The al-Haram Mosque - History and Facts | History Hit

The al-Haram Mosque


The al-Haram Mosque in Mecca is the culmination of the Muslim pilgrimage of the Hajj.

Antara Bate

22 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Sufi / Shutterstock

About The al-Haram Mosque

The al-Haram Mosque, also known as the Holy Mosque or Al-Masjid al-Haram, is renowned as the world’s holiest and biggest mosque.

The al-Haram Mosque history

Located in the sacred city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Muslim pilgrims from around the globe travel to the al-Haram Mosque during the last month of the Islamic calendar – Dhu al-Hijja – as the culmination of the Hajj pilgrimage. It is considered the duty of Muslims to undertake this pilgrimage at least once during their lifetime.

Initially constructed during the reign of Caliph Omar Ibn al-Khattab (634-644), the al-Haram Mosque has since undergone several renovations and has been expanded numerous times, notably in the eighth and fourteenth centuries. However, the current incarnation of the mosque mostly dates back to 1571, when Ottoman Sultan Selim II ordered that it be rebuilt.

The focal point of the al-Haram Mosque – and in fact the site it was built around – is the Ka’ba. Muslims believe that this structure, which predates Islam but has since been rebuilt on numerous occasions, was first built by the prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail as a place of worship.

It came under the remit of the Prophet Muhammad and his tribe, at which time it was already attracting pilgrims from surrounding areas. It was also at this time that the Black Stone, still housed in the Ka’ba, became a holy Muslim relic.

The al-Haram Mosque today

The focal point for every Muslim and the biggest mosque in the world, Al Masjid Al Haram is able to host a million worshippers and covers an area of 356,800 sq metres. Non-Muslim visitors cannot enter Mecca at all, and certainly cannot enter Al Masjid Al Haram. It’s open 24 hours a day, and those who do follow Islam may enter and worship at any point in time following their pilgrimage to the city.

Getting to the al-Haram Mosque

The mosque is Mecca’s focal point – the First Ring Road encloses it if you’re arriving by car. Buses stop between the First and Second Ring Roads if you’re travelling from a different part of town.