Majid al Haram located in Makkah, Saudi Arabia is a magnificent example of fine and exquisite Islamic architecture. It is the largest and most visited mosque of the world. Muslims from all over the world visit Holy City Makkah to offer obligatory prayers, circumambulation, Umrah and Hajj which are prominent Islamic Practices.
Significance of Masjid al-Haram for Muslims does not require any introduction. All the Muslims offer their prayers facing the direction of Kaaba, as mentioned in Quran “Verily, We have seen the turning of your (Muhammad’s) face towards the heaven. Surely, we shall turn you to a Qiblah (prayer direction) that shall please you, so turn your face in the direction of Masjid al-Haram. And wheresoever’s you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction.” [2:144]
The world Largest Mosque Masjid al-Haram has been extended several times. The current third extension is still in process and the construction is said to be continued in phases till 2020. Currently the total area of the Mosque amounts to 1,470,000 square meters. There are about more than 112 grand gates for entrance with 78 gates on the ground floor. As quoted by Prominent Imam Sudais, more than 1,600,000 worshipers can perform rituals in mosque. In 2015 more than 2 million pilgrims have performed Hajj.
The current extension of Masjid al-Haram started in 2013. Today 105,000 Tawaf performers can complete their rituals simultaneously. The extension work included broadening of indoor and outdoor praying area (Masaa and Mataaf expansion), building of double story circumambulation area, minarets, supporting bridges for handicapped people, flyovers and stairs. Other than this other components included in the expansion project are complex of central services building, tunnels, security buildings, hospital, pedestrian-use tunnels and transportation stations. Several bridges which lead into the mosque are under construction and so is the first ring road.
It is said that after expansion mosque will have extended space to accommodate 300,000 worshippers inside and 280,000 worshippers outside. Kings that have acted as custodians for two holy mosques and started or continued this extension project are Salman bin Abdul aziz Al Saud (current), late King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman (founder), late king Saud, late king Faisal, late King Khalid, late King Fahd and late Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
There are some interesting known facts about Masjid al- Haram. It is said to be located In the center of the earth. No aeroplane has ever crossed the sacred cuboid building, Kaaba located at the heart of the mosque, nor has a bird flown upon it. Sun and Moon cannot stand upon Kaaba. Entrance of Muslims is only allowed in the city of Makkah.
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