is the largest mosque in the world. Located in the city of Mecca, it surrounds the Kaaba, the place which Muslims worldwide turn towards while offering daily prayers and is Islam's holiest place. The mosque is also known as the Grand Mosque.
The current structure covers an area of 4,008,020 square metres (990.40 acres) including the outdoor and indoor praying spaces and can accommodate up to four million Muslim worshippers during the Hajj period, one of the largest annual gatherings of people in the world.
Coordinates: 21°25′19″N 39°49′34″E21.422°N 39.826°E Location: Makkah Saudi Arabia , Established: 638 Branch/tradition: Salafi , Administration: Saudi Arabian government Leadership, Imam(s): Abdul Rahman AlSudais , Saud Al-Shuraim Architectural information: Capacity: 900,000 (increased to 4,000,000 during the hajj period) Minaret(s): 9 , Minaret height: 89 meters (292 ft)
The qibla—the direction that Muslims turn to in their prayers (salah)—is toward the Kaaba and symbolizes unity in worshiping one Allah(God). At one point the direction of the qibla was toward Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) (and is therefore called the First of the Two Qiblas), however, this only lasted for seventeen months, after which the qibla became oriented towards the Kaaba in Mecca. According to accounts from Muhammad's companions, the change happened very suddenly during the noon prayer at Medina in the Masjid al-Qiblatain.
Literally, Kaaba in Arabic means square house. The word Kaaba may also be derivative of a word meaning a cube. Some of these other names include: •Al-Bait ul Ateeq which, according to one interpretation, means the earliest and ancient. According to another interpretation, it means independent and liberating. •Al-Bayt ul Haram which may be translated as the honorable or holy house. The whole building is constructed out of the layers of gray blue stone from the hills surrounding Mecca. The four corners roughly face the four points of the compass. In the eastern corner is the Hajr-al-Aswad (the Black Stone), at the northern corner lies the Rukn-al-Iraqi (The Iraqi corner), at the west lies Rukn-al-Shami (The Syrian corner) and at the south Rukn-al-Yamani (The Yemeni corner). The four walls are covered with a curtain (Kiswah). The kiswa is usually of black brocade with the Shahada outlined in the weave of the fabric. About three quarters of the way up runs a gold embroidered band covered with Qur'anic text.
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Map of the site Al-Masjid al-Haram