Get interesting information about Masjid al-Haram that is the biggest mosque in the world. It is situated in the city of Makkah, it is surrounded by the Kaaba, the place where Muslims turn in daily prayers and is the Holiest site of Islam. Masjid-ul-Haram is also known as the Grand Mosque.
Importance of Masjid-ul-Haram:
Muslims around the world face the Kaaba during prayers, regardless of where they are thus signifying unity among all the Muslims. This is called facing the Qibla.
According to the Quran:
““Verily, We have seen his (Muhammad SAWW) face turned towards the heaven. Surely, we shall turn you to a Qibla (prayer direction) that shall please you, so turn your face within the direction of Masjid al-Haram. And wheresoever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in this direction.”
History of Masjid ul Haram:
Masjid-ul-Haram is a mosque that surrounds the Kaaba in Makkah, Makkah is a province of Saudi Arabia. It is a place of pilgrimage for Hajj and Umrah.
Hajj is a pilgrimage as Umrah, but there is a difference in importance, rituals and times. It is one of the five pillars of Islam on which the whole Islamic edifice stands. Hajj is an integral part of Islam, and it applies to all Muslims who can perform it physically, financially and mentally. The Hajj is a journey to Makkah and its environs, as the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) performed it, but it is a more sacred journey than any other.
Umrah is also an important stage, one of the sacred responsibilities offered by Muslims all over the world. It is not necessary, but Muslims all over the world do it to prepare for the sins committed in their lives and to seek forgiveness.
The rituals of both pilgrimages include the circumambulations of the Kaaba inside the mosque. The Grand Mosque includes other important sites, including Blackstone, Zamzam Water, Maqame Ibrahim, and the Hills of Safa and Marwah.
First Construction of the Masjid-ul-Haram:
According to the Qur’an, Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) along with his son Hazrat Ismail (A.S) laid the foundation of a house, which is known by observers as the Kaaba. Allah Almighty showed Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) the exact location, very near to the Zamzam water well where the Kaaba is located now, Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) and Hazrat Ismail (A.S) started work on the construction of Kaaba. After the construction of the Kaaba, an angel brought to him the Black Stone (Hajr-e-Aswad), a celestial stone which, according to tradition, fell from heaven on the nearby hill Abu Qubays. It is believed that the black stone is just a remnant of the original structure made by Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S).
After placing the Black Stone in the Eastern corner of the Kaaba, Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) received a revelation, in which Allah (SWT) told the aged prophet that he should now go and declare the pilgrimage to mankind, so that men may come from Saudi Arabia and from the areas of the world which are far away from Saudi Arabia, on camels and horses. The Black Stone came away from the Kaaba during the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W) lifetime, and it is said then the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W) personally placed it back into the corner, where it sits today. At the Kaaba northwestern edge, a curved area known as the Hateem (Hijr Ismail) represents the area believed to have been part of the information original boundary when it was built by the Prophet Ibrahim.
Construction History of Masjid-ul-Haram in the Era of Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab:
The mosque has been extended, refurbished and renovated over its long history. Construction began in the 7th century (Gregorian calendar) under Caliph Hazrat Umar (R.A). To serve a growing number of pilgrims, he destroyed buildings around the Kaaba and built a wall. In 777, Abbasid Caliph Al Mahdi destroyed the original mosque, along with surrounding buildings. In their place, Abbasid Caliph Al Mahdi built the biggest mosque based on a grid plan. Many of today’s structures date to an extended renovation that was done in 1571.
Expansion of Masjid-ul-Haram:
Most of the wings and additions of Masjid-ul-Haram date to the 1950s or later. King Abdulaziz Al Saud initiated the expansion works, followed by King Fahd. King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz was behind a plan to greatly increase the mosque’s range from about 800,000 pilgrims to 2 million. A fourth expansion plan, under the current King Salman, adds air conditioning to all included areas and enlarges the northern part. When construction is complete, slated for the year 2018, the world’s biggest mosque will serve 2.5 million people.
The latest building covers an area of 356,800 square metres (88.2 acres) including the outdoor and indoor praying areas and can hold up to four million Muslim pilgrims during the Hajj period, one of the largest yearly crowds of people in the world.
As of August 2020, the Great Mosque is the largest mosque and the eighth largest structure in the world. The Great Mosque has undergone major renovations and extensions through the years.
How can Muslims visit the Grand Mosque (Masjid-ul-Haram)?
There is nothing difficult to visit the Grand Mosque (Masjid-ul-Haram) for all Muslims. If they have a valid visa of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
There are many kinds of visas to enter in Saudi Arabia but for the Spiritual Journey there are 3 types of visas which are given below:
- Umrah Visa:
All Muslims can easily take Umrah Visas who have genuine and real documents. You can take the Umrah Visa from any local company which is allowed from the Umrah embassy. Simply you can buy Umrah Package from the authorized company which includes: Return flight, accommodation in both holy cities (Makkah and Medina), Umrah Visa, and ground transfers in Saudi Arabia. You cannot travel to Saudi Arabia on Umrah Visa during the Hajj time. After the month of Ramadan, the Umrah visa is closed. The validity of the Umrah visa is 14 days or 1 Month and this depends on the Saudi Embassy.
Umrah Visa processing time:
For applying the Umrah visa total time needed that are 15 days as maximum after submitting all of the documents. It’s necessary for you to bring a passport with a minimum of 8 months legality from visa applying date.
- Tourist Visa:
After the Hajj 2019, Saudi Embassy published the tourist visa of Saudi Arabia. Anyone can use this visa except for some Asian Countries. All Muslims can visit all the cities of Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa, but Non-Muslims cannot enter in the Makkah and Medina. There are 2 kinds of Tourist visas. The first one is a single entry visa and the validity of single entry is 3 months and you can stay 30 days in Saudi Arabia. The second kind of tourist visa is multiple entries and the validity is 1 year and you can stay 90 days in Saudi Arabia.
Tourist Visa processing time:
You can apply the tourist visa on their website https://visa.visitsaudi.com/ before one day of your travelling even you can also get the visa on arrival when you will be there at Jeddah airport. But the safe site is you can apply for a tourist visa before 1 week of your travelling.
- Hajj Visa:
Hajj visa is the most similar to Umrah visa like only Muslims can take Hajj Visas who have real and authentic documents. You can take the Hajj Visa only from any local company who is approved from Hajj embassy. The validity of the Hajj visa is around 30 days or 40 days and this depends on the Saudi Embassy.
Hajj Visa processing time:
According to my information for applying the Hajj visa total time needed that is 1 month before of your travelling as maximum after submitting all of the documents. It’s necessary for you to bring a passport with a minimum of 8 months validity from visa applying date.
Masjid-ul-Haram is the focal position for every Muslim in the entire global, at its epicentre is the Holy Kaaba, covered in black and gold cloth, around which Muslims can be found circumnavigating night and day which is known as Tawaf. It’s the Holiest structure in all of Islam and Masjid-ul-Haram is the heart of the Islamic journeys (Hajj and Umrah).