Ramadan in Makkah is a grand celebration of devotion and surrender to Allah. Also known as Ramzan, Ramadan is a time of self-improvement, worship and spiritual reflection. Observing Ramadan is also known to be one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is also believed that during this month, the holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad.
Lasting 29-30 days, Ramadan is the time when the Muslim community refrains from drinking or eating anything from dawn to dusk. The meal consumed before dawn is known as Sahur, while the post-sunset meal, with which Muslims break the fast, is called Iftar. Many people prefer celebrating this holy month with their families, while some prefer traveling to beautiful destinations. Makkah or Mecca, which is known to be the holiest city in Islamic culture sees a huge number of pilgrims during this auspicious month. Celebrating Ramadan in Makkah has its own significance as it is the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad.
Historical places to visit in Makkah during Ramadan
The sacred destination of Makkah is decorated beautifully during Ramadan. One can look forward to visiting Ramadan bazaars, and take part in Qiamullail prayers that begin before Sahur. Usually at its busiest during the holy month of fasting, Makkah is home to different sites that are perfect for visiting while observing Ramadan.
1. Al-Masjid al-Haram
Also known as the Great Mosque of Mecca, Al-Masjid al-Haram is one of the most significant historical sites in Islam. It encloses the holy Kaaba and witnesses a large number of pilgrims every year. Perfect for visiting during Ramadan, this mosque is considered to be an ideal place for performing different pilgrimage rituals. It is also the largest mosque in the world.
If you are spending Ramadan in Makkah, Al Haram is one of the most important places to visit. This grand mosque houses the Holy Kaaba and many more holy sites, namely the Safa and Marwa hills, the Maqam Ibrahim and the Zamzam Well.
2. Cave of Hira
Located approximately 10 km from the holy Kaaba, the Cave of Hira was the place where Prophet Muhammad retreated for the entire month of Ramadan. During the last 10 days of this period, he was visited by the angel Gabriel during which the first divine revelations from Allah descended upon Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). A must-visit place in Makkah during Ramadan, this cave attracts millions of pilgrims every year.
3. Mount Arafat
Jabal-Ar-Rahmah or Mount Arafat is amongst the holy places to visit in Makkah during Ramadan. As per the Islamic tradition, Mount Arafat is the place from where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered the ‘Khutbat al-Wada’, also known as the Farwell Sermon, to his companions. As per some beliefs, this is the place where Adam and Eve were forgiven following which they reunited. This is why this mountain is also known as Jabal ar-Rahmah, implying ‘Mountain of Mercy’. Pilgrims can also see a pillar on the top of Mount Arafat where this event is said to have occurred.
4. Hijr al-Aswad
Located in the eastern corner of the Kaaba, Hijr al-Aswad or the Black Stone of Mecca is of great significance. As per the Islamic tradition, the stone was set into the wall of Kaaba by Prophet Muhammad himself. Those visiting the Great Mosque of Mecca during holy pilgrimages perform the ritual of Istilam, i.e. the act of kissing this stone while circumambulating the Kaaba. Holding an important place in Islamic culture, Hijr al-Aswad is an ideal place for visiting in Makkah during Ramadan.
5. Masjid e Taneem
Located in close proximity to the holy Kaaba, Masjid e Taneem is one of the most sacred places to visit in Makkah if visiting during Ramadan. It is also known as Masjid-e-Ayesha, as this is the place where Prophet Mohammed’s wife Ayesha had put on Ihram. This mosque is popular among pilgrims who are planning to commence holy pilgrimages of Umrah or Hajj; and thus witnesses huge gatherings for prayers during Ramadan.
Performing Umrah from Masjid-e-Ayesha
6. Maktaba Makkah-al-Mukarramah
Known to be the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), this place is a must-visit in Makkah during Ramadan. Converted into a national library, Maktaba Makkah-al-Mukarramah receives a large number of visitors annually. It is a part of most-sightseeing tours as it is one of the key historical places to visit in Makkah.
7. Jabal al-Thawr
According to the Islamic tradition, Jabal al-Thawr is the place where Prophet Muhammad and his companion took refuge from a mercantile Arab tribe (Quraysh) on the way to Medina. For Muslims, this place holds great significance, owing to which it is visited by both tourists and pilgrims in large numbers.
8. Safa and Marwa
Two small hills located in Makkah, Safa and Marwa are religiously significant as per the Islamic culture, thus making them a must-visit during the holy month of Ramadan. Among the important sites for Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages, these hills are situated adjacent to the holy Kaaba.
9. The Station of Ibrahim
The Maqam Ibrahim or the Station of Ibrahim is a small square-shaped stone that is known to have the imprint of Prophet Abraham’s feet. As per the Islamic tradition, the imprint appeared when Ibrahim stood atop the stone at the time of building the holy Kaaba.
5 Things to do in Makkah during Ramadan
The holy city of Makkah looks beautiful during the holy month of Ramadan. It is known to be the holiest city in Islam and therefore has a lot to offer to the pilgrims. From paying respects at important sites to exploring the malls, here’s a quick list of the best things to do in Makkah in Ramadan.
1. Offer prayers at the Grand Mosque
The Great Mosque of Mecca, also known as Al-Masjid al-Haram, is one of the most holy sites in the city. Offering prayers to Allah here is considered to be one of the most important things to do in Makkah during Ramadan.
2. Visit the Abraj Al-Bait Towers
Situated in the heart of Makkah, Abraj Al-Bait is a government-owned complex that comprises seven hotels. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Makkah, that stands in close proximity to the Great Mosque of Mecca. Abraj Al-Bait Towers consist of two prayer rooms in order to accommodate pilgrims visiting the Kaaba. This landmark complex also has two viewing platforms that provide a sweeping glance over Makkah. Furthermore, it comprises an observation centre for the moon sighting and a museum of Islamic Art. Home to different hotels, supermarkets, food courts, pharmacies and shopping malls, this complex is truly a one-stop shop. During Ramadan, you can look forward to offering prayers or buy souvenirs for your loved ones from the Abraj Al Bait Mall, or even enjoy picturesque views of the Grand Mosque.
3. Explore Al-Zaher Palace Museum
Featuring significant archaeological discoveries of Saudi Arabia and pre-Islamic history exhibits, revisiting Islamic history at this museum in Makkah is also one of the top things to do during Ramadan. It is a popular Mecca tourist attraction for those who are fond of Islamic history.
4. Shop at the beautiful Makkah Mall
One of the most visited malls in the city, Makkah Mall is a large shopping centre featuring a large number of entertainment areas and shopping brands. Ramadan is one of the ideal times to visit this shopping mall as attractive marketing schemes and lucrative discounts are introduced to gain customers’ attention.
5. Enjoy iftar in Makkah
Makkah is home to some of the most amazing eating joints, which offer delicious special meals for Iftar during Ramadan. During Ramadan, Iftar in Makkah is nothing less than a celebration. People can be seen out on the street, enjoying traditional Saudi dishes at street stalls, shops, as well as at standard and premium restaurants. Tourists can also offer prayers in the holy city of Makkah and eat iftar served in the mosques in Makkah.
Visiting Makkah during Ramadan is an ultimate blessing. It is the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad and home to diverse sacred sites. All the beautiful and blissful sacred sites just add to the holy vibe of celebrating Ramadan in Makkah. Most Makkah tourist places are crowded with locals who celebrate the month of prayers and devotions with joy and gaity.
Ramadan In Makkah FAQs
Are there any special regulations in Makkah during Ramadan?
Taraweeh prayers are shortened to 10 rakaat to limit the Ramadan prayers to 30 minutes. Restrictions on the number of worshippers in the holy mosque have been imposed. Wearing masks and social distancing is mandatory for all visitors.
What to do during Ramadan in Makkah?
There are a lot of enjoyable activities one can indulge in while in Makkah during Ramadan. These activities include trying out local dishes, exploring the city’s attractions and offering prayer at the Grand Mosque.
Can you go to Makkah as a tourist?
Only those who hold a valid permit for performing Umrah at the Grand Mosque will be allowed to enter Makkah.
Can I perform Umrah during Ramadan?
Yes, performing Umrah in Ramadan is considered extremely beneficial and virtuous.
What are the traditions of Ramadan?
The major traditions of Ramadan include fasting and visiting the mosque for daily prayers.