What Was the Old Name of Makkah?

For Muslims all across the world, Makkah, the holy city tucked away in the center of the Arabian Peninsula, is of utmost importance. A pilgrimage destination for millions of devoted Muslims each year, Makkah is known as the birthplace of Islam and the location of the Kaaba. However, Makkah had a different identity rooted in history and tradition before it came to be known by its current name. We will dive into the past in this essay to discover Makkah’s former name and examine its earlier development.

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Understanding the History:

Far in advance of the arrival of Islam, Makkah has a long history. It was a hub for trade and culture long before the development of the well-known trade routes. According to scholars, it has its origins in the time of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and Prophet Isma’il (Ishmael). Even in those early days, Makkah’s importance as a religious and commercial hub was well-established.

The Old Name of Makkah:

Makkah was formerly known as “Bakkah.” In Surah Al ‘Imran (Chapter 3), verse 96 of Islam’s holy book, the Quran, the word “Bakkah” is used:

Indeed, Bakkah’s house of worship, which is blessed and a source of instruction for all of humanity, was the first one to be erected.

This passage emphasizes Makkah’s historical significance as the world’s first chosen location of worship. Makkah was also known as Bakkah. The term “Bakkah” is derived from the Arabic word for “crowded” or “populous,” which perfectly encapsulated the bustling metropolis and its thriving neighborhood.

The Importance of Bakkah in Pre-Islamic Times:

Bakkah was a center for religious and cultural rituals before the arrival of Islam. The Kaaba served as the center of devotion for many Arabian tribes, each of which placed emphasis on the holy site, and is thought to have been constructed by the Prophet Ibrahim and his son Isma’il. Due to its strategic location at the intersection of historic trade routes that linked the Arabian Peninsula to Africa, Asia, and beyond, Bakkah was a significant hub for trade and commerce.

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Transition from Bakkah to Makkah:

The emergence of Islam in the seventh century AD is credited with causing Bakkah to become Makkah. Makkah, which in Arabic means “a place to gather,” became the name of the city as Islam expanded over the Arabian Peninsula under the guidance of Prophet Muhammad. The change in name symbolized the city’s historical and spiritual metamorphosis as the heart of Islam.

The pre-Islamic era has a rich history in Makkah, the current hub of Islamic pilgrimage and devotion. Long before Islam was introduced, Bakkah was a significant religious and cultural center, as evidenced by its former name. The city’s renaming to Makkah signaled the beginning of a new age and symbolized its significance as a hub for Muslims all across the world.

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