First of all I want to wish all my Muslim friends in Israel and around the world. “Eid Mubarak“!! Let’s learn more about Eid al-Adha, Hajj, and Mecca. Where is Mecca?
Eid al-Adha or Feast of the Sacrifice is the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated in the Muslim world each year (the other being Eid al-Fitr), and considered the holier of the two. Eid al Akha is the end of the annual Hajj to Mecca. It honours the willingness of Abraham –إِبْرَاهِيْم to sacrifice his son Ishmael – إسماعيل as an act of obedience to God’s command. But, before Abraham could sacrifice his son, God provided a lamb to sacrifice instead. In commemoration of this intervention, an animal is sacrificed ritually and divided into three parts. One share is given to the poor and needy, another is kept for home, and the third is given to relatives.
The Kaaba and the Black Stone
The Kaaba – كَعْبَة is a building at the center of Islam’s most important mosque, Great Mosque of Mecca (أَلمَسْجِد أَلحَرَام, The Sacred Mosque), in the Hejazi city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is the most sacred site in Islam.
Al-Ḥajaru al-Aswad, “the Black Stone”, is located on the Kaaba’s eastern corner. According to Muslim tradition, while Abraham was building the Kaaba, an angel brought to him the Black Stone which he placed in the eastern corner of the structure.
The stone was venerated at the Kaaba in pre-Islamic pagan times. In her book, Islam: A Short History, Karen Armstrong asserts that the Kaaba was officially dedicated to Hubal, a Nabatean deity, and contained 360 idols that probably represented the days of the year.
The nature of the Black Stone has been much debated. It has been described variously as basalt stone, an agate, a piece of natural glass or – most popularly – a stony meteorite.
Mecca at the Dawn of Islam, 600AD Map
While preparing this post I discovered a very interesting video by BinImad AlAteeqi describing Mecca which includes a map or Mecca at the Dawn of Islam, 600 AD. This is the first ever geographically detailed map of Mecca as it was during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad. This map had to merge modern maps with several old maps. They include Ottoman maps, Soviet Union Military maps, the Great Britain Naval Intelligence Division 1946 Map of Mecca, the Dutch (Netherlands) C. Snouck Hurgronje 1885 Map of Mecca and several other old Mecca illustrations.
- Sources include: The book History of Mekka by Al-Azraqi who passed away in approximately 864 AD and contains text originally written in 743 AD.
- The book The News of Mekka by Al-Fakihi who passed away in 892 AD.
- The book Shifa Al-Gharam which is also a history of Mekka by Al-Fasi who passed away in 1428 AD.
The Sacred City: Have We Got It Wrong?
Dan Gibson, based on his book Quranic Geography, presents compelling evidence that suggests the holy city of Mecca is in the wrong location and that the worlds 1.6 billion Muslims are praying in the direction of the wrong city. This video compiles evidence from both historic sources and new technologies point to the correct location – which they claim to be Petra. View Gibson’s video and let me know if you think his logic is convincing.
In “orthodox” Islam, Mecca, the birthplace of Muhammad, a cave 3 km from Mecca was the site of Muhammad’s first revelation of the Quran, and a pilgrimage to it, known as the Hajj, is obligatory for all able Muslims. Mecca is home to the Kaaba, one of Islam’s holiest sites and the direction of Muslim prayer. Mecca is regarded as the holiest city in Islam.
Hajj, the five day pilgrimage to the Holy City and the high plains of Arafat
In any event it is worthwhile to learn how the Hajj is preformed. Unfortunately only Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence.