The holy cities of Mecca (Makkah) and Medina (Madinah) are timeless Islamic gems nestled in the very heart of the panoramic Arabian Peninsula. Makkah is home to the holy Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam, drawing countless pilgrims and tourists annually with its powerful aura. Millions of devout Muslims worldwide travel here each year to perform Umrah, a significant spiritual journey in Islam that helps them seek forgiveness for their sins, increase their faith, and grow closer to the Almighty.
Pilgrims must perform the rituals of Ihram, Tawaf, Sa’ey, and Tahallul by following the guidelines single-mindedly for their Umrah to be accepted. While booking Umrah packages 2024 and embarking on the pilgrimage is a blessing in itself, visiting the other holy sites in these two pivotal cities can elevate the experience vastly.
What is the Historical Significance of Mecca and Medina?
Makkah is inarguably the holiest site for Muslims, revered as the birthplace of the blessed Prophet Muhammed (pbuh). It is the pivotal centre of both pilgrimages, Umrah and Hajj, and home to the holy Kaaba. The very birthplace of Islam, Makkah has a rich history brimming with treaties, conflicts, religious ordinances, and more.
Coming close after Makkah, the blessed Madinah city is the second-holiest site in Islam. It is where the Prophet (pbuh) established and solidified the Muslim community after he fled Makkah. It is also where he was laid to rest, with millions of Muslims paying homage to his tomb in the chief mosque each year.
Sacred Places in Makkah Pilgrims Can Visit During Umrah
The revered Masjid-Al Haram is also known as the Great Mosque of Makkah, and envelops the holy Kaaba. It is a must-visit site during Umrah, wherein Muslims encircle the holy Kaaba counterclockwise a specific set of times as a key part of their pilgrimage. Muslims worldwide make their prayers to Allah by facing in the direction of the holy Kaaba at Masjid-A Haram.
Another crucial holy site to visit in Makkah is Masjid-e-Ayesha, the second-largest mosque in the city. It is also called Masjid e Taneem, and is among the oldest structures in the region. Located very close to Masjid-Al Haram, it is a significant site where pilgrims can enter into the sacred state of Ihram that marks the beginning of their journey.
Called by various names, such as Jabal ar-Rahmah (Mount of Mercy) or Jabal Arafat, this is one of the most crucial places in Islam. It is believed that Mount Arafat is where Adam and Eve were reunited after they fell from heaven. It is also where Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) delivered his last sermon. It is an important place for Hajj pilgrims to visit, specifically the valley of Muzdalifah and Jamarat, where they perform the last rites of their holy expedition.
Located very near to Makkah, Jabal al-Nour is also known famously as the Mountain of Light. It is revered for a cave it is home to, called Gar-e-Hira, where, according to Islamic history, Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) received the first revelation of the holy Quran from angel Jibreel. Climb the mountain to reach the cave and discover one of the holiest sites in Islam during your Umrah journey.
One of the most sacred places you can visit or perform Ziyarat during your pilgrimage is Maktaba Makkah-al-Mukarramah, the very birthplace of the blessed Prophet (pbuh). It is located in She’eb Banu Hashim and was previously a mountain, but has now been converted to a renowned national library.
Situated approximately a kilometre north of Al-Masjid Al-Haram, the revered Jannat-al-Mu’alla is among the most pivotal cemeteries in Islamic history. It is where the relatives and ardent followers of the blessed Prophet (pbuh) are entombed. Visit and pay respects at the stones symbolising where the bodies lie.
City of Mina
Mina is a stunning valley located around 3 kilometres from Makkah, and is also called the City of Tents because it’s where millions of devotees gather during Hajj. There are air-conditioned tents set up to provide temporary shelter to them, offering comfort and convenience as they perform the demanding rituals.
Sacred Places in Madinah Pilgrims Can Visit During Umrah
As per Islamic history, Masjid-e-Nabawi is the final resting place of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh). Located in Madinah, this spectacular mosque is among the largest and most impressive ones worldwide. Praying here is among the most blessed things you can do during Umrah.
The site of the great Battle of Uhud, this majestic place holds immense historical significance in Islam. Visitors can see graveyards of the fallen martyrs at Mount Uhud, testifying of the intense battle between Muslim armies and the Quraysh that took place here.
Renowned for being the first ever mosque built in the history of Islam by the blessed Prophet (pbuh) himself, Masjid-al-Quba can be found in the outskirts of Madinah. Millions of Umrah pilgrims visit each year, with the footfall being especially massive during the blessed month of Ramadan.
Among the most beautiful mosques to visit in Madinah, Masjid al-Qiblatain holds unmatched importance in Islam. It is where Allah commanded the blessed Prophet (pbuh) to change the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to the holy Makkah (Kaaba). A visit here is a must during your Umrah pilgrimage.
Dar Al-Madinah Museum
Dar Al-Madinah Museum is famous for being the very first museum in the city. Depicting the very significant parts of Islam with its enviable collection of ancient artefacts. You can see rare historical images of the city, around 2000 archaeological artefacts. And other fascinating exhibits that speak of the intriguing history of Madinah and its place in Islam.
The Deserts of Saleh
Exploring this mesmerising golden soft-sand desert can be among the most unforgettable things to do during your journey of faith. A UNESCO heritage site. The Deserts of Saleh is where you should go for a peek at ancient caves with drawings and inscriptions, gigantic tombs, and other fascinating things that elevate its natural beauty.
Including these holy places to visit during Umrah in your Ziyarat itinerary. That will bring your pilgrimage to the house of Allah to a close successfully. Offering you an insurmountable sense of peace.