SACRED PRECINCTS OF MAKKAH (HARAM MAKKAH):
The Sacred Precincts of Makkah include the area around Makkah, marked by stones a meter high, on all roads leading to, or from Makkah.
On the northern side Haram Makkah extends to Tan'im, six kilometers from the Sacred Mosque, and on the southern side to Adah, twelve kilometers from Makkah. On its eastern side, sixteen kilometers away, lies al-Ji'ranah, while on its northeastern border lies the valley of Nakhlah, which is fourteen kilometers from Makkah. On the western border lies Al-Shmaisi, (This place used to be called Al-Hudaibiya. It was here that the Prophet (peace be upon him) took the famous pledge - bai 'at ridwan - from his Companions. The Battle of Al-Hudaibiya is named after it) fifteen kilometers from Makkah. Muhibbuddin At-Tabari reported from Az-Zuhari from Obaidullah bin Abdullah bin 'Utba and said: "Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) put up markers for the Sacred Precincts as shown to him by Gabriel (peace be upon him)." These markers were undisturbed until the time of Qusaiy, who renewed them. After that the Prophet (peace be upon him), in the year of the conquest of Makkah, sent Tamim bin Osaid al-Khozai'i to refurbish them. Later 'Umar appointed four men from Quraish, Muhrama bin Nawfal, Sa'id bin Yarbu', Howaiteb bin Abdil-Uzza, and Azhar bin Abd-Auf, to renew these markers. Subsequently, first Mu'awiyah and then Abdul-Malik refurbished them.
Sacred Precincts of Madinah (Haram Madinah):
In the Sacred Precincts of Madinah killing a game and cutting its trees is prohibited as it is in the case of Haram Makkah. Jabir bin Abdullah reported that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Ibrahim (peace be upon him) made Makkah Haram (sacred), and I declare Madinah and what lies between its two black tracts Haram. No game (within this area) is to be killed, nor any adah - a thorny plant - growing therein is to be cut." (Muslim)
Ali reported that concerning Madinah the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Its plants must not be cut, its game must not be frightened, articles lost in it must not be picked up except by someone making announcement to find the owner, nor is any man to bear arms for fighting in it. Its trees must not be cut, except when (required for) feeding one's camels." (Reported by Ahmad and Ahu Daw+ud) Both Bukhari and Muslim report that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Madinah is Haram (Sacred) and its Sacred Precincts extend from 'Eer to Thowr." (Eer is a mountain at the miqat for Madinah, and Thowr is a mountain near Uhud on the north) Another agreed upon hadith reported from Abu Hurairah says, "The Prophet (peace be upon him) declared the area between the two black tracts of Madinah as sacred and then extended it to about twelve miles around Madinah." The Prophet (peace be upon him) permitted the residents of Madinah to cut trees for making plows, carts and other necessary tools and equipment. He also permitted them to cut its grass to feed their animals. Ahmad reported from Jabir bin Abdullah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The area between two black tracts of Madinah is a Haram (a sanctuary). No tree must be cut (within this area) except for use as fodder for animals."
Unlike this the residents of Makkah, who have sufficient supply for their animal feed, are not permitted to cut even the grass to feed their animals. The residents of Madinah are not self-sufficient and are therefore allowed to use trees and grass for their animals.
But killing the game or cutting off the trees in the sanctuary of Madinah carries no penalty nor requires any compensation, although doing so is a sinful act.
Anas reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Madinah is a sanctuary from such and such a place to such and such a place, and (within this area) its trees shall not be cut, nor any (unlawful) act committed, and whoso does so on him shall rest the curse of Allah, His angels and the entire mankind." (Bukhari)
It is permissible to pick up and use branches of a fallen tree within this sanctuary. Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas reported that while on his way to his palace at 'Aqiq he found a slave cutting off a tree or hitting and shaking it for leaves. Sa'ad seized whatever the slave had gathered. The owners of the slave went to Sa'ad and asked him to return to them what he had seized from the slave. Sa'ad said, "Allah forbid that I should return something which Allah's Messenger has given me as a gift." And saying this he refused to return it to them. (Muslim)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "If you find anyone hunting a wild game within the sacred bounds of Madinah you may seize it from him." (Abu Daw+ud, and Al-Hakim, who considers it a sound hadith) This is reported by Abu Daw'ud, and Al-Hakim, who considers it a sound hadith.
Is There Any Other Sanctuary Besides Makkah and Madinah?:
Ibn Taimiyyah said, "There is no other sanctuary in the whole world besides these two, not even the Al-Aqsa Mosque of Jerusalem, nor any other, even though some ignorant people call them Haram al-Maqdis and Haram al-Khalil. By consensus Haram Makkah is the only Haram (sanctuary). About Madinah there is no such consensus. A majority of scholars, however, hold that Madinah is also a sanctuary, as mentioned in ahadith on this subject.
Muslim scholars disagree about a third sanctuary, namely, Wuja, a valley of Al-Ta'if. Ash-Shafi'i regards it a sanctuary. Ash-Shawkani agrees with him, but the majority of the scholars disagree and do not consider it a sanctuary."
Excellence of Makkah Over Madinah:
The majority of scholars believes Makkah has preference over Madinah.
Abdullah bin 'Adi bin Al-Hamra reported that he heard Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) saying, "By Allah ! You (O Makkah) are the best of Allah' s land, and most beloved to Him. Had I not been driven away from you, I would have never departed (from you)." (Ahmad, Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi) Ibn 'Abbas said: "Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) addressed Makkah saying, 'How nice a place you are! You are the most beloved place to me! If my people had not driven me away from you I would have never departed (from here) to live somewhere else."(Tirmidhi considers it a sound hadith)
Entering Makkah without Ihram:
One may enter Makkah without putting on a garb of ihram if one does not intend to make Hajj or 'Umrah. One may be a frequent visitor to Makkah as a wood-cutter, a grass cutter, a water carrier, or a hunter, etc., or not a frequent visitor such as a merchant or a visitor. Regardless of whether one enters it in a state of security or fear, all such people may enter Makkah without ihram if they do not intend to perform Hajj or 'Umrah. This is Ash-Shafi'i's opinion which, of his two views, is the more accurate one, and is also supported by his companions.
Muslim reported that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) entered Makkah wearing a black turban and without an ihram. It is said about Ibn 'Umar that he returned after travelling part of the way and entered Makkah without ihram.
Both Ibn Shihab and Ibn Hazm hold entering Makkah without the ihram garb permissible. The Prophet (peace be upon him) set the markers (Mawaqit) around Makkah only for those who intended to perform Hajj or 'Umrah.
Wearing ihram is not compulsory for those who pass these markers if they do not intend Hajj or 'Umrah. Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him) did not forbid entering Makkah without ihram. To insist on it is obligating people to which they are not obligated by Shari'ah.
Encouraged Acts for Entrants to Makkah and the Sacred Mosque:
It is desirable for those intending to visit Makkah to do the following:
1. To take a bath. It is reported that Ibn 'Umar used to take a bath before entering Makkah.
2. To spend the night at Dhi Tuwa, a valley in the direction of Al-Zaher. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to spend the night there. Nafi' said: "Ibn 'Umar used to do the same.'' (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim)
3. To enter Makkah from the upper hill called "Koda". The Prophet (peace be upon him) entered Makkah from the direction of Al-Mu'allah. Whoever is able to follow this path, should do so, but one commits no sin if one does not do it.
4. To hurry to the Sacred Mosque as soon as one deposits one's belongings in a safe place. One must enter the Sacred Mosque from the gate known as Bab Bani Shayba - Bab us-Salam - and say humbly and sincerely: "A'udhu billahil azeem wa biwajihil kareem wa sultanihil qadeem , minash shaltanir rajeem. Bismillah allahumma salli 'ala muhammadin wa alihi wa salam, Allahumma ghifirli zunubi waftah li abwaba rahmatika (I seek refuge with Allah the Supreme, I seek refuge with His Honor and Eternal Glory, with His Everlasting Authority, from the cursed devil. O Allah, Bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad! O Allah! Forgive my sins and open Your doors of mercy for me)."
5. To raise one's hands on first sight of the Ka'bah and say: "Allahumma zid hadhal bayti tashrifan wa ta 'zeeman wa takriman wa muhabatan wa zid min sharfihi wa karamihi mimman hajjahu au 'itamarahu tashrifan wa takriman wa ta'zeeman wa birran (O Allah! increase this House's honor, dignity, respect and grant all those who come to it for Hajj or 'Umrah honor, dignity, respect and righteousness.)" And say, "Allahumma antas salam, wa minkas salam, fahayyina rabbana bis-salam (O Allah! You are the Peace, from You is the Peace. O Allah! Greet us with the Peace)." 6. Then head to the Black Stone and kiss it quietly. If kissing is not possible, then one may touch it with a hand and kiss the hand, and if even this is not possible then one may just point to it with a hand.
7. Then begin tawaf (circumambulation) starting from the Black Stone.
8. One does not have to perform salutation prayer to the Sacred Mosque. because tawafof Ka'bah is its salutation. If, however, it is time for the prescribed daily prayers, then one must offer them with the congregation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "When a prescribed prayer is in progress then no other prayer except the prescribed prayer is valid." Similarly, if one is afraid to miss a prescribed prayer then one must offer it first before anything else.
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