed it of Polytheistic association. Masjid-Al-Haram has been constructed and modernized several times over the course of time.
The mosque of the Jinn is a mosque in Mecca, located near Jannat al-Mualla. It is also known as the Mosque of Allegiance and the Mosque of Guards. The mosque is built at a place where a group of Jinn gathered one night to hear the recitation of Holy Quran. Prophet (peace be upon him) drew the line for his companion Abdullah bin Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) to sit, after he was commanded by Allah to recite Quran to the Jinns. Prophet (pbuh) later met the leaders of these Jinns and accepted their embrace of Islam. This incident is mentioned in Quran in the Surah (chapter) Al- Jinn.
It was narrated by Abdullah bin Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) that Prophet (pbuh) said,
“A caller from among the jinn came to me, and I went with him and recited Quran to them.”
He further narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) took them and showed them their footsteps and the traces of their fires. They had asked him for provision and he had prayed to Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) and told them,
“You will have every bone over which the name of Allah has been mentioned; when it falls into your hands it will have plenty of meat on it. And all droppings are food for your animals.”
Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Do not use them (bones and dung) to clean yourselves after relieving yourselves, for they are the food of your brothers.” [Sahih Muslim]
Masjid-e-Taneem / Masjid-e-Aisha (RA)
Mosque Aisha, also known as Masjid al-Taneem is the place where Ummul-Mumineen Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) went to enter into Ihram for Umrah when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded her to do so during the Hajj farewell.
The Masjid is 7.5 km south of Makkah and is closest to the boundary on the road of Madinah. It also acts as a miqat for the people of Makkah, a station to change into pilgrim’s garment. Mosque Aisha has all the facilities for pilgrims for baths, ablution and changing clothes. It is also used to store the garments of the pilgrims who visit the mosque. Residents of Makkah who wish to perform Umrah visit this mosque in order to enter into the state of Ihram so that the condition of travelling for Umrah is fulfilled, before returning back to Makkah (for Umrah).