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Top 10 Historical Landmarks to Visit in Mecca

02 February 2024

Makkah is best defined as the center of Islam. It has several magnificent and iconic sites that everybody, irrespective of religion, wishes to experience. Due to a large number of Muslim visitors and to preserve the sacredness of this Religious site, the government of Saudi Arabia has expressly forbidden non-Muslims from entering the Grand Mosque. However, they are permitted to enter all other mosques in the district. For Muslims, Makkah is the heart of their faith. Each year, thousands and millions of Muslims visit the city of Makkah with the intent of performing Hajj or Umrah. It is obligatory for Muslims to undertake Hajj once during their lifespan only if they are capable of affording it. While Umrah is not a mandated practice but still it holds great significance and Muslims perform it throughout the year with the exemption of Hajj days. Aside from being the best, the city of Makkah is breathtakingly stunning, with numerous cultural and Islamic sites to explore during your Umrah or Hajj pilgrimage. Follow the path of Allah's Messenger or visit places that will expand your knowledge of Islam. Try not to miss any place as you will get to know a lot about their historical relationship with Islam and the significance they hold. The following is a collection of the 10 most incredible locations in Makkah that should not be neglected on a jaunt to Mecca:

Ka’bah and Masjid Al Haram

Masjid Al Haram, the centerpiece for every Muslim and the largest mosque in the world, can accommodate a million pilgrims and occupies an area of 356,800 square meters. The Holy Kaaba, which is shrouded in black and gold material, is its focal point, and Muslims tend to circumambulate around it day and night, this ritual is also known as Tawaf. Only Muslims are allowed to visit this sacred place. The origins and significance of Kaaba are well known in the Islamic faith, and every true Muslim desires to see Kaaba in their lives when they get to embark on Hajj or Umrah. The Ka’bah was built by Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) and later on the mosque was built surrounding it by the second caliph, Omar Bin Al Khattab. Masjid Al Haram and Kaaba both are of extreme importance and also Ka’bah is considered to be House of Allah (SWT) that’s why it holds great prominence in Islam.

Jabal Al Noor

Jabal-al-Noor is also known as the “Mountain of Light” is a highly regarded tourist site nearby Makkah. It is pertinent in Islamic culture because it contains the prestigious Ghar-e-Hira (Hira Cave). As per Islamic belief, the archangel Gabriel provided the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W) his first revelation there. Jabal-al-Noor is a rugged peak that requires almost 2 hours of hiking to reach the Ghar e Hira. The cave itself is very narrow, facing the direction of Kaaba. Temperatures can exceed 45°C, so carry lots of water and food, and continue with strict precautions.

Mount Arafat

Mount Arafat is a small mountain in the east of Makkah. The peak is approximately 230 feet tall. This hill is religiously valuable because it is where the farewell sermon of the Last Hajj was given by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Annually, more than a million Hajj pilgrims stay at Mount Arafat as their Hajj ritual. They pray and make major supplications as a Sunnah. For Muslims Mount Arafat is an Islamic landmark that is a crucial part of their belief and the desire to visit it and spend time there by worshipping Allah Almighty during Hajj. But for conducting it one must be physically and financially able to do it and most important only the chosen one by Allah gets this outstanding opportunity.

Jannat-al-Mu’alla

Jannat-al-Mu’alla is among Islam's most prominent graveyards as well as one of the country's earliest cemeteries. Jannat-al-Mu’alla is situated near Jeddah, to the north of Masjid-al-Haram. Most of the Prophet's family and descendants are buried in Jannat-al-Mu’alla. Many notable personalities from the family of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) are buried in Jannat-al-Mu’alla including the beloved mother of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H), the Prophet's (S.A.W) first wife Hazrat Khadija (R.A), the Prophet's (S.A.W) grandfather Hazrat Abdul Muttalib, the Prophet's (S.A.W) uncle Hazrat Abu Talib, the Prophet's eldest son Al-Qasim and the second son Abdullah.

Masjid-e-Taneem

It is also famously known as Masjid-e-Aisha. After Masjid-al-Haram, it is the second-largest mosque in Makkah. This huge mosque is approximately 10 kilometers distant from Masjid-al-Haram. Hazrat Aisha was instructed by Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) to undertake Umrah here throughout the pilgrimage, this mosque has become known as Masjid Aisha. Traditionally, pilgrims deliver Nafl at this location before beginning their religious pilgrimage to Umrah. This majestic mosque is also one of Makkah's oldest, and it is quite pertinent during Hajj as it is where Hajj pilgrims put on their Ihram. It is a large mosque with outstanding bathing, ablutions, and changing amenities.

The Birthplace of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H)

Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) was born in Makkah's Holy City, at what is now known as Maktaba Makkah-al-Mukarramah. This location is quite near to the city of Makkah, which receives a large number of tourists each year. When Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W) migrated from Makkah to Madinah, His cousin ‘Aqil Bin Abi Talib, took over the property, which was eventually sold by his children. When Khalifa Harun Ar-Rasyid, a Sultan in the Abbasid era, entered Makkah for Hajj, he transformed it into a mosque. In its spot, the house was transformed into a public library in 1950 by the Mayor of Makkah, Sheikh Abbas Bin Yusuf Al-Qatthan.

Jabal Thawr

Thawr Mountain is located to the south of Makkah. It is a rough and desolate mountain in the southern region of Makkah, it is 761 meters over sea level. This hill houses Thawr cave, where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companion Abu Bakar sheltered for 3 days from the Quraysh tribe. When they were hidden there, an acacia tree grew up instantaneously next to the cave, as per Islamic beliefs. A dove established a nest and laid eggs in the tree, and a spider has woven a web over the cave's opening to prevent them from being discovered by enemies. That is why the cave of Thawr is regarded as a symbol of trust and faith.

The Site of Battle of Badr

The Battle of Badr is described in the Holy Quran because it was one of the very first battles waged by Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W). When entering Makkah, visitors can still see the battleground. The Battle of Badr is a pivotal battle of Islamic history. It was also crucial for the Prophet and his disciples' lives because they were battling for Allah's (SWT) true and actual religion. They were battling against the pagans of Makkah and miraculously won the battle of Badr with the help of the angels. The place is about 330 kilometers distant from Makkah.

Wadi Muhassir

Wadi Muhassir is near Makkah between Mina and Muzdalifah. We are aware of the historic incident mentioned in Surah Feel, that Allah destroyed Abraha and his elephant army. It is Sunnah for pilgrims to walk rapidly through this zone, just as the Prophet (S.A.W) did since it was a site of retribution from Allah (SWT). It is the area where Allah (SWT) ordered the birds to pour down clay stones on the elephant's companions in order to prevent them from carrying out their perilous attempts to dismantle the Ka’bah. Although visiting Wadi Muhassir is not part of the Prophetic Practice but it stands as an essential symbol when we walk by it during our travel to Masyair Al-Haram (sites of Ibadan during Hajj) to genuinely focus on the Supremacy of Allah Almighty.

Bi’ir Thuwa or Well of Thuwa

It is situated in the Jarwal township, approximately 2,000 meters from Masjid Al-Haram. It is also next to the Al-Khalaf Historical Palace, another historical site in Makkah. It is regarded as being one of Makkah's sacred wells since Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) stayed the night alongside it before reaching Makkah the next day. Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W) also drank water from this well and refreshes himself before going to Mecca. It is said that Ibn Umar also passes by this well and tends to clean and wash himself with its water and after that, he reaches Masjid Al Haram and when he was asked about it he said that the Prophet (S.A.W) did so. Although visiting Bi'ir Thuwa subsequent to commencing Masjid Al-Haram is not part of the Prophetic Practice. It acts as a remembrance of how the Prophet (S.A.W) stressed cleanliness and purity, particularly before reaching a place of worship and performing Ibaadah.

Final Remarks

All of these Islamic landmarks have something connected to rejuvenate your Imaan. You must consider visiting these magical places when you visit Makkah for Hajj or Umrah as they represent the true meaning of Islamic culture and tradition.

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