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MECCA

Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

The city in the Arabian peninsula that was the birthplace of the Prophet of Islam, which due to the presence of the Kaba therein, is revered as one of the holy cities in Islamic culture. Mecca was also known as Makuraba. Mecca is explicitly mentioned twice in two relatively passages of the Koran (in 48:24, makka; and in 3:96 spelt bakka). Several other passages make reference to the city or its surroundings, such as 14:37: "a valley without cultivation." Initially it was only the tribe of Qoraish, which lived in Mecca, and of which the Prophet was a member. The very short sura of the Koran (106th) sets out the fundamental elements of the dialogue between the God and the Prophet and the tribe (referred to "you" and "they"). For instance, "their assembly" (al-mala'u minhum) (38:6). This dialogue was to last for the entire period preceding the expulsion of the Prophet in 622 A.D., and which is clearly indicated in 47:13 as qaryatuka allati akhrajatka means "your city, which has expelled you," where the word qarya is used for a "place of fixed abode." Another term umm al-qura means the mother of the cities (42:7, 6:92) explicitly refers to Mecca. The Qoraish, who are named only once in the Koran (106:1) are immediately summoned to worship the Lord of the House. The Koran (48:24) gives the precise location of the Kaba, which is situated in the lower regions of Mecca (batn makka), that is in the lowest part of the town, into which the rainwater runs and wherein are located the famous wells of zamzam. The theme of Mecca as a secure city, benefiting from effective protection, is repeated in the Koran, using a terminology, which is to recur constantly, haram amin (an inviolable and secure place) (28:57, 29:67), balad al-amin (the protected city) (95:3) certainly refers to Mecca, as the city "which (God) made inviolable" (harramaha) (27:91). The change of the qibla took place in the Prophet's period in Medina. The formula al-masjid al-haram (17:1) refers to the site of the Kaba in Mecca.


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