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Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām

Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām (Arabic: المسجد الحرام‎, pronounced [ʔælˈmæsdʒɪd ælħɑˈrɑːm], "The Sacred Mosque") or the Grand Mosque surrounds theKaaba, the holiest place in Islam. It is located in the city of Mecca and is the largest mosque in the world. Muslims around the world turn toward Kaaba while performing any prayer. One of the Five Pillars of Islam requires every Muslim to perform the Hajj pilgrimage at least once in his or her lifetime if able to do so, including circumambulation of the Kaaba.

The current structure covers an area of 356,800 square metres (88.2 acres) including the outdoor and indoor praying spaces and can accommodate up to four million worshipers during the Hajj period, one of the largest annual gatherings of people in the world. Unlike many other mosques which are segregated, men and women worship at Masjid al-Haram together.

The Kaaba (Arabic: الكعبة‎) is a cuboid-shaped building in the center of the Masjid al-Haram and is the most sacred site in Islam. All Muslims around the world face the Kaaba during prayers, no matter where they are. This is called facing the Qiblah.

The Hajj require pilgrims to walk seven times around the Kaaba in a counter-clockwise direction. This circumambulation, the Tawaf, is also performed by pilgrims during the Umrah (lesser pilgrimage). 

Black Stone 
The Black Stone (Arabic: الحجر الأسود‎ al-Ḥajar al-Aswad) is the eastern cornerstone of the Kaaba. It was set intact into the Kaaba's wall byMuhammad in the year 605, five years before his first revelation. Since then it has been broken into a number of fragments and is now cemented into a silver frame in the side of the Kaaba. Its physical appearance is that of a fragmented dark rock, polished smooth by the hands of millions of pilgrims.

Many of the pilgrims, if possible, stop and kiss the Black Stone, emulating the kiss that Islamic tradition records it having received from Muhammad. If they cannot reach it, they point to it on each of their seven circuits around the Kaaba. 

Maqām Ibrahim
The Maqām Ibrahim (Ibrahim's place of standing) is a rock that reportedly has an imprint of Ibraham's foot which is kept in a crystal dome next to the Kaaba. Ibraham is said[by whom?] to have stood on this stone during the construction of the upper parts of the Kaaba, raising Ishmail on his shoulders for the uppermost parts.

Safa and Marwa
In Islamic tradition, Ibrahim's wife Hagar runs between the hills of Safa and Marwah looking for water for her infant son Ishmael until God eventually reveals her the Zamzam. Muslims also travel back and forth seven times during the ritual pilgrimages of Hajj and Umrah as a remembrance to her.

Safa — from which the ritual walking (Arabic: سعى‎ saʿy) begins — is located approximately half a mile from the Kaaba. Marwah is located about 100 m (330 ft) from the Kaaba. The distance between Safa and Marwah is approximately 450 m (1,480 ft)

Zamzam Well 
The Zamzam Well (Arabic: زمزم‎) is a well located 20 m (66 ft) east of the Kaaba. It began circa 2150 BCE when Abraham's (Ibrāhīm) infant son Ishmael (ʼIsmāʻīl) was thirsty and kept crying for water. The well has never gone dry despite the millions of liters of water consumed every year. It had been deepened several times in history during periods of severe droughts. 


The imams have a set rota to decide who leads prayer.[citation needed] 

Former Imams 
Abdullah Al-Khulaifi (عبد الله الخليفي) 
Ali Jaber (على بن عبد الله جابر) 
Umar Al-Subayyil (عمر السبيل) 
Muhammed Al-Subayyil (محمد السبيل) 
Abdullah Al Humaid (عبد الله الحميد), former Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia 
Abdullah Al-Harazi (عبدالله الحرازي), former Chairman of Saudi Majlis al Shura 
Abdullah Khayyat (عبدالله خياط) 
Ali Bin Abdur Rahman Al Hudhaify, now chief imam of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi 
Salah Ibn Muhammad Al Budair, now in Al-Masjid an-Nabawi 
Adil Kalbani 

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