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Throughout the history of humanity, people have always had a great number of various objects that had a symbolic meaning and played a great role in the life of society. The reasons why these artifacts were given such great power and significance were different, however, one should accept the role they played in the development of the whole world. Traditionally, these artifacts were closely connected with some religious or supernatural matters because being not able to explain some phenomena and having the need for the object of worship humanity believed in the unusual character of some common things. The combination of peoples beliefs, natural phenomena, and sociocultural conditions led to an increase in the role of artifacts in the life of society.
Nowadays, the development of science resulted in the appearance of new knowledge that dispels a great number of myths, however, there are still some artifacts that are given a great deal of attention. The fact is that the majority of modern objects of worship are connected with religion as people need an idea to believe. One of them, Mecca, the sacred city of all Muslims, could be taken as the greatest artifact of the modern world which has an outstanding influence on the life of millions of people all over the world. This city is the main symbol of the Muslim world and has its own unique history. Nevertheless, there are several aspects that should be analyzed in order to understand Meccas symbolism and importance for people.
Mecca is an ancient city situated on the territory of modern Saudi Arabia. It is believed that it was founded by Ishmaels descendants in the 1st century BC (“The History of Mecca” para. 1). Being a small town in the area, it was not given great attention until the birth of Muhammad. According to Islam, he was born in a cave near Mecca. This fact led to the reconsideration of the role of the city and an increase in its importance for people who adhered to Islam. Muhammad also had his first revelation in Mecca which resulted in the creation of the Quran and further development of the given religion. That is why very often Mecca is called the origin of Islam.
Realizing the great importance of the city for their world, Muslims, headed by Mohammad, entered the city and conquered it. All people who lived there converted to Islam. This event could be taken as the turning point of the citys history because since that time the importance and role of Mecca for the Muslim world had increased. The rulers devoted great attention to the development of the city, building new mosques and promoting the spread of Islam in the region. Despite the lowering of political importance, Mecca remained the cultural and spiritual center of the region (Arjomand 23). Having conquered this land, the rulers of the Ottoman Empire realized the importance of the city and protected it, guaranteeing its fee development. The history of Mecca is very eventful as it was the main aim for states that wanted to conquer the region and demonstrate their power. However, there are various Islams movements in the region and people who belonged to them had different perspectives on the way in which the city should develop. At the beginning of the 20th century, Mecca was conquered by a state which later became known as Saudi Arabia. Wahabis destroyed about 95% of historical buildings of the city, however, the main Muslims relics remained untouched (Quamar 76).
Kaaba is one of these relics and the main Meccas artifact. Pilgrims all over the world try to reach and touch it. Kaaba is situated in the center of another Muslims sanctuary the Al-Masjid al-Haram mosque and millions of people performing hajj gather there. However, it should be said that Kaaba was built not by Muslims. The facts show that pagans, who lived in the area before the Arab conquerors, also took it as the object of worship, considering it to be their great sanctuary (Hatrash 55). Besides, it was not destroyed by the new owners of the land and became very important for them.
Kaaba is a cubic building about 13m high (Hatrash 56). It is made of marble and some other materials which make it look mysterious. Inside the building marble and limestone are also used. Kaaba is covered by a special coverlet called kiswah which is changed once a year (Hatrash 57). It is also important to mention the Black Stone which is inbuilt in Kaabas wall. It was added by pagan tribes however, Mohammad did not destroy it and it became one of the main Muslim artifacts. People. who perform hajj tries to touch it.
With this in mind, it is possible to make a certain conclusion. Nowadays, people still believe in the power of artifacts, and Mecca, with the Holy Mosque and Kaaba, remains the main symbol for the whole Arab world. Every Moslem has to visit this city at least once in his/her life in order to see and admire the relic.
Arjomand, Said. “Islam, Political Change and Globalization”. Thesis Eleven. 78.1(2004): 9-28. Web.
Hatrash, Hasan. “Following the Hajj”. World Policy Journal. 29.4(2012):54-65. Web.
The History of Mecca. n.d. Web.
Quamar, Muddassir. “Islamic Modernism and Saudi Arabia: Confluence or Conflict?”. Contemporary Review of the Middle East. 2.1(2015): 71-87. Web.