Ta'if (pronounced "Taayef", also written Taif) is a city in western Saudi Arabia. It is in the mountains near Mecca and was once used as the summer capital, letting the royal family get out of the much hotter Riyadh.
city in western Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabian city
place in Red Sea State, Sudan
Abraj Al Bait
This 601 m megatall building has become a modern symbol of Mecca. It is the third tallest building in the world and incorporates the world's largest clock face. The building houses a five star hotel, a large prayer area capable of accommodating 10,000 people, a 5-story grand shopping mall, and numerous eateries.
Great Mosque of Mecca
The holiest site in Mecca and Islam is Grand Mosque. The massive mosque is the world's largest mosque and can accommodate up to 2 million people at once. The mosque has been continuously expanded and still going through major expansion and renovation. This mosque is the focal point of the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.
At the center of the grand mosque is the Kaaba, which according to Muslim traditions was built by the Prophet Abraham and his son, the Prophet Ishmael. Covered in black cloth, it is circled seven times by Muslim pilgrims and it is toward the Kaaba that Muslims face in the direction while performing Islamic prayers (Salat). The Black Stone set intact into the Kaaba's eastern cornerstone wall by Muhammad himself is an Islamic relic which, according to Muslim tradition, dates back to the time of Adam and Eve. Many Muslim pilgrims while doing Tawaf try to kiss and touch the sacred stone; however, this usually requires a lot of effort because of crowding.
Safa and Marwa
Holy Mountains in Makkah الجبال المقدسة في مكة
This is the cemetery in which companions and relatives of Prophet Muhammed are buried, including his first wife, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great great-grandfather.
This is the cave in which Prophet Muhammed hid in as he made departure to Yathrib (now Medina) from Mecca while being pursued by Quraish of Mecca who were planning to harm him. According to traditions, once Muhammad and his companion made entrance into the cave, the entrance was blocked by a spider which had cast a web to cover it and gave the impression to members of Quraish that no one has made entrance inside the cave since a long time thus saved life of Muhammad. Today, many pilgrims climb up the 1,405 m high mountan to see the cave.
Mina, Saudi Arabia
Mina is a neighborhood of Mecca. It has the nick name of Tent City, as there are hundred of thousands of air-conditioned tents in the area, which act as temporary accommodations for pilgrims during Hajj time. The pedestrian-only Jamaraat Bridge, where the symbolic ritual of Stoning of the Devil is done, is located here.
70m (230 ft) high Hill of Arafat is a granite hill in the outskirts of Mecca is the site where Prophet Muhammad stood and delivered the Farewell Sermon to the Muslims during the last day of his life. During Hajj, pilgrims spend the whole day on and around this hill doing prayers.
Someday we will visit Mecca or begin to dream about going there! However, for now its not on our radar.
Let us know in the comments if you think that should change!
Once a dusty desert town, Mecca, in what is now Saudi Arabia, is today the real Mecca for Muslims. Other than being the foremost place of pilgrimage for Muslims worldwide, it is the cultural capital of the Islamic world and a true melting pot of worldwide Muslims. Mecca or Makkah, the holiest city in Islam, is the place where the Prophet Muhammad was born and raised, and is believed by Muslims to have received the first revelations of the Quran. And this is where the Kaaba is — in the centre of Islam's most sacred mosque, Masjid al-Haram, which is the direction that all Muslims from all over the world face when performing Islamic ritualistic prayer (salat). Masjid al-Haram or The Grand and the Sacred Mosque, the largest mosque in the world, is visited by millions of Muslims throughout the year, especially during the last month of the Islamic calendar, to perform Hajj, the pilgrimage which is a mandatory religious duty for every Muslim who can afford it.
Mecca's culture has been affected by the large number of pilgrims that arrive annually, and thus boasts a rich cultural heritage. As a result of the vast numbers of pilgrims coming to the city each year, Mecca has become by far the most diverse city in the Muslim world. In contrast to the rest of Saudi Arabia, and particularly Najd, Mecca has, according to The New York Times, become "a striking oasis" of free thought and discussion and, also, of "unlikely liberalism" as "Meccans see themselves as a bulwark against the creeping extremism that has overtaken much Islamic debate".
Mecca houses Al-Haram Mosque, the largest mosque in the world. The mosque surrounds the Kaaba, which Muslims turn towards while offering daily prayer. This mosque is also commonly known as the Ḥaram or Grand Mosque.
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