Makkah is the blessed city which is the most beloved land in the sight of Allah (swt) and the chosen location of His House. It was here that the final prophet and guide of the whole of mankind, Muhammad (s.a.w.), was born and commenced his Prophethood.
- Allah (swt) has called Makkah by five names in the Holy Quran: Makkah, Bakkah, Al-Balad, Al-Qaryah and Ummul-Qura.
- In Surah Al-Imran, Allah (swt) states:
“Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-Alamin (mankind and jinn).” [3:96]
- When the Muslims conquered Makkah. The Prophet (s.a.w.) said,
“Allah had made this city sacred the day He created the heavens and the earth and it’s sanctity shall remain until the Day of Qiyaamah (Day of Judgement). Its thorns cannot be broken, its animals cannot be harmed and things fallen on its ground cannot be picked up unless with the intention of returning it to its owner or making public announcements (to locate the owner). It is also forbidden to cut the grass that (naturally) grows here.” [Muslim]
- The reward of prayer offered in Masjid al-Haram is multiplied many times. Jabir bin Abdullah (r.a.) narrates that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
“A prayer in in this mosque of mine is better than one thousand prayers anywhere else, except for Al-Masjid Al- Haram. A prayer in Al-Masjid Al-Haram is better than one hundred thousand prayers (anywhere else).” [Ahmad]
- The Prophet (s.a.w.), sitting on his camel in the Al-Hazwarah market, addressed Makkah saying,
“By Allah, you are the best land of Allah, the most beloved land of Allah to Allah. Had I not been driven out of you, I would not have left you.” [Zaadul Ma’aad]
- The Prophet (s.a.w.) once remarked:
“There is no city in which Dajjal will be unable to enter besides Makkah and Madinah. Every street will be lined with angels standing in rows to protect them.” [Bukhari]
- In the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.), camel caravans were a major part of Makkah’s bustling economy. Alliances were struck between the merchants in Makkah and the local nomadic tribes, who would bring goods – leather, livestock, and metals mined in the local mountains – to Makkah to be loaded on the caravans and carried to cities in Syria and Iraq. Historical accounts also provide some indication that goods from other continents may also have flowed through Makkah.
- Muslim scientists have provided evidence to show that Makkah is the true centre of the Earth, one argument being that unlike other longitudes, Makkah's is in perfect alignment to magnetic north.
The Ka’bah, also known as Baytullah (The House of Allah) is the first house built for humanity to worship Allah (swt). The small, cubed building may not rival other famous buildings in terms of size but its impact on history and human beings is unmatched. It functions as the Qibla, the direction to which all Muslims pray five times a day.
- Regarding the Ka’bah, Allah (swt) mentions in the Holy Quran in Surah Al-Ma’idah:
“Allah has made the Ka’bah, the Sacred House, an asylum of security and benefits (e.g., Hajj and Umrah) for mankind.” [5:97]
- The Ka’bah has been built or adjusted on several occasions throughout history. The most famous builders are; the angels who originally constructed it; the first man and prophet, Adam (a.s.); Ibrahim (a.s.) with the help of his son Ismail (a.s.); by the Quraysh during the Jahiliyyah period (this was witnessed by the Prophet (s.a.w.) when he was 25 years old) and by Abdullah bin Zubair (r.a.) in 65 AH who rebuilt it according to the wish of the Prophet (s.a.w.).
- Directly above the Ka'bah, at its zenith, there is a corresponding place in the heavens called the Baytul Ma’moor which holds the same status there as the Ka’bah does here on earth. Each day seventy thousand angels engage in worship there and none of them get a second opportunity to present themselves there again. The Baytul Ma’moor is such a sacred and honoured place that Allah (swt) takes an oath on it in the Holy Quran in Surah Toor:
“And I swear by the Baytul Ma’moor.” [4:52]- Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas (r.a.) reports that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
“One hundred and twenty mercies descend upon the Ka’bah every day and night; sixty for those performing tawaf, forty for those engaged in salah and twenty for those who are merely looking at the Ka’bah.” [Bayhaqi]
- During the Night of Ascension (mi’raj) when the Prophet (s.a.w.) reached the seventh level of heaven, he met the Prophet Ebrahim (a.s.) resting against the Baytul Ma’moor. Ebrahim (a.s.) returned the greeting of his descendant and testified that Muhammed (s.a.w.) was the Prophet of Allah.
- The noblest shade on earth is that of the Holy Ka'bah. Khabbab (r.a.) reports, “We once approached the Prophet (s.a.w.) with a difficulty and found him sitting in the shade of the Ka’bah, leaning on his shawl.”
- During the era of Abdullah-bin-Zubair (r.a.) the Ka’bah was damaged by catapult fire in 64 AH when the army of Yazeed-bin-Muawaiya laid siege to Makkah. One of Abdullah-bin-Zubair’s companions lit a fire, a spark flew off and set alight the kiswah (covering) of the Holy Ka'bah. The wooden portions of the Ka’bah were burned which necessitated its demolition and reconstruction. Abdullah-bin-Zubair (r.a.) reconstructed it on the foundations of Ebrahim (a.s.), thus fulfilling what the Prophet (s.a.w.) had wished for, as the construction made by the Quraysh was about three meters short because they had run out of lawful earnings to finance the build.
- When Hajjaj-bin-Yusuf had the governership over Makkah he informed the Ummayad Khalifah Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan that Abdullah-bin-Zubair had changed the Ka’bah to something that was different to how it was in the lifetime of the Prophet (s.a.w.). He gave permission to change it again and in 73 AH it was changed to its previous state. However, when Abdul Malik came to know the Hadith of the Prophet (s.a.w.) of how he had desired the Ka’bah to have been on the original foundations of Ebrahim (a.s.) he was full of remorse about what he had done.
- Muslims do not pray to the Qibla, it functions merely as a unifying direction point. During his time in Makkah, the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) used to pray towards Bait-al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), with the Ka'bah in front of him. When he migrated to Madinah, he prayed towards Jerusalem for 16 months, but he hoped it would be changed to the Ka'bah. Allah (swt) then revealed the following verse in the Holy Quran in Surah al-Baqarah:
"Verily, We have seen the turning of your (Muhammad's) face towards theheaven. Surely, We shall turn you to a Qiblah (prayer direction) that shall please you, so turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah). And wheresoever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction." [2:144 ]
- There are Ahadith that confirm that the Ka’bah will be destroyed towards the end of time. Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
“The Ka’bah will be destroyed by Dhus-Suwaiqatain (a man with thin legs) from Abyssinia (Ethiopia).” [Bukhari]
The diagram above shows a rare view of what the interior of the Ka’bah looks like. The construction made by Ebrahim (a.s.) contained no roof, it was the Quraysh who raised the walls of the Ka’bah and added a roof. Today, only a privileged few have had the opportunity to step inside the Ka’bah.
- During the times of Jahiliyyah (Ignorance), a man and woman from the Yemenite tribe of Jurhum called Isaf and Na’ilah committed adultery inside the Ka’bah. Allah (s.w.t.) turned them into stones. When they were found the next day, they were carried outside and were set up at the Ka’bah as a warning. Over time these two stones were worshipped along with the other idols. One of the stones was placed right next to the Ka’bah; the other one was set up at the spring of Zamzam. Finally, the Quraysh ordered that the stone next to the Ka’bah to be carried to the other one at Zamzam. From then on, people slaughtered their sacrificial animals at that spot.
- When Islam began to spread, the Quraysh became more embittered and could not tolerate the Prophet (s.a.w.) any longer. The chiefs drew up a document which called for the social and economic boycott of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and all those who supported him and his family. All of them signed this document on 1st Muharram of the seventh year of the Prophethood and the scroll was hung up inside the Ka’bah to give it full sanctity. For three long years the Prophet (s.a.w.) and his kinsmen were ostracized in a narrow valley in Makkah. Food was so scarce that they had to resort to eating leaves of trees and their children’s cries could be heard all over the valley. At last by the Grace of Allah, the scroll was eaten up by white ants save for the name of Allah and the boycott was uplifted.
- When the Prophet (s.a.w.) arrived in Makkah on the day of victory, he made tawaf around the Ka’bah seven times and touched the Hajar al-Aswad with his staff. He then asked Uthman bin Talha to open the door of the Ka’bah. The Prophet (s.a.w.) entered the Ka’bah accompanied by Usama bin Zaid, Bilal and Uthman bin Talha. He closed the door, performed prayer, stayed for some time and then went out.
- Inside the Ka’bah were statues of Ebrahim (a.s.) and Ismail (a.s.) along with pictures of angels and a picture of Ebrahim (a.s.) with divining arrows in his hand. It has also been reported that there was an icon painting of the Virgin Mary and the child Christ which had been done by a Christian. The Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered all of them to be destroyed.
- The two horns of the ram which Ebrahim (a.s.) slaughtered were hung inside the Holy Ka'bah. When Abdullah bin Zubair (r.a.) demolished the Holy Ka'bah to rebuild it, he found the horns had disintegrated due to previous damage and age.
- The Quraysh had erected their chief idol, Hubal, within the centre of Ka’bah. It was made of red carnelian and shaped like a human with the right hand broken which the Quraysh had replaced with gold. In front of the idol were seven arrows of fate and when the pagan Arabs were undecided on a matter they would go to Hubal and throw the arrows in front of him and took ‘advice’ based on how the arrows appeared.
- Abdul Muttalib, the grandfather of the Prophet (s.a.w.) had made a vow that if he ever had ten sons he would sacrifice one of them to God in front of the Ka’bah. When he subsequently fathered ten grown up sons up he announced his vow to them and had their names written on arrows of fate which were mixed and then one drawn out. Destiny fell upon Abdullah, his youngest and dearest son, who was to become the father of the Prophet (s.a.w.). Not wanting to sacrifice Abdullah, Abdul Muttalib consulted a soothsayer to see how he could be exonerated from his vow and in return for Abdullah’s life he gave away 100 camels. Hence the Prophet (s.a.w.) is called the descendant of the “two sacrificed ones” (Ismail (a.s.) and his own father, Abdullah). Similarly, he is referred to as the descendant of the “two elders held for ransom,” for Ismail (a.s.) was ransomed for a ram and his father for a hundred camels.
- The Prophet (s.a.w.) had Hubal destroyed after the conquest of Makkah.
The picture above shows the Hajar al-Aswad (The Black Stone), which is set in the eastern corner of the Ka’bah. Tawaf is started and ended by facing this sacred stone. Throughout the ages, innumerable people including many of the Prophets (a.s.), the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) himself, the Sahabah (r.a.), pious personalities and millions of Muslims who have performed Hajj and Umrah have placed their blessed lips on it.
- The Hajar al-Aswad was brought from Jannah and presented to Ebrahim (a.s.) to be placed on the corner of the Ka’bah. Ibn ‘ Abbas (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
“The Black Stone came down from Paradise and it was whiter than milk, but the sins of the sons of Adam turned it black.” [Tirmidhi]
- Du’as are accepted at the Hajar al-Aswad and on the Day of Judgement it will testify in favour of all those who kissed it. The Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
“By Allah! On the Day of Qiyaamah, Allah will present the Hajar al-Aswad in such a manner that it will have two eyes and a tongue to testify to the Imaan (faith) of all those who kissed it.” [Tirmidhi]
- When the Quraysh demolished the Holy Ka’bah in order to reconstruct it, a dispute arose when the building reached the level of the Black Stone. They differed on the issue of who was eligible to restore the Black Stone to its original place. A civil war was about to break out. Banu Abdu’d-Dar brought a bowl full of blood and all of the tribes inserted their hands in it, which meant that they had made up their minds to fight one another. But Abu Umayya Ibn al-Mugheera , their elder, asked Quraysh to agree on the judgement of the first person to come through the Bani Shaibah gate and they all agreed on this suggestion. The first to come through this gate was the Prophet (s.a.w.). This was five years before his mission. He put the Black Stone in the middle of a piece of cloth, and asked a representative of each tribe to hold one of the edges of the cloth and raise it close to its place. Then the Prophet (s.a.w.) picked it up with his own noble hands and restored it to its original place. This was how the Prophet (s.a.w.) prevented a war from breaking out among the Quraysh by a supreme demonstration of wisdom.
- Ibn Abbas (r.a.) relates that the Prophet (s.a.w.), while leaning against the Ka’bah said:
“The Hajr al-Aswad and al-Maqam (Ebrahim) are two jewels from the jewels of Paradise. Had Allah (swt) not concealed their radiance, they would illuminate everything between the East and the West.” [Tirmidhi]
- Umar (r.a.) once kissed the Hajar al-Aswad and said, “I know well that you are just a stone that can do neither good nor harm. Had I not seen THE Prophet (s.a.w.) kiss you, I would not have done so.” Umar (r.a.) made the statement because there were many people who were newly converted to Islam and he did not want them to get the impression that Muslims also revered stones as the Arabs revered and worshipped stone idols during the Period of Ignorance. Umar (r.a) made it clear that he was following the Sunnah practice of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and that although the stone is blessed, it can do neither harm nor good.
- The Hajar al-Aswad was stolen from the Ka’bah around 930 CE by Qarmatian warriors who were an Ismaeeli Shia sect. They sacked Makkah, desecrating the Well of Zamzam with Muslim corpses and carried the Black Stone away to their base in Ihsaa, in medieval Bahrain. According to the historian Al-Juwayni, the Stone was returned in around 952 CE and restored to its original location.
- The Hajar al-Aswad was originally a complete stone but due to various historical incidents now consists of eight pieces of varying sizes affixed to a large stone and encased in a silver frame. The silver frame was first made by Abdullah bin Zubayr (r.a.) and replaced by later Khalifas as the need arose.
- Six (additional) pieces are claimed to be in Istanbul, Turkey. One is displayed in the mihrab of the Blue Mosque, one above the entrance of the tomb of Sulaiman the Magnificent and four in the Sokullu Sehit Mehmet Pasa Camii masjid (one over the mihrab, one below the lower pulpit, another is above the upper pulpit and the last is over the entrance door). The authenticity of these additional pieces has been questioned, although the Turks did rule over what is now Saudi Arabia for many years and hold many historical Islamic relics. And Allah (swt) knows best.
- Note that when kissing the Hajar al-Aswad, one should neither push people nor harm anyone because while kissing the Hajar al-Aswad is Sunnah, causing harm to people is a forbidden act (haram). When the area is crowded, it will suffice to merely point towards the Hajar al-Aswad with one’s hand or a stick while reciting the Takbeer and then to kiss the hand or stick. Although the Prophet (s.a.w.) kissed the Hajar al-Aswad directly, he also pointed towards it when the area was crowded, it is therefore clear that both kissing it and pointing towards it are Sunnah.
The area between the Hajar al-Aswad and the Door of the Ka’bah is called the Multazam. It is approximately two metres wide and is a place where duas (supplications) are accepted.
- The Multazam is an area where du’aas are accepted . It is sunnah to hold on to the wall of the Ka’bah in such a manner that a cheek, chest and hands are against the wall. It is reported that Abdullah bin Umar (ra) once completed the Tawaf, performed the salah and then kissed the Hajar al-Aswad. Thereafter, he stood between the Hajar al-Aswad and the door of the Ka’bah in such a manner that the cheek, chest and hands were against the wall. He then said, “This is how I saw Rasulullaah (saw) do.”
- Abdullah bin Abbas (r.a.) says “The signs of acceptance for any dua made between the Hajar al-Aswad and the door of the Ka’bah will certainly be seen."
- Mujaahid (r.a.) says, “The area between the Hajar al-Aswad and the door is called the Multazam. Allah will grant a person whatever he asks for there and save him from whatever he seeks refuge from there.”