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A Holy City of Mecca: A History In Islam Perspective

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What is the first thing that crosses your mind when you hear Mecca? A holy city? Ka’bah? The birthplace of Prophet Muhammad SAW?


Mecca or Makkah is a city in Saudi Arabia where Ka’bah stands. As a home of Ka’bah and the holy site, Mecca is the destination of the hajj for muslims worlwide. Muslims visit Mecca for hajj in the month of Dzulhijjah. The city will full of people from all over the world to complete the fifth rules in Islam.

Masjidil Haram or Masjid al-Haram is a masjid located in Mecca, which surrounds Ka’bah. In this masjid, muslims do thawaf around Ka’bah 7 times.

What else do you know about Mecca? What is the history of Mecca? You’ll find out more about the history of Mecca in Islam here. Get to know more about the holy city that every muslim is longing to visit.

  • The History of Mecca

The origin of Mecca and Ka’bah is first attributed to the story of the Ibrahim AS, his wife, Hajar and his son, the prophet Ismail AS. That was when Ibrahim AS and Hajar got their first son, Ismail AS. Once, Ibrahim had to leave Hajar and Ismail alone. Baby Ismail was crying and Hajar went looking for water. She went everywhere but couldn’t find any water nor anyone to help. She ran back forth from Safaa hill to Marwah hill but she found nothing. Then, she heard a voice asking her to go back to Ismail. When she got back to Ismail, she saw her son scratching the ground with his feet until water came out of the ground. The water kept flowing and people started to live there.

The civilization of Mecca started to evolve since that time. The first tribe to settle there was Yermeni of Jurhum. As Ismail AS grew up, he married a woman from the tribe before having divorced and married another woman.

  • The construction of Ka’bah by Ibrahim AS and Ismail AS

In one of his visits to Ismail, Ibrahim asked his son to help him construct and renovate Ka’bah. The initial construction of this Qibla for shalat was much simpler than today’s. The cubical building was 4.5 m in height and was built without a roof. There were two open doors on the two opposite sides. The angel Jibril came down carrying the black stone, Hajar Aswad, for Ibrahim to put in its place.

  • The construction of Ka’bah by the Quraisy

As told by the history, a woman smoked Ka’bah with myrrh and the sparks flew into burning the kiswah, the cover of Ka’bah. There was also flood that got inside Ka’bah and caused the damage to the walls. Quraisy people were scared of these and decided to renovate Ka’bah. This happened around 6 years before the Prophet Muhammad SAW was sent. The Quraisy built the walls higher, but due to the limited building material, they reduced the width of Ka’bah. The Quraisy also built a roof for Ka’bah, put up the doors, etc. They closed the door on the west and elevated the door on the east, so that they could allow and forbid anyone they wished.

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Rasulullah Muhammad SAW got involved in the reconstruction. When the reconstruction was done and it was time to put Hajar Aswad, there was a quarrel among the Quraisy. They fought over who had the right to put Hajar Aswad to its place. Every higher-up claimed that they had the right to put Hajar Aswad. To overcome the fight, they decided to let the one who first entered Masjidil Haram to be the intermediary. The one who first entered Masjidil Haram was Rasulullah Muhammad SAW. Rasulullah SAW then put Hajar Aswad on the center of a shawl and asked every higher-up to hold each corner of the shawl. They all carried the black stone together and Rasulullah SAW put it to the place. This way, Rasulullah SAW had stopped a quarrel among the Quraisy that would disrupt their community and harm the people.

  • The Most Recent Construction of Ka’bah

Since Rasulullah SAW passed away, there were some renovations of Ka’bah due to some reasons. In 682, M Yazid bin Mu’awiyah sent a troop led by Hushain bin Namir to attack on Abdullah bin Zubair. They blockaded Mecca and caused the damage on Ka’bah. After Yazid died, Mecca was under the reign of Ibnu Zubair. He then decided to renovate Ka’bah and put it back to the foundation that Prophet Ibrahim AS had built, as Prophet Muhammad hoped for. That was why Ibnu Zubair put it back into Ka’bah what was taken out by the Quraisy, and he set the doors on the east and west which were parallel to the ground. He also increased the height of the wall into 13 m.

The re-construction done by Ibnu Zubair didn’t last long. Hajjaj bin Yusuf ats Tsaqafi led the troops to launch an attack on Mecca and got Ibnu Zuair killed. In 693, Hajjaj renovated Ka’bah into the re-construction done by the Quraisy. He closed the door o the west and elevated the door on the east. He increased the width to the north but didn’t change the height.

There was a time when Ka’bah was damaged due to heavy rain and flood. SuIthan Murad Khan Al Utsman renovated Ka’bah in 1040 to its origin which stays in the same shape until now. Along the way, the khalifahs, the leaders, and the governor keep renovating the damage of Ka’bah. In 1417, Khadimul Haramain Raja Fand bin Abdul Aziz rahimahullah issued an order to renovate and rehabilitate Ka’bah by strengthening the foundation, fixing the edging of Ka’bah, the rings to tie kiswah, glazing the outer wall, patching the gaps between the bricks and changing the roof with the ones made of metal.

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  • Prophet Muhammad SAW in Mecca

Born and raised in Mecca, Prophet Muhammad SAW started delivering the revelation he got in this city. But, since the people were still in the Jahiliyah (darkness of the thoughts), people rejected him. He then moved to Medina. After Medina had growth, he came back to Mecca in a mission of releasing Mecca without war, known as Fathul Makkah.

  • Mecca as the holy city

Prophet Muhammad SAW passed away in 632. However, the sense of unity that he had passed on to his ummah (Islamic nation) made Islam begin a rapid expansion. Within the next few hundred years stretched from North Africa into Asia and parts of Europe. As the Islamic Empire grew, Mecca continued to attract muslims all over the world to perform the annual hajj.

Beside of coming to Mecca for the hajj, muslims can also perform umrah. Umrah is almost similar to hajj. The rituals for umrah are done in Mecca, especially Masjidil Haram.

In technical terms of shari’ah, Umrah means performing tawaf in the Ka’bah and sa’i between Shofa and Marwah, after wearing ihram taken from miqat.

As the holy city for Muslims, based on the law in Saudi Arabia, non-Muslims are not permitted to enter Mecca.

Those are some insights about the holy city Mecca. May Allah bless us with a chance to come to Mecca.

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Kategori : History