The City of Mecca

Mecca Haram Sharief: The History Of Mecca

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City of Mecca or Makkah Haram Sharief

Mecca, or Makkah which is it's Arabic form, this city is a bless city and also a beloved city in the eyes of Allah, is one of the most renowned towns in the world, both in ancient and modern times. It stands forty-five miles from the coast of the Red Sea, and is nearly half-way between Syria in the North and the Yemen in the South.

The Prophet (saw) once remarked: “There is no city in which the Dajjal will not be able to enter, except for Mecca and Medina. On every street, angels will be lined up in rows to protect them. ” [Bukhari]

Allah declares in Surah Aal-E-Imran that:

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِلْعَالَمِينَ

“Verily, the first House (of worship), appointed for humanity, was that in Bakka (Mecca), full of blessing, and a guide for Al-Alamin (humanity and jinn).” [Quran 3:96]

Brief History Of City of Mecca or Makkah Haram Sharief

The origin of Mecca, in the views of some authorities, appears to be obscure. However, Islamic tradition ascribes its foundation to the great Prophet, Abraham, and his son Ishmael, or Ibrahim and Isma'il as they are pronounced in Arabic. The tradition goes that Abraham placed his baby son, Ishmael together with his mother Hajar, in the valley where Mecca now lies. It was then an isolated place. He left with them some dates and some water, and prayed to God that He might give them company and provide for them in that barren land. Abraham's intention in placing Ishmael and Hajar so far away, it is believed, was to avoid the rise of domestic troubles.

His wife, Sarah, began to show symptoms of jealousy after the birth of Ishmael by Abraham's slave girl, Hajar. Until then, Sarah had not begotten any children, but subsequently, she gave birth to Abraham's second son, Isaac or Ishaq as he is called in Arabic.

 

The City of Mecca And Kaaba
The City of Mecca And Kaaba

Hajar and Ismael lived on the dates and water left by Abraham for some days, but, when the water was finished, Hajar began to search for water in the surrounding area, climbing up and down the hills of Safa and Marwah until the famous well of Zamzam was discovered.

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Soon a group of a southern tribe, called Jurhum, who were on their way to Syria, discovered the couple and the water and decided to stay with them, as the tradition goes. This is held to be a fulfilment of Abraham's prayers.

Then Ishmael grew up among the people of Jurhum and learned their Arabic tongue and their pursuits, and married within the tribe. Therefore, Ishmeal and the tribes which descended from him are known as the Arabianized Arabs, in contradistinction from the original or pure Arabs of the south.

Abraham was glad that his son was settled down happily in Mecca. Occasionally he travelled and visited him. During one of these visits he informed Ismael that God had commanded him to build a shrine in Mecca where his followers would offer their devotion to God. Ishmael helped his father build the rectangular house, henceforth known as the Ka'bah. When the building was completed Abraham proclaimed the obligation of pilgrimage to this place, where worshippers ever ever since have come annually to worship God.

The City of Mecca And Kaaba
The City of Mecca And Kaaba

The religion of Abraham and Ishmeal, peace be upon them, prevailed in Mecca and elsewhere at the time. Those who followed this religion worshipped Allah alone and did not ascribe any partner to Him. But with the passage of time and through external influences the principles of the religion of Abraham became gradually mixed up, the idolatry and pagan practices permeated it, until at the time of the birth of Muhammad (SAW) every tribe and every clan had its own idols carved of wood, stone and similar materials.

Allah as the supreme God remained as a vague idea. The practice of pilgrimage continued, through in a corrupted form, probably because of its economic advantages. The Ka'bah became the centre of idol worship, and was surrounded by gods which were widely recognized throughout Arabia To the superior gods round the Ka'bah, Arabians came annually from all corners to worship and to offer sacrifices.

Map of Mecca with the location of major landmarks in Mecca

Map of Mecca with the location of major landmarks in Mecca
Map of Mecca with the location of major landmarks in Mecca (City of Mecca or Makkah Haram Sharief)

From this account it is clear how important Mecca was in the pre-Islamic era in the field of religion. Besides this religious significance, Mecca had another important advantage. It lay on the cross-roads of the caravan routes. When they came to perform their annual pilgrimage, the Arabs availed themselves of the opportunity and held their largest markets and fairs in the surroundings. These markets and fairs were held for quite long periods during which both worshippers and traders bought and sold their goods and products.

All these aspects helped Mecca to grow as the most important commercial town in Central Arabia.

Mecca Location In Map:


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