At this time of the Hijri year Mecca teems with nearly three million pilgrims who converge on Islam’s holiest sanctuary for Hajj
In the Holy Quran, chapter No. 3, verse 96, Allah says: “The first House of worship appointed for men was that at Bakka: full of blessings and guidance for the worlds.” This mention from the holy text is of Mecca, where the holy Haram Mosque is located. Mecca is a well-planned city with pilgrims passing through all year round.
The graceful Haram Mosque with the Kaaba is what identifies Mecca. Allah says in the Holy Quran in Surat Al Haj, verse 26: “Behold! We gave site to Ibrahim, of the sacred House, (saying), associate not anything (in worship) with me; And Sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or shall stand upon or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer).”
The architecture of the Haram Mosque reflects a classical, neo-Ottoman style developed in Egypt over the last century epitomised by the towering octagonal towers. There is a point in the circumambulation area called ‘The Station of Ibrahim’. It is a limestone, encased in a see-through tetragonal pyramid enclosure and embraces an area of 50×50 cm. At the middle of the stone, are the footprints of Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh), preserved as one of Allah’s permanent divine miracles.
The mosque includes sites such as the Kaaba, the Zamzam Well, Maqam Ibrahim and the hills Safa and Marwa. The Al Zahar Palace Museum on Madina Munawarra Road was built in 1944 following King Abdul Aziz’s return from his visit to Egypt and became one of the official palaces of the state. The Al-Zaher Palace, consisting of a basement and two floors, is one of the important museums that talk about the history of Mecca. King Faisal’s Palace and Al-Saqqaf Palace are being developed as heritage places.
Tribute to Haram Mosques
Situated on Umm Joud in Mecca, adjacent to the Kiswah Factory and 200 metres away from the Muslim World League headquarter, a museum called, “Exhibition of the Two Holy Mosques Architecture” is a fitting tribute to Haram Mosques in Mecca and Prophet’s Mosque in Medina. The museum encourages visitors to explore the important chronological developments in the history of the Two Holy Mosques, their stories and their wonderful traditions.
The Factory of Kaaba Kiswa Manufacturing is next to the museum. The Kiswa, the black and silk cloth with gold letterings that is wrapped around the Kaaba, is created here. Every year, Kiswa is removed and a new one is draped on the 9th day of the Islamic month of Dhu Al-Hajjah.