PLACES ATTACHED TO MASJID AL-HARAAM
- Ka’bah (Baitullah): This is a somewhat cubic structure, which was built by Prophet Abrahim and Ismael by Divine Command. Since then it has become the source of peace and blessings and guidance for all mankind and the pilgrims circle around it with utmost enthusiasm and devotion. The mosque in which Ka’bah is situated is called Masjid al-Haraam.
- Different corners of the Ka’bah:
Rukn Yamaani is the south west corner towards the direction of Yaman and is highly sacred. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) has said:
“The one who touches Rukn Yamaani and Hajar-e-Aswad, has his sins and errors removed.” (Al-Targhib)
Rukn Iraqi is the corner towards the direction of Iraq.
Rukn Shami is the corner towards the direction of Syria
- Hajar-e-Aswad: The sacred Black Stone fixed about breast high in the eastern corner of the Ka’bah was originally placed there by Prophet Abraham. Tawaf is started by kissing or touching or pointing towards the Black Stone and brought to completion at it, after seven circuits.
- Mataf: This is the wide, open pavement, oval in shape, around Ka’bah and Hatim, where pilgrims perform Tawaf with utmost devotion and enthusiasm day and night except prayer time.
- Multazam is the wall, five or six feet in length, between Hajar-e-Aswad and the door of the Ka’bah. This is a highly sacred place where prayers are accepted. The pilgrims cling to it pressing their chests and cheeks to it and pray humbly for the forgiveness of their sins and acceptance of their prayers.
- Hatim is a semi-circular half-built portion at north west which was part of the Ka’bah in the time of Prophet Abraham, but later could not be included in the main structure when Quresh rebuilt it after its destruction by fire. To offer prayer in Hatim is just like praying inside the Ka’bah. The Tawaf around the Ka’bah covers Hatim as well.
- Mizab-e-Rehmat: The spot under the drain of the Ka’bah’s roof is called Mizab-e-Rehmat and is a place for acceptance of prayers.
- Maqam Ibrahim (Station of Abraham): To the north-east of the Ka’bah, a little away from its door, stands a glass and metal structure which contains a sacred stone bearing the impressions of the foot-marks of Prophet Abraham who stood here during the construction of the Ka’bah.
This is one of the sacred places where prayers are accepted. After completing the Tawaf, the pilgrims offer two rak’ahs of prayers near it. If it is not possible to pray here, one can do so anywhere in Masjid al-Haram.
- Zamzam is the historical well located to the east of the Ka’bah, which was provided by Allah for the sustenance of Prophet Ishmael and his mother in the wilderness of Mecca. Zamzam water possesses great merits and benefits, and the pilgrims have been urged to drink Zamzam water to fill, because it is food for the hungry and cure for the sick.
- Safa and Marwah: Safa is a hill to the south of the Ka’bah, which has now been leveled down and remains only as a symbol. Opposite to it, to the north of the Ka’bah, there is the hill of Marwah. Performing Sa’ey between these two spots is an important Hajj and Umrah rite.
PLACES AWAY FROM MASJID AL-HARAAM
Besides Ka’bah (Baitullah), there are other places of Hajj near Mecca where hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims come every year and they are: Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah. These places have nothing to do with Umrah. If interested, Umrah performers may visit them, although spending time in Masjid al-Haraam is more rewarding.
- Mina: This is a plain within the bounds of the Haram of Mecca about five kilometers outside the city. The pilgrims pass the night between the 8th and 9th Zil-Hajj here and then proceed to Arafat after sunrise on the 9th of Zil-Hajj. They are back here on the 10th of Zil-Hajj for the three final days of Hajj. Animal sacrifice is offered here.
Jamrahs: The pilgrims throw pebbles on three Jamrahs (stone pillars) representing devils for three days. These pillars are known as Jamrah al-Ula (small devil), Jamrah al-Wusta (middle devil) and Jamrah al-Aqabah (big devil).
Khaif Mosque: It is situated in Mina where pilgrims offer their prayers during their stay here.
- Arafat: This is a vast plain about 15 kilometers to the east of Mecca, its bounds start from the place where the limits of Haram end. Arrival in the Plain of Arafat on the 9th of Zil-Hajj and Wuquf (halting) herein until sunset is the foremost Hajj rite without which Hajj cannot be valid. If halting in Arafat is not possible until sunset, then staying there for some time is sufficient to make the Hajj valid. At sunset the pilgrims leave for Muzdalifa without offering Maghrib prayers.
Namirah Mosque is situated right on the meeting place of the boundaries of Haram and Arafat. Here the Imam leads the Zuhar and Asr prayers combined and shortened at Zuhar time.
Jabal Rahmah is a sacred hill in the middle of the Plain of Arafat. Riding his she camel near it, the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) delivered his famous sermon on the occasion of the Farewell Hajj.
- Muzdalifah: This is a place midway on the route from Mina to Arafat. Pilgrims gather here on the night of the 9th Zil-Hajj on their return from Arafat. Here they offer Maghrib and Isha prayers combined. It is obligatory to halt here after Fajr prayer between the break of dawn and sunrise before proceeding to Mina.
Mash’ar al-Haram: This is an elevated place in the plain of Muzdalifah, which is enclosed by a boundary. At this place, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) had prayed to Allah. The Qur’an says:
“When you return from Arafat, stay at Mash’ar al-Haram and remember Allah; and remember Him just as He has enjoined you.” (Al-Baqrah : 198)
Muhassar: This is a valley between Muzdalifah and Mina, where Abraha and his troops along with the elephants, who came to destroy the Ka’bah, were themselves destroyed by the birds (swallows) which threw small pebbles at them from their beaks and claws. As mentioned earlier, this incident happened in 570 or 571 AD. The pilgrims pass this place quickly because Muhassar is a tormented area.
HISTORICAL PLACES OF MAKKAH
Given below are some important places in Makkah which, though not connected with Hajj or Umrah rites in any way, are worth visiting due to their significance in the early history of Islam. But your travel schedule should be such that you can offer all your prayers in Masjid al-Haaram with jam’at. To be present in the House of God is undoubtedly better than sightseeing.
- Birth Place of the Holy Prophet: The house where the Holy prophet was born is situated in Suq al-Lail Street. At this place, there exists a library and a school today. If you come out of Haram near Safa hill, this house is about two furlongs away on the right side.
- House of Hazrat Khudija al-Kubra: This house is situated in Fatima az-Zahra Street and is the birth place of all the children of the Holy prophet from Hazrat Khudija. After his marriage, he stayed here until his migration to Madinah.
- Jannat al-Mu’alla: This is a famous graveyard of Mecca where the Holy Prophet’s mother, Hazrat Khadija, his wife and many other companions were buried. This graveyard is on Ghaza Street near Masjid Jinn.
- Masjid Jinn: This mosque is near the graveyard of Jannat al-Mu’alla. This is also known as Masjid Bai’et. Here the Holy Prophet recited the Qur’an to the Jinns and took bai’et (oath of allegiance) from them.
- Masjid al-Ra’et: This mosque is near Masjid Jinn on the right side. In Arabic ra’et means flag. This is the place where the Holy Prophet installed his flag at the time of the Conquest of Mecca.
- Cave Hira: Cave Hira is situated on Jabl Noor about three miles from Mecca. The Holy Prophet used to retire here in solitude and spend long hours in reflection and meditation. Here he received his first Divine Revelation:
“Read in the name of your Lord who created, Who created man out of a clot of congealed blood. Read, and your Lord is most Bountiful, Who taught (man) the use of pen, Taught man what he knew not.” (Surah al-Alaq 46 : 1-5)
- Cave Thaur: This is a cave in Jabl Thaur about eight kilometers to the south of Mecca, in which the Holy Prophet and Hazrat Abu Bakr lay hidden for three days at the time of their migration to Madinah.
- Jabl Abu Qubais: This is a hill near Safa , right in front of Baitullah. This hill is said to be associated with the Holy Prophet’s miracle of splitting the moon asunder. Bilal mosque is situated atop this hill.
- Masjid Aai’sha: This mosque is outside the bounds of Haram in Tan’eem, situated on Madinah Road. People enter into Ihram here for Umrah, that is why it is also known as Masjid Umrah. To go there, buses are always available in front of Bab Abdul Aziz of al-Haram. If you intend to perform Umrah, get a ride to this mosque, enter into Ihram and come back to Mecca to perform Umrah.
…and Allah the Most High Knows Best