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History of Mecca ••• Part 1 of 5
About 4,000 years ago, Allah commanded Prophet Abraham (pbuh) to leave Palestine to a barren, uninhabited land later to be known as Mecca. He (pbuh) brought wife Hajar and baby son Prophet Ishmael (pbuh) on this journey. Allah (the Gloried and Exalted) commanded Prophet Abraham (pbuh) to return to Palestine alone. Hajar ran seven times back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah in desperate search for water for her baby (pbuh) dying of thirst when miraculously the spring of ZamZam slowly appeared at her baby’s feet. Allah (the Glorified and Exalted) commanded Prophet Abraham (pbuh) and Prophet Ishmael (pbuh) years later to build a house of worship now known as the Kaaba. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) established Mecca as one of the two holiest cities in Islam. Masjid Al-Haram has been expanded numerous times from 10,270 square meters under the Umayyad Dynasty to 160,000 square meters in the 1960’s. The number of people performing Hajj increased dramatically from 100,000 in the 1920’s to 200,000 in the 1950’s. Masjid Al-Haram could accompany more than 400,000 people performing Hajj at the same time in the 1960’s. The Kaaba was only covered with a black cloth known as the Kiswa prior to the Umayyad Dynasty. The current practice of using a Kiswa covered with verses of the Quran to cover the Kaaba began in the Umayyad Dynasty.
History of Mecca ••• Part 2 of 5
The appearance of the Kaaba has been changed multiple times throughout history. The material and style of both the keys and doors of the Kaaba has been changed multiple times throughout history. The way Hajj is performed has never changed though out history. The keys to the Kaaba hold special meaning to Muslims. It is the holders of these keys that have the final say in the affairs of Mecca and Medina. The glass casing housing Markham Abraham has been changed multiple times throughout history. The building that housed the Zamzam well that had been located right in front of the Kaaba was demolished in 1955 and replaced with an underground complex during the first phase of the renovations works to the water distribution system.
History of Mecca ••• Part 3 of 5
The second phase of the renovation works of the water distribution system was completed in 1976 allowed for the unlimited supply of Zamzam water to all pilgrims. The installation of a powerful water pump system was completed in 1980 as part of the third phase of the renovation works of the water distribution system. A scientific study found that Zamzam water had more calcium and magnesium than regular water. The taste of Zamzam water has never changed since its origin. Jeddah has become the main entry point to Mecca and Medina for pilgrims. Modern infrastructure has made the trip to Mecca much faster and easier for pilgrims. An arch-like building with the Holy Quran made of stone was constructed over a highway in 1986 to mark one of the entrances to Mecca. Mecca is 360 meters above sea level surrounded by hills and mountains. The Kaaba is located in the center of Mecca.
History of Mecca ••• Part 4 of 5
How Hajj is performed has never changed throughout history. The physical appearance of Masjid Al-Haram (Grand Mosque) has changed many times throughout history. Masjid Al-Haram (Grand Mosque) can accommodate more than 2 million people during hajj. The cube-shaped structure in the center of the Masjid Al-Haram (Grand Mosque) is the Kaaba. The Kaaba was covered by a plain black cloth made of silk during the early years of Islam. The Umayyad Dynasty introduced a new practice of putting verses of the Holy Quran on the Kiswah and using two of them each year. The Abbasid Dynasty introduced the practice of changing the Kiswah rather than just putting a new Kiswah over the old one. The Fattamid Dynasty introduced the practice of building a special Kiswah factory to create superior Kiswahs ordained with verses of the Holy Quran and is a practice that continues to the present. It takes fifty skilled workers nearly eight months to produce a Kiswah. The cost of producing a Kiswah is more than 4.5 million dollars.
History of Mecca ••• Part 5 of 5
The number of pilgrims performing Hajj has dramatically increased within the last century. The Saudi government has successfully executed their responsibility to renovate and expand facilities to promote the comfort and safety of the pilgrims performing Hajj. The Kaaba has been rebuilt several times. The original structure of the Kaaba was made of wood. The original structure of the Kaaba was replaced with four stone walls and a marble roof during the Ottoman rule over Mecca. The Hajar Al-Aswad (Black Stone) is the only part of the Kaaba that has remained in its original form embedded at one of the corners of the Kaaba. The Hajar Al-Aswad (Black Stone) was the same stone selected by Prophet Abraham (peace and blessings be upon him) to build the Kaaba. Mecca receives the largest number of pilgrims in the entire world due to Hajj. The Kaaba is the symbol of unity to the nearly 1.2 billion Muslims around the world not only because of Hajj but because it is also the direction to prayer.