(Picture: Masjid Al Haram)
Masjid Al Haram in the city of Makkah (Saudia Arabia) is the one of the three most sacred mosques in Islam and holds a very special place in the hearts of the Muslims. The other two sacred mosques are:
1. The prophet’s mosque – Masjid An Nabawi in Medina (Saudia Arabia) and
(Picture: Masjid An Nabawi, taken in December 2009)
2. Masjid Al Aqsa in Jerusalem (Palestine).
(Picture: Masjid Al Aqsa)
Our prophet Muhammad (s) has told us: “Do not to travel (for visiting) except for three mosques: Masjid Al Haram (in Makkah), my Mosque (in Medina) and Masjid Al Aqsa (in Jerusalem).” – Hadith Bukhari
Masjid Al Haram is like no other mosque in the world! Being situated in a place like no other place in the world! It all began in this once barran city, the city of Makkah – where the final message of Islam was given to the final messenger of Islam – Muhammad (s). This message for humanity then spread to every corner of the globe and into our very homes today. It is a place where revelation came down from Allah Almighty through angel Jibra’eel (as). It is a place where the best men and women (the companions of the prophet (s)) walked and lived.
It is a place with so much blessing, so much history and so much reward! It truely is the best place in the world!
Our prophet Muhammad (s) said: “By Allah, you are the best land of Allah, the most beloved land of Allah to Allah…” - Hadith Tirmidhi
Let me take you on a journey to the greatest mosque on earth, Masjid Al Haram:
Umrah and Hajj
Makkah is a city that never sleeps! Throughout the year from morning to night Masjid Al Haram is full with pilgrims coming in and out of Makkah from all around the world to perform the Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage). Pilgrims come from all walks of life and cultures having left their homes and families to embark upon this great journey. Pilgrims are referred to as the “guests of Allah”, this is because those who are privileged to visit Masjid Al Haram have been individually selected and invited by Allah SWT. Umrah unlike Hajj can be performed any time of the year, where as Hajj (the 5th pillar of Islam) can only be performed in the 12th Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah.
The pilgrimage of Hajj originates all the way back thousands of years ago to the time of prophet Ibrahim (as) when Allah commanded him to build the Kabaa’ along with his son Ismaa’eel (as) at Makkah. After completing the Kabaa’ Allah SWT then commanded prophet Ibrahim (as) to call the people to Hajj:
“And proclaim the Hajj among mankind. They will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways”. (Surah Al-Hajj:28).
So from that day up untill this very day millions of Muslims continue to answer the call of prophet Ibrahim (as)!
(Picture: Pilgrims boarding a ship to prepare their journey to the House of Allah)
So now that we have packed our suitcases and are boarding our means of transport, let us too embark upon this journey .. next stop .. Masjid Al Haram!
(Picture: The Kabaa’)
As soon as you enter Makkah, you can not help but see how amazing this place is – every where you look you will see pilgrims from every nationality. You will see the rich and the poor all equal in the sight of Allah, all gathered together shoulder to shoulder in prayer to worship Allah alone – answering the call of prophet Ibrahim (as) and following in the footsteps of prophet Muhammad (s).
We will now enter the masjid and make our way to the Kabaa’! The Kabaa’ is located in the center heart of the masjid. The Kabaa’ is the first House set up for the worship of Allah on earth. As Allah says:
“Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-’Alamin (mankind and jinn)”. (Surah Ael’Imran, 3:96)
Muslims do not worship the Kabaa’, it is a focal point of direction of prayer (qiblah) that Muslims all around the world face to pray 5 times a day.
(Picture: Muslims praying in Jamaat (congregational prayer))
The qiblah was not always towards the Kabaa’, first the Muslims used to pray towards Masjid Al Aqsa in Jerusalem, but one day during congregational prayer Allah suddenly sent revelation down to the prophet Muhammad (s) commanding the Muslims to make the Kabaa’ in Masjid Al Haram their new qiblah:
“… so turn your face in the direction of al-Masjid al-Haraam (at Makkah). And wheresoever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction…” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:144)
It is narrated that the prophet Muhammad (s) was in rukoo when this revelation came down and whilst still in rukoo he changed direction towards the Kabaa’ and then so did all his companions in prayer! What a great moment in history, a moment of obidience and unity! This spiritual unity is exemplified every time Muslims from each continent face towards the Kabaa’ to pray.
The Black Stone
(Picture: The Black Stone – in Arabic الحجر الأسود al-Hajar-ul-Aswad)
Let us walk closer to the Kabaa’ to perform our Tawaf.
What is Tawaf? Tawaf is going round the the Kabaa’ 7 times and each round one is to start and end at the corner which has the black stone.
(Picture: Pilgrims making tawaf around the Kabaa’)
What is the black stone? The black stone is positioned on one of the four corners of the Kabaa’. It is this very stone that was kissed by the prophet Muhammad (s) during the performance of Tawaf.
Did you know the black stone came from Jannah (Paradise)? How amazing is that! The prophet Muhammad (s) said: “When the Black Stone came down from Paradise, it was whiter than milk, but the sins of the sons of Adam made it black.” - Hadith Tirmidhi
It is important to know that the only reason we kiss or touch the black stone, is because our prophet Muhammad (s) kissed it, if he did not kiss or touch it, then we too would not kiss or touch it. When Umar ibn Khattab (r) the second khalifah of Islam kissed the black stone he said the following famous words:
“I know that you are only a stone which can neither bring benefit nor cause harm. Were it not that I had seen the prophet (s) kiss you, I would not have kissed you.” - Hadith Bukhari
One of the rewards for touching the black stone is that the black stone will come forward on the Day of Judgement with two eyes and a tongue and will bear witness for those who touched it (Hadith Tirmidhi).
The station of prophet Ibrahim (as)
(Picture: The station of Ibrahim (as))
(Picture: The trace of Prophet Ibrahim’s foot prints (as))
As we walk anti-clockwise around the Kabaa’ reciting the Talbiyah (1) – we will pass the station of prophet Ibrahim (as) known as “Maqam e-Ibrahim”. Inside this golden structure is a stone on which prophet Ibrahim (as) stood on when he was building the Kabaa’ with his son Isamaa’eel (as). Allah had allowed the trace of prophet Ibrahim’s (as) foot print to show on this stone and preserved through the centuries to this very day for all the Muslims to see. What an amazing miracle from Allah… Allahu Akbar!
It is outside Maqam e-Ibrahim the pilgrims would pray 2 rakaats after completing their Tawaf, as our instructed to us by our prophet Muhammad (s).
(Picture: Al Hijr)
As we continue our Tawaf round the Kabaa’, we will approach the 2nd corner of the Kabaa’ and here we will walk past the Hijr. The Hijr is the corner after black stone to the following corner and the place within the seperating wall (as shown in image above) is considered to be part of the Kabaa’ itself! The reason for this is because at the time of prophet Muhammad (s) when the Quraysh tribe re-built the Kabaa’ the money they had for the building had run out. Thus they were only able to include part of the Hijr in the Kabaa’ and not all of it.
The prophet Muhammad (s) was asked by a compnaion “O Messenger of Allah, can I not enter the House i.e. the Kabaa’?”, whereby he (s) replied: “Enter Al Hijr, for it is part of the House” - Hadith An-Nasa’i
Thus it is very important for those doing Tawaf to ensure they do not go through the Hijr, as Tawaf is to make 7 circuits around the Kabaa’. So as we are performing our Tawaf, please ensure to walk around it :)
The well of Zamzam
After completing our Tawaf we will now proceed to drink Zamzam water … as this is from the sunnah.
(Picture: Zamzam water coolers)
The story of Zamzam which I am sure you already know is an amazing story indeed; for those who don’t know let me tell you this amazing story:
It all happened again at the time of prophet Ibrahim (as), when Allah had commanded him to leave his wife Hajar and infant child Ismaa’eel (as) in the barren deserted land of Makkah. At that time there were no people or water in Makkah. Prophet Ibrahim (as) left them near the Ka’bah under a tree on the spot of Zamzam with a bag of dates and a water-skin filled with water. Prophet Ibrahim (as) then started to walk away with a broken heart but knowing this was an order from His Lord that he had to fulfill and knowing with assurity that His Lord will take care of his wife and son. Hajar called out “O Ibrahim where are you going and leaving us in this valley where there is nobody and nothing?”; she said this several times but prophet Ibrahim (as) did not look back and kept on walking. Then Hajr asked “Has Allah commanded you to do this?” He (as) replied: “Yes”, Hajr then said: “Then Allah will not forsake us”.
When all their dates and water had run out, and there was no longer anything for them to eat or drink from – Hajr became thirsty and her child also became thirsty – she started to worry and ran looking for somebody and went to Al-Safa the closest mountain. She stood at the top of it to see if she could see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from Mount Safa and she ran accross the valley and came to Al-Marwah another mountain. She continued running from Mount Safa and Mount Marwa - totalling 7 times. When she reached Mount Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and saw angel Jibra’eel (as) standing at the place of Zamzam and he started to dig the ground with his heels/wings untill water started to gush out from the ground. Hajr full of astonishment started to heap the earth around it with her hands to try and contain it and scooping some water into her water-skin thereafter the water settled. Hajr and her son were finally able to quench their thirst and they drank from the water of Zamzam and it is from this day the city of Makkah developed into the city it is today! And it is this very same Zamzam water that exists today and will do so untill the end of time, providing water for the pilgrims – a great blessing and miracle form Allah SWT!
There are countless rewards for drinking Zamzam water, a few being:
1. Allah will answer you supplication
The prophet (s) said that “Zamzam is for whatever reason you drink it.” So whatever intention you have when you drink it, Inshaa Allah it will happen. (Ibn Maajah)
2. It is a cure from sickness
The prophet (s) said: “The best water on the face of the earth is the water of Zamzam; it is a kind of food and a healing from sickness.” (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3302).
Let us say Bismillah, make duaa and drink from this blessed water!
We will now move onto the last rite of Umrah which is the Sai. The Sai is to go from Mount Safa and Mount Marwa 7 times starting from Mount Safa and ending at Mount Marwa. Can you guess why we do this? (Ans. Read the story of Zamzam above)
(Picture: What remains of Mount Safa)
(Picture: Pilgrims performing the Sai, picture taken in December 2009)
Alhamdulillah we have now completed our Umrah, and our journey through Masjid Al Haram has also come to an end.
It is clear to see that this masjid is full of history, miracles and a lot of reward; and I am sure that you will agree this masjid is more superior than all the masaajid on this earth! Let me end with the following statement from our prophet Muhammad (s) whereby he tells us the great reward of praying in this sacred mosque:
“A prayer in Masjid Al Haram is better than 100,000 prayers (any where else).” - Hadith Ahmad
So if we calculate one prayer in Masjid Al Haram, it is equivalent to the five daily prayers offered over a period of 55 years, 6 months and 20 days! Allahu Akbar!
(Picture: Pilgrims performing Tawaf al Ifadah on the day of Eid, Hajj 2009)
I make duaa to Allah, asking Him to make you and I from those He invites to be His guest in His House and that we get the opportunity to take this journey through Masjid Al Haram in real life! I ask Allah to make you and I from those who get to perform an accepted Umrah and Hajj – as the reward for an accepted Hajj, is nothing but Jannah. Ameen Rabil Alameen
Qamar J. Khan-Malik
- History of Makkah – Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri
- The call of Ibrahim – Muhammad al Shareef
(1) Labayk Allah humma labayk, labayka laa shareeka laka labayk, Inalhamda wani’ mata laka wal mulk, laa shareeka lak – Here I am Allah, O Here I am Allah, You have no partners, the dominion belongs to you, O Allah here I am.