Makkah (Mecca) : The Holy City
Makkah Al-Mukkaramah which has many other names such as Umm Al-Qura, Al-Balad Al-Amen (Secure City) and Al-Balad Al-Haram (Holy City),
is the first holy city for Moslems. In Makkah, Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) was born, the Revelation was descended to him
with the Holy Quran, and from it propagation for Islam was launched. In the center of the city there is the Holy Mosque inside which is
the Holy Qabaa , The Maqam of Prophet Ibrahim, the Stone of his son Ismaiel (May God bless them), Zamzam well which water has been
pouring through hundred of years, and Safa and Marwah where Moslems make Saie. Near Makkah are the other holy shrines of Mina,
Muzdalifa, and Arafat where Mount Arafat is located and where pilgrims spend the day of Arafah every year as the main ritual of Haj
(pilgrimage). Makkah is the place which captures the hearts of a billion Moslems all over the globe. It is the place where God's will was revealed to Muhammad, (peace be upon him), and it is now the location of the Holy Mosque and the scared Ka'ba.
It is also the destination of millions of pilgrims and visitors and the holiest spot on earth.
God (called Allah in Arabic) has honored it in His Holy Book (Quran), in which it is given eleven different names, including: Makkah, Bakkah, Al-Balad Al-Amin, Al-Balad Al-Ameen, Al-Haram Al-Amain and Um-Al-Qura. God also refers to Makkah in several verses of the Holy Quran (also Koran) using other names, and has sworn on its name, thus giving a unique status unrivalled by any other city in the world.
It was also the will of God that the Holy Ka'ba be situated in Makkah. This divine will has affected the building and growth of the city as it is today.
The first Sura of the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on the outskirts of Makkah. These revelations to the Prophet continued later, and some verses of the Holy Quran are known as Makki, because they were revealed in Makkah, while others were called Madani because they were revealed in Madinah.
Makkah is at the intersection of latitude 21 to 25 degree north and longitude 39 to 49 degree east. It is set in a rugged landscape consisting mostly of solid granite, with rocks sometimes reaching 300 meters (1,000 feet) above see level.
Makkah is enclosed by the Valley of Abraham, which is surrounded by two nearby mountain ranges to the east, west and south.
The northern range comprises the Al-Falaq and Qu'aqi'an mountains, while the southern range consists of
Abu Hudaidah mountain to the west, Kuday to the south and Abu Qubais and Khindimah to the south-east.
There are three main entrances to Makkah: Al-Mu'allat (also known as Al-Hujoon), Al-Musfalah and Al-Shubaikah.
It is generally agreed that Al-Mu'allat includes all areas which are higher than the Holy Haram and Al-Musfalah covers all areas that are lowers
Makkah is the holiest city on earth to Muslims. Five times each day, the world's one billion Muslims, wherever they may be,
turn to the Holy City of Makkah to pray. And at least once in their lives, all Muslims who are not prevented by personal circumstance
perform the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Makkah. Thus each year the Holy City of Makkah is host to some two million hajjis (pilgrims) from
all over the world.