SOAS University of London


28 January - 21 March 2003

Makkah, Madhina (the Haramain) and the Hajj Pilgrimage

The Ka'bah is the centre of pilgrimage for Muslims. The region surrounding the Ka'bah, is the sanctuary of Makkah, this sanctuary is an area safe for pilgrims and visitors to Makkah.

This safe area is known as the Haram, having meanings of protected, forbidden and revered. About 400 km to the north of Makkah is Madinah. Unlike Makkah where the sanctity is declared in the Quran and traditionally started with Abraham, it was Muhammed who made Madinah a sanctuary. Therefore the status of the Haram of Madinah is not the same as that of the Haram of Makkah. Performance of the Hajj is only in Makkah, however it is traditionally part of the pilgrimage to pay a visit to the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah. For over 1400 years pilgrims have made their way to Makkah and Madinah following and creating routes across Arabia.