Kashif Hafeez Siddiqui

THE GLORY – THAT IS MAKKAH

In Islam - A Study on November 10, 2010 at 7:20 am

By Riaz Ahmed Siddiqui

It is a well understood phenomenon that a river can maintain its flow only when it has a source to feed its stream.  Or in the solar system the sun is primal source for heat and light which are derived from numerous stars that float about in the open skies.

Makka’s position is the same with regard to flourishing of ISLAM on that of the sun or the source of river.

UNIVERSALITY OF ISLAM: –  Before the advent of Islam, the revealed religions spread in the different times and in territories and among specific peoples through the apostles whom God appointed. To preach those faiths.  Whereas the divine purpose in respect of Islam was to perfect the faith for the mankind for all time to come under the final apostolate of Prophet Muhammad.

Islam is meant to annihilate the physical distances and colour, discriminations of all sorts.  Since the call of Islam was/is worldwide, it needed a strong geographical BASE as its launch pad.

The city of Makkah being the birthplace of the holy prophet was considered the most appropriate and natural source to shed the light of Islam.  Makkah is, so to speak, to be the LIGHTHOUSE OF ISLAM to guide the erring people to save themselves from the tricky rocks of infidelity and paganism.

MEETING PLACE: Trade caravans, in the bygone days, a long time before Islam used to coverage in Makkah from the point of view of its positioning in the MIDDLE of the Western part of Arabian Peninsula.  Trade caravans of the Quraish going on their winter turns to Yemen, which has a warm climate and for their summer tours to Syria, which is a cold ad fertile land.

The Holy Quran makes a reference to these commercial excursions in the following words:

“For the covenants of security by the Quraish, their convenants journeys by winter and summer.  Let them adore the Lord of this house Who provides them with food against hunger and with security against fear of danger (106:1 to 04)

GEOGRAPHY: Makkah is the capital of Hijaz some 73 km from port city of Jeddah.  It is surrounded by the Valley of Abraham which is bounded by two series of mountains converging gradually from the east.

Makkah, besides being the birth place of the Holy prophet, it contains holy Kaa’ba encompassed by the holy Mosque-Haram Sharif.

KAAB’BA: – dam, after his exit from the paradise come to Makkah, Gabriel flapped his wings to uncover there a structure laid in the 7th fold of the earth.  Angels paved this foundation with stones and Adam went round this structure following the example of the angels (The legend described in AL-Tabari).

God known better, but it appeals to reason that Allah contemplated and designed Ka’aba before the creation of the earth.  It is believed that Kaa’ba in Makkah is a prototype of Bait-el-Mamoor, a house in the 7th heaven, SITUATED EXACTLY OVER THE Ka’aba, which had therefore to be the first HOUSE OF WORKSHOP on the earth.  The related Quranic verse reads:-

“The first House (of worship) appointed was that of BAKKA (MAKKAH: full of blessings and guidance for all kinds of beings (3:96)

Present day science maintains that the formation of universe earth had been a process of condensation, cooling and consolidation of the materials constituting it.  It has been estimated that the oldest rocks on earth are atleast 1270 million years old and that approximately 2000 millions years have elapsed since the earth come into existence.

The above may not be the last word.  It is however agreed that before the building of the walls on the present site of Ka’aba by ABRAHAM, some sort of structure did exist.

It had fallen into ruins and only a mound remained to point to the original base.  (This is perhaps demotated even now as the station of Arabian).

REBUILDING OF KA’AABA:- Araham was ordered by God to rebuild Kaa’ba in Makkah on its existing foundation.  In this task he was assisted by his son Ismail and his wife Hagara, who was already a resident of Makkah Abraham journeyed all the way from Syria to carry on God’s command.  Father and son, Ismail, dug deeper and deeper to find the original premises of the First House of Worship.  Quran says “And remember that Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commandments which he readily fulfilled” (227)

The raised the foundation of the House (Ka’aba) with prayers “O God!  Accept this (service) from us”

Thus the House of peace and security for mankind was restored by the command of God by Abraham.

PILGRIMAGE: This was followed by God’s command for pilgrimage to the Holy Ka’aba.

“And proclaim pilgrimage among people.   They will come to you (Ka’aba) on foot and mounted on every kind of camel (means available, through deep and distant mountain highways (22:27)

PEOPLE OF ELEPHANTS: –  Quran narrates in its chapter 105, another event about Ka’aba which occurred in 570 A.D, the year of Prophet Muhammad’s birth.

Yemen was ruled at that time by Abyssihan (Christians) who had ousted the Jewish rulers.  Abraha was the Abyssinian Governor of Yemen.  Drunk with power he attacked Makkah.  His aim was to launch an attack on Ka’aba to raga it completely.

Abraha’s forces included elephants and the custodians of Ka’aba were reluctant to offer resistance to Abraha, whom they took it for granted as invincible.

A divine miracle took place.  It so happened that flying drones of birds ( ابابیل) shot valleys of pebbles over the army of infidels and crushing the invaders and reducing them to mere straw.  The scheme of Christians to destroy Ka’aba was thus defeated.  The scheme of Abraha to attract pilgrims to their CHURCH instead of Ka’aba was thus foiled by the Might of Allah.

(Friends! Even today a similar situation is emerging with regard to Aqsa Mosque in Palestine.  An inside corridor has been readied by Israel is and the foundation of Aqsa Mosque have been weakened and it may come down like the proverbial “house of cards”.  Apparently Israels are invincible.  How will God protect the third sacred and important monument of Muslims is a matter of grave concern for us, the Muslims living in 21st century.)

DIVINE PURPOSE: The inference drawn from the event of birds’ (Ababeel) counter attack is God Himself is the Protector of Ka’aba.  It also heralded confidence and strength to Prophet Mohammad and his mission, who was to be sent onto this earth in the same year, 570 AD.  That was the part of the DIVINE PLAN.

RECONSTRUCTION OF KA’ABA BY QURAISH

In the meantime, Ka’aba was destroyed by the accidental fire.  After 35 years of prophet’s birth Quraish made up their mind to re-build Ka’aba.

The sanctity and importance of this pious House gave rise to some mutual jealousies.  When the stone laying reached the desired height for the fixing of the famous BLACK STONE (Hajara-e-Aswad), the commotion among tribal chiefs started.  The men of the two branches of the tribe stuck to their guns, ready to “do or die”.

The work was suspended and a grand assembly was convened within the four walls of Ka’aba to avert the clash between tribes.

Suddenly an elder Quraish suggested that the first person who might enter the enclosure where that grand assembly was in session should be the final arbitrator.  This was agreed upon and all eyes were fixed at the entrance.  And hold the breath!  MOHAMMAD (PbUh) was the First to enter, whose respectability and flawless conduct earned for him acceptance as the MOST TRUSTWORTHY.

He laid down a mantel on the ground, chose four V.I.Ps among the four contending branches of the tribes and EACH ONE HELD ONE CORNER of the mantle on which he put the “Black stone”.

When the mantle was raised by the four people upto the desired level, Mohammad himself with his own hands fixed the Black Stone into the socket that was made for it in the wall of HOLY Ka’aba That’s it.

THE BACKGROUND OF HAJAR AL-ASWAD

The legend relates that when Abraham wanted a piece of stone of MARK THE CORNER OF KA’A’BA, during the process of construction of him, he sent his son (Ismail) to look for one suitable for the purpose.

Ismail marched towards the mountain of Qaban when angel Gabriel found one from the rubble and gave him (Ismail) that BLACK STONE (Hajval Aswad).

Still the origin of Black Stone and its common properties are shrouded in mystery.  Two theories are generally associated with the Hajar (BLACK STONE).

A.      It is as ancient as the creation of universe itself.

B.      It was sent down to earth with Adam to be used in Ka’aba.

Famous geologist Bunkhardt says “It is very difficult to determine accurately the quality or origin of the “stone”, which has been worn to its present surface to the millions of touches it had received.  It appeared to me (Bunkhardt) like a LAVA, containing small extraneous particles of a WHITISH AND OF YELLOW substance.  Its colour now is a deep reddish boan approaching black”  (This research is dated 1986).

Our prophet Mohammad’s interpretation was that the Black Stone, when it came down from paradise was “WHITER THAN MILK” but that it has become LACK, with the passage of time, due to absorbing the sins of those who touched it (Source:  Mishkaat).

Currently it is reported to have been sealed or covered to prevent it from further decay by human touches.

It is important for us because it denotes the corner of Ka’aba and is the starting point for the seven prescribed Tawaaf (Circuits) of the holy Bait ul Atiq – The house of God – Baitullah.

STATION OF ABRAHM:- the place or station of Abraham.

(Muqam-e-Ibrahim) is mentioned twice in the Quran Chapter 2:125) “Take you to the Station of Abraham as a place of prayers.  And in 3:97, In it (The First House of The Lord) are signs manifest (pointing towards) the Station of Abraham.

The Station of Abraham is a Stone within the precincts of the sacred Mosque of Makkah, upon which Abraham SOOD to raise the walls of Ka’aaba.  Under the God’s command and wish, he tried his level best to achieve as best the height as possible.  Abraham’s only consideration was that the Benign House be high or prominent enough.

It is the symbol of Abraham’s love and devotion towards his Creator and a token of human effort.  In return Almighty Allah, designated Muqame-Ibrahim Station of Abraham as a SACRED SIGN.

The Quran reminds us thus “And remember Abraham and his son Ismail raised the foundation of Ka’aba with this prayer:  Oh God, accept this service from us.  You are the all hearing, the knowing (2:127)

THE HARAM:  In pursuance to maintain its sanctuary, it was de declared the House of Immunity, where blood MUST NOT be shed.

It so happened that in 8 A.H, the Haram got stained with blood in the course of the Battle of Makkah.  This sacrilege was the result of a holy war.  It was feared that the sanctity of the Holy Ka’aba might be lost forever.  But the Holy prophet lost no time in dispelling this possibility once and for all.  He spoke to his.

Followers as follows:

“The day God created the earth and the heavens, He made Makkah inviolate and since it is the decree of Allah, it will remain inviolate till the Day of Judgment.  Neither for anyone before me was its sacrilege made forgivable, nor shall it be venial to anyone after me, and for me too, the liberty was allowed for a number of hours only.  No prey (shooting) within its bound is to be started.  No torn or blade of grass on its soil is to be cut.”

AL-MUTAF: –  This is the space where “Twaaf” )going in rounds) takes place.  It was quite a narrow strip, particularly at Muqame-Ibrahim to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims.  Thanks to the Saudi Govt’s vision that they had made a sloping tunnel, expanded Al-Mutaf area which takes them to the head of zamzam under the courtyard of the sacred Mosque.  In the wake of expansion of Tawaaf area, the pulfit was raised and shifted to the east.  The cover of station of Abraham has been was replaced by another one mode of crystal covered with a golden grill, so that pilgrims can see the stone, Abraham set his foot on it while rebuilding Ka’aba.

They however left a narrow space to facilitate circumambulation (Tawaaf) which was a practice even in the pre-Islamic days.  Under Islam the whole adjoining area became a part of “Masjidul Haram” sacred Mosque.  God has ordained Masjid-al Haram and Holy Ka’aba to be a sanctuary.  The quran says “whoever enters at attain security (3:97).

In 17th A.H.  Caliph Umar expanded the Mosque and made arrangements for its illumination at light.  He also had the walls and doors constructed and built a barrier to protect it from the inflow of flood waters.  (This is a proof of the sense of architecture among the early Muslims) Caliph Umar added to the Mosque a roofed hall. Improvement in expansion through construction in an on-going process and is continued till today.

The statics available as at the end of 20th century is that about 153,000 sq metres have been added in two floors which can accommodate 500,000 pilgrims at a time.  King Fahad who declared himself Servant of the Holy Shrines, instead of “King” has changed the whole edifice and surroundings of Ka’aba and the Masjid al Harm to accommodate over a million pilgrims, with hassle free passages and 64 entrances, tree of them are main gates, Each of the main door has two minarets, 92 meter high with gilded crest on the top of each.  The 7th door by the side of As-Safa is very prominent which is 35 metres in dia metre with Quranic Verses inscribed on its ceiling.

ZAM ZAM: The history of this wall is very well known and dates back to Abraham who had left his wife Hajra and new born son Ismail and Makkah, both were in acute wilderness and Hajar was running between the hillocks (small mountains) of Safa and Marwa desperately in search of water.  She ultimately found a stream of water gushing out at the feet of Ismail.  She cried zam zam meaning STAY! STAY.

The source of Zam Zam is again a mystery.  It is a miracle indeed that the water which spontaneously sprang for Hajar and Ismail to quench their thirst is still flowing in INEXHAUSTIBLE ABUNDANCE.

While a pilgrim or anyone outside drinks Zam Zam recites “O! God, I beg of you, gainful knowledge, abundant provision and protection and cure from any ailment.  Zam zam has a unique significance.  Abraham left Hajra and new born Ismail at Makah between the space of hillocks SAFA & MARWA, he recited is invocation to God as testified in the Quran.

“O, Our Lord!  I have made some of my people to dwell in a barren valley near your sacred house so that they may establish your prayer.  So fill the hearts of some among them with love towards each other and feed them with fruits, so they me offer you their gratitude (14: 35-41)  He left Hajra and their baby in the custody of God.

Then she started running between Safa and Marwa for water.  In her last turn on top of Marwa she heard the sound of oozing water and it soon turned into a gushing stream.  This was the origin of zam zam.

At the same point of time Gibrail appeared on the spot counseled Hajra not to be afraid and also gave her the tidings that the place was the House of God, whose foundations would one day be laid by his baby (Ismail) and her husband (Abraham).

Thus Safa & Marwa have forever acquired a sacred and blessed position.  The Quran has reiterated “Behold Safa & Marwa are among “The SYMBOLS of God” so if those who visit the House in the season (of Haj) or otherwise should compass them round.  It is no sin in them (2:158).

ARAFAT: It is situated 25 KM, east of Makkah, in the valley named as “VALLEY OF MERCY” (JABAL-E-REHMAT).  Its significance is because of acceptance of Adam’s repentance by God.

Secondly from the top of Jabel-e-Rehmat prophet Mohammad believed his famous LASAT SERMON or FAREWELL SERMON in the 10th A.H which was last pilgrimage and the whole atmosphere was charged with emotions.

Adjoining the Mount of peace is a vast open space, which falls outside the precincts of Haram Sharief.  The boundaries of this plain has been marked distinctively on all the four sides.

It is in this ground that Annual pilgrim’s most important ordained command of God is performed which is Farz.  All the pilgrims assemble and stay here on the 9th of Zil Hijjah.  It is the main ritual of the Haj in response to the Quran’s ordain.

“when you pass through the multitudes of Arafat, remember God (most attentively) by the sacred Mountain (2:198).  The Quran lays stress on the “harty walking” at Arafat “Then hasten onward from the place where the multitudes hasten onwards and ask for forgiveness of Allah (2:199).

At the climax of the pilgrimage i.e. Arafat people convergence is huge and their slow movement might result in blocking, trampling, panic and commotion etc hence the requisite discipline is provided DSIRECTLY BY God.

The legend goes that after wondering for many years Adam reached to the Mountain of peace where our common mother Eve was continually calling his name and their recognition.  Arafah of each other gave the place the name of Arafat.

MINA: Mina literally means “wish”.  It is a sacred valley associated with Haj because Adam wished for paradise in the valley.  The sacred mountain is half way between Arafat and Mina.

MUZDALFA: Literal meaning “to come together”.  In this dale Adam and Eve passed the night together.  It is an open ground where prophet Muhammad offered long prayers, therefore became sacred and associated with Haj rituals.  On return from Arafat Hajis pass here the night between the 9th and 10th Zil hijjah in prayers and solemn devotion.

VALLEY OF MUHASSAR: On their way from Muzdalfa to Mina, the pilgrims pass the Valley of Muhassar where God crushed and routed the Elephant people who came to destroy Ka’aaba.

SOME OTHER NOTABLE PLACES:-

THE CAVE OF HIRA:  Three miles to the north of Makkah is situated the cave called GHAR-E-HIRA, where prophet Muhammed before his apostleship used to spend time in mediation in seclusion and where he First received the Quranic Revelation.

THE CAVE SOUR: It was in this cave that Holy prophet and his companion Abu-Bakr Siddiq hid from their sworn enemies while migrating from Makkah to Madina.

The writer would like to conclude this informative article with certain pronouncement of the Holy Quran and prophet Muhammed about the glory and sanctity of Makkah.

SACRED SYMBOL: While referring to the creation of man, God mentions tour most sacred symbols of which Makkah is the one pertaining to Islam.

“By the fig and the olive and the Mount of Senai and the city of security.  We have indeed created man in the best of moulds (95:1-4)

PROPHET’S ASSOCIATION: The Quranic chapter titled “Balad” the city points to a mystic relationship of the Holy Prophet; with Makkah.  The Quran in Chapter 90:1 testifies “I do call to witness this city, and you are freed men/women of this city and the mystic ties of parents and child.

Makkah had forever been sacred being the very first seat of worship ordained by God.

“The First House for mankind for worshipping was at Bakka (Makkah):  full of blessings and of guidance for the whole world (3:96)

The raising of the foundation of holy Ka’aba in Makkah goes back to Abraham era.  Historical places – Arafat, Muzdalfa, Jabel-e-Rehmat, whose associations go as far back as Adam and Eve.

Most importantly Holy Prophet was born in Makkah and brought up here only.  Freedom of the city was bestowed on him by God Himself.  It was in this city that he was accorded the honour of apostleship of God, as is Last Messenger.  It is the privilege of Makkah that the revelation of the Quran started there and accordingly he (prophet) started his mission and proclaimed.

THE ONENESS OF GOD

“Again it was in Makkah that he received the last Quranic verse in the wake of his last pilgrimage.

“THE DAY HAVE I (GOD) PERFECTED THE RELIGION (DEEN) FOR YOU (5:4)

PROPHET’S ATTACHMENT WITH MAKKAH

He had intense love for the city because it houses the HOUSE OF GOD.  When in Madina he deeply longed to offer prayer in the direction of Makkah – towards the direction of Holy Ka’aba, whereas the direction during his stay in Madina was Jerusalem (Bait-ul-Maqdas), the city housing the AQSA Mosque.  Eventually God’s directive was revealed.

“We (God) see the turning of your face for guidance to the heavens:  Now shall turn you to QIBLA that you desired and which shall please you (prophet).  Turn then your head / face in the direction of Ka’aba wherever you are turn your faces in that direction (2:144)”

The prophet offering his thanks over the setting of the direction of Qibla said addressing Allah “How nice art thou (Makkah) among the cities and how dear art THOU to me.”  He went on “Had my people not driven me out of this city, I would not have resided elsewhere (Tirmizi).

On another occasion the prophet gleefully said

“By God thou (Makkah) is certainly the best of God’s land and the dearest land of God.  Had I not been driven out of the (from Makkah) I would not have gone out”  (Tirmizi)

CONCLUSION:-

The sanctity of Makkah has continued since time immemorial.  The Holy Quran has confirmed and reiterates its ancient GLORY and prominent status w3hen it said.  “For me, I (Prophet)have been commanded to serve the Lord of this city, Who has sanctified it and to Whom belongs all things (27:91)

And on the day of conquest of Makkah, the Holy prophet is reported to have said:

“AS FOR THIS CITY, GOD MADE IT SACRED, ON THE VERY DAY HE CRATED THE HEAVENS ____ THE EARTH.  IT IS, THEREFORE SACRED TILL THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT WHEN WE SHALL FACE THE GRACE AND THE WRATH OF GOD.”

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