The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "(The performance of) `Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed (between it and the previous one). And the Hajj (pilgrimage) accepted will receive no other reward than Paradise."
Praise be to Allah and peace be upon Allah's Messenger: In these days of each year, the believing hearts yearn to visit the Sacred House of Allah and hearts are attached with this blessed journey.
Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) chose Makkah and made it the best, the most honorable, and the most beloved country to Allah as was proven in the authentic Hadith which was reported by At-Tirmidhy and others that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said while he was leaving Makkah: "By Allah, you are the best of Allah's land and the most beloved land of Allah to Allah, And, if I had not been driven away from you, I would not have gone."
Historians and biographers wrote a lot of printed book and manuscripts about the news and virtues of Makkah, of those are the following:
The book of "Akhbar Makkah" of Abu Al Walid Al Azraqy (died in 250 AH), the book of "Akhbar Makkah" of Al Fakihy (died in 275 AH), the book of (Al `Iqd Ath-Thamin Fi Tarikh Al Balad Al Amin) and (Shifa' Al Ghram Bi Akhbar Al Balad Al Haram) of Taqy Ad-Din Al Fasy (died in 832 AH), the book of (Ithaf Al Wara Bi Akhbar Um Al Qura) of `Umar ibn Fahd Al Makky (died in 885 AH), (Ghayat Al Maram Bi Akhbar Saltanat Al Balad Al Haram) of `Eizud-Din Al Makky (died in 922 AH), (Al Jami` Al Latif Fi Fadl Makkah Wa Ahlaha Wabina' Al Bayt Ash-Sharif) of Ibn Zhahirat Al Makhzumy (died in 986 AH), (Al I`lam Bi A`lam Baytullah Al Haram) of Qutbud-Din An-Nahrwaly (died in 988 AH), (Mana'ih Al Kiram Fi Akhbar Makkah Wal Bayt Wa Wulat Al Haram) of As-Singary (died in 1125 AH), (Durarr Al Fawa'id Al Muntazhimah Fi Akhbar Al Haj Wa Tariq Makkah Al Mu`azhamah) of `Abdul-Qadr Al Ansar, and the book of (Al-Ijaz Fi Manasik Al Haj Wa Tariq Al Hijaz) of Radwan Rashwan who wrote his book in (134 AH) which was the same year in which the group of Ansar As-Sunnah Al Muhammadiyyah was established. I have reviewed these books and others and I found that their writers spoke about the Black Stone: Its origin and virtues; about the establishment of the Sacred House of Allah, its establishment and history; about the cover of the Ka`bah throughout history; about Abraham's Station; about Zamzam and its virtue and the rulings of its water. They also spoke about As-Safa and Al Marwah and going between them and its relationship with the story of Ishmael (peace be upon him) and his mother Hajar (may Allah be pleased with her). They also wrote about Mina, Muzdalifah, `Arafat and the distance between Makkah and these locations. Moreover, they described the gates of Al Haram and their numbers. Furthermore, they described some old land journeys on the back of camels in details, and the former writers of them described the old marine voyages to it. Their motive behind recording these news was their intensive love to the Sacred House of Allah, Makkah Al Mukarramah, and the Sacred Rites. We want our readers to know some of these news and virtues so that they would know the great honor and favors granted to this nation.
Makkah Al Mukarramah:
The names of Makkah in the Qur'an are: Makkah, Bakkah, Um Al Qura, Al Qaryah, Al Balad Al Amin, and Al Baldah. Scholars have disagreed about the reason for this naming: Some said: It was called that for the littleness of its water. Some said: It troubles its visitor. Some said: It destroys oppressors. Some said: People used to whistle and laugh a lot in it, as was mentioned in the Qur'an: "Their Salât (prayer) at the House (of Allâh, i.e. the Ka'bah at Makkah) was nothing but whistling and clapping of hands. Therefore taste the punishment because you used to disbelieve." [Surat Al Anfal: 35], however this is a weak view.
As for the name of Bakkah, scholars differed about it: Some people said: Bakkah is the place of the Sacred House of Allah, but Makkah indicates the entire country because of Allah's Saying: "Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for the 'Alamîn (mankind and jinn)."[Surat Al `Imran: 96]. Some said: Bakkah is the Masjid but Makkah is the entire sanctity including houses. Some said: Bakkah is the synonym of Makkah and the letter "Mim" is replaced by the letter "Ba" according to some Arabic dialects. Some said: The meaning of Bakkah is crowding and that is because the crowding of people during Tawaf. Some said: Bakkah strikes the necks because it destroys tyrants if they intend to do harm therein. `Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: No tyrant intended to do harm therein but Allah destroyed.
As for the virtues and properties of Makkah, scholars mentioned a set of properties and virtues given to it by Allah, such as:
1- The Sacred Masjid is located there as it was the first Masjid to be established on earth as was reported in Al Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Abu Dhar (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: "I asked the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) about the first Masjid was built on earth. He said: Al Masjid Al Haram. I said: Then which? He said: Al Masjid Al Aqsa. I said: How long was there between the two? He said: Forty years."
2- Of its virtues is that Salah therein equals 100.000 Salah elsewhere as was reported in the authentic Hadith which indicated that the Sacred Masjid is the best spot on earth.
3- Of its virtues is that Allah chose the best Messenger of it (may Allah send peace and blessings on all Messengers). Moreover, Allah chose it to be the place for inspiring the best of His Books [i.e., the Glorious Qur'an], and in which the revelation was sent down.
4- Of the properties of Al Balad Al Haram is that Allah made therein ritual rites for His Servants and commanded every able Muslim to go there and enter it submissively, bare-headed, wearing Ihram, and avoiding worldly adornments.
5- Of the virtues of Al Balada Al Amin is that Allah made it a sanctuary where no blood is allowed to be shed there, no tree is to be cut, no game is to be hunted, no fresh plants are cut, and no lost thing is taken for ownership but for searching for its owner.
6- Of its virtues is that Hajj is a means for erasing sins as was authentically reported in the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever performs Hajj (pilgrimage) and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commits sin, nor disputes unjustly (during Hajj), then he returns from Hajj as pure and free from sins as on the day on which his mother gave birth to him." [i.e., returned without faults or sins]. It was reported in Al Bukhari and Muslim from the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "(The performance of) `Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed (between it and the previous one). And the Hajj (pilgrimage) accepted will receive no other reward than Paradise."
7- Of the virtues of Al Balad Al Amin is that Allah made a vow with it in two positions in the Glorious Qur'an, where He said: "By the fig, and the olive.* By Mount Sinai. * By this city of security (Makkah)." [Surat At-Tin: 1 - 3].
He also said: "I swear by this city (Makkah); * And you are free (from sin, and to punish the enemies of Islâm on the Day of the conquest) in this city (Makkah)." [Surat Al Balad: 1 - 2].
8- Of the properties of Makkah is that there is no place on earth that is permissible to kiss except the Black Stone.
9- Of the virtues of Makkah is that Allah made it a Qiblah (direction for Salah) to all people of the earth.
There is no other Qiblah, and each Musalli (one who offers Salah), kneeler, or prostrating must direct to it otherwise his Salah shall be null and void except he is unable to do so.
10- Of its properties also is: It is prohibited to face or turn your back to it when relieving yourself because of its honor and dignity unlike the rest of other places.
11- Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) named it Um Al Qura which means that all villages follow it as the Fatihah was named Um Al Qur'an due to its great status.
12- Of the properties of the Sacred Country is that the one who intends to do harm or a sin shall be punished even if he does not do it. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "And whoever inclines to evil actions therein or to do wrong (i.e. practise polytheism and leave Islâmic Monotheism), him We shall cause to taste from a painful torment." [Surat Hajj: 25].
13- Accordingly, the reward of a good deed is multiplied in the Haram as well as bad deeds. Ibn Al Qayyim (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) mentioned that bad deeds in the Sacred country are multiplied unlike other places on earth.
14- Of the greatest properties of Al Balad Al Haram is that hearts yearn and incline to it. You will find that hearts are attracted to it as magnet pulls iron, so how many funds and spirits have been paid for the sake of Makkah, and visitors left their families, beloved ones, and countries for it, and endured different kinds of hardships and troubles for visiting it. The secret is: Allah made His House a direction for all people who come to it every year without fulfilling their needs, and whenever they travel to it, their love and yearning increase.
We shall continue our speech about the Ka`bah and the Sacred Sites in the next articles, so we ask Allah to grant us a chance to visit His House, to offer Salah there, and perform Tawaf around the Ka`bah and to make all these solely for His Sake, for He is All-hearing, All-Responding.
May Allah send peace and blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his Companions.
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