Why Makkah and Madinah is so important?

Makkah and Madinah

The annual Hajj Pilgrimage to Makkah has involved Muslims from all around the world for over a thousand of years. Muslims travel to these both cities in order to perform Umrah and Hajj. These two cities are situated in Saudi Arabia and termed as holy cities for Muslims as life events of their beloved Prophet Hazrat Muhammad are related to this city.

What is the hajj?

Hajj is a mandatory religious obligation offered by the Muslims from all over the world. Every Muslim around the globe who is able to do so this journey in term of expenses and physical fitness to perform the prescribed rites at least once in his life. Approximately 2-3 million pilgrims, dressed simply in two piece of white cloth that is unstitched and sandals gathers in the Saudi Arabia to follow the steps of the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad. Male pilgrims after completing the rituals of Hajj shave their head this act symbolize the clearing away of sin. The Hajj is always done from 8 to 13th of the last month termed as Dhul Hijjah according to the Islamic calendar.

Why Makkah is important for Muslims?

The city of Makkah holds the holiest site in Islam, the Masjid al-Haram also referred as Sacred Mosque, and is declared a site of pilgrimage by the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad in 630. This was the year of his triumphant return to the city after years of stay in Madinah in order to save his life from the people of Quraysh residing in Makkah.

Inside the Sacred Mosque Khana Ka'bah is located, a large cubical black building said by Muslims to have been built by Hazrat Ibrahim with the help of his son Ismail on the command of Allah Almighty. Near to the Khana Ka'bah is the black stone, an object Muslims believe was given to Hazrat Ibrahim by the angel Gibrael. The name Ka'bah comes from the Arabic language meaning the cube, and refers to the cube-shaped stone structure inside the Grand Mosque situated in Makkah. It act as the focal point for worship during the daily prayers, it unifies all Muslims regardless wherever they are in the world, Muslims pray in the direction of Khana Kabba in Makkah. This direction is also called as Qiblah.

Why Madinah is important for Muslims?

Madinah is the city where Hazrat Muhammad stayed after migrating from Makkah in 622. It is also called as second holiest site in Islam. Hazrat Muhammad is buried in Madinah. While a visit to his tomb it is not a necessary part of the pilgrimage, but many pilgrims make use of their presence in Saudi Arabia and visit it and other places associated with the Prophet's life.

The third holiest site in Islam is the Dome of the Rock situated in Jerusalem, where Muslims believe Hazrat Muhammad ascended to heaven on his horse Buraq to receive the divine commandments. For Shia Muslims the cities of Najaf and Karbala situated in Iraq are also important centers of pilgrimage as they contain the tombs of the martyrs Ali, the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad son-in-law, and Hussain, the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad grandson.

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