The sacred city of Makkah is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the city is only open to Muslims who usually go to perform Hajj or Umrah. Nevertheless, there are several places you can visit in the greater district of Makkah. We have highlighted a few places of interest you can explore during your Umrah or Hajj in 2019. These places have added to the cultural, historical, and religious significance of the city and to Islam as well.
1. The Grand Mosque
Illustrious as Masjid Al Haram, this is the largest mosque in the world that can accommodate 1.2 million pilgrims. This sacred mosque houses the holy well of Zamzam, and the black cubic structure the Kaaba.
Read Also: Top 15 Amazing Places to Visit in Madina
2. Mina (The City of Tents)
Most people think that the Mina is referred to the tents, whereas, the Mina is a valley 3 miles east of the city. The valley is dotted with more than a 100,000 air-conditioned tents for the pilgrims flocking into the city on the 8th of Dhul Hajj and again on the 10th to the 13th of Dhul Hajj. In addition, in the valley of the Mina, the Jamarat Bridge is located where pilgrims perform the ‘stoning of the devil‘.
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3. Mount of Rahmah
The Mount of Rahman (Jabal e Rahmah) situated in the Valley of Arafat is 12 miles at the outskirts of the city. It is necessary for all the pilgrims to stay in the valley and spend time praying for the forgiveness of sins. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) stayed on this mountain. The valley also has a stunning mosque called Masjid e Nimra.
Muzdalifah lies in the Makkah province. This is usually a plain flat land located between Arafat and the Mina. The pilgrims travel from the Mina to Muzdalifah and spend the entire day until sunset. At Muzdalifah, pilgrims sleep in the open air and get up quite early for prayers. There is also a mosque atop a hill in Muzdalifah. Before the evening prayers in Muzdalifah, the pilgrims collect stones/pebbles for stoning at Jamarat.
The Jamarat, also known as the place for ‘Stoning of the Devil‘ is a vital part of Hajj pilgrimage. During 2004, there were three pillars in Mina, but recently they have been replaced by high walls to avoid any possibility of mishaps on account of a large number of pilgrims assembling together for the ritual. Furthermore, pilgrims flocking into the city can access a bridge to hurl pebbles at the Jamarat.
The three walls or Jamarat are named as; Jamarah-al-Oola or Jamarah-e-Sughra (meaning the first or the small Jamarah), Jamarah-al-Wusta (meaning the middle Jamarah) and Jamarah-al-Uqbah or Jamarah-al Kubra (meaning the last or the largest Jamarah). You will be informed and guided about these key places in Makkah during your Hajj and Umrah seminars/meetings before reaching the city.
6. Ghari Hira (Al Nour Mountain)
Located at the top of Jabal Al Noor, you can explore the sacred Cave of Hira (Ghari Hira). It was in this place that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) got the initial revelations of the Holy Quran in 610 BC. The mountain is also known as Jabal-al Noor because of the mysterious light on the mountain at night. The Prophet had felt an increasing need to be isolated and he had started to take the solitude more and more before he began to receive revelations from the Angel Jibreel (AS). He would visit the cave of Hira and meditate day and night with provisions for himself.
7. Bir Tuwa (Well of Tuwa)
It is one of the valleys in Makkah, which was once isolated and rugged. Nowadays, it is crammed with buildings. Today, this name Bir Tuwa has been restricted to a well in Jarwal, called Tuwa. At this well, the Prophet had spent the night in. Then in the morning, he cleaned himself from its water and entered Makkah. It is located at the bottom of Makkah at the north direction in Jarwal. The word ’Tuwa’ means the pleated well.
8. The Factory of Kiswah at Umm Al-Jud
Kiswah is the cloth that covers the Kaabah in Makkah. It is the most revered covering, which is highly respected in Masjid Al Haram that can be explored while touring the city. Since the Kaaba was built by Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH), the Kiswa passed through several changes. Throughout its historical period, the Kiswa underwent changes due to economic and social factors.
Read Also: Do’s and Don’ts for Umrah
9. Makkah Mall
Considered as a unique and important shopping centre by Saudi officials and Muslim visitors, the Makkah Mall is dedicated to creating a dynamic shopping and dining atmosphere in Makkah. It offers a wide diversity of international & local brands with restaurants as well.
10. Masjid-e-Taneem (Masjid-e-Aisha)
The Masjid lies 4.6 miles south of Makkah, on the road to Medina. It is the closest of all the boundary points, even is considered as a Miqat as well.
11. Al Wahba Crater
Located towards the northeast of Makkah, this 1-mile long crater is surrounded by 900-foot rugged cliffs. The crater bottom fills with water during the wet season and transforms into a salt-pan in the summer as the sun evaporates the moisture. What was once a place for volcanic activities has turned into a trekking zone with plenty of palm trees along the cliff. Read More
12. Jannatul Mu’alla
Jannatul Maula is a cemetery on the way to the Mina. Here lies the grave of Um-Al-Momeneen Bibi Khadija (RA)- the first wife of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and that of Prophets’ son Qasim, Asma Bint AbuBaker, Abu-Talib, Abdullah Bin Zubair, and other members of the Holy Prophet’s family.
This cemetery is located at 10 minutes walking distance from Masjid Al Haram and anyone can visit the grave and pay their respects to the people buried there.
13. Makkah Clock Tower
The Makkah Clock Tower is the third tallest tower in the world with a height of 601 meters and 76 stories. There are tickets to visit the tower. Most visitors come only to stay at the tower roof and enjoy the stunning view. Read More
14. Auction House Makkah
Makkah auction is an auction house located in the Hilton Tower. On your tour to the city, you can find ancient gems, artefacts and other interesting things. It almost looks like a shopping centre. Watch how people bid on the alluring things here.
15. The Mount of Abu Qubays
This gigantic structure is located near Mount Safa. It is believed that from this place the Holy Prophet (PBUH) pointed towards the moon and split it into half. You will experience these illustrious places of Makkah, that have a deep religious significance, on your trip to the blessed city.
16. Site of The Battle of Badr
The Battle of Badr was a historic moment in Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) life while fighting against Mecca’s pagan communities. Fought in the Hejaz region of Western Arabia in 624 CE, it is one of the few battles mentioned in the Quran. The place is at a distance of 334 km from the city of Mecca.
17. The Birthplace of The Prophet (PBUH)
Also known as Maktaba Makkah al-Mukarramah, the birthplace of the Prophet (PBUH) has been converted into a National Library of Makkah.
Read Also: Important Mosques to Visit in Makkah
18. Thawr Mountain
Located at the southern end of Makkah, Thour Mountain (Jabal Al Thawr) bears an important part of Islamic history. According to Islamic history, this is the place where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) spent 3 days in a cave known as Gaari Thour, along with his friend, Al Sideeq e Akbar (RA) after the persecution in Makkah.
19. Al Jaaranah Mosque
Towards northern Makkah is a sacred site where the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) clothed himself prior to travelling towards Makkah to perform Hajj. The site is surrounded by numerous date trees and drinking water wells that overlook Al Jaaranah Mosque. You might need permission from the government authorities to visit the mosque.
20. The House of Abbas & The House of Abu Bakr (RA)
The House of Abbas is right outside the place of Sa’ee. It was from the house of Abu Bakr that the Hijra to Madinah began. It is on the 4th floor of the Makkah Towers Hotel block where the Masjid Abu Bakr has been established.