Holy City of Makkah,the Holy Sites for Pilgrimage..
History of the Holy City of Makkah
The Grand Mosque
In its long history Makkah has also been known as Bakkah.
In ancient times, Makkah was chiefly notable as a staging post on the
trade route linking the spice producers of the east with Mesopotamia and
the Mediterranean. Makkah lay about midway between Marib, one of the
main cities, perhaps the capital, of the kingdom of Sheba (Yemen) and
Petra (in Jordan), a city founded by Nabatean Arabs around the 6th
century CE and which became a thriving center with commercial interests
spreading into Syria.
The religious significance of Makkah was established long before Islamic
times. It was in Makkah that Allah commanded Ibrahim to leave Haajar
and his young son Ishmael; it was in Makkah that Allah brought forth
water from the Well of Zamzam which saved the life of Ishmael and his
mother and then allowed Makkah to develop as a habitable place; it was
in Makkah that Allah instructed Ibrahim to build "the House of God" (the
a result, from earliest times, Makkah became a place of pilgrimage and,
although as centuries passed the pure faith of the Prophet Ibrahim
became corrupted by idolatry and paganism, Makkah retained its hold on
the minds of men as a place where men should worship. When Makkah came
under the control of the Quraysh tribe, it was a noted trading center, a
place for pilgrimage and the site of festivals chiefly remarkable for
intensely fought poetry competitions and the excessive behavior of the
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
was born in Makkah in 570 CE. When, following revelations, Muhammad
opposed the paganism of the Makkan establishment and began to spread the
word of Islam, he was forced by the Makkans to leave the city. He went
to Madinah which proved more receptive to his understanding of the will
of God. In 630 CE, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) returned to Makkah, taking the city without resistance and purging it of all elements of idolatry. He cleared the Kaaba of the 360 "gods" within, dedicating the Kaaba
once more to the pure worship of the one and only God, and establishing
Makkah as a place of pilgrimage for all Muslims.
From that time, the Holy City of Makkah has been the heart of the Muslim
world. It grew in importance as Islam spread and, for the most part,
retained a large degree of independence. When the seat of Muslim power
moved to Damascus and then later to Iraq under the Abassid Caliphate,
Makkah acknowledged each in turn. In 1269 CE, the Mamluk Sultans from
Egypt asserted their power over Makkah. And in 1517 CE, the Turks
under the Ottomans in Constantinople held sway over the Holy City.
Nevertheless, throughout these great shifts in power in the region, the
descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
remained the local rulers of Makkah. When the Ottoman Empire
collapsed at the end of the First World War, Abdul Aziz Al Saud (Ibn
Saud) came out of central Arabia, the Najd, and, armed with a deep
commitment to the pure form of Islam, took control of Makkah, accepting
guardianship of the Holy Sites as a prime responsibility of the Kingdom he founded, the modern state of Saudi Arabia.