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Makkah City Profile

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Makkah City Profile

Facts
Geography
Introduction
Kiswah (the Kabah Drapes or covering)
The Hajj
Mountains
The Holy Kaabah
Kaaba Reconstruction
Imam Malik's Advice
Inside Kaaba
King Fahd Expansion

 

Facts  
bulletPopulation (1995 estimate) - 770,000

bulletLocation
Latitude 19 25° 21 North
Meridian 46 49° 39
bulletThe Holy City of Makkah lies inland, some 73 km east of Jiddah, in the narrow, sandy Valley of Ibrahim. The land consists of rugged, rocky (predominantly granite) terrain, with mountain ranges on three sides (to the west, south and east).

bulletThere are three main entrances to the Holy City; Al-Muallat, Al-Misfalah and Al-Shubaikah.

bulletJabal hira, to the north-east, is the site of the cave where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sought peace for contemplation and where he received the first verse of the Holy Quraan.

Geographical location

Makkah AI Mukaramah is located on the extension of the feet of A1 Sarawat Mountains, and it represents the junction of Tihamah with mountains around Makkah.

Accordingly, Makkah AI Mukaramah is a group of valleys, which are traversed by mountains, also, these valley are the outlets of Makkah, especially towards the coast. The location of Makkah is very important; as it was the midpoint in the line of old trade caravans between Yemen in the south and AI Sham in the north.

Elevations

Elevations of Makkah AI Mukarramah are a group of mountains and black rocky masses which are granitic basement rocks. Mountains are traversed by a group of valleys, such as Ibrahim valley. The Kabah's location is in this valley.

  Areas of Holy Places

 

bulletArafat:

Total area: 1795 hectare. Area utilized by pilgrims: 1361 Hectare.

bulletMuzdalifah:

Total Area: 1795 Hectare. Area utilized by pilgrims: 682 Hectare.

bulletMina:

Total Area: 635 Hectare. Area utilized by pilgrims: 246 Hectare.

Climate

The Mediterranean and the chain of mountains (Sarwat) have their effect on the climate in Makkah and the temperature is generally high.

In winter, it is between 20-25 C while in summer it could go up to 47 C.

Rain is very rare with an average of 10-33 mm; and humidity ratio is 45-53%.

Makkah AI Mukarramah is 300 meters above sea level.

Winds

Northwestern, dry in summer, cold and rainy in winter

North-eastern, dry in summer and winter, hot in summer and cold in winter

South-western, rainy seasonal winds

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Introduction

Mecca, also Makkah (ancient Macoraba), city in western Saudi Arabia, located in the Al Hijaz (Hejaz) region, near Jiddah. The Al-Haram Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, holds the holiest mosque of muslims, the Kaaba. As the birthplace of Islam’s founder, the Prophet Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) (SAW), Makkah is considered a holy city. This is where Prophet Mohammed (SAW) was born in the 6th century AD, where he began preaching and where he returned for his final pilgrimage. In Arabic, the city is known as Makkah Al-Mukkaramah (“Mecca the blessed”). It is a pilgrimage point for Muslims worldwide. Pilgrimage to the city is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is required of all able adult Muslims at least once in their lifetimes. The pilgrimage (hajj in Arabic) is the defining factor in the growth and life of the city. The arrival of close to 3 million pilgrims each year during the last month of the Islamic calendar is a grand human spectacle as well as one of the largest logistical and administrative undertakings in the world.

The city stands at the crossroads of two major trade routes: one connecting southern Arabia (present-day Yemen and Oman) with the lands of Egypt and Syria, and the other is linking the Red Sea with the Persian Gulf coast and Mesopotamia (roughly present-day Iraq). By the time Prophet Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) (peace be upon him) was born in about 570 AD, Makkah had become an important trading center; Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself came from a merchant family. After the spread of Islam and the growth of the Muslim community, the fortunes of Mecca rose and fell with the yearly ebb and flow of pilgrims. To this day, the economy of the city depends to a great extent on accommodating, feeding, transporting, and otherwise caring for large numbers of pilgrims.

The haram, or holy area of Makkah, is a sanctuary in which violence is not permitted. The word haram carries the dual meaning of forbidden and sacred. As a symbol of ritual purification and is the main Muslim Mosque.

The centre of Makkah is the Grand Mosque and the sacred Zamzam well inside it. The Kaaba, which all Muslims face when they pray, is in the mosque's central courtyard. According to tradition, the Kaaba was originally built by Prophet Adam (AS), and later rebuilt by Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his son Prophet Ismael (AS), as a replica of God's house in heaven.

Muslims consider the Kaaba—a small sanctuary near the center of the Great Mosque in Mecca— to be the most sacred spot on earth. Muslim legend teaches that the ancient religious patriarchs Ibrahim and Ishmael built the shrine using foundations first laid by Prophet Adam AS. Muslims all over the world orient themselves toward the Kaaba while praying.

Makkah Al-Mukkaramah which has many other names such as Umm Al-Qura, Al-Balad Al-Amen (secure city) and Al-Balad Al-Haram (Holy City), is the first holy city for Moslems. In Makkah, Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) was born, the Revelation was descended to him with the Holy Quran, and from it propagation for Islam was launched. In the center of the city there is the Holy Mosque inside which is the Holy Kabaa, The Maqam of Prophet Ibrahim, the Stone of his son Ismaiel (May God bless them), Zamzam well which water has been pouring through hundred of years, and Safa and Marwah where Moslems make Saie. Near Makkah are the other holy shrines of Mina, Muzdalifa, and Arafat where Mount Arafat is located and where pilgrims spend the day of Arafah every year as the main ritual of Hajj (pilgrimage).

Characteristic Marks in the Holy Mosque

Many characteristic marks at the Holy Mosque in Makkah have great historical as well as spiritual value to Muslims, as they are related to the holiness of Islamic religion and strong commitment in following the guidelines set down by the Prophet and messenger of Allah. The marks date back to the original building of the holy Kabah as translated from the Quran:

“Behold! We gave the site, To Ibrahim, of the (Sacred) House”, Al Hajj, 26
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The Holy Kaabah

The Quran refers to Makkah and the Holy Mosque in the translation:

“The first sanctuary appointed for mankind was that at Bakka a blessed place, guidance to the peoples” Al Imran, 96
 

Accordingly, Ibrahim and his son Ishmael built the Kabah. Later through the decades the Kabah was rebuilt various times through history but always by maintaining the original stonework and dimensions. The Kabah has a great role in Islam, being the vocal point of all prayers as well as a destination for worship and devotion. As translated from the Quran:

“Allah hath appointed the Kaabah, the Sacred House, a standard for mankind” Al maidah, 97
 

The Kaabah is nearly in the middle of the Holy Mosque as it was built through the centuries around this most holy of sites, in the shape of a big, high square room with a height of 15 meters. The door is at its eastern wall, two meters above the ground is made of solid gold but has changed throughout history. The four corners of Kaabah are the black corner, the Shami corner (referring to the most northeastern corner), the Yamani corner (the southwestern corner) and the Iraqi corner. At the top of the northern wall, there is the Mizab, A water drain element which is made of pure gold, dominating the stone of Ishmael.

 
bulletBlack Stone – Hajr-e-Aswad

Located at the southeastern part of Kabah, a sign of divine grace, it is a heavy oval stone, of black reddish color. Its diameter is 30 cm, surrounded with a silver frame. The circler is required to kiss the black stone if possible. It is told that Messenger (peace of Allah be upon him) said, "the stone and the station of Ibrahim are two bequeathed from paradise, but Allah obliterated their light, otherwise they would have lit between east and west". He also said, "when the black stone was lowered from paradise, it was whiter than milk, but the sins of humans made it black".

bulletStation of Ibraheem (Maqam lbraheem)

It is the stone upon which Ibrahim (May Allah be please with him) was standing while he was building the Kabah. It is circled with silver. The trace of footprints is clear in the stone. The late King Faisal Bin Abd AI-Aziz ordered to make a crystal glass cover, surpassed by an iron framework, with a marble foundation around the Maqam. Allah says in the Quran (translated):
“And take ye the Station of Ibrahim as a place of prayer” Albaqarah


bulletStone of Ismail

It is the space to the north of Kabah under the Mizab. It is paved in marble as well as being enclosed by a marble parapet. The stone was originally a portion of the Kabah when Ibrahim originaly built it, but when Quraish (the historic tribe rulers of Makkah rebuilt it during their era they left the stone out, accordingly, it is a part of the Holy Kabah.

bulletAI Multazem

It is between the black stone and the door of Kabah. AI Multzem, the Arabic word, means the thing at which people attach and supplicate. Ibn Abbas told that he heard Messenger (peace of Allah be up upon him) saying, "Any, who ask Allah at AI Multazem, Allah would reward him".

bulletZamzam

Historically Ibrahim was ordered to leave his wife Hajirah (may Allah be please with her) and child Ishmael in a valley without any vegetation or water at the site of his sacred house before the building of the Kabah promising to provide for them. As Ishmael cried in thirst Hadhrath-e-Hajirah ran from a small rise to another (safa and marwah) in the hope that a mirage of water was real. Allah then broke forth a spring at the feet of the crying baby now know as the well of Zamzam. ZamZam well is located few meters east of Kaaba under the Tawaf area, the well is 35 meters deep and topped by an elegant dome. Many prophetic traditions (Hadeeths) referred to the superiority of Zamzam water, such as:
“The best water on the earth is Zamzam".

“It is blessed, for drinking and for curing".

"It is a cure for what it is drunk for".

It is told that Abdullah Bin Abbas, when drinking from Zamzam, used to say,

"O Allah, I ask you a useful knowledge, a Luxurious living, and a cure for all diseases".


bulletSafa, Marwah and Saiy

As stated in the former section the origin of this Muslim ritual called “Saee” was based on Ishmael’s mothers search for water for her son. Safa is the rocky hill from which “Saiy” starts, and Marwah is the rocky hill at which “Saee” ends. It is mentioned in Holy Quran that they are of Allah's rituals; accordingly, they have a great importance to Muslims. It is translated that Allah, says in the Quran:
“Lo! (The mountains) As-Safa and Al-Marwah are among the indications of Allah. It is therefore no sin for him who is on pilgrimage to the House (of God) or visiteth it, to go around them” Al Baqarah, 158


Previously, Safa and Marwah were out of the Holy Mosque, when the Saudi expansion began, the path of saiy was entered within the Holy Mosque. It is 395 meters long and 20 meters wide with a number of doors opening on to it. The original shape of the Safa and Marwah was maintained as it was.

bulletYemeni Corner (AI Rukn AI Yamani)

It is one of the Holy Kabah's corners, towards southwest direction. It is the corner that is parallels the eastern corner, in which the black stone is located. The Yemeni corner is touched but not kissed. It called by this name because it's faces towards the south towards Yemen.
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A Historical Look at the Kiswah (the Kabah Drapes or covering)

The Kiswah has an interesting history through different eras. Some scholars argue that the first Kiswa was made by the Prophet Ishmael. It is mentioned by others that the first Kiswa was made by Adnan bin Ad, a great great-grandfather of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). But, most sources agree that Tauba. King of Humayyur in Yemen was the first to start this tradition. After that, many others draped the Kabah during the pre-Islam period.

It is told, in the pre-Islam period, that Abu Rabiah Bin Amro AI Makhzoumi was a very rich man, and he said to Quraish (the ruling tribe of Makkah) that he would drape the Kabah one year, and Quraish would drape it in the next year. Quraish agreed, and the story says that he continued to drape the Kaabah until his death.  

 

bulletKiswah in the reign of Messenger (peace of Allah be upon him) and orthodox caliphs

The Messenger (peace of Allah be upon him) and Muslims did not participate in draping the Kabah before taking of Makkah, as Quraish did not allow them to do so. When Makkah was taken, The Messenger (Peace of Allah be upon him) left the Kiswa as it is, until it was burned accidentally when a women was fumigating the Kabah. Messenger then draped the Kabah with Yemeni cloth. After him, the orthodox caliphs draped it

bulletKiswah after the Orthodox caliphs until the Saudi reign

Caliph Muawiyah used to dress the Kabah twice a year, then Yazid Bin Muawiyah, Ibn AI Zubair, and Abd AI Malik Bin Marwan all dressed is with silk covering. At one time, it had become a custom that the old Kiswah was not removed, the new one being put on top of the old. This continued until the reign of Mahdi, the Abbasid Caliph. When he performed Hajj in 160 AH, he saw that the accumulated Kiswah could cause damage to Kabah itself. He therefore decreed that only one Kiswah should drape the Kaabah at any one time, and this had been observed ever since.

The Caliph AI Mamoon, dressed the Kabah three times a year, with a red braced Kiswah on the eighth of Zu AI Hijjah, with white gabati on the first of Rajab, and with red brocade Kiswah on the twenty-ninth of Ramadan. After that, AI Nasir the Abbaside, dressed the Kabah in green. Caliph AI Nasir decided after that to change the color into black, and black it remains to this day.

The variegated drape (sitarah), which is hanged on the front side of the kaabah, was introduced in 810 AH. Between 816 and 818, this hanging drape was stopped, then it began again in 819 AH, and it is still being hanged until now.

bulletKiswah in the Saudi Reign

His highness, King Abd AI Aziz Bin Saud, with concern for the custody of the two holy Mosques, ordered the building of a special factory for manufacturing the Kiswah, and in the same year, the Holy Kabah Kiswah factory was founded, and the first Kiswah was produced.

The Kiswah continued to be made in Makkah for the next ten years. In order to make this work better, King Faisal ordered in the year 1382 AH the renewal of the Kiswah factory, and in the year 1397 AH, the new building was opened at Um AI Joud.

bulletDescription of the Kiswah of the Holy Kabah

The Kiswah is woven from pure natural silk, which is dyed black. The sentences "La Ilah Ila Allah, Mohammed Rasool Allah". "Allah Jala Jalalh", "Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi", "Subhan Allah Al Azeem", "Ya hannan", "Ya Mannan" are embroidered on the black silk in thread of gold. The Kiswah is made up of 41 pieces. Each piece is 14 meters long and 95 cm wide. The wide belt, 45 meters long and 95 cm wide, comprises 16 parts.

The "Ikhlas Sura" from the Holy Quran is embroidered in gold as circles on the four corners.

These circles are surrounded with squares of Islamic decorations. Under the belt, there are also 6 verses of Holy Quran, each of them inside a separated form.

The drapes (Sitara) of the Kaabah door, which is called the Burqua, is made of the same black silk material, and it is 6.5 meter in height and 3.5 meters in width. The border and drapes are embroidered with silver threads covered with gold. The whole Kiswah is lined with a thick material of cotton.
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The Hajj

The hajj, or pilgrimage to Makkah, occurs annually between the eighth and thirteenth days of the last month of the Muslim year, Dhu Al Hijjah. For many, it is a lifelong ambition. From the time of embarking on the journey to make the hajj, pilgrims often experience a spirit of exaltation and excitement; the meeting of so many Muslims of all races, cultures, and stations in life in harmony and equality moves many people deeply. Certain rites of pilgrimage may be performed any time, and although meritorious, these constitute a lesser pilgrimage, known as umrah. Improved transportation and accommodations have increased dramatically the number of visitors who enter the kingdom for pilgrimage.

The Ministry of Pilgrimage Affairs and Religious Trusts handles the immense logistical and administrative problems generated by such a huge international gathering. The government issues special pilgrimage visas that permit the pilgrim to visit Makkah and to make the customary excursion to Medina to visit the Prophet's tomb. An elaborate guild of specialists assists the hajjis. Guides (mutawwifs) who speak the pilgrim's language make the necessary arrangements in Makkah and instruct the pilgrim in the proper performance of rituals; assistants (wakils) provide subsidiary services. Separate groups of specialists take care of pilgrims in Medina and Jeddah.

The haram, or holy area of Makkah, is a sanctuary in which violence to people, animals, and even plants is not permitted. The word haram carries the dual meaning of forbidden and sacred. As a symbol of ritual purification, on approaching its boundaries the male pilgrim dons an ihram, two white seamless pieces of cloth, although many don the ihram upon first arriving in the kingdom. Women wear a white dress and head scarf.

They enter the Grand Mosque surrounding the Kaabah, a cube-shaped sanctuary first built, according to Muslim tradition, by Ibrahim and his son Ismail but is historically referred to as far back as Adam and Eve. The Kaabah contains a black stone believed to have been given to Ibrahim by the angel Gabriel. In pre-Islamic times, the Kaabah was the object of pilgrimage, housing the idols of the pagan jahiliyya, the age of ignorance, and, according to Islamic history, was cleansed by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) of idols and rededicated to the worship of Allah.

On the eighth day, the pilgrims go to Mina, a plain outside Mecca, spending the night in prayer and meditation. On the morning of the ninth day, they proceed to the Plain of Arafat where they perform the central ritual of the hajj, the standing (wuquf). The congregation faces Mecca and prays from noon to sundown. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) delivered his farewell sermon from a hill above the plain called the Mount of Mercy, or Mount Arafat, during his first and only pilgrimage. In performing wuquf, the pilgrim figuratively joins those the Prophet addressed. It is believed that the pilgrim leaves Arafat cleansed of sin.

A cannon sounds at sunset, and all move to Muzdalifah, where they collect pebbles to be tossed at one of three stone pillars representing Satan later in the Hajj at Mina. The Pilgrims remain in Muzdalifah until dawn or midnight for those infirmed or with families. They then move to Mina where Satan, in Islamic tradition, tempted Ibrahim not to sacrifice Ishmael as God commanded. Ishmael stoned Satan in response to the temptation, an act that symbolizes for the Muslim Ishmael's total submission to the will of God, for he went as a willing victim to the sacrifice. In the stoning, pilgrims renounce evil and declare their willingness to sacrifice all they have to God. Following the stoning, each pilgrim buys a camel, sheep, or goat for sacrifice in imitation of Ibrahim, and the excess meat is distributed to the poor. The sacrifice is duplicated by Muslims the world over, who celebrate the day as Id al Adha, the major feast of the Muslim year. The sacrifice ends the hajj proper. The pilgrim may then bathe, shave, cut his hair, and resume normal clothing.

Lastly, the pilgrims go to the Grand Mosque in Mecca. In the sanctuary, the pilgrims circle the Kabah seven times and point to the stone or kiss it as a symbol of the continuity of Islam over time and of the unity of believers. They then pray in the Place of Ibrahim, the spot within the mosque where the patriarch prayed. During this time, the pilgrims may also reenact the running between the hills of Safa and Marwa and may drink from the sacred well of Zamzam, commemorating the frantic search by Hagar to find water for her son Ishmael, and the opening of the well of Zamzam by Allah. These rites constitute the umrah. Some pilgrims conclude their pilgrimage with a visit to the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah.

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Mountains

Mountains of Makkah Al Mukarramah hold great historical significance as well as religious value. They are places of revelation of quraan and worship.

General Description and Composition:

Makkah AI Mukaramah is located among AI Surah Mountains, between a group of Hijazi igneous mountains.

A series of valleys and mountain paths branch out from them. Holy Quran illustrates nature of the region during Ibrahim’s (upon him be peace) time:

 

"Our lord! Lo! I have settled some of my prosperity in an uncultivable valley near unto They holy house, our Lord! That they may establish proper worship; so incline some hearts of men that they may yearn towards them, and provide thou them with fruits in order that they may be thankful” Ibrahim, 37
 

Study of elevations of Makkah AI Mukaramah is important not only from geographical point of view, but because some of Makkah Mountains have great importance to the Muslims as they are sites with great religious background. Located in AI Nour Mountain is Hiraa cave in which the first verses of holy Quran were reveled. Also, there is Thour mountain which contains Thour cave where the Messenger (peace of Allah I be upon him) refuged when he left Makkah for AI Madinah Al Munawarah

The northern Mountain ridge is composed of AI Falaq and Qluayqaha'ah mountains; while the southern mountain ridge is composed of Al Hodeedah Mountain to west, then kady mountain to the south, Abu Qubais to south east, and then khandamah mountain.

 

 

bulletAl Nour Mountain

Al Nour Mountain is located east of Makkah to the north. It occupies Hira'a cave, it was the Prophet (peace of Allah be upon him) favorite place to reflect and pray before becoming Allah’s messenger. It is also the place where he received the first verses of Holy Quran from AI Alaq Sura for the Angel Gabriel:
“Proclaim (or Read!) In the name Of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created”

“Created man, out of A (mere) clot of congealed blood”

“Proclaim! And thy Lord Is Most Bountiful”

“He Who taught (The use of) the Pen”

“Taught man that which he knew not”

Al-Alaq,1-5


It is called AI Nour Mountain because it was the start point for Propagation, as the word "Nour" means light.

bulletThour Mountain

It is the mountain that contains Thour cave, in which Messenger of Allah (Peace of Allah be up on him) and his companion AI Sideeq spent three days during their flee from Makkah to AI Madinah. This mountain is in the southern direction of Makkah and its height is about 761 meters above sea level.

“ If ye help not (your Leader), (It is no matter): for Allah Did indeed help him, When the Unbelievers Drove him out he had No more than one companion The two were in the Cave, And he said to his companion,. "Have no fear for Allah Is with us": then Allah Sent down His peace upon him, And strengthened him with forces, which ye saw not, and humbled to the depths the word Of the Unbelievers. But the word of Allah is exalted to the heights: For Allah is exalted in might, Wise”


bulletAbu Qubais Mountain

This big mountain extends from north to northwest directions. It dominates the Holy Mosque and extends between Kadaa and AI Qaar, between them there is Ibrahim valley in the east and Tuwa valley in the west. The name of the mountain become unknown now-a-days to most people, but there are some parts of it known today, which are

bulletAI Abadi Mountain, at northwestern.

bulletAI Hajoun, which is the eastern extension.

bulletHindi mountain, at southern.

bulletAI Sulaimaneyyah, which is the part dominating AI Moo'lah cemetery. The name was deduced from that of AI Sheikh Mohamed Sutaiman AI Maghrabi.


bulletThubair Gheyna'a or Thubair Al.thbrrah

It is knowon today by the name Al Rakham Mountain. This mountain is one of the biggest and highest Makkah Mountains. It dominates Mina from the north direction and faces Hira'a from the south. Its old name was Thubair Gheyna'a or Thubair Al Athbirah, its summit is called zat AI Gitadah, and it's eastern direction is called Thuqbah.

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bulletThubair Al Zinj

This mountain has many names, such as:

bulletOmer mountain: which is the part dominating AI shidaikals and AI Hafa'ir areas.

bulletAI Naqah mountain: adjacent to Omer mountain from southeast direction. It's rocky shape is similar to that of a camal.

bulletAI Sharashif Mountain: which is the south-eastern part of the mountain.

bulletAl Hafa'ir mountan: this area is nowadays a high population density district.


bulletAI Hujoun or AI Hujoul

AI Hujoun Mountain dominates AI Ma'alah cemetery. Near this mountain, there is the tomb of prophet's wife, AI Saydah Khadeejah Bint Khuwelid.

bulletSila' Mountain

This mountain is of moderate height, to the east of Makkah, in the Arafat area, and it is still known by this name. This mountain obstructs the Arnah flood. In AI Madinah AI Munawarah, there is another mountain known by this same name.

bulletGhurab Mountain

In Makkah AI Mukaramah, there is more than one mountain carrying this name, such as:

bulletGhurab AI Dahs: west of Makkah, in AI Rusaifah area.

bulletGhurab AI Musfilah: between kadi and Ajyad.

bulletGhurab Azokhir: it is the famous one, and it still carries this name. Azakhir is known now by the name Ree'a Zakhir, and because is black, it carries the name "Ghurab'', which is an Arabic word, means "Crow".
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The Size of the Kaaba

The current height of the Kaaba is 39 feet, 6 inches and total size comes to 627 square feet.

The inside room of the Kaaba is 13x9 meters. The Kaaba's walls are one meter wide. The floor inside is 2.2 meters higher than the place where people perform Tawaaf.

The ceiling and roof are two levels made out of wood. They were reconstructed with teak which is capped with stainless steel.

The walls are all made of stone. The stones inside are unpolished, while the ones outside are polished.

This small building has been constructed and reconstructed by Prophets Adam, Ibrahim, Ismail and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all). No other building has had this honor.

The other names of the Kaaba

Literally, Kaaba in Arabic means a high place with respect and prestige. The word Kaaba may also be derivative of a word meaning a cube.

Some of these other names include:

Bait ul Ateeq-which means, according to one meaning, the earliest and ancient. According to the second meaning, it means independent and liberating. Both meanings could be taken

Bait ul Haram-the honorable house

The Kaaba has been reconstructed up to 12 times.

Scholars and historians say that the Kaaba has been reconstructed between five to 12 times.

The very first construction of the Kaaba was done by Prophet Adam (peace be upon him). Allah says in the Quran that this was the first house that was built for humanity to worship Allah. After this, Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail (peace be upon them) rebuilt the Kaaba. The measurements of the Kaaba's Ibrahimic foundation are as follows:

 

bulletthe eastern wall was 48 feet and 6 inches

bulletthe Hateem side wall was 33 feet

bulletthe side between the black stone and the Yemeni corner was 30 feet

bulletthe Western side was 46.5 feet

Following this, there were several constructions before the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him) time.

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Reconstruction of Kaaba by Quraish

Prophet Muhammad participated in one of its reconstructions before he became a Prophet.

After a flash flood, the Kaaba was damaged and its walls cracked. It needed rebuilding.

This responsibility was divided among the Quraish's four tribes. Prophet Muhammad helped with this reconstruction.

Once the walls were erected, it was time to place the Black Stone, (the Hajar ul Aswad) on the eastern wall of the Kaaba.

Arguments erupted about who would have the honor of putting the Black Stone in its place. A fight was about to break out over the issue, when Abu Umayyah, Makkah's oldest man, proposed that the first man to enter the gate of the mosque the following morning would decide the matter. That man was the Prophet. The Makkans were ecstatic. "This is the trustworthy one (Al-Ameen)," they shouted in a chorus. "This is Muhammad".

He came to them and they asked him to decide on the matter. He agreed.

Prophet Muhammad proposed a solution that all agreed to-putting the Black Stone on a cloak, the elders of each of the clans held on to one edge of the cloak and carried the stone to its place. The Prophet then picked up the stone and placed it on the wall of the Kaaba.

Since the tribe of Quraish did not have sufficient funds, this reconstruction did not include the entire foundation of the Kaaba as built by Prophet Ibrahim. This is the first time the Kaaba acquired the cubical shape it has now unlike the rectangle shape which it had earlier. The portion of the Kaaba left out is called Hateem now.

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Imam Malik's advice to the Khalifa Harun al Rasheed

Abbasi Khalifa Harun al Rasheed wanted to rebuild the Kaba the way the Prophet Muhammad wanted and the way Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr built it.

But when he consulted Imam Malik, the Imam asked the Khalifa to change his mind because constant demolition and rebuilding is not respectful and would become a toy in the hands of kings. Each one would want to demolish and rebuild the Kaba.

Based on this advice, Harun al Rasheed did not reconstruct the Kaba. The structure remained in the same construction for 966 years, with minor repairs here and there.

What is inside the Kaba?  

 

bulletthere are two pillars inside (others report 3 pillars)

bulletthere is a table on the side to put items like perfume

bulletthere are two lantern-type lamps hanging from the ceiling

bulletthe space can accommodate about 50 people

bulletthere are no electric lights inside

bulletthe walls and floors are of marble

bulletthere are no windows inside

bulletthere is only one door

bulletthe upper inside walls of the Kaaba were covered with some kind of curtain with the Kalima written on it.
 

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King Fahd's Expansion of the Holy Mosque in Makkah: Historical Note

The religious center of the Holy City of Makkah is the Haram Mosque and the well of Zamzam.

The present Haram, meaning "sanctuary", dates from 1570 (978 AH), and takes the form of a central quadrangle surrounded by stone walls. Around the inner sanctuary is a marble pavement, the El Mataaf. The holiest shrine of Islam, the Kaaba, is situated at the heart of the Holy Mosque's central courtyard.

The Haram Mosque has a long and glorious tradition of expansion, dating back to 638 (7 AH) when the ever increasing number of Muslims led the second caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab, to develop the site.

When the late King Abdul Aziz established the modern Saudi state, one of his primary concerns, like that of the early caliphs, was his role in overseeing the well-being of the pilgrims undertaking the annual Hajj. Aware that the Holy Mosque could not support the growing numbers of worshippers, he initiated a refurbishment and expansion program.

King Fahd's Expansion of the Holy Mosque in Makkah

In 1988 (1408/09 AH) King Fahd laid the foundation stone for the third Saudi expansion of the Mosque in the Holy City of Makkah, and so began the latest, and most spectacular, phase in its recent development. In his role as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd's attention to the needs of the Holy Places has been unfaltering, and most obviously manifested in a multi-billion dollar program of modernization to make the places of pilgrimage more accessible to ever greater numbers.

The development of the Holy Mosque site in Makkah has incorporated an expansion of the western wing of the existing Mosque, and a subsequent enlargement of the building to hold more than a million worshippers during the Holy Month of Ramadan, and during Umrah and Hajj. The expansion project includes over 60,000 square meters of prayer area on the enlarged roof, in addition to another almost 86,000 square meters in the surrounding plaza. Two towering minarets have been added to complement the seven existing whitened stone structures, the latest additions carefully matching the former in architectural style. An elaborate new entrance and 18 other gates have also been built. Other exquisite decorative work commissioned by King Fahad adorns a series of three domes running parallel to the main gate structure and close to 500 marbled columns on the ground and first floors.

New prayer halls on the ground and first floors are complete and ready to accommodate the millions who now make the journey of a lifetime to the Holy City of Makkah, and a sophisticated broadcasting network has been installed to cope with the additional requirements. Indeed, the safety and comfort of the Hajjis has become a major concern for the authorities, necessitated by their sheer volume in recent years. The newly laid floor tiles were made of specially developed heat-resistant marble, and to further ensure the comfort of worshippers the whole structure is cooled by one of the world's largest air-conditioning units. To facilitate the movement of worshippers to the newly developed roof area of the Holy Mosque during the busiest seasons, additional escalators have been incorporated alongside a number of fixed stairways in the northern and southern sides of the building. Moreover, in order to reduce the build-up of traffic around the Holy Mosque, the development project has involved the construction of a new tunnel for vehicles in the vicinity of Alsouk Alsagir. Pedestrian routes and tunnels have also been carefully planned and laid out to ensure the safety of the worshippers.

Other improvements resulting from King Fahd's initiative have included a newly laid drainage system. (Flooding and drainage problems had beset the Holy City of Makkah and its holy sites since the pre-Islamic period.)

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