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Makka[The city is located 70 km (43 mi) inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of 277 m (909 ft) above sea level. Its resident population in 20 2 was roughly 2 million, although visitors more than triple this number every year during Hajj period held in the twelfth Muslim lunar month of Dhu al-Hijjah.

As the birthplace of Muhammad and the site of Muhammad’s first revelation of the Quran (specifically, a cave 3 km (2 mi) from Mecca),Mecca is regarded as the holiest city in the religion of Islam and a pilgrimage to it known as the Hajj is obligatory for all able Muslims. Mecca is home to the Kaaba, by majority description Islam’s holiest site, as well as being the direction of Muslim prayer. Mecca was long ruled by Muhammad’s descendants, the sharifs, acting either as independent rulers or as vassals to larger polities. It was absorbed into Saudi Arabia in 1925. In its modern period, Mecca has seen tremendous expansion in size and infrastructure, home to structures such as the Abraj Al Bait, also known as the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel, the world’s third tallest building and the building with the largest amount of floor area. Due to this expansion, Mecca has lost some historical structures and archaeological sites, such as the Ajyad Fortress. Today, more than 15 million Muslims visit Mecca annually, including several million during the few days of the Hajj.As a result, Mecca has become one of the most cosmopolitan and diverse cities in the Muslim world, despite the fact that non-Muslims are prohibited from entering the city.

“Mecca” is the familiar form of the English transliteration for the Arabic name of the city, although the official transliteration used by the Saudi government is Makkah, which is closer to the Arabic pronunciation.The word “Mecca” in English has come to be used to refer to any place that draws large numbers of people, and because of this many Muslims regard the use of this spelling for the city as offensive.The Saudi government adopted Makkah as the official spelling in the 1980s, but is not universally known or used worldwide.The full official name is Makkah al-Mukarramah (مكة المكرمة, pronounced [makka lmukarrama] or [makkah almukarrama]), which means “Mecca the Honored”, but is also loosely translated as “The Holy City of Mecca”.

The ancient or early name for the site of Mecca is Bakkah (also transliterated Baca, Baka, Bakah, Bakka, Becca, Bekka, etc.).An Arabic language word, its etymology, like that of Mecca, is obscure. Widely believed to be a synonym for Mecca, it is said to be more specifically the early name for the valley located therein, while Muslim scholars generally use it to refer to the sacred area of the city that immediately surrounds and includes the Kaaba.[19]

The form Bakkah is used for the name Mecca in the Quran in 3:96, while the form Mecca is used in 48:24.In South Arabic, the language in use in the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula at the time of Muhammad, the b and m were interchangeable.Other references to Mecca in the Quran (6:92, 42:5) call it Umm al-Qura, meaning “mother of all settlements.”Another name of Mecca is Tihamah.

Another name for Mecca, or the wilderness and mountains surrounding it, according to Arab and Islamic tradition, is Faran or Pharan, referring to the Desert of Paran mentioned in the Old Testament at Genesis 21:21. Arab and Islamic tradition holds that the wilderness of Paran, broadly speaking, is the Tihamah and the site where Ishmael settled was Mecca.Yaqut al-Hamawi, the 12th century Syrian geographer, wrote that Fārān was “an arabized Hebrew word. One of the names of Mecca mentioned in the Torah.”

Islamic tradition attributes the beginning of Mecca to Ishmael‘s descendants. Many Muslims point to the Old Testament chapter Psalm 84:3–6 and a mention of a pilgrimage at the Valley of Baca, that Muslims see as referring to the mentioning of Mecca as Bakkah in Qur’an Surah 3:96. Also the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus who lived between 60 BCE and 30 BCE writes about the isolated region of Arabia in his work Bibliotheca historica describing a holy shrine that Muslims see as referring to the Kaaba at Mecca “And a temple has been set up there, which is very holy and exceedingly revered by all Arabians”.[27] Ptolemy may have called the city “Macoraba”, though this identification is controversial.[28]

Mecca was also mentioned in the Samaritan literature, in the book The Asatir: The Samaritan Book of the “Secrets of Moses” by Moses Gaster which claimed that Mecca was built by Ishmael and his eldest son Nebaioth.[29] The Secrets of Moses” or Asatir book was suggested by some opinion to have been written in the 10th century,[30] while another opinion suggests that it was written no later than the second half of the 3rd century BC.[31]

Some time in the 5th century, the Kaaba was a place of worship for the deities of Arabia’s pagan tribes. Mecca’s most important pagan deity was Hubal, which had been placed there by the ruling Quraysh tribe[32][33] and remained until the 7th century.

In the 5th century, the Quraysh took control of Mecca, and became skilled merchants and traders. In the 6th century they joined the lucrative spice trade as well, since battles in other parts of the world were causing trade routes to divert from the dangerous sea routes to the more secure overland routes. The Byzantine Empire had previously controlled the Red Sea, but piracy had been on the increase. Another previous route that ran through the Persian Gulf via the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, was also being threatened by exploitations from the Sassanid Empire, as well as being disrupted by the Lakhmids, the Ghassanids, and the Roman–Persian Wars. Mecca’s prominence as a trading center also surpassed the cities of Petra and Palmyra.[34][35] The Sassanids however did not always pose a threat to Mecca as in 575 CE they actually protected the Arabian city from invasion of the Kingdom of Axum, led by its Christian leader Abraha. The tribes of the southern Arabia, asked the Persian king Khosrau I for aid, in response to which he came south to Arabia with both foot-soldiers and a fleet of ships into Mecca. The Persian intervention prevented Christianity from spreading eastward into Arabia, and Mecca and the Islamic prophet Muhammad who was at the time a six year boy in the Quraysh tribe “would not grow up under the cross.”[36]

By the middle of the 6th century, there were three major settlements in northern Arabia, all along the south-western coast that borders the Red Sea, in a habitable region between the sea and the great mountains to the east. Although the area around Mecca was completely barren, it was the wealthiest of the three settlements with abundant water via the renowned Zamzam Well and a position at the crossroads of major caravan routes.[37]

The harsh conditions and terrain of the Arabian peninsula meant a near-constant state of conflict between the local tribes, but once a year they would declare a truce and converge upon Mecca in an annual pilgrimage. Up to the 7th century, this journey was intended for religious reasons by the pagan Arabs to pay homage to their shrine, and to drink from the Zamzam Well. However, it was also the time each year that disputes would be arbitrated, debts would be resolved, and trading would occur at Meccan fairs. These annual events gave the tribes a sense of common identity and made Mecca an important focus for the peninsula.[38]

Camel caravans, said to have first been used by Muhammad’s great-grandfather, were a major part of Mecca’s bustling economy. Alliances were struck between the merchants in Mecca and the local nomadic tribes, who would bring goods – leather, livestock, and metals mined in the local mountains – to Mecca to be loaded on the caravans and carried to cities in Syria and Iraq.[39] Historical accounts also provide some indication that goods from other continents may also have flowed through Mecca. Goods from Africa and the Far East passed through en route to Syria including spices, leather, medicine, cloth, and slaves; in return Mecca received money, weapons, cereals and wine, which in turn were distributed throughout Arabia. The Meccans signed treaties with both the Byzantines and the Bedouins, and negotiated safe passages for caravans, giving them water and pasture rights. Mecca became the center of a loose confederation of client tribes, which included those of the Banu Tamim. Other regional powers such as the Abyssinian, Ghassan, and Lakhm were in decline leaving Meccan trade to be the primary binding force in Arabia in the late 6th century.[38]

Thamudic Inscriptions

Some Thamudic inscription which were discovered in south Jordan contained names of some individuals such as “Abd Mekkat” which means in English “Servant of Mecca”.[40]

There were also some other inscription which contained personal names such as “Makky” which means “The Meccan”, but Professor “Jawwad Ali” from the University of Baghdad suggested that there’s also a probability of a tribe named “Mecca”.[41]




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