Tag Archives: Makkah Al Mukarramah City
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan has arrived and the Muslims around the world are making preparations for it. Why do Muslims wake up in the early hours to do seher (meals before fajr) and why do they wait until sunset to break their fast. Nearly 2 billion Muslims in the world believe Ramadan is the holiest month in the year. It is a month in which the holy book of Islam, Qur’an, was revealed to the Holy Prophet (saw).
In Hijri calendar or Islamic calendar, which is based on the lunar cycle, Ramadan is the ninth month that commenced in 622 AD when Holy Prophet (saw) migrated from Mecca to Medina.
All this month, Muslims do not eat or drink from fajr to Maghrib (dawn to dusk). One of the five pillars of Islam is fasting. The other pillars of Islam are the shahadah (which is the declaration of faith), salat or namaz (the five daily prayers), zakat (charity or almsgiving), and Hajj the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Fasting gives Muslims an understanding of how poor and less privileged feel. They also constantly fight against to their lower self which is nothing but the selfish desires. The fasting is considered to increase patience, generosity towards others and closeness to Allah (SWT).
The Ramadan is also a time of gathering in communities. The Muslims invite their neighbors, relatives and friends to eat together at iftar (evening meal). They also recite special Tarawih prayers in jamaat (congregation). They give importance to reciting the Qur’an more often.
According to Islamic teachings, Healthy Muslim men and women are required to fast during the month. People who were unable to fast during Ramadan due to illness can make up the missed fasts later. But if a person is not in a condition to fast at all, specifically on health reasons, then he/she may compensate by feeding a needy person for each day they do not fast.
Scientists have discovered that short periods of fasting improves immune system and if controlled properly can have a number of health benefits, and potentially it also help overweight people.
The fasting helps in providing the human body right proportion of carbohydrates, fat and protein and it is advisable to restrain away from oily feasts just after breaking the fast. As a matter of fact it may lead to gaining weight.
During the fasting process, the body utilizes glucose and then slowly starts to burn fat, thus helping in losing weight. With prolonged fasting, for many days and months, the body will set out to use protein for energy. But fasting is not just staying away from food and drink, it is basically fighting with our ego and to understand the favors bestowed upon us by Allah Almighty.
At the end of the month, the festival of Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims worldwide is known as Eid al-Fitr. It falls on the first day of the new Islamic month of Shawwal and it is strictly forbidden to fast on this day. Because all those who fasted are rewarded by Allah (SWT) on this day, the angels call it the day of prize giving. The Muslims rejoice and greet each other with Eid Mubarak.
It is Islamic tradition to celebrate Eid al-Fitr with delicious sweet breakfast, and to give charity to needy people before going to Eid prayers. It is also important to attend the Eid prayers in congregation. Muslims celebrate the day of Eid by wearing new or clean clothes, giving gifts, and visiting relatives, friends and family.
Makkah is an incredibly famous Pilgrimage centre located in Saudi Arabia. Legend has it that the descendants of Prophet Ismail played a major role in building the city of Makkah. Being the holiest city in Islam, it is home to Masjid Al-Haram. The Holy Prophet (saw) spread the message of Islam in Makkah about 1400 years ago. Today the religion has reached to every corner of the world. The city was a trading hub and an influential political center, which played a crucial role in the early history of Islam. Until 1924, it was ruled by the Ottomans. Now it is under the control of the House of Saud’s. Under their governance, Makkah has witnessed and undergone huge expansions in size and infrastructure.
At present, it is the Capital city of Saudi Arabia’s Makkah Province. The Muslims pray in the direction of Kaaba. It is an ancient stone structure built by the Prophet Abraham in the early 2000 BC. The tawaf is a ritual wherein the Muslims are required to circle around the Kaaba in anticlockwise direction.
The Muslims regard Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) as the holiest site in Makkah and Islam. It is the largest mosque in the world, the vast expanse of it can easily accommodate nearly 2 million pilgrims at a time. The mosque was in the process of continuous expansion and it is still going through major renovation work. The mosque is the cynosure for Muslims to perform Hajj and Umrah.
The Zamzam well was a divinely blessing to Hagar, mother of Prophet Ismail. They were provided with the water of Zamzam amidst hot and extremely harsh conditions of Makkah. It is known to quench thirst and at the same time satisfy hungriness. It is also helpful in curing illnesses and other diseases. The Holy water of Zamzam is served to the pilgrims using state of the art coolers installed in various places at the Masjid al-Haram and also at the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina. The pilgrims never miss any chance to drink of this Holy water.
A valid visa is required to enter Makkah al-Mukarramah. The nationals of Saudi Arabia or the citizens from GCC countries (Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates) are an exemption. Special visas are arranged and issued to the pilgrims under the authority of Diplomatic Missions of Saudi Arabia. The government takes preliminary measures to ensure hassle free travel and accommodation. Every year millions of pilgrims travel to the Holy city of Makkah. They can either apply for Hajj or Umrah visas. Local travel agencies are preferred by the pilgrims to take care of documentations. As per the Islamic law, a woman is required to travel with a Mahram (male guardian). In the absence of a Mahram, she is required to travel with a group. Utmost care and security is provided to the pilgrims.
The city has ultra modern transportation system and the road connectivity to other major cities is of world class standards. The means of transportation within the city limits is inexpensive. The commuters can easily travel to every corner of the city with round the clock availability of taxis, buses and micros buses. The city now has the world class Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro transportation system. Built in the year 2010, its main purpose is to carry the pilgrims to religious sites. The length of the Metro is 18 km. It has already become very popular with the pilgrims.
Makkah is the religious capital of Islam and hence every Muslim desires to visit this Holy place once in his lifetime.