Mecca

Mecca
The birthplace of Mohammed and the seat of the famous Kaaba, it was celebrated even in pre-Islamic times as the chief sanctuary of the Arabs, and visited by numerous pilgrims and devotees

Catholic Encyclopedia. . 2006.

Mecca
    Mecca
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Mecca
    Mecca, the capital of Arabia and the sacred city of the Mohammedans, is situated in the district of Hijaz about 21°30' N. latitude and 40°20' E. longitude, some seventy miles east of the Red Sea. It lies in a sandy valley surrounded by rocky hills from two hundred to five hundred feet in height, barren and destitute of vegetation.
    The birthplace of Mohammed and the seat of the famous Kaaba, it was celebrated even in pre-Islamic times as the chief sanctuary of the Arabs, and visited by numerous pilgrims and devotees. The city presents an aspect more pleasing than that of the ordinary Eastern town, with comparatively wide streets and stone houses, usually of three stories, and well aired and lighted. The inhabitants, numbering about 60,000, are with few exceptions Arabians whose chief employment consists in lodging the pilgrims and serving the temple, although no inconsiderable amount of trade is carried on with the Bedouins of the surrounding desert. Mecca, the seat of government during the reign of the first five Khalifs, is now governed by a Sharif, chosen by the people from the Sayyids or the descendants of Mohammed, but under the immediate authority of the Sultan of Turkey (Hughes, "Dictionary of Islam", q.v.). Mecca is annually visited by some 80,000 pilgrims from all over the Mohammedan world. On their way the pilgrims pass through Medina, the second sacred town of Arabia, and on approaching Mecca they undress, laying aside even their headgear, and put on aprons and a piece of cloth over the left shoulder. Then they perform the circuit of the Kaaba, kiss the Black Stone, hear the sermon on Mount Arafât, pelt Satan with stones in the valley of Mina, and conclude their pilgrimage with a great sacrificial feast. In a year or two Mecca will be reached by the Hijaz Railway already completed as far as Medina (about eight hundred and fifty miles from Damascus). From Medina to Mecca the distance is two hundred and eighty miles, and from Mecca to Damascus about one thousand one hundred and ten miles. The railway passes through the old caravan route, Damascus, Mezarib, Maan, Medawara, Tebuk, Madain Saleh, El-Ula, Medina, and Mecca.
    The early history of Mecca is shrouded in obscurity, although Mohammedan writers have preserved an abundance of legendary lore according to which the city dates back to Abraham who is said to have there worshipped the true God. It is also stated that after the death of Abraham, the inhabitants of Mecca, owing to the evil influence of the heathen Amalekites, fell into idolatry and paganism, and the Kaaba itself became surrounded with their idols. Hundreds of these idols were destroyed by Mohammed on his entrance into the city at the head of a Moslem army in the eighth year of the Hejira, or A.D. 629. During the century before Mohammed, we find the tribe of Quraish in undisputed possession of the city and the acknowledged guardians of the Kaaba. The leading events in Mecca at that period, such as the Abyssinian expedition against Yemen and the utter defeat of Arabia's army at the hand of the Meccans, have been already discussed in the article CHRISTIANITY IN ARABIA.
    See the bibliography appended to the articles ARABIA, MOHAMMED AND MOHAMMEDANISM ; BURKHARDT, Travels in Arabia (London, 1830); BURTON, Personal narrative of a Pilgrimage to El Medina and Mecca (London, 1857); HURGRONJE, SNOUCK, Mecca, mit Bilder Atlas, II (The Hague, 1888); IDEM, Het Mekkanische Feest (Leyden, 1888).
    GABRIEL OUSSANI
    Transcribed by WGKofron With thanks to Fr. John Hilkert and St. Mary's Church, Akron, Ohio

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


Catholic encyclopedia.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • mecca — mec‧ca [ˈmekə] noun [countable] a place that is very popular for a particular reason, attracting a lot of people to go there: mecca for • Georgetown has become a mecca for jobseekers. • The city is being promoted as a shopping mecca. * * * mecca… …   Financial and business terms

  • Mecca — Mecca, CA U.S. Census Designated Place in California Population (2000): 5402 Housing Units (2000): 1059 Land area (2000): 1.296340 sq. miles (3.357505 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.296340 sq …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Mecca, CA — U.S. Census Designated Place in California Population (2000): 5402 Housing Units (2000): 1059 Land area (2000): 1.296340 sq. miles (3.357505 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 1.296340 sq. miles… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Mecca, IN — U.S. town in Indiana Population (2000): 355 Housing Units (2000): 156 Land area (2000): 0.401527 sq. miles (1.039949 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.401527 sq. miles (1.039949 sq. km) FIPS code …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • mecca — / mɛk:a/ (o Mecca) s.f. [dal nome della città araba Makka, patria di Maometto e luogo santo dell islamismo], solo al sing. [luogo di particolare richiamo, ritenuto ideale per soddisfare speranze, desideri di ricchezza e sim.: trovare la m. ]… …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • Mecca — a city in Saudi Arabia where the prophet ↑Muhammad was born. It is the holiest city of Islam. People who are not Muslims are not allowed to go there, but every Muslim must try to make a ↑pilgrimage (=religious journey) to Mecca once in their… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Mecca — ► NOUN ▪ a place which attracts many people of a particular group or with a particular interest. ORIGIN from the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims …   English terms dictionary

  • Mecca — Mecca, s. Mekka …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • MECCA — Maximini Senioris, ex Ababa, pater; fuit autem is Gothus, haec Alana. Vide Capitolin. in Maximinis c. 1 …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Mecca — Arabic Makkah, sacred city of Islam, birthplace of Muhammad, which every Muslim must visit at least once. Origins have been proposed in Phoenician maqaq ruined or Arabic mahrab sanctuary. Figurative sense of any place one holds supremely sacred… …   Etymology dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.