In the first instalment of the above article we briefly discussed the historic origins of the Ka’bah and the Sanctuary surrounding it. Let me conclude by supplying data and details about the Sanctuary itself.

A sanctuary is a place where animals, birds and trees etc. are protected by law that prohibits hunters from hunting the animals and cutting down the trees. It is in the same sense in which the word sanctuary, which is haram, is being discussed. It is a sanctuary established by God from eternity and a verse in support of it being a sanctuary is the following :” Or is it that they (Quraish) have not seen that We have appointed the Haram, a safe haven, while people are snatched away all around them? ‘Quran 29:68).  That the Ka’bah has demarcated borders surrounding its sanctuary is substantiated by the following quotation:

We read: ”When the Holy Prophet was sent he confirmed what the Quraish knew of its boundaries. Writing to the Quraish through Zaid Bin Marra Al-Ansari we read:” The Quraish have preserved their places where they perform the rites of the pilgrimage. This is because these places are among the inheritance beqyethed on them by Abraham. Whatever is in front (facing the Ka;bah ) is part of the sanctuary . Hunting of games and the cutting of trees is forbidden. Whatever is beyond the borders is lawful (Al-Hil) as long as the piligrim has not put on the Ihram clothes (Yacut,Mujim AL-Buldan, Vol.2pp 243 – 244). Many scholars have detailed the boundary of the sanctuary in their  works. But one of the best and clear descriptions that is often quoted is that of al-Nawawi which we quote as follows:

‘The boundary of the haram from the direction of Madina before Al-Tan’im and from the houses of BaniNifar is 3 miles. From the road of Yemen by the side of IdatLibin (Valley of libin) it is 7 miles from Macca. From the road of Al-Taif that passes on top of the Arafat mountain, coming from the valley of Namira, it is 7 miles from Macca. From the road of Iraq that passes on top of the mountain with cross-road it is seven miles from Macca. From the road of Al-Jirana in the neighbourhood of Bani Abdullah Bin Khalid it is 9 miles. From the road of Al-Jidda at the interchange of A’ashaash it is 10 miles from Macca” (Yacut). Let me briefly explain the following terms used in the above data. Al-Tanim is a place between Macca and Sarif about 2-4 miles from Macca .Sarif is the town where the Holy Prophet married Maimuna Bint Al-Harith. It is about 6 to 7 miles from Macca. Aashash is a town in the region of BaniTamimYarbu’ Bin Hanzala. Others say it is a place in a dessert close to Macca, opposite Latamia. IdatLibn is on the border of the Haram on the road from Yemen” (Yacut) .Jiddah is a port city about ten miles from Macca, while Al-Taif is about 12 miles from Macca. On the road from Macca to Al-Taif is located the tomb of Abu-Rigal. 

The following is a modern data on the Haram: ”From Ta’nim to the Ka’bah is 6.15km. Ji’raana to the Ka’bah is 18km. Iraqi road to the Ka’bah is 12.85km. Taif road to the Ka’bah is 15.4km Yemeni road to the Ka’bah is 17km. Jiddah road to the Ka’bah is 20km (Dhaish). Similarly, the following data is from the famous book Mu’jim Al-Buldan written by AllaamaYacut. From the Western side of Ta’nim to the Ka’bah is 3 miles. From the road of Iraq is 9 miles. From the road of Yemen is 7mls. From the road of Taif is 20mls. From the road of jiddah is 10mls.”

See the tabulated data from the three sources mentioned in this article, namely Al-Nawawi,Dhaish and Yacut . The following data are equally important about the Haram(sanctuary): Width is 40km,length is 30km. Total area is 550km2, perimeter is 127km. Comparison of the three set of the data in the table with each other clearly reveals that the distance of the limit of the Haram from Taif to the Ka’bah  under Yacut is too high. Let Saudi Islamic scholars who have acces to the Taif Haram check on the accuracy. Beside the roads leading to Macca from the mentioned places, the entire Sanctuary is also marked with stones (cairns).

Fig: The Sanctuary (Al-Haram)

Dhaish (mls)Yacut  (mls)Nawawi (mls)Towns

Table: Distance of Haram from designated areas.

• The Sanctuary (Al-Haram)


The Ka’bah is in Macca and is surrounded by a sanctuary where all living things are protected by divine laws.

By Khalid Kofi Ahmad

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