Mecca is a city located to the west of the Arabian peninsula, specifically in Saudi Arabia. It is the main sacred place of Islam because the Prophet Muhammad was born there.
The pilgrimage or Hajj to Mecca is one of the pillars of Islam
In the Muslim tradition, all the faithful have the obligation, at least once in their lives, to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, a circumstance that is known by the word hajj. This precept is included in the Koran, where it is specified when the pilgrimage should be carried out according to the Muslim calendar.
The pilgrim who visits the city of Mecca has to go to the Kaaba, the sacred cube that symbolizes the house of God and around which they have to make seven turns.
In Islam there are a total of five basic principles of obligatory compliance:
1) faith in a single God and in the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad,
2) the five prayers that must be performed daily,
3) help to those in need through almsgiving, which has to be done from the wealth of each person,
4) the practice of fasting during the month of Ramadan and
5) the pilgrimage to Mecca.
The conquest of Mecca
Muhammad spread the message of Islam for years in his city, but had to leave it because its inhabitants did not share his beliefs and this led him to the city of Medina with a small number of followers. This flight is known as the Hegira and the year in which it happened, 622 of the Christian era, is the one that marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar.
During his exile in Medina, the Prophet Muhammad had a dream in which he received God’s order to definitively conquer the city of Mecca. Thus, in the year 630 he decided to return peacefully to his place of origin and in this way the town of his birth became a sacred place for the followers of Islam ever since.
Inside the Kaaba there are hanging gold and silver lamps, but the most important element is a black stone that is surrounded by pilgrims seven times.
The origins of this black stone are shrouded in legend.
Geologists maintain that it is a meteor, but according to Islam it fell from heaven to the Garden of Eden and was given to Adam after being expelled from Paradise. According to another legend, it is said that in principle the Kaaba was white, but due to the sins of humanity it became dark. In another version of its origin, the stone was given to Abraham by the angel Gabriel. In any case, the Kaaba symbolizes the house of God in which the divine and the earthly come together.
Photos: Fotolia-ETC / t0m15