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Friday, January 30, 2009

Postcard #1: Al-Masjid Al-Haram (Holy Mosque), Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Hello and Assalam-o-Alaikum!
Here is my first post card for the blog.
I chose this nice piece from my little postcard collection as my first here. The postcard features the World's largest mosque and the holiest place for the Muslim World. It is also the prime destination of the Hajj pilgrimage.

The mosque complex covers an area of 356,800 square meters and can accommodate up to 820,000 worshipers during the Hajj.

The Haram was built in the 7th century and has been modified, rebuilt, and expanded on a regular basis ever since. Major expansions took place in the 1980s and further work is going on today.

The mosque is built around Holy Kaa'ba or qibla which is considered to be the home of Allah (Almighty God) on Earth. So all Muslims around the globe say their prayers facing towards Holy Kaa'ba. The Holy Mosque is the only mosque that has no qibla direction, since Muslims pray facing the Kaa'ba in the central courtyard. I mean to say that the direction like West, East or North are not specified like in any other mosque but the worshippers face the qibla for their prayers.

I planned to start posting post cards a little later but I am posting my first postcardon the request of a fellow collector Marie who is organizing an event on her blog by the name of 'Postcard Friendship Friday'. So today on Friday, 30th of January 2009, I post this postcard as my first on the blog.

I hope that all of you will like it.
Best Regards


Chris Overstreet said...

That is fascinating; I never considered which direction Muslims in Mecca would face to pray. One always hears that they face Mecca, when in actually they're facing a particular object.

Master said...

Hi Chris!
Thanks a lot for posting this nice message. Indeed it is fascinating considering the fact that the Muslims all over the world face towards Mecca for their prayers or in fact the Holy Kaa'ba or as Muslims also call it as Qibla.
Although it is exactly as you said "facing a particular object", however I would like to clear one thing: Its definitely NOT worshiping a particular object but worshiping Allah Almighty (God) only.

Muslims consider Kaa'ba as Bait-ullah (English meaning: House of Allah). Allah Almighty has ordered all muslims to do so. It is also believed that right above the Holy Kaa'ba on the skies is another such place where angels do similar acts as humans do on ground to worship Allah.

The following extract from the Wikipedia may also be of interest,
"For any reference point on the Earth, the qibla is the direction to the Kaaba. Muslims are ordered to face this direction during prayer (Qur'an 2:143-144). While it may appear to some non-Muslims that Muslims worship the Kaaba, it is simply the focal point for prayer.

Like Jews, the earliest Muslims prayed facing Jerusalem. According to Islamic tradition, when Muhammad was praying in the Qiblatain Mosque (in Medina), he was ordered by God to change the qibla from Jerusalem to Mecca and the Kaaba. Various theories are advanced as to the reason for the change."

May Allah bless you and all other friends

Marie Reed said...

Cool! It's already Friday here! I was about to comment exactly as Chris did! This is fascinating. I am so excited about learning new things from you:)

I'll have the Mr. Linky up in a few hours:)

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