It is the name of a mosque surrounding Ka'ba, which is the oldest and the most renowned mosque in the history of Islam. Historical records reveal that until the demise of the Prophet (s), people used to build their houses near Ka'ba. However, in the era of caliphs, it was prevented and gradually the area of the mosque was increased such that it now covers an approximate area of 180,000 square meters, with sixty two big and small doors and three main gates which are called Bab al-'Umra, Bab al-Salam.
Ka'ba is a roofed, squared building inside al-Masjid al-Haram, with its exterior covered by grayish stones.
Hijr Isma'il is located between Rukn al-Shami and Rukn al-Iraqi separated from the rest of the courtyard with a semi-circled wall, with a height of 1.3 meters and width of 50 centimeters. It is said that about 70 prophets are interred there.
There is a building with a small golden dome, thirteen meters away from Ka'ba wall at the same side as al-Hajar al-Aswad. There is a stone with a footprint on it inside this building, which is attributed to Ibrahim (a). This stone was sheltered by a big dome made of brick, stone and wood, ornamented with the verses of holy Quran in the past. Since it reduced the space for circumambulation, in 1965 the Saudi government ordered to demolish and replace it by the present small shrine.
When Ibrahim (a) brought his wife Hajar (a) and his son Isma'il (a) to Mecca and settled them near Ka'ba, Isma'il (a) became very thirsty and Hajar (a) started running between Safa and Marwa to get some water. At last, Jabra'il hit the ground with his wing or heel and Zamzam water gushed out. With the passage of time, the fountain disappeared, until 'Abd al-Muttalib dug it again and the pilgrims have been benefiting from its water since then.
Safa and Marwa
Safa and Marwa are the names of two mountains near Mataf. The path between Safa and Marwa is called Mas'a, where the pilgrims cover the distance seven times during Hajj. With the expansion in the area of al-Masjid al-Haram, Mas'a and Mataf are now connected together. It is 394.5 meters long, with its first and second floors respectively 12 and 9 meters high. At present, some part of Safa mountain still remains but a major part of the Marwa mountain was eliminated during 1995 developments and now, merely the part where the pilgrims go round remains. Mas'a all in all has eighteen gates.
- Makkah and Madinah: The Cities of Bounties & Blessings, Hajj and Ziarah Research Center