Mecca is an ancient city and has deep roots in history and has been called by multiple names over the periods of times and perhaps the name is derived from the word (bak), which means the valley. And Macca name was mentioned in the Quran as Becca.
Prophet Abraham Era, peace be upon him:
It is likely that Makkah was first inhabited during the days of our Master Abraham and his son Ismail peace be upon them, which means the nineteenth century BC. God responded to Prophet Abraham prayer and when Ismail peace be upon him and his mother Hajer ran out of water Zamzam water broke up from under the feet of Ismael, peace be upon him and the tribes started to come to the place of water. (Sharifi, 1969: 10).
Mecca in Khuzaa Era:
In the late third century AD, Khuzaa with the leadership of Rabiha Bin Al Hareth to take charge of Makkah, and he was succeeded by Amro Bin Lahi Khuzaie, who was one of the first to replace the religion of Abraham, peace be upon with paganism.
Mecca in Kuraish Era:
Mecca rule moved from Khuzaa to Quraish after the rule of Yaamor Bin Awf Bin Ka'b Ibn El Laith, because of the many conflicts that happened between Khuzaa, where Yaamor Bin Awf ordered Khuzaa not to leave her place in Mecca. And perhaps the most important event that happened in this age is the arrival of Abraha Al Ashram to demolish the Sacred House in 571 AD, and the year was called the elephant year and it is the year when Prophet Mohammed (God bless Him and grant him salvation) was born.
Mecca in the period of the prophecy:
There is no doubt that the appearance of the Prophet (God bless Him and grant him salvation) had a great influence on the change of life in Makkah and in the world, where he preached and insisted on seeking knowledge and it is sufficient that the first verse revealed in the Koran urges to obtain knowledge. Also Prophet Mohammed (God bless Him and grant him salvation) changed many social issues for example, set the number of wives, organized marriage and divorce affairs and terminated tribalism. And Mekka became the cradle of science, where some of the Prophetís friends like Ibn Massoud, and Bin Abbas, and Abu Dharr Ghaffari, Ibn Omar and Abi Al Dardaa were used to visit Macca occasionally after the conquest and Mecca benefited from their sciences.
Mecca in the Era of the Orthodox Caliphs:
The Grand Mosque has become crowded with narrators, readers, and Islamic brotherhoods; and it witnessed the first expansion in the days of Omar Bin Al Khattab (God bless him), which included the addition of walls and doors to the Mosque in 17 Hegira. Then the Caliph Othman bin Affan (God bless him) renewed and expanded the Grand Mosque and added to it a roofed corridor.
Mecca in the Ommiad Era:
The Ommiad caliphate started in the era of Muawiya bin Abi Sufyan, whose rule began in year 41 Hegira. The Ommiads performed many reformations which included opening new roads and looking after religious and scientific matters; and in 91 Hegira the Ommiad Caliph Walid bin Abdul Malik renewed and expanded the Grand Mosque and roofed the corridors and formed the columns of marble.
Mecca in the Abbasid Age:
The Abbasids were interested in the structure of the holy Mosque where Abu Jaafar al-Mansuri ordered to purchase the houses north of the mosque so he increased the area of the holy mosque in makkah and took care of the beauty of the mosque, where he decorated the corridors roofs with many types of inscriptions and made the floors of marble. And in the year 160 Hegira Zad El Mahdi bought some spaces inside the mosque and built Al Kawayer House (a house for Al Rasheed made of glass from the inside and mosaic from the outside between Al Safaa and Al Marwah) and one of the most obvious reforms in the Abbasid Age is the expansion of the Grand Mosque and encouraging of the study sessions, the science, and the scientists. A number of Alawis revolutions took place but ended in failure.
In 317 Hegira Alqaramita were able to seize Mecca during the pilgrimage season, and took away the Black Stone, and then put back in the year 330 Hegira.
Then Al Khachidion ruled Mecca between 331 and 357 Hegira.
The First Class:
In the 358 Hegira Jafar bin Mohammed Al-Hussein was expelled, thus established the government of the first class which consisted of nobles. They were called Al Mousaweyeen in relevance to Mousa El Juni.
The Second Class:
Those are Al Sulaimaneyoun in relevance to Soulaiman Bin Moussa El Jun Bin Abdallah Bin Al Mahd Bin Al His Bin Ali Bin Abi Taleb (God bless him), who evacuated all Mousaweyeen.
The Third Class:
Al Hawashem ruled Mecca after they evacuated Al Sulaimaneyoun who their rule continued only for two years, with the help of "Ali bin Mohammed Alslaihi" the governor of Yemen, and their rule extended to the year 597 Hegira.
The Fourth Class:
Bani Qatada. "Qatada inhabited the desert, and when they increased in number Qatada took them to Yanbuh and occupied it; then he headed to Mecca and seized it and evacuated Bani Hashem in 597 Hegira and they remained in rule for nearly seven and a half centuries they were evacuated by the Saudis.
The Saudi Rule:
In 17/3/1343 Hegira King Abdul Aziz (God bless his soul) entered Mecca, and preached the people who had gathered to receive him (Amine Asaad P/2 166:2), and since that time, Mekka witnessed an unprecedented instructional, nutritional, social, economic, and cultural renaissance. Reconstruction of the Grand Mosque over history: (Ministry of Public Information Media, 1411 Hegira). The Almighty God called the Holy Mosque with many name to be clear for the people what obligations they have to the Grand Mosque of respect and tribute to its virtues and honor. Prophet Abraham and his son Ismail (peace be upon them) were the first to dwell in Mecca, and set the rules of the Grand Mosque. Houses used to surround the Grand Mosque from all directions from one era to another till the increases started in the following manner:
- The increase done by Omar Bin Al Khattab (may God bless him) took place in the 17th year after the blessed Prophetís migration.
- The increase done by Othman bin Affan Di Alnorin (may God bless him) where added to it a roofed corridor and this was in the 26th year after the blessed Prophetís migration.
- The increase done by Abdullah Bin Al-Zubayr (may God bless him) in the 66th Hegira year.
- The increase done by Walid Bin Abdul Malik in (91) Hegira, as he added other areas to the Mosque renewed its construction and established marble columns, and it was the first them the Mosque contained columns.
- The increase of Abu Jaafar Al-Mansur in the year (139 Hegira), which added other areas to the mosque, and some corridors.
- The increasing done by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mahdi in (160 Hegira) where he added to the Grand Mosque on both the Northern and Eastern directions; and in the year (164 Hegira) Al Mahdi ordered to expand the Mosque form the southern direction.
- In the year (284 Hegira), the Abbasid Caliph Al-Motadid Billah added to the area of the mosque and a new door known as the "Bab El Ziyadah"
- The Abbasid Caliph Al Moqtader Billah added another area to the mosque, and this increase is known as Abrahamís Door in year (306 Hegira); and in (604 Hegira) a fire demolished part of the Grand Mosque, then, the governor of Egypt Sultan Faraj Bin Barkouk ordered the reform of the dilapidated site and reconstructed it perfectly.
- And in (979 Hegira), the renewal of Sultan Selim the Ottoman renewed the construction of the whole Mosque.
- The Saudi Arabian blessed expansion: One of the most concerns of King Abdul Aziz (God bless his soul) were the affairs of the Two Holy Mosques. He announced (God bless his soul) in a statement (1386 Hegira) a promise to the Muslims of his intention to expand the Two Holy Mosques, starting with the blessed Prophetic Mosque.
And in (1375 Hegira) work has begun on the expansion of the Grand Mosque, which is known by the first Saudi Arabian expansion, and it was in the reign of King Saud bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (God bless his soul).
The New Saudi Expansion:
The project of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (may God bless him) aimed to expand the Grand Mosque in Mecca in order to raise the space capacity to the greatest extent possible and to provide more places to pray in the mosque or the surrounding arenas. Its added area reached (76000) square meters and deals with the expansion of the Grand Mosque in the western part of the "small market", Umrah Door, and the King Door, which accommodates about (140000) oratories in the ground floor, upper floor, and the roof.
Mecca is located on the lower slopes of El Sarwat mountains; it represents a meeting point between Tehama and El Sarwat mountains, and thus lies in the west of the Arabian Peninsula "in the west of Saudi Arabia" 75 km to the east of the Red Sea, and nearby at about 80km to the south east is the Taif city. Astronomical Site: Mecca is located on a latitude 19, 25.21 north and longitude 26, 59, 39 east, and rises 300 meters above sea level.
Mecca elevations are mountainous heights of granite of height from 20 to 1912 meters above sea level and Mecca is located on the slopes of these mountains.
Ahmed Al Mouhandis said that "the region of Macca is a part of the Arabian Shield, and most of its rocks are underground igneous ones, which are mostly of the granite type, and there are some sedimentary and metamorphic formations.
And in general, the geological construction of Mekka dates back to the times of ancient geological formations, and its rocks have good resistance to the inner and apparent elements.
Mecca is located within the transitional zone between the effects of both the Mediterranean and seasonal climates; and the Red Sea slightly affects it. Mecca is located in the northern tropical region, so the temperature rises in summer and gets warm in winter, and has few irregular rains. In winter, the winds are northwestern, while northeastern and dry in summer.
Entrances to the Mosque:
The mosque includes four main entrances, and forty one sub entrances, and six for the underground floor, and above the mosque are domes, and nine giant minarets distributed on the four main entrances two for each entrance, and the ninth minaret is located above Al Safa Door. Escalators are found around the mosque, which contains three floors and each floor includes at (492) columns coated with marble, and Islamic inscriptions. The Kaaba is located at the center of the mosque, and has the shape of a square, and its door rises up two meters from the ground which can be reached by a ladder, and in the corner to the left of the Kaaba door is the Black stone one and a half meters up.
The corridors of the Grand Mosque:
Corridors of the Grand Mosque are covered with magnificent crowns, and the mosque is supplied with mattresses and luxurious carpets, and air conditioners, and lamps and antiques. The outside fronts of the mosque are 21 meters high, all embroidered with Islamic inscriptions.
The covering of the Kaaba:
The Kaaba before Islam was covered with palm mattresses, as well as with leather and Yemeni textiles; and Qureish, since Kussai era, has followed a certain system in covering the Kaaba which it used to impose on the tribes, each according to its degree of wealth. At the age of Islam, the Prophet covered it with Yemeni clothes, then Omar and Othman covered it with Coptic from Egypt; and when Moaawiya came to rule, he covered it with two materials: the Coptic and the silk brocade.
The Abbasid Caliph Al-Mahdi was the first to cover it with black silk, and when the Abbasid State got weakened, Egypt and Yemen rulers covered the Kaaba; then rulers of Egypt alone covered it in 1381 Hegira / 1962 AD. Then King Abdul Aziz covered it after that with black silk, and since then a factory specialized in manufacturing Kaaba covering was established in Mecca.
The Black Stone:
A feature of the Grand Mosque, a sapphire of heaven and is a glossy elliptic irregular black stone, which tends to glow, and has red points and yellow curves, and is located in the corner to the left of the Kaaba on a height of (1.5 ) meters from the ground.
The first who put the Black Stone was Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), and after him Prophet Mohammed (God bless him and grant him salvation) before the mission when the tribes were fighting and almost in got into war on who to put the stone in its place after they finished building the Kaaba; then they decided to let the first man who reaches them decide on the issue. It happened that the Prophet was the first to pass by them, so they asked him to judge between them, so he carried the stone with his both blessed hands and put on a clothe and asked each of the tribes leaders to catch a side of the clothe then they lifted it altogether and the Prophet put it in its place, hence ended the dispute.
This stone was buried by Amro Bin Al-Harith Al Jerehmi in Zamzam before going outside of Mecca, but a woman of Khaza'a saw him and they put it back to place. And when Al Qaramita seized Mecca they took this stone with them to Hajar, and its place stayed empty for twenty-two years when it was put back again in place. This plot had been repeated on the black stone, the last of which was in Moharam month of the year 1351 Hegira/ 1932, which was carried out by a man from Afghan who took the stone and a piece of the Kaaba cover and a piece of the Kaaba runway, but they were put back in place.
It is the stone upon which Abraham stood when the building of the Kaaba got higher, so Ismail put the stone for Abraham to stand on it while he was building. This stone remained attached to the Kaaba wall till the days of Omar Bin Al Khattab who detached it from the Kaaba; and Abrahamís footprint can be seen on it till now.
It is a wall located north of the Kaaba called Alhatim, in the form of a semi-circle, and when Qureish built the Kaaba they deducted six cubits from its northern side and included them in the Stone. Then Abdullah Bin Zubair returned what Qureish deducted of the Holy House once again. Then in the era of Al Hajaj six cubits and one inch were deducted from the Kaaba and included in the Stone, which is still in this state to the present.
The stone passed by many architectural stages, so the first to put marble stones on it was Abu Jaafar Al-Mansur, the Abbasid Caliph. After that, the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mahdi renewed the marble of the Stone, and in 161 Hegira / 778. This was followed by a number of renovations and repairs over the centuries.
Al Safa and Al Marwa:
The Ceremony of Running:
They are two mountains in Mecca, the ceremony of running between them is considered an essential part of the pilgrimage trip, and between Safa and Marwah are four hundred and ninety-three steps, also there is a great market of grain, meat, dates, ghee, etc.; no such organized market is found in Mecca except for this one, making the pilgrims getting stuck with such people traffic at the market shops.
Thus, by time, changes, renovations, and repairs were carried out which made this place of two floors with length (294.5) meters, and width (20) meters, and in the center of the ground floor there is a barrier dividing it into two paths, one is dedicated for the running from Safa to Marwah, and the second from Marwah to Safa, and in the center is a narrow two-way passage, dedicated for the disabled who are unable to rush. It has sixteen doors at the eastern side, and the upper floor has two entry points one at Al Safa and another at Al Marwah, and for this floor from within are two ladders, one at the door of ASafa, and the other at the Peace Door.
It is a well located near the Kaaba, and has a hole under the surface at a depth of (156) cm. In the space behind the sacred tomb to the left facing the Grand Mosque is a stone of round shape written on it ďZemzem WellĒ. This stone is vertical with respect to the hole under the surface; and at the end there is a ladder leading to the opening of the well.
Zemzem well is divided into two parts: the first part is built at a depth of (12.80) meters from the well hole. The second part is dug in the mountainís rocks with a length of (17.20) meters, and there are three springs feeding Zemzem well: one to the side of the Kaaba facing the corner which has the most flow of water, and another facing Abi Qubeis Mount and Al Safa; and the third spring to the side of Al Marwah. Those three springs is found at the wall of the well at a depth of (13) meters from the wellís opening hole.
The history of this well began when our Master Abraham (peace be upon him) came with his wife and his son Ismail to Mecca which was a deserted desert with no water and no plantation, till the wife and the son ran out of water left by Abraham, so Ismailís mother began running between Safa and Marwah looking for water for her son Ismail. And when she got desperate after many tries, suddenly water ran out of the fingers of her son, and this was the beginning of a new life for this place where Ismail (peace be upon him) settled next to Jorhom tribe and married one of their daughters.
After a period of time Jorhom tribe underestimated the sanctity of the Sacred House of God, so they stole the Kaaba money, and caused many damages in the House, so God punished them by draining and cutting out till its place was lost. Then Abdul Muttalib digged it another time after the Elephant Year which witnessed a new dawn with the birth of Prophet Mohammed (God bless him and grant him salvation).