- The holy place for all the muslims all over the world.The place from where all muslims seek spiritual guidance.The place from where the light of Almighty spreads to all the places.
- It comes in books that all the earth was made up of water alone and there was no soil.Then Allah ordered a bubble to come out at the place where Holy Ka’ba exists in Makkah and whole the soil of earth started from that bubble and spread.
- Muslims from all over the world pray five times daily with their faces towards this Holy place.Wherever they are;in a desert or a jungle;in their home or office;in an aeroplane or a ship,they have one place to face to bow before Allah;Holy Ka’ba (Makkah).
- All the prophets from Adam till Muhammad(peace be upon him)had the special spiritual attachment with this place.This was the meeting place of Adam and Eve after their exit from Heavens.At this place their sin of eating wheat grain was forgiven and their “toba” accepted.
- This is the place where muslims gather from all cver the world for annual pilgrimage.They come here to have their sins forgiven and perform differnt rituals related to Prophte Ibrahim,his son Prophet Ismail and his wife Hajra.The field of “Arafat” is here where all the pilgrims have their sins of lifetime forgiven.
- This is the birth place of the last Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him)He spent most of the lifetime here.From here he started preaching Islam and spreading the divine message to the humanity.
- Makkah:The place all muslims love from the depth of their hearts.
- The Ka’ba (Arabic ??????; also spelled al-Ka‘bah or Kaaba) is a small building located within the courtyard of al-Haram Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
- The Ka’ba is the holiest site in Islam; the Holy Mosque was built around it and because of it. The qibla, the direction Muslims face during prayer, is the direction from any point to the Ka’ba.
- The Ka’ba houses the mysterious Black Stone, which was revered in Mecca in pre-Islamic times as well. It became a Muslim relic in the time of the Prophet Muhammad and pilgrims to Mecca try to stop and kiss it while circumambulating the Ka’ba during the hajj.
- According to Islamic belief, God ordained a place of worship on Earth to reflect a house in heaven. Muslims believe that Adam, the first man, was the first to build such a place of worship. According to the Qur’an, the Ka’ba that stands today was built by the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Ismail (Ishmael).
- According to archaeologists, the Ka’ba certainly predates Islam. It was rebuilt several times by the tribes ruling Mecca, who used it to house sacred objects, including the Black Stone, and as a shrine to Arabian tribal gods.
- At the time of Muhammad, his tribe, the Quraysh, was in charge of the Ka’ba. Desert tribesmen, the Bedouin, and inhabitants of other cities would join the annual pilgrimage to the Ka’ba to worship and to trade. Caravan-raiding, common during the rest of the year, was suspended during the pilgrimage, making it a good time for travel and trade.
- The prophet Muhammad, preaching monotheism and the Day of Judgment, faced mounting opposition in Mecca. The Quraysh persecuted and harassed him and he and his followers eventually migrated to Medina in 622 CE. In 630 CE, Muhammad and his followers returned to Mecca as conquerors and rededicated the Ka’ba as an Islamic house of worship. Henceforth, the traditional annual pilgrimage was to be a Muslim rite, the Hajj.
- After Muhammad’s victory, the Quraysh tribe rebuilt the Ka’ba with alternating courses of stone and wood. The inner space was divided into two rooms, one of which housed the Black Stone. The exterior was covered with the habrat cloth from Yemen.
- Early Islamic chroniclers say that the Ka’ba was rebuilt during Muhammad’s youth, and that there was some contention among the Quraysh, Mecca’s ruling clan, as to who should have the honor of raising the Black Stone to its place in the new structure. Muhammad is said to have suggested that the Stone be placed on a cloak and that the various clan heads jointly lift the cloak and put the Stone into place.
- During the conflict between Ibn Zubayr of Mecca and the Umayyad Caliph Mu’awiyah, the Ka’ba was set on fire and the Black Stone broke into three pieces. Its parts were reassembled with silver by Ibn Zubayr, who also ordered the rebuilding of the Ka’ba in stone and in accordance with the original dimensions believed to be set by Abraham, and paved the open space around it. The shrine at this time had two doors and a wooden staircase for roof access.
- In 692, after taking over Mecca, Umayyad Caliph Abdul Malik bin demolished the Ka’ba and rebuilt it based on the Qurayshi version. The Abbasid Caliphs contributed the kiswa cover, a black cloth brought from Tanis in Egypt.
Ka’ba and Black Stone, Mecca
- Al-Masjid al-Haram (also known as al-Haram Mosque, Masjid al-Haram, Haram al-Sharif, Masjid al-Sharif and the Haram) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is the holiest mosque in the world and the main destination of the Hajj pilgrimage.
- The mosque complex covers an area of 356,800 square meters and can accommodate up to 820,000 worshippers during the Hajj. The Masjid al-Haram (“Holy Mosque”) is the only mosque that has no qibla direction, since Muslims pray facing the Ka’ba in the central courtyard. (See The Ka’ba and Black Stone for details on the Ka’ba.)
The Haram was first built in the 7th century under Caliph Omar Ibn al-Khattab (634-644) and has been modified, demolished, rebuilt, and expanded on a regular basis ever since. The most recent work on the Holy Mosque was sponsored by King Fahd (1982-present) of Saudi Arabia and included the addition a new wing and the installation of air conditioning.
View of the Haram Mosque, Mecca
Caliph Omar began by ordering the demolition of some houses surrounding the Ka’ba in order to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims and built a 1.5 meter high wall to delineate a large prayer area. During the reign of his successor Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan (644-656), the prayer space was enlarged and covered with a roof carried on wooden columns and arches.
In 692, after Caliph Abdul Malik bin Marwan conquered Mecca from Ibn Zubayr, the guardian of the holy site, the outer walls of the mosque were raised, the ceiling was covered with teak and the column capitals were painted in gold. His son, al-Walid (705-715), replaced the wooden columns with marble ones and decorated its arches with mosaics. Abbasid Caliph Abu Ja’far al-Mansur (754-775) added mosaics to the columns, doubled the size of the northern and western wings of the prayer hall and erected the minaret of Bab al-Umra on the northwest corner.
- In 1571, the Ottoman Sultan Selim II (1566-1574) commissioned court architect Sinan to renovate the mosque. Sinan replaced the flat roof of the prayer hall with domes decorated with gilded calligraphy. New columns brought from the nearby Shams Mountains were placed among the old columns to support the new roof.
- Due to the damaging rains of 1611, Sultan Murad IV (1623-1640) ordered the restoration of the mosque and the rebuilding of the Ka’ba in 1629. The mosque was composed of a new stone arcade supported on thin columns, with inscriptive medallions between the arches. The floor tiles around the Ka’ba were replaced with new colored marble tiles and the mosque was equipped with seven minarets. By the end of the Ottoman rule in Hijaz during World War I, the external enclosure of the mosque measured 192 by 132 meters.
- Between 1955 and 1973, the first extension under the Saudi kings was sponsored by King Abdul Aziz (1932-1953). The new structure required extensive demolitions around the Ottoman mosque to a two-storey arcade made of artificial stone columns and covered with carved marble panels from Wadi Fatimah. The ceiling of these arcades was coffered and decorated with molded plaster and the floor was tiled with stone and marble.
The second extension sponsored by King Fahd (1982-present), consisted of a new wing and an outdoor prayer area, both situated to the southeast of the existing mosque. The new prayer hall is accessed through the monumental Fahd Gate at the southeast that leads to the Ka’ba. It is composed of two floors separated in some sections by a mezzanine that houses mechanical services; air conditioning circulates below the tiled floors and is supplied through ventilation grids located at the base of each column.
Panorama view of the Haram mosque, Mecca
Panoramic view of the Haram Mosque and the Ka’ba, Mecca. Photo by melda.
What to See
The prayer space is built on a five-meter grid. Its arcade is roofed with square coffers decorated with plaster molding. The columns are clad with marble panels, whereas the arches are covered with artificial stone and plaster moldings. Along the axis linking the Fahd Gate to the Ka’ba, three grid modules are covered with domes decorated with muqarnas squinches molded with plaster, that carry drums perforated by thirty-two arched windows. The dome space is illuminated with colored glass chandeliers and a backlit stained glass panel at the apex. The interior walls of the prayer hall are clad with a marble dado of 2.5 meters high. This decorative element was used to conceal loud speakers and electrical wiring.
Haram Mosque, Mecca
Also during this first Saudi extension, the Mas’a gallery (connecting the Rock of al-Safa’ with al-Marwah) was extended to reach the mosque. The extension was built on two floors, with a structure of reinforced concrete arches clad in carved marble and artificial stone. This gallery communicates with the street and the mosque through eleven doors.
Bab al-Salam and Bab al-Umra were also renovated at this time to match the style of the newly built Bab King Abdul Aziz on the southern façade. Four minarets were erected near Bab al-Umra and Bab al-Salam and the three older ones were refashioned. As such, they stood eighty-nine meters tall on square bases. Each had two octagonal balconies decorated with colonettes.