Unique Merits of the Haram
Kaba The holiest and most blessed structure on the face of the earth is Kabah, the House of Allah, and the mosque that surrounds Kabah is called Masjid al-Haram. The reward of one prayer offered in it is worth one hundred thousand prayers offered elsewhere.
The city of Makkah around the Sacred Mosque and the whole territory surrounding Makkah up to several kilometers in every direction has been declared as sacred Haram (sanctuary).
Makkah was the birth place of Prophet Muhammad ( peace be upon him). Although he was forced to move to Madinah, he had profound admiration for Mecca. He is reported to have said:
“O Makkah! Had not my people forced me out from here,
I would never have liked to settle elsewhere.” (Tirmizi)
Moreover, Makkah is the heart of the world as the Holy Quran has called it
Umm-ul-Qura (The origin of the cities). (Surah ash-Shura 42:7)
Abraha, the king of Yaman, was extremely envious of the most sacred position enjoyed by the holy Kabah, which attracted a vast majority of mankind. In 570 or 571 AD, he invaded Makkah in order to raise Kabah to ground. His army comprised of 60 thousand soldiers and several elephants.
Once they were within the boundaries of the Haram, flock after flock of birds (swallows) suddenly appeared who were carrying pieces of stones in their beaks and claws with which they bombarded the invaders destroying them completely, Thus, Allah protected His house from the evil designs of the enemy. By the way, this incident happened in the same year in which the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was born. This incident is described briefly in the Quran (Surah al-Fil 105 : 1-5)
Forbidden things in the Haram
To cut or pull out from roots, trees, plants or other kinds of vegetation including thorny bushes, etc., growing in the sacred precincts of Mecca.
To hunt or kill wild animals except the following kind of animals or insects that are likely to be harmful: the wolf, attack dog, snake, scorpion, rat, lizard, crow, mosquito, bugs, flies, wasps, etc. It is permissible to kill these harmful creatures.
To enter the precincts of Haram without Ihram, the defaulter has to offer a sacrifice.
To clip or get ones hair shaved outside the bounds of Haram, the defaulter has to offer a sacrifice.
To pick up lost property except for the sake of identifying it to its owner.
It is allowed to slaughter and cook domestic animals, such as: cow, buffalo, goat, sheep, chicken, etc.
It is also permissible to hunt water animals.
Killing of someone was not allowed in Makkah before Islam; this prohibition was lifted for the Holy Prophet (Peace Be upon Him) for a short time on the day of the Conquest of Mecca, and after that was enforced again till the day of Judgment.
Around Makkah, the Holy Prophet has fixed such places that cannot be crossed by people going to Makkah without entering the state of Ihram (The pilgrim’s robe consisting of two seamless sheets, the detail of which will come at its place). These places are called Miqats and are five in number.
Zil-Hulaifa: This is the miqat for the residents of Madinah and for those who approach Makkah via that route. It is about 9 kilometers from Madinah and about 250 kilometers from Makkah.
Juhfah: This is the miqat for the people who come from Syria or from that direction. This is about 180 kilometers to the west of Makkah.
Qarn al-Manazil: This is a hilly place about 50 kilometers to the east of Makkah, and is the miqat for the people of Najd or for those coming from that side.
Zat Irq: This is the miqat for the people of Iran, Iraq and for those coming from that direction. This is about 80 kilometers towards the north-east side of Makkah.
Yalamlam: This is a hilly area about 60 kilometers to the south-east of Makkah and is the miqat for the people of Yaman and others coming from that direction. From example, it is the miqat for the pilgrims from India, Pakistan, China, Japan, etc., who come by ship.
The House Of Allah swt on Earth. The earliest structure dedicated to the worship of Allah SWT on Earth.
It is a cubic structure made of stones.
This simple building was re-built by Prophet Abraham PBUH and his oldest son, Prophet Ismaeel PBUH on receiving explicit instructions from Allah SWT.
It is now within Al-Masjidul Haram in Makka, Arabia.
Allah protects Ka’ba Shareef. As described in Surah Al-Fil of Al-Quran, (Al-Quran: Surah 105), the army of Abraha, the king of Yemen, was beaten back by birds carrying clay pebbles.
Muslims do NOT worship the Kaaba.
Prophet Ibraheem’s Legacy (peace be upon him)
Hajj demonstrates the essence of Islam which is belief in ONE SUPREME UNIVERSAL GOD. Allah, ALONE. All the ceremonies a pilgrim performs, all the places through which he goes during Hajj remind him of a great deal of history of this belief, Tawheed.
An inherent part of the history of Tawheed is the story of Prophet Ibraheem (peace be upon him) who rebuilt the first House of Allah, the Ka’ba, as the focal point for the worship of Allah ALONE.
The story of Prophet Ibraheem (Prophet Abraham, PBUH) is a long story of great sacrifices and complete submission to Allah. Coming through tremendous trials and sacrifices for the sake of Allah, he was elevated to the leadership of mankind.
And (remember) when the Lord of Ibraheem (Abraham) [i.e., Allah] tried him with (certain) Commands, which he fulfilled. He (Allah) said (to him), “Verily, I am going to make you an Imam (a leader) for mankind (to follow you).” [Ibrahim (Abraham)] said, “And of my offspring (to make leaders).” (Allah) said, “My Covenant (Prophethood) includes not Zaliman (polytheists and wrong-doers).”
When Ibraheem (peace be upon him) stood up to call people to the way of Allah, a series of trials and mountains of calamities fell on him. He was deported from his home, abandoned by his parents, relatives and friends, thrown in the fire meant to burn him alive, and, at last, exiled by the king of the country. Ibraheem (peace be upon him) survived all these trials and stood as firm as a rock for the sake of truth. While in exile he wandered in the parts of the known world at that time calling to the path of Allah. But he still had to face trials from His Lord. After he was blessed with a son at old age, he left his son Prophet Isma’eel and wife Saida Hajar (PBUT) in the barren desolate Baka (Makka) valley on Allah SWT’s commands. Allah SWT wanted to test him through this son too as a final test, and ordered him to sacrifice his beloved son. Ibraheem was successful in this test too. He took his son, Isma’eel to a mount called Marwah near the Ka’ba and laid him prostrate, face down, to slaughter him with his own hands. Satisfied with Ibraheem’s complete submission and profound love, Allah ransomed Isma’eel with a sacrificial animal. Nahr. (It is in commemmoration of this very event that animals are sacrificed during Hajj and by Muslims all over the world on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha).
In this manner, leadership of humanity was entrusted to Ibraheem and he became the pioneer of the universalIslamic movement. Now in order to give an impetus to this movement, he felt the need of men who would settle down in different areas and operate from there as his deputies.
Thus he appointed his elder son Isma’eel, younger son Ishaq (Isaac) and nephew Lut (Lot) (PBUT) in various parts of the known world of that time. Isma’eel was kept in Arabia at Makka and Ibraheem himself stayed with him for a long time to spread the teaching of Islam in all parts of Arabia.
“They said: “Burn him and help your aliha (gods), if you will be doing.” We (Allah) said: “O fire! Be you coolness and safety for Ibrahim (Abraham)!”
They said: “Build for him a building (it is said that the building was like a furnace) and throw him into the blazing fire!” So they plotted a plot against him, but We made them the lowest.
And he said (after his rescue from the fire): “Verily, I am going to my Lord. He will guide me!” “My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous.” So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy.
And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: “O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allah), so look what you think!” He said: “O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Insha’ Allah (if Allah wills), you shall find me of As-Sabiran (the patient).”
Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering);
And We called out to him: “O Abraham! You have fulfilled the dream (vision)!” Verily! Thus do We reward the Muhsinan (good-doers – see V.2:112). Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (i.e. – a ram); And We left for him (a goodly remembrance) among the later generations. Salamun (peace) be upon Ibraheem (Abraham)!” (Al-Qur’an 37:97-109)