Expansion of Masjidal Haram: Whither a Holy Sanctuary?

Expansion of Masjidal Haram: Whither a Holy Sanctuary?

Expansion of Masjidal Haram: Whither a Holy Sanctuary? 

Towards a 

Structure of Expansion


Development of
the Masjid 

al-Haram in the
Context of Arabia
Modernicus rather 
than Arabia Felix
Vision for Makkah?
Background “The Ka’bah, The People, The Moment

The Ka’bah 

And now verily We shall make you turn (in prayer) toward a Qiblah which is dear to you. So turn your face toward the Inviolable Place of Worship (the Ka’bah of Makkah).”
(Al Baqarah 2:144)

A Timeless Structure

“The first house (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bacca, full of blessings and guidance for all kinds of beings” (Quran) 
“Blessed is he the one passing through the Valley of Bacca making it a well; and the rainwill fill the pool” (Psalm 84:6) 
•Believed by Muslims to be the first house of worship on earth of the Almighty, built by Adam, destroyed by the flood of Noah, and rebuilt by Abraham and Ismail, and announced since then to be the place for pilgrimage (Quran citation). 
  Abraham’s structure of Ka’bah around 2000 BC



The People

The Visitors:  

Unified in Faith

The Visitors

The Custodian

The Moment

The Moment: 

Action + Reflection

The Moment: Active Development 

Around the 
Masjidal Haram

The Moment: 
To Reflect on a Vision

The Context:

The Haram as Geography
The Haram as Ecology
The Haram as a Boundary
The Haram as a Space of Ritual
The Haram as Building
The Haram within the Urban Setting
The Haram in Numbers
The Haram as Geography

The Ka’bah 

According to the universal coordinates, it is geographically the focal point where latitudes and  longitudes meet and subdivide the globe in equal parts (instead of Greenwich that is eccentric). 
Geographers have established that Makkah stands equidistantly from all four polar extremities of the planet.
The Haram as Geography
This concept guided the Muslims perception and representation of the world as manifested through the maps and navigational instruments they devised and utilized.
Terrain Morphology
A blessed water sprung from between the feet of the infant Ismail, at time of dire circumstances,
It represents the primary source of life sustenance in this otherwise rugged and harsh environment, and is the reason for human settlement forming the city of Makkah,
Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass. Then We opened them out? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?” (Al-Anbia – 31)

Spiritual significance

Zamzam is believed to command special characteristics due to its unique mineral composition, a fact that bestows on it special spiritual significance in the hearts of Muslims.
Statements by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) emphasized the significance of this water.
Drinking Zamzam water is practiced as an integral part of the activity of visiting the Masjidal Haram.
It is a recommended activity between Tawaf and  Sa`ie
Believed to command special blessings, Visitors and Pilgrims are often keen on carrying back home quantities of this blessed water.
Its reported that an average of 2110 cubic meters of Zamzam water is consumed daily in peak seasons. 
The Haram as a Boundary
Al- Miqat:
The Ka’bah is circumscribed within multiple concentric boundaries defining its domain.
The first is the boundary of Al- Miqat, which demarks the point of entry into the Ihram zone for people coming from outside. At the point of entry into this boundary, Muslims  who intend to make Hajj or Umrah, are required to perform the Ihram ritual.
Al- Haram:
The second boundary is that of the Haram itself. This is the zone of peaceful tranquillity. Only Muslims are allowed within this boundary. 
Masjidal Haram: 
This is variable boundary which follows the limits of the masjid building proper and changes with every expansion. It ‘s extent is roughly defined as the ‘unbroken chain of contact’ with those in congregation prayer with the imam at the foot of the Kaabah.
Visual contact with Ka’bah:
The inner most boundary, and the most significant experientially is the  boundary within which the visitor establishes direct visual contact with Ka’bah.

The Haram as a Space of Rituals

Tawaf is one of the major rituals of pilgrimage. During the Hajj and Umrah, Muslims are to circumambulate the Ka’bah seven times, in a counter-clockwise direction.The Tawaf  is not only performed during hajj or umrah. Rather, it is a common practice for anyone who wishes to pray at the Haram any time of the year to it before the solat.
The Tawaf, circular anti-clockwise  movement around Ka’bah  is believed to be in congruence with the cosmic movement of galaxies, thus reflecting the cosmic order.Its formal implication: a continuous circular movement around the Ka’bah that requires a free space around the Ka’bah i.e. the central court of the Haram.
Another ritual of pilgrimage that consists of walking,  running and hurrying back and forth, seven times,  between two small hills called successively Al-Safa and Al-Marwah. 
Its formal implication: a linear movement between two opposite and elevated points that dictates a linear building that is adjacent to the centralized building surrounding the Ka’bah. 
Congregational Prayer

Like all other masājid, the Masjidal Haram also accommodates the five daily prayers.

However, the rows are circular emanating from the Ka’bah.
Its formal implication: Its dictates a ring-like form of people standing in the open court as well as in the building. While the Tawaf  is a dynamic encirclement, the solat is a static state where each person stands facing the Ka’bah. 
I’tekaf (contemplation)
I’tekaf: It is going into a retreat  and consists of staying inside the masjid for a specified time especially during the last ten days of Ramadan.
Its physical impact consists of a large number of permanent people that spend their days and nights within  the Masjidal Haram in scattered locations. 
Ihram: (Special Dress)
Prior to rituals of hajj and umrah Muslims are requested to perform Ihram at certain places outside Mecca called al-Miqat.
Ihram: a way of dressing. Men wear a white seamless garment made up of two pieces of cloth. Women generally wear a simple dress (mostly white) and a head cover.
A succession of rituals of Tawaf, Sa`ie and solat follow. 

Hajj and Umrah


Whilehajj takes place each year between the 8th and the 13th days of Dzul-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Muslim lunar calendar, umrah could be performed at any time of the year.
Both hajj and umrah share the same acts of rituals inside the Masjidal Haram: tawaf, sa`ie and solat. Many other rituals are specific to hajj that are performed outside the Masjidal Haram .

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