In Islam, Makkah is undoubtedly one of the most important places on Earth. The historical significance lends itself to the religious significance of this magnificent city. A huge portion of the prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ centered around Makkah, including the battles to reclaim the city from the non-Muslims. Still much earlier than that, Makkah had significant history that is very relevant to Islam.
Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail built the Kaaba, the structure toward which Muslims pray. Ibrahim’s wife Hajar was blessed with Zamzam while running between Safa and Marwa to find relief for Ismail, an act replicated by Muslims who perform Hajj and Umrah. The history of Makkah in relation to Islam dates back to its very inception.
The significance of a city like Makkah can truly be understood by spending time in the city. Alhumdulillah, I had the opportunity to visit Makkah with my family. Before the trip, I was aware of the importance of Makkah, but it never really hit me until I got there. Yeah, I knew performing Hajj was one of the Five Pillars of Islam and it was obligatory upon me if I had the means, but I never fully realized the barakah of the city until I arrived.
In retrospect, I honestly believe every Muslim should strive to make a trip to Makkah a high priority, even if it’s not to perform Hajj, especially if they are inclined to traveling. I know tons of people want to go to some country in Europe and sure, that trip will be amazing but forget that trip to Europe, and go to Makkah instead. I’m not saying your desire to visit Europe downplays your awareness of how important Makkah is, but seriously—go to Makkah first.
During the time of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, Makkah was a bustling trade city through which many caravans traveled. Centuries later, Makkah retains some of these elements as a very active city to which Muslims travel to for a temporary stay. The diversity of the ummah is immediately noticeable in the city and especially in Al-Masjid Al-Haram. You see Muslims from all different parts of the world in the masjid, yet a strong sense of community permeates the masjid. Communities are already emphasized in Islam, but the emphasis is strengthened in many acts of prayer at Al-Masjid Al-Haram. You’re performing tawaf with hundreds of people. You’re walking between Safa and Marwa with a similar amount of people. And most of all, during the jama’ah of the five prayers, you’re praying with literally thousands of people all behind one imam and all facing the Kaaba.
That experience can’t be beat.