10 Fascinating Facts About Mecca

fascinating facts about mecca

Mecca, also known as Makkah, is the holiest city for Muslims around the world. With millions of Muslim pilgrims visiting the city every year, the city located in Saudi Arabia is a site that witnesses the world’s largest human gathering and holds special significance for Muslims. 

Located in the narrow valley, Mecca is over 275 meters above sea level and is around 70 km inland from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. 

Undoubtedly, Muslims around the world may already possess a lot of information about Mecca’s location, history and significance. But amazingly enough, several famous facts about Mecca aren’t known to many. 

And that’s what we look at below. Here are ten interesting facts about Mecca that you need to discover.

What is Mecca in Islam?

Mecca, also known as Makkah or ancient Bakkah City, holds a special significance in Islam. 

The city is the birthplace of the last Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) and is home to Kaaba, the center of the Great Mosque in Mecca, which is universally considered to be the most sacred place on Earth for Muslims. 

Muslims around the world pray facing the Kaaba in Mecca five times a day. Moreover, Mecca is the city for a deeply spiritual journey for Muslims all over the world, which is the Hajj or pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca. 

Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam which is mandatory for Muslims once during their lifetime whose health and finances permit. The pilgrim’s circumambulation around the Kaaba marks the completion of the Hajj. 

Mecca has a long, rich history, even before the birth of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). According to the Quran, the Kaaba was built by Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his son Ismail (AS). Together, they raised the foundation of the House of Allah.  

“And when Ibrahim and Ismail were raising the foundations of the House, (Ibrahim prayed): Our Lord! Accept from us (this duty). Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower.” – Surat Al-Baqarah: 2:127.  

Moreover, the well of Zamzam, located 20 meters away from the Kaaba, has been flowing for 5,000 years. 

It shows that the city has a long history, even before Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). 

Why Is Mecca Important to Muslims?

Mecca holds a special place in every Muslim’s heart. And there are many good reasons for it. 

Makkah is home to the Holy Kaaba, which features the black stone as a symbolic representation of Allah (S.W.T.)’s home in this world. According to Islamic tradition, the black stone is known to be a stone from Jannah which was originally white. 

While the Muslims don’t worship the building itself, they perform the pilgrimage and pray five times a day facing the Kaaba. 

Kaaba, which is the representation of Allah’s Supremacy and Oneness, is located in Mecca. Apart from praying five times a day, Muslims bury their dead in the direction of the Kaaba which makes another important reason why Mecca is important to Muslims. 

Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, which is mandatory for every physically and financially abled Muslim once in a lifetime, is performed in Mecca and surrounding areas. 

“And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.” – Surah Al – Imran: 3:97

When pilgrims travel to Mecca, they gather in Masjid Al-Haram, around the Kaaba to perform Tawaf, the seven rounds of walking around the Kaaba. Moreover, they perform the Sai and complete their Umrah. 

Furthermore, one of the compulsory acts of Hajj, Tawaf Al – Ziayarah, is performed in Mecca. 

Apart from the location of the Holy Kaaba, there are many more reasons why Mecca is important for Muslims.

It is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). As the last Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) holds a special place in the hearts of Muslims.

Moreover, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) spent his early life in this city and also received the first revelation in Mecca. When he was around 40 years old, the Prophet was meditating in Cave Hira at Mount an-Nour when he received his first revelation of the Quran.   

Mecca is also mentioned in the Quran as the place where Prophet Ibrahim (AS) left his son and young wife, Hajar as per Allah’s commandment. Later, he returned to Mecca, on Allah’s directions, only to find his son had grown into a man while his wife Hajar (AS) passed away during his absence. 

All of these reasons make Mecca important for Muslims in the world. 

10 facts about Mecca 

must know facts about makkahHere are some interesting facts about Mecca

Official name of Mecca 

Mecca, or Makkah, is officially known as Makkah Al-Mukarramah. The name translates as “Makkah, the Honoured!” or “The Holy City of Makkah.”

How old Is Mecca?

It is recorded that Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) was born in Mecca in 570. However, the city is considered to be one of the most ancient inhabited cities in the world. 

The beginning of life in Mecca is attributed to Prophet Ibrahim (AS) who left his son and wife Hajar (AS) in the holy city. The verse “And (remember) when Abraham said: ‘My Lord, make this city secure and distance me and my children from worshipping the idols’.” – Surah Al – Ibrahim: 14:35 mentions Mecca. 

Moreover, the well of Zamzam, which is believed to have existed for over 5,000 years, signifies that the city has an ancient history.    

Mecca used to be called Bakkah City 

Bakkah city is thought to be an old name for Mecca. 

The word Bakkah is used in the Quran to describe the location of the first mosque, which according to Islam is the Holy Kaaba. 

“The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka: Full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings.” Surah Al – Imran: 3:96. 

Many interpretations of this verse consider Bakkah as Mecca. However, the alternative name isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Quran, which leaves doubt about whether Mecca and Bakkah refer to the same city.

3 facts about Masjid Al Haram (Great Mosque of Mecca)

masjid al haram located in mecca

Masjid Al Haram, the Great Mosque of Mecca, is one of the oldest and largest mosques built in history. With the Holy Kaaba being the epicentre of the mosque, the mosque is designed to accommodate millions of pilgrims from all over the world throughout the year. 

Here are a few facts about Masjid Al Haram. 

  • Masjid Al-Haram is the oldest and largest mosque in Islamic history, with an area of 356,000 square meters, 
  • The virtues of praying in Masjid Al Haram are explained through several ahadith. It is narrated by Hazrat Abu Hurairah (AS) that the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) said, “A prayer in this mosque of mine is a thousand times greater than a prayer in other than it, except for the Masjid Al-Haram.” – Imam Bukhari. 
  • The Quran mentions Masjid Al Haram multiple times. 

Mecca never remained the capital of the Islamic Empire 

While Mecca holds special significance in Islam and Islamic history, the city never remained the capital of any Islamic Empire. 

Islamic Empires were found in the Mediterranean and Iran which were known as the Ottomon and Safavid empires. However, Mecca was never the capital of these Islamic empires. 

Moreover, when Islam reached South Asia and the Mughal Empire was founded, Mecca never remained the capital of the Mughal Empire as well. 

Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) spent most of his life in Mecca

Madina is known to be the city of the Prophet. However, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) spent most of his life in Mecca. 

Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) was born in Mecca in 570 A.D. and continued to live there until the age of 53. The Holy Prophet migrated to Madina in 632 A.D., which marks the beginning of the Hijri calendar.  

Mecca records the world’s largest human gathering 

Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam that requires Muslims to perform a pilgrimage to the Kaaba at least once in their lifetime. 

The pilgrims visit the Holy City of Mecca during the month of Dhu-al-Hijjah to perform Hajj, which results in the world’s largest human gathering.

The pilgrimage is performed by all physically and financially devout Muslims from around the world. 

So far, the largest gathering for Hajj took place in 2012, when over 3 million Muslims visited Mecca to perform the ritual. 

Can Non-Muslims go to Mecca?

The country follows strict laws regarding the entry of non-Muslims to Mecca

Individuals who don’t follow the Islamic religion cannot enter Mecca. Moreover, practicing any religion other than Islam by non-Muslims is prohibited in Mecca. 

The world’s largest clock is located in Mecca 

The Makkah Royal Clock Tower, which is part of the Abraj Al-Bait complex in Makkah, is home to the largest clock in the world. The diameter of the clock is 141 feet. 

The building was completed in 2012 and is the third-tallest building in the world. 

The clock is installed on the top eight-storeys of the building. It also features a prayer center (which is the highest prayer center in the world), an observation deck and a scientific center. 

The clock issues a call for worship five times a day using its green and white L.E.D. lights and speakers. The sound of the call to prayer can be heard from over four miles away. 

Mecca is expected to host over 30 million visitors annually by 2030

Following the pandemic, there was a significant drop in the number of pilgrims visiting the Holy Site for Hajj. 

However, as the world returns to normal, Mecca is expected to host pilgrims visiting to participate in Hajj and Umrah.

It is expected that the city will host 30 million visitors by 2030.

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Summary – Facts about Mecca

Mecca is the holiest site for Muslims around the world. 

The city is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) and holds great significance in Islam due to its significance in Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) life. 

It is home to the Holy Kaaba and the world’s largest mosque (and clock face), which accommodates millions of pilgrims every year.  

As the extension of the Grand Mosque continues, Mecca is expected to hold over 30 million visitors annually by 2030.

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