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What is Mecca?

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Mecca… Etymology

Mecca has been referred to by many names. As with many Arabic words, its etymology is obscure. Widely believed to be a synonym for Makkah, it is said to be more specifically the early name for the valley located therein, while Muslim scholars generally use it to refer to the sacred area of the city that immediately surrounds and includes the Ka’bah. … learn Quran online

Bakkah…Mecca

The Quran refers to the city as Bakkah in Surah Al Imran , verse 96,  “Indeed the first House [of worship], established for mankind was that at Bakkah…” – Quran 3:96  This is presumed to have been the name of the city at the time of Abraham (Ibrahim in Islamic tradition) and it is also transliterated as Baca, Baka, Bakah, Bakka, Becca, Bekka, among others.

Geographically and official

Mecca, officially Makkah al-Mukarramah (Arabic: مكة المكرمة‎, romanized: Makkat al-Mukarramah, lit.

Makkah the Noble’ Hejazi pronunciation: [makːa almʊkarːama]) and commonly shortened to Makkah (Arabic: مكة, romanized: Makkah Hejazi pronunciation: [makːa]), is a city and administrative center of the Mecca Province of Saudi Arabia, and the holiest city in Islam.

 It is 70 km (43 mi) inland from Jeddah on the Red Sea, in a narrow valley 277 m (909 ft) above sea level. Its last recorded population was 1,578,722 in 2015. Its estimated metro population in 2020 is 2.042 million, making it the third-most populated city in Saudi Arabia after Riyadh and Jeddah. Pilgrims more than triple this number every year during the Ḥajj pilgrimage, observed in the twelfth Hijri month of Dhūl-Ḥijjah.  Mecca is reputedly the birthplace of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The Hira cave atop the Jabal al-Nur (“Mountain of Light”) is just outside the city and where Muslims believe the Quran was first revealed to Muhammad.

Visiting Mecca for the Hajj is an obligation upon all able Muslims. The Great Mosque of Mecca, known as the Masjid al-Haram, is home to the Ka’bah, believed by Muslims to have been built by Abraham and Ishmael. It is one of Islam’s holiest sites and the direction of prayer for all Muslims (qibla).

Muslim rulers from in and around the region long tried to take the city and keep it in their control, and thus, much like most of the Hejaz region, the city has seen several regime changes. The city was finally conquered in the Saudi conquest of Hejaz by Ibn Saud and his allies in 1925. Since then, Mecca has seen a tremendous expansion in size and infrastructure, with newer, modern buildings such as the Abraj Al Bait, the world’s fourth-tallest building and third-largest by floor area, towering over the Great Mosque. The Saudi government has also carried out the destruction of several historical structures and archaeological sites, such as the Ajyad Fortress.Non-Muslims are strictly prohibited from entering the city.

 Muslims from around the world visit the city, not only for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages but also as tourists to visit regional landmarks such as the ‘Aisha Mosque (Masjid ‘Aisha) and the sites visited by pilgrims in the Hajj and ‘Umrah. Mecca is now home to two of the most expensive buildings in the world, the Masjid al-Haram, valued at 100 billion US dollars, and the Abraj al-Bait complex, valued at 15 billion US dollars.  Under the Saudi government, Mecca is governed by the Mecca Regional Municipality, a municipal council of 14 locally elected members headed by the mayor (called Amin in Arabic) appointed by the Saudi government. As of May 2015, the mayor of the city is Osama bin Fadhel Al-Barr.The City of Mecca amanah, which constitutes Mecca and the surrounding region, is the capital of the Mecca Province, which includes the neighboring cities of Jeddah and Ta’if, even though Jeddah is considerably larger in population compared to Mecca. The Provincial Governor of the province from 16 May 2007 is Prince Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud.

Makkah, Makkah al-Mukarramah and Mecca  In South Arabic

the language in use in the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula at the time of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم .

This is presumed to have been the origin of the current form of the name. “Makkah” is the official transliteration used by the Saudi government and is closer to the Arabic pronunciationThe government adopted Makkah as the official spelling in the 1980s, but is not universally known or used worldwideThe full official name is Makkah al-Mukarramah (Arabic: مكة المكرمة‎, romanized: Makkat al-Mukarramah, lit. ’Makkah the Honored’).”Makkah” is used to refer to the city in the Quran in Surah Al-Fath, verse 24.The word “Mecca” in English has come to be used to refer to any place that draws large numbers of people, and because of this some English-speaking Muslims have come to regard the use of this spelling for the city as offensive. Nonetheless, Mecca is the familiar form of the English transliteration for the Arabic name of the city.  The historic consensus in academic scholarship has long been that “Macoraba”, the place mentioned in Arabia Felix by Claudius Ptolemy, is Mecca. More recent study has questioned this association.Many etymologies have been proposed: the traditional one is that it is derived from the Old South Arabian root M-K-R-B which means “temple”… learn Quran online

History

Prehistory[edit] In 2010, Mecca and the surrounding area became an important site for paleontology with respect to primate evolution, with the discovery of a Saadanius fossil. Saadanius is considered to be a primate closely related to the common ancestor of the Old World monkeys and apes. The fossil habitat, near what is now the Red Sea in western Saudi Arabia, was a damp forest area between 28 million and 29 million years ago.[30] Paleontologists involved in the research hope to find further fossils in the area

Early history (up to 6th century CE)[edit] The early history of Mecca is still largely disputed, as there are no unambiguous references to it in ancient literature prior to the rise of Islam.

The first unambiguous reference to Mecca in external literature occurs in 741 CE, in the Byzantine-Arab Chronicle, though here the author wrongly places it in Mesopotamia rather than the Hejaz.

Although there is general consensus in modern scholarship that Macoraba mentioned by Ptolemy in the 2nd century CE is indeed Mecca, some scholars have questioned this conclusion. 

The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus writes about Arabia in the 1st century BCE in his work Bibliotheca historica, describing a holy shrine: “And a temple has been set up there, which is very holy and exceedingly revered by all Arabians”.

Claims have been made this could be a reference to the Ka’bah in Mecca. However, the geographic location Diodorus describes is located in northwest Arabia, around the area of Leuke Kome, within the former Nabataean Kingdom and the Roman province of Arabia Petraea.  

Ptolemy lists the names of 50 cities in Arabia, one going by the name of Macoraba. There has been speculation since 1646 that this could be a reference to Mecca, but some scholars see no compelling explanation to link the two names.[38] Bowersock favors the identity of the former, with his theory being that “Macoraba” is the word “Makkah” followed by the aggrandizing Aramaic adjective rabb (great). The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus also enumerated many cities of Western Arabia, most of which can be identified. According to Bowersock, he did mention Mecca as “Geapolis” or “Hierapolis”, the latter one meaning “holy city”, referring to the sanctuary of the Kaaba, well known already in pagan times.

Patricia Crone, from the Revisionist school of Islamic studies on the other hand, writes that “the plain truth is that the name Macoraba has nothing to do with that of Mecca […] if Ptolemy mentions Mecca at all, he calls it Moka, a town in Arabia Petraea

Recently, researchers using enhanced mathematical models to reconstruct ancient maps and translate their locations into modern coordinates have been able to confirm that Mecca and Ptolemy’s Macoraba are in the same location, while Moka is safely identified as the fortress of Machaerus on the eastern side of the Dead Sea.  Procopius’ statement that the Ma’ad tribe possessed the coast of western Arabia between the Ghassanids and the Himyarites of the south confirms the Arabic sources tradition that associates Quraysh as a branch of the Ma’add and Muhammad as a direct descendant of Ma’ad ibn Adnan. 

Historians including Patricia Crone and Tom Holland have cast doubt on the claim that Mecca was a major historical trading outpost.

However, other scholars such as Glen W. Bowersock disagree and assert that Mecca was a major trading outpost. 

Crone later on disregarded some of her theories as shown in her later work.

She argues that Meccan trade relied on skins, hides, manufactured leather goods, clarified butter, Hijazi woollens, and camels. She suggests that most of these goods were destined for the Roman army, which is known to have required colossal quantities of leather and hides for its equipment.  Mecca is mentioned in the following early Quranic manuscripts:  Codex Is. 1615 I, folio 47v, radiocarbon dated to 591–643 CE. Codex Ṣanʿāʾ DAM 01–29.1, folio 29a, radiocarbon dated between 633 and 665 CE. Codex Arabe 331, folio 40 v, radiocarbon dated between 652 and 765 CE. The earliest Muslim inscriptions are from the Mecca-Ta’if area

Learn Quran online “ first surah AlBayyinah” Almighty Allah continues telling His Messenger [PBUH] to pray with the Noble Quran ,” And from [part of ] the night, [worship] for you , it is expected that your Lord will resurrect you to a praised stationlearn Quran onlineLearn Quran online “ Ayah number 2 in surah AlBayyinah” Almighty Allah asked His prophet {PBUB] to declare the coming of the truth and departing of the falsehood , “ And say , “ Truth has come ,and falsehood has departed , indeed is falsehood [by nature ] , ever bound to depart .Thus the truth is legal and logical advent of the truth which privately put two and two together .
Learn Quran onlineLearn Quran online “ Ayah number 3 in surah AlBayyinah”Allah be Exalted and Glorified shows everlasting miracle of the Noble Quran and the great challenge that Almighty Allah has defied with all His creatures saying to His Messenger [PBUH] , say , “If the mankind and the jinn gathered in order to produce the like of this Quran . they could not produce the like of it , even if they were assistants to each other .”
Learn Quran onlineLearn Quran online “ Ayah number 4 in surah AlBayyinah”Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Learn Quran onlineLearn Quran online “ Ayah number 5 in surah AlBayyinah”Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Learn Quran onlineLearn Quran online “ Ayah number 6 in surah AlBayyinah ”Almighty Allah tells us the enormous dimension of refusal and obstination of most people to believe but sadly they had backslidden from the straight path ,He says ,” We have certainly diversified for the people in this Quran from every [kind ] of example , but most of the people refused [ anything] except disbeliefLearn Quran onlineLearn Quran online “ Ayah number 7 in surah AlBayyinah ”The Holy Quran shows us how far their defiance and obstination was , Allah be Exalted and Glorified says , “ And they say , “ We will not believe you until you break open for us from the ground a spring or [until] you have a garden of palm trees and grapes and make rivers gush forth within them in force[and abundanceLearn Quran onlineLearn Quran online “ Ayah number 8 in surah AlBayyinah ” Here again almighty Allah advises His Messenger Moses to work for that coming hour, saying , “ So do not let one avert you from it who does not believe in it and follows his desire for you [then] would persih .
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19 Comments

  • asif haris

    81 – Here the awareness of the importance of the Noble Quran manifests obviously concerning worship besides Allah , where He says ,”Indeed those you [ polytheists] call upon besides Allah are servants like you . so call upon them and let them respond to you . If you should be truthful .So realization raising of calling upon other deities means associating them in worship with Allah be Exalted and Glorified .

  • shahbaz sameer

    32 – Almighty Allah replies to Iblees, “ Indeed ove my [ believing] servants there is for you no authority ,and sufficient is your Lord as disposer of affairs . truly Allah be Exalted and Glorified has the ability to protect His servants against the traps and intrigues of Iblees , because He is their All -protector and All – helper .

  • javed zeeshan

    1- Doubtless the Noble Quran plays a private part Muslims ‘ worldly life and the life to come .

  • shahbaz laraib

    82 – Almighty Allah enjoins through His dear Book our prophet [PBUH] to take the disbelievers and the ignorant with remission and enjoin with the tradition to show the tolerance and leniency of Islam . Allah be Exalted and Glorified says ,” Take what is given freely , enjoin what is good , and turn away from the ignorant .”

  • sana zubair

    29 – Almighty Allah has told about the refusal of Iblees when Allah ordered him to prostrate to Aadam , Allah says ,” And [mention ] when we said to the angels prostrate to Adam . and they prostrated , except for Iblees . He said, “ should I prostrate to one you created from clay ? “ .

  • hussain meerab

    57 : – The Noble Quran still goes ahead in implementing the commandments , it says ,” And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden , except by right . and whoever is killed unjustly – We have given his heir authority , but let him not exceed limits in[ the matter of ] taking life. Indeed he has been supported [by the law] .

  • shoaib atif

    99- The Noble Quran once more pledges to His Messenger to keep His promise for all His messengers. He says , “ So never think that Allah will fail in His promise to His Messengers . Indeed Allah is Exalted in Might and owner of Retribution,that is going to happen on the Day the earth will be replaced by another earth and the heavens [as well] .

  • ahmed ahsan

    97 – The holy Quran conveys to us the supplication of our prophet Abraaheem[MPW] to protect Makkah, to protect Him and his children from worshipping the idols,it says, “ And [mention, O Muhammad[, when Abrahan said , “ My Lord make this city [Makkah] and keep me and my sons away from worshippimg idols .”

  • haris hammad

    13 – Whenever we commit to reciting the Noble Quran and comprehending it, our life will be free from all troubles and the severe circumstances which might undermine the stability of our Islamic society and spread a sublime sense of the religion of truth to maintain the desired ends.

  • sameer danish

    46 – Certainly the Holy Quran plays significant role in our life specially when we recite it and practice it in our day to day life , because it is only and real guidance for us and for all those believe in Allah and the hereafter, therefore , Almighty Allah says, “This is the Book which there is no doubt about a guidance for those conscious of Allah .

  • noman zain

    48 – Allah the Almighty urges his Messenger [PBUH] to the Oneness as He says ,” Do not make [as equal ] with Allah another deity and [thereby] become censured and forsaken .Therefore , we are meant to follow what the prophet [PBUH] was ordered to do , namely the absolute Oneness of Allah .

  • sameer hasan

    we are still sailing with the luminous revelation , here we read the continuation of conversation between Almighty Allah and the damned creature[Iblees] ,[Do you see this one whom you have honoured above me ?, If you delay me until the Day of Resurrection ,I will surely destroy his descendants except for a few.” Go for whoever of them follows you ,indeed Hell will be the recompense of you – an ample recompense .

  • farhan shoaib

    The significance of the Noble quran stems from the best ways of guidance and commandments , where Allah be Exalted and Glorified says, “ And your Lord has decreed that you do not worship except him , and to parents good treatment , owing to the importance of His Oneness and handling parents leniently and politely to gain Allah ‘s satisfaction which will be in theirs , as His anger is in theirs too .

  • laraib yasir

    Allah be Exalted and Glorified advises His Messenger [PBUH] about the way of spending, where He says , “ and do not make your hand [as] chained to your neck or extend it completely and [thereby ] become blamed and insolvent . so spending sparingly , rather than totally extending a hand or handcuffing it .

  • daniyal maaz

    For the Noble Quran is the honoured book of Allah , it is always indispensable for us , because it guides us to the straight path and opens the gates of Allah’s mercy which allows all those who truly believe in Allah and fear Him as He should be feared through absolute compliance to His commands .

  • arshad aryan

    we are still sailing with the luminous revelation , here we read the continuation of conversation between Almighty Allah and the damned creature[Iblees] ,[Do you see this one whom you have honoured above me ?, If you delay me until the Day of Resurrection ,I will surely destroy his descendants except for a few.” Go for whoever of them follows you ,indeed Hell will be the recompense of you – an ample recompense .

  • ridwan asad

    The significance of the Noble Quran appears in its ever enormous influence as soon as people hear or listen to it , where it leads them to the path of the Exalted in Might , the praiseworthy . Therefore Almighty Allah has revealed it as guidance for a people who understand .

  • zayan hammad

    The Holy Quran is a Book that its prominence lies in bringing people out of darknesses into the light due to its great impact , so Almighty Allah addresses His Messenger [PBUH] saying, “ Alif Lam Ra .[ This is ] a Book which we have revealed to you,[O Muhammed ]that you might bring mankind out of darknesses into the light by permission of their Lord .”

  • faisal rohaan

    The Noble quran still shows us and reviews its significance in our lif guiding and leading our life towards the straight path , Allah be Exalted and Glorified enjoin us to give mensuration when we measure ,It says, “ and give full measure when you measure and weigh with an even balance . That is the best[ wy] and best result .

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