The Sanctuaries of Mecca and Medina. Mention in Qurān and in the Traditions. Position and size of Mecca. Ṭāif. Building of the Ka`bah: Adam, Abraham and Ishmael. The Well Zamzam. The Black Stone. Water channels. The Ḥarām or Sanctuary. Its limits. The Ka`bah and its Corners. Shrines round the Ka`bah. Restorations of the Ka`bah. Its dimensions. The Court of the Ka`bah. Shrines and houses outside the Sanctuary. Ṣafā and Marwah. `Arafāt. Mount Ḥirā. Tombs of Companions, saints and learned men. Distances of divers places from Mecca and Medina

PART THE THIRD. Describing towns, provinces and lands; and the same is divided into four Books.

BOOK I. Describing the Two Noble Sanctuaries (Mecca and Medina), may God Almighty enoble them, and the Further Mosque (at Jerusalem). Although these places are not actually within the Kingdom of Īrān, and the main object of the author of this work is to describe the Lands of Īrān, yet in view of the fact that the aforesaid places are the most excellent lands in the whole world being the Qiblah (praying-point) of those who possess the Faith, it seemed in every way better to begin by writing a first and separate Book dealing with the description of the conditions of those lands, in order that this work might thus include the major part of all matters and be complete in what is reported therein.

Now these noble Sanctuaries are very often mentioned in the Qurān and in the Traditions, as for example where the Almighty says (Qurān, ch. XVII. v. 1) Glory be to Him who carried his servant (Muḥammad) by night from the Mosque of the Ḥaram (of Mecca) to the Further Mosque (at Jerusalem) whose precinct We have blessed that We might show him of our signs, for He is the Hearer the Seer. And in the Maṣābīḥ* it is reported as a Tradition of the Prophet that he said The camels are (at all times) saddled to visit these three Mosques, namely the Mosque of the Ḥaram (at Mecca), the Further Mosque (at Jerusalem), and this my Mosque (at Medina).

Description of the Ḥaram (Sanctuary)* of the Venerated Ka`bah, may Allah glorify its renown. The House of the Ka`bah is in the Ḥaram Mosque, and that Mosque is in the city of Mecca, and that city is in the province of the Ḥijāz, which lies in the Second Clime. The longitude (of Mecca) is 77° from the Fortunate Isles*, and its latitude is 21° 40' from the Equator:— and (these figures being represented in the Abjad by the letters pronounced `Izz and Kām respectively) it is good and suitable that in both latitude and longitude this city should rank as Glory (`Izz) and Repose (Kām). The city lies in a valley, bounded on the east by Mount Abū Qubays and Mount Qu`ay- qu`ān, of which two Abū Qubays [<Arabic>] is the higher. To the west of the city lie the hill of Minā and Mount Thabīr, the latter a very high hill overhanging the quarters of Minā and Muzdalifah: further the Ram which formed the sacrifice of Ishmael was brought down from this mountain. To the north of Mecca lies Mount Ṣafā, and to the south Mount Marwah*.

Mecca is a great city, measuring more than 10,000 paces in a circuit, but within these limits there are ruins and waste places with many hillocks and mounds. In its honour numerous verses of the Qurān have been revealed, also Traditions; as for instance where the Almighty said (Qurān, ch. II. v. 120) And then Abraham said, Lord make this a secure land (for the reference is to this country of the Ḥijāz). Further there is the Tradition of the Prophet who said Verily this land God Almighty did make it sacred on the day that He created the heavens and the earth, and it is a Ḥaram (Sanctuary), by the sanctification of God Almighty, even to the Day of Resurrection. Further the Prophet said as he stood overlooking Ḥazzawarah* By Allah (O Mecca) thou art to my mind of the best of the earth—or according to another version —thou art the best beloved of God, be He exalted and glorified, and had I not been forced to leave thee, I had never gone forth from thee. The lands of Mecca are not suitable for ploughing and sowing, even as God Himself has said (Qurān, ch. XIV. v. 40) referring to it as an unfruitful valley nigh to thy Holy House, and all provisions that they need have to be brought from neighbouring districts. Thus the district of Ṭāif, which is 8 leagues distant, is the chief granary of Mecca, which looks to Ṭāif for all supplies; and Ṭāif lies near the mountain of Ghazwān upon which snow and ice are found to remain (some part of the year), and on no other mountain in the Arabian peninsula is this the case. The climate of Ṭāif by reason of the neighbourhood of this mountain is excellent, and its fruits are abundant and of good flavour.

In the Kitāb-al-Ma`ārif Ibn Qutaybah, quoting Wahb ibn Munabbih, writes that when Adam was expelled from Paradise he fell down on the Island of Sarandīb (Ceylon); and after one hundred years of humiliation and weeping his repentance was accepted. But his grief at being cut off from Paradise was so great that God Almighty in pity sent him down from Paradise a tabernacle, and this was brought and set up in the place where the Ka`bah now stands. It was in the form of a house, being of a single block of corundum with golden lamps. According to another account it is said that this tabernacle was the House of the Prototype, and Adam was commanded to go in pilgrimage thereto. Further Adam was made to take up his abode here, and according to one account it was at the time of the Flood, or according to another account at the time of Adam’s death, that this tabernacle was carried up back into Heaven.

The descendants of Adam, by command of Seth, [<Arabic>] in place thereof built a House of stone and clay, but this during the Flood was laid in ruins, and for about two thousand years it remained thus. Then Abraham, the Friend of God, by Hagar begot Ishmael, whereby Sarah came to show such jealousy as forced him to send both Hagar and Ishmael away from the presence of Sarah, and Abraham by divine command took them both to this waste land and abandoned them. Afterwards Hagar, seeking water on the mountain side, ran backwards and forwards —even as now the pilgrims must run the Course (in remembrance of the same between Ṣafā and Marwah)—whereupon Ishmael fell to weeping and rubbing his heel on the ground, when, from under his heel the water of the well Zamzam came forth. Hagar, that the water might not come to waste, set a clod of earth before its flow to dam it back, and it is reported that had not Hagar thus restrained it, it would have become a river and a greater river than any in the whole world. It is further said that had the people of those parts not been misbelievers, this water had long before come to the surface, but by reason of their infi- delity it continued to run underground, coming to form a well. The water having been thus discovered, the Jurhamites migrated hither, and Ishmael was brought up among them. When he had come to man’s estate, by the command of the Almighty, Abraham and Ishmael together built the House of the Ka`bah of stone from Mount Qu`ayqu`ān.

This House was without a roof; and God sent down to them from Paradise the Black Stone, which was set in the corner of the House, this same being a block measuring about half an ell across every way. At first this stone had been white, but by reason of the many times that the infidels did rub it with their unclean hands it became black, as is said in the Tradition of the Prophet, upon whom be peace*, The Stone when it was sent down from Paradise was whiter even than milk, but the sins of the children of Adam have made it black: and again he said speaking of this stone Verily God will send it to announce the Day of Resurrection, and it will then have two eyes wherewith to see and a tongue wherewith to speak, and it will certify as to him who has kissed it. And again he said Verily the Black Stone will arise on the Day of the Resurrection, and it will have two eyes wherewith to look, and a tongue wherewith to talk, and it will give testimony as to whosoever hath kissed it. Verily it is a stone that floats upon water and it does not get hot with fire when this is kindled upon it.

As soon as they had finished constructing the Ka`bah, and it had been commanded to make Visitation here, men began to settle round it and build fine houses, and thus emulating one another, the place gradually became a mighty city. The climate is very [<Arabic>] warm, and for water at first there was none but what was given by the Well of Zamzam. The story of that Well is known, how it became choked up so that no man knew where it lay, and how `Abd-al-Muṭṭalib, the grandfather of the Prophet, saw its place in a dream and dug there, when he found certain golden antelopes and certain arms of war. Then the Quraysh contended with him for their possession, but by a divine decree they were given to him for his own. This Well lies on the east side of the Ka`bah, it is forty ells deep, and at its mouth the opening is eleven ells round. Over it they have built a dome, and they have set two square beams of teak wood on either side thereof, from each of which hang six pulleys for drawing up the water. The water is indeed brackish, but the people of Mecca always took their water from this well, till, in the time of the Abbasid Caliphs, the Lady Zubaydah wife of Hārūn-ar-Rashīd first dug underground watercourses in Mecca. After her time these fell to ruin, and so remained till the days of the Caliph Muqtadir, who restored them. But again they became choked till the Caliph Qāim once again caused the water to flow through them. Again in the time of the Caliph Nāṣir they fell to ruin, and he too restored these underground watercourses, but after the overthrow of the Caliphate they became entirely choked with sand. Lastly in the time of the Amīr Chūpān once more they were made to run with water, and this is their state in Mecca at the present time.

The people of Mecca are for the most part dark-skinned; their occupation is commerce and they are mostly of the Ḥanafite sect.

Through the intercession of Abraham, the Friend of God, Mecca with its surrounding lands was made a Sanctuary (Ḥaram) by the command of the Almighty (and these are the limits of the same). First, on the Medina road the limit of the Ḥaram is at the third mile, or one league distant, and the Mīqāt* is at Dhū-l-Ḥulayfah, which last is eleven days’ journey from Mecca. Secondly, on the Jiddah road the Sanctuary limit is ten miles out, which is three leagues and one mile distant, and the Mīqāt is at Sa`diyyah* 20 leagues from Mecca. Thirdly, on the road to Syria and Egypt the Ḥaram limit is two leagues distant and the Mīqāt is at Juḥfah which is 33 leagues from Mecca, the same being two miles from the sea coast. Fourthly, on the Yaman and Tihāmah road the Ḥaram limit is seven miles out, namely two leagues and a mile away, and the Mīqāt is at Yalamlam which is 27 leagues from Mecca. Fifthly, on the Najd road the Sanctuary limit is two leagues distant, and the Mīqāt is at Qarn(-al-Manāzil) [<Arabic>] which is a day and a night march from Mecca. Sixthly, on the Ṭāif road the Ḥaram limit is at 11 miles, which is three leagues and two miles distant, and the Mīqāt is at Rakhāṭir* —this lies 11 leagues from Mecca. Seventhly, on the eastern road that goes to `Irāq the Sanctuary limit is nine miles distant, namely three leagues, and the Mīqāt is at Dhāt-al-`Irq* which is 15 leagues and one mile from Mecca. The total circuit of the Sanctuary limits equals 37 miles which is 12 leagues and one mile, and to mark these limits boundary-stones are set up. Within the Sanctuary limits trees and plantings are rarely met with, but outside the Ḥaram there are numerous gardens and orchards and cultivated lands, also running water is there found. The total circuit of the Mīqāts amounts to 733 miles which is 244 leagues and one mile.

The Ḥaram Mosque (at Mecca). This lies in the middle of the city, and its Court is the place where the pilgrims make their circumambulation. The House of the Ka`bah is in the centre of this court, and all mosques in other countries that are built within their courts are so planned as to face towards the Ḥaram Mosque and the Ka`bah. There are four gates to the Ḥaram Mosque, the Gate of the Banī Shaybah is towards `Irāq opening northwards; and the Ṣafā Gate opens towards the west*. In the time of the Prophet, but five years before his mission was declared, the Quraysh rebuilt the Ka`bah, and they made its roof of the beams of wood which the Negus, who is the King of Abyssinia, had sent by sea to Syria for (roofing) the church of Antioch, but which were cast up at Jiddah, God Almighty having caused the ship to founder. By His dispensation the people of Mecca having taken them made the roof (of the Ka`bah) therefrom and set also four beams of the same under the roof. Then the Prophet, by God’s command and by the assent of the Quraysh, with his own blessed hand set the Black Stone out- side the Ka`bah in the `Irāq Corner, and this on a level of some- what less than a man’s height, that it should be possible to place and rub the hand on it; and this corner lies towards the east*.

The Station of Abraham and the well Zamzam lie near by the angle of the Ka`bah which is turned towards the north and is known as the Syrian Corner, the angle towards the west being known as the Abyssinian Corner, while the angle towards the south is called the Yaman Corner. The House of the Ka`bah was given a Door of a single leaf, and they inlaid its face with silver, [<Arabic>] obtained from the silver* antelopes that had been found in the well of Zamzam. In the days of `Abd-Allah ibn Zubayr, after the Ka`bah walls had been thrown down by the catapults of the Omayyad Caliph (Yazīd, who had sent an army to besiege Mecca), the Ka`bah was again rebuilt by him; and he then planned the House to be higher and more spacious, giving it also two doors. The Black Stone he had set inside the Ka`bah in the wall, asserting that as the Prophet had said that the Black Stone was a part of the Ka`bah, it was proper that it should be within the Ka`bah. After (the death of Ibn Zubayr) Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf, the Thakafite, destroyed what had just been rebuilt, placing the Black Stone once more outside in the Ka`bah wall, where the Prophet himself had set it, namely in the northern angle, which is called the `Irāq Corner. Ḥajjāj also restored the House to its former state, and he gave it one door only. The length of the Ka`bah measures 24 ells and a span, with a width of 23 ells and a span. The total area covered by the building is 475 (square) ells, and the area of the inside chamber of the Ka`bah is 444 (square) ells. The height of the building outside is 27 ells, and its roof was covered with tin plates, and the water-spout therefrom, which was on the right hand side, was made of silver. To the left of the Ka`bah lies the well of Zamzam*.

The first person who clothed the Ka`bah with its covering was the Tubba` of Yaman, Asad Abū Karib Ḥimyarī, who was contemporary with King Bahrām Gūr the Sasanian, and with Kusay fifth in ascent of the forefathers of the Prophet. Referring to this a poet has said:

We gave for a covering to the House, which God hath sanctified,
An over-cloth that was embroidered and ornamented.

They say that it is a peculiarity of this House of the Ka`bah that no bird can fly over it. The Caliph `Othmān added to the Mosque a number of houses which the Caliph `Omar had bought, giving it thus a larger area; and the Omayyad Caliph Walīd son of `Abd-al-Malik erected in the Mosque many noble buildings, [<Arabic>] bringing hither from Syria columns of stone, and the roof of the Mosque he constructed of beams of teak-wood. The Abbasid Caliph Manṣūr surnamed Abū Dawānīq (‘Father of Pence,’ for his avarice) enlarged both the Mosque and the Court, and in the year 166 (783) his son the Caliph Mahdī again added thereunto, giving it its present dimensions. These are, for the place of Circumambulation 370 ells by 315 ells, and the circuit of the Mosque outside is 1580 ells.

All round the Mosque stand hostelries and colleges, and the outer gates are very numerous. Among the rest here is the Hostelry which was built by the Ascetic Khumārtāsh `Imādī of Qazvīn—on whom God have mercy—for the use of the Qazvīn Pilgrims. Further he bestowed 30,000 (gold) dīnārs on the governors of Mecca, for them to permit a latticed window to be made in the Hostelry that should look into the Mosque Court. The House in which the Prophet was born, and which is now known as the palace of Muḥammad ibn Yūsuf, stands alongside the Mosque Court, and Khayzurān, the mother of the Caliph Hārūn-ar-Rashīd, made it a Place of Assembly and added it to the Mosque. The Watering-place of the Pilgrims lies to the westward of the house of the Ka`bah in front of the Zamzam well, and the House of Convocation (Dār-an-Nadwah) is also on this western side of the Mosque in front of the Governor’s Palace (Dār-al-Imārat). The hill of Ṣafā stands to the eastward of the Mosque, with the Market street lying in between, and it is counted as part of the Abū Qubays Mountain. The hill of Marwah is to the west of the Mosque Court, and they say that Ṣafā and Marwah were, respectively, the names of a man and a woman of the Days of Ignorance (before Islam) who had com- mitted fornication in the Ka`bah. Then God Almighty turned them into stone, and the people of Mecca carried the man to the top of Mount Ṣafā, and the woman to the top of Mount Marwah, that all who saw them might take warning thereby; and thus these hills came by their name. But others say the names are merely the proper-names of the hills, and that the name of the man was Isāf and of the woman Nāhilah. In the Qurān the names of Ṣafā and Marwah frequently occur, as for instance (in chapter II. v. 153) where it is said Verily Ṣafā and Marwah were among the monuments of God; and in the Traditions of the Prophet it is reported that he said that the Beast of the Earth, whose appearance will be a sign of the imminence of the Day of Resurrection, will come from Mount Ṣafā.

The places called Mash`ar-al-Ḥarām and Ḥaṭīm lie between Ṣafā and Marwah, on the side of Mount Qu`ayqu`ān; and Minā is the valley [<Arabic>] that extends to the westward* of the Mosque area for a distance of about two miles. Jamrah is a steep pass in the further part of Minā, and the Masjid Khayf (Mosque of the Hill-skirt) stands to the west* of the Sanctuary area, in which same direction also lies `Arafāt, but beyond the Sanctuary limits, seeing that from it to Mecca is a distance of three miles.

The Mosque of `Āishah likewise is outside the Sanctuary, near by Upper Jamrah and Ḥudaybiyyah, which are over against the Sanctuary limits. Māzimayn is a valley between two hills and its further part is called Baṭn `Uranah, and near here is the road of the Wall of the Banī `Āmir, where the Pilgrims say the Prayer for midday and eventide. Near by is the spring named after `Abd-Allah of the Banī `Āmir son of Kurayz. Muzdalifah lies between Mecca and `Arafāt, and here the Pilgrims say their evening prayers, also pray before sleep, and the morning prayer likewise. Baṭn Muḥassir is a valley lying between Minā and Muzdalifah; and Mount Ḥirā* stands above Mecca. The Prophet made a circumambulation about it, which caused the mountain itself to begin to move (in respectful imitation), but the Prophet cried ‘Stand still, O Ḥirā’ and it did so. Also at the time of the Miracle of the Dividing of the Moon this mountain appeared between the two halves of the moon. The piece of ground called Baṭḥā which is one league distant from Mecca is counted as belonging to it, and the Mount called Thawr Aṭhal, wherein is the Cave of the Prophet, lies on the Medina road*. Lastly Jiddah is the port of Mecca folk when they set out from that city to go by sea.

Now as to the Prophets, verily Adam and his wife Eve— peace be on them both—lie buried on Mount Abū Qubays: and the Prophet Ṣāliḥ has his tomb in the city of Mecca, where it stands near the House of Convocation (already mentioned) to the west of the Sanctuary. Ishmael and his mother Hagar— peace be on them both—lie buried in the Sanctuary of the Ka`bah. The two sons of the Prophet Muḥammad who were born to Khadījah, and died before the Flight, both lie buried in the cemetery of Mecca, which lies outside the city. Of the illustrious Companions (of the Prophet) many are buried here: the first of them being As`ad ibn Zurārah*, and the last of them being Abū Umāmah Bāhilī, who died in the year 86 (705).

Among the learned and great saints buried here are Abū `Abd-ar-Raḥmān of Nisā, fifth of the Masters of the true Tradition, also Muḥammad ibn `Alī [<Arabic>] Kattānī. The Carmathian chief Abū Sa`īd of Jannābah—upon whom be the curse of God—during the reign of the Abbasid Caliph Muqtadir in the year 319 (931) carried war against Mecca during the season of the Pilgrimage, and he slew many Moslem folk, making a general slaughter so that the well Zamzam was choked with the bodies of the slain, and the area round the Ka`bah was filled with 3000 corpses. Then he carried off the Black Stone, putting it to vile purposes, and the well Zamzam he defiled with ordure. For twenty years the Black Stone remained in the hands of the Carmathians, till the year 339 (950) when at Kūfah it was sold for 30,000 (golden) dīnārs to the agents of the Caliph Muṭī`. That Caliph then sent it to Mecca, and had it replaced in the `Irāq Corner of the Ka`bah, where till the present day it has rested in safety from all further evil; and may God Almighty preserve it so till the Day of Resurrection, safe from the wickedness of all abandoned, cast- off, and reprobate persons.

The distances from mecca to the chief towns of the Land of Īrān will now be given in brief, but further details, as is needful, will be set forth later (in Book II, Division iii, Section I) when describing the high-roads*.

From Mecca to Sulṭāniyyah the capital of the Kingdom of Īrān it is, by way of Baghdād, 388 leagues. Mecca to Tabrīz, also a capital city, by way of Baghdād, it is 380 leagues. Mecca to Baghdād, also a capital city, by way of Najaf the Noble (Shrine of `Alī), it is 260 leagues. (And the following are the distances from Mecca to various cities of Īrān): to Ray 305 leagues, to Ardabīl 224 leagues, to Hamadān 277 leagues, to Kāshān 260 leagues, to Iṣfahān 301 leagues, to Samnān 229 leagues, to Shūstar 231 leagues, to Qāyin 280 leagues, to Nayshāpūr 420 leagues, to Tiflīs 501 leagues, to Balkh 507 leagues, to Marv 481 leagues, to Qum 294 leagues, to Sabzavār 402 leagues, to Yazd 304 leagues, to Qazvīn 370 leagues, to Shīrāz 207 leagues, to Nayrīz 309 leagues, to Hurmūz 204 leagues.

Now as to the distances from Mecca to other places of the habitable world, in the various directions of the four cardinal points of the compass, which same lie beyond the limits [<Arabic>] of the Land of Īrān, these distances are by astronomical estimate from latitude and longitude of the places, as the same are laid down in the various tables. In this estimate, which is but a theoretical computation, we have reckoned each degree as the equivalent of 25 leagues—following in this the authority of Ptolemy—and we have counted thus conjecturally, and by approximation, in order to bring into the reckoning the differences in the various roads which cross diverse latitudes.

The Eastern Quarter. The land of India, (namely) Dihlī, Qinnawj and Sūmnāth, distant 30°, and leagues 750. Zaytūn distant 34°, leagues 850. Khansāy, capital of Māchīn (South China), distant 52°, leagues 1300. Māchīn, capital of Sīn (China), distant 56°, leagues 1400. Khānbāligh (Pekin), capital of Khitāy, distant 46°, leagues 1150. Tīz and Makrān distant 20°, leagues 500. Daybul distant 20°, leagues 500. Qandahār and Kashmīr distant 35°, leagues 850. Transoxiana distant 30°, leagues 750. The country of Uighūr and Tangut distant 32°, leagues 750. The kingdom of Tibet distant 30°, leagues 700. The kingdom of Khwārazm distant 36°, leagues 650. Saqsīn and Bulghār distant 32°, leagues 750. Ṣaghāniyān distant 29°, leagues 725. Kaymāk distant 32°, leagues 800. Farkhār distant 27°, leagues 675. Kābul distant 21°, leagues 525. Qirghīz and Salangā distant 26°, leagues 650. The lands of Yājūj and Mājūj distant 62°, leagues 1550.

Western Quarter. Pilgrims (to Mecca) from this quarter of necessity pass through Medina, and hence we shall make our estimate of distances to that city; and from Medina to Mecca it is (in addition) 87 leagues. From Cairo to Medina it is 150 leagues; and from Alexandria to the same 210 leagues. From Damascus the capital of [<Arabic>] Syria it is 120 leagues. The land of Abyssinia is distant 12°, leagues 300. The land of Maghrib, where lives `Abd-al-Mu’min (the Almohad), distant 30°, leagues 750. Cordova, which is the capital of Spain, distant 48°, leagues 1200. Qayruwān distant 34°, leagues 850. The Berber country distant 12°, leagues 850.

The Northern Quarter. By way of Baghdād, to the Qipchāq Desert, 450 leagues, the Alān and Chirkas (Circassia) country 350 leagues, Ās and Rūs (country of Russians and Ossetes) 400 leagues, the Frank country 500 leagues, Yūnān (Greece) 200 leagues, Saqlāb (Sclavonia) 350 leagues, Badrīyah, Sanūrīyah and Baland (cities of the North) 450 leagues.

The Southern Quarter. Pilgrims from these parts reach Mecca first and then go on to Medina, the distances therefore are counted as to Mecca. Ṭāif 8 leagues, Ṣan`ā of Yaman 140 leagues, the Tihāmah district 148 leagues, Aden 120 leagues, `Omān 140 leagues, Sarandīb (Island of Ceylon) 300 leagues.

In regard to other countries, which for the avoidance of pro- lixity are not mentioned here (in detail), verily the distances from these to Mecca may be estimated in accordance with their propinquity, severally, to the diverse lands already given (in the above lists) and thus a total in leagues will be obtained. But exact knowledge in all these matters lies with God alone.