Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mecca, the Holiest City in Islam

Kaaba in Mecca
Pilgrims circumambulating the Kaaba during the Hajj in Mecca
Photo by: Muhammad Mahdi KarimCreative Commons
Mecca, also called Makkah, is a city in Saudi Arab. It is the holiest city in Islam, which is considered to be very sacred to Muslims faith. There is a saying that goes: “anyone who is born a Muslim, must visit Mecca at least once to wash his or her sins”. It is very interesting to know that almost two to three million Hajjis (pilgrimage to Mecca) pay visit to this city every year. Mecca today is facing both good and bad times. Good times because its popularity and bad times because of infrastructure problem.
Mecca is the home of Masjid Al Haram. Initially, it was a place for trading during the 7th century. Also, till 1924, it was governed by the local sheriffs’. After that, it saw a lot of modernization in its size and structure. Today, it is ruled by the local municipality of Mecca with a Mayor who is directly appointed by the Government of Saudi Arabia.
The history of Mecca takes one back to 2000 BC, with some people believing that Abraham built the Kaaba with his son, Ishmael. Over the years, this place had almost three hundred and sixty idols. Mecca today has the biggest Mosque in the world. Everyday, daily prayers are offered in it and another step is being taken by the government to renovate the entire place so that it can accommodate 900000 people at a time.
By Saudi law, non-Muslims are forbidden to enter Mecca, which is strictly enforced by the government.

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