By Popular Demand: Announcing the New SirahMaps Interactive Comparison Map of Makkah!

By Popular Demand: Announcing the New SirahMaps Interactive Comparison Map of Makkah!

If you’re a SirahMaps member, you already know that the SirahMaps Interactive Map of Makkah is a historically accurate map that allows you to explore the ancient city of Makkah as it existed during the lifetime of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ) (632–570 CE).

But imagine also visiting the modern-day city of Makkah for Ḥajj and ʿUmrah equipped with the tools to identify the exact spots where Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ) and his Companions lived and carried out their day-to-day affairs.

That’s precisely what our new Comparison Map aims to make possible [see the new map here].

A screenshot of the new SirahMaps Interactive Comparison Map of Makkah, which allows one to see homes and other landmarks from the era of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ) displayed over modern-day satellite imagery of the city and the valley that surrounds it. A key challenge in creating the new map was to proportion the scale of our previous map showing Makkah as it was during the Prophet’s lifetime to the topography of modern-day Makkah, which has changed significantly over the years.

Modern-day Makkah is a densely crowded city with high-rise buildings and a terrain that is vastly different than the one that existed during the era of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ).

As the Holy Sanctuary of al-Masjid al-Ḥarām (the mosque surrounding the Kaʿbah) has undergone expansions over the last fourteen centuries to accommodate the millions of visitors who pass through Makkah each year, the city’s geography and topographic features have also changed. Entire mountains have been leveled to make way for new mega projects as important landmarks have disappeared over time.

For many Muslims, this sadly means that they will visit the city without ever realizing that they have been in the vicinity of historically significant sites, such as the Birthplace of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ),the original foundations of which currently rest (intact) underneath the Library of Makkah al-Mukarramah.

Used in combination with our other maps and resources, the new SirahMaps Interactive Comparison Map of Makkah can help you identify the locations of other important sites from the Prophet’s era as well, such as the following:

  • The home in which the Prophet (ﷺ) lived with his beloved first wife, Khadījah bt. Khūwaylid (RA), the foundations of which currently rest underneath a women’s prayer area just southeast of Mt. Marwah;
  • The home and property of Makkah’s powerful clan leader, Abū Sufyān b. Ḥarb (RA), which were located just west of Khadījah’s home, and extended west to meet with the eastern base of Mt. Marwah;
  • The home of Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq (RA), the first of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, and the Prophet’s closest friend and Companion, which was the site of a mosque for many years (and still is, but the mosque is now located on the fourth floor of the southern end of the Makkah Towers hotel complex);
  • The home of the Prophet’s paternal uncle and caretaker for many years, Abū Ṭālib b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib,approximately 50 meters away from the Prophet’s Birthplace as one walks south and slightly southeast from the site of the birthplace toward the present-day Miná Transit Station; 
  • The home of al-ʿAbbās b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib (RA), another paternal uncle of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ), whose home lay directly on the path of Masʿá between the hills of Ṣafā and Marwah, and would have been on the left-hand side of someone headed from Mt. Marwah to Mt. Ṣafā, where there is now a set of green lights prompting male pilgrims performing the Ḥajj ritual of saʿī to run or jog as they continue in the same direction.

Currently, more than 30 sites with clickable icons, including audio pronunciation for each name in Arabic, are marked on the new Comparison Map, which is just one of the many exclusive Islamic geography resources available to SirahMaps Pro Members.

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Use SirahMaps resources in combination with my recently published book, Makkah at the Time of Prophet Muḥammad (PBUH), to learn even more about the history of Makkah and the sīrah (biography) of the Prophet (ﷺ), including detailed information about his Makkan homes.

Bonus: These materials can also successfully be used in homeschooling and classroom environments, where the audio-visual components present in our products make learning more fun and memorable, resulting in better retention for students as well!

Behind the Scenes: Determining the Position of Maqām Ibrāhīm (A New Approach)

Behind the Scenes: Determining the Position of Maqām Ibrāhīm (A New Approach)

Maqām Ibrāhīm is the famous stone Prophet Ibrāhīm (Abraham) (PBUH) stood upon while reconstructing the Kaʿbah upon its original foundations with the assistance of his son, Ismāʿīl (Ishmael) (PBUH). Known in English as the Station (or “Standing Place”) of Abraham, Maqām Ibrāhīm is described in some modern-day sources as being about 11 meters (36 feet) to the Kaʿbah’s east (although the true distance is slightly further away).

But has it always been that way, and what was its exact location prior to the modern era?

This was the question I sought to answer as I researched this issue for inclusion in my recently published book, Makkah at the Time of Prophet Muḥammad (PBUH).

In the book, my focus was on sifting through a collection of seemingly contradictory authentic narrations, with some reports saying that the maqām was right next to the Kaʿbah, and others saying that it was located some distance away. I explained the context of these narrations and showed why they don’t truly conflict with one another, but rather work together in perfect harmony, resulting in a much richer and nuanced understanding of life in Makkah during the lifetime of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ) and his Companions.

Since the book’s publication, however, I have delved even deeper into this issue to uncover more support for my position, including additional statements from the early scholars of Islām, whose writings include important linguistic insights and other valuable nuances that help pinpoint the maqām’s position throughout the ages, which I have organized into the following time periods:

  • Maqām Ibrāhīm during the Age of Ibrāhīm (PBUH)
  • Maqām Ibrāhīm during the Pre-Islamic Age of Ignorance
  • Maqām Ibrāhīm during the Lifetime of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ)
  • Maqām Ibrāhīm during ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb’s Reign as Caliph (634–644 CE)
  • Maqām Ibrāhīm during the Modern Era

A New Approach

Beyond this, I also took a completely new “mathematical” approach not ever used by previous researchers to show where the location of the maqām was during the time of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ) as compared to today. In order to do this, I had to examine a series of measurements taken by early scholars, including the great Abū al-Walīd Aḥmad al-Azraqī (d. 219 or 222 AH / 834 or 837 CE), who measured the distance between Maqām Ibrāhīm and the Kaʿbah during his lifetime, and also recorded other measurements of relevance to my research.

This approach was far from straightforward, as it required a rigid analysis of what these measurements represent in modern terms. I also could not examine these measurements in isolation and had to keep in mind things like the protective structures built around the maqām over the centuries, which factored into some of the measurements recorded in early sources.

Want to know more?

Become a SirahMaps Pro Member to read my full analysis of where Maqām Ibrāhīm was located throughout the ages. This original, never-before-published essay includes the details of my “mathematical” approach, along with a full bibliography of the sources I used in my research.

Pro Members gain access to other research articles as well, along with access to the Pro Version of the Makkah Interactive Map and other (future) exclusive materials only found on SirahMaps. com, including an Interactive Map of Madīnah and several battle maps planned for release in the near future.

Already a SirahMaps Pro Member? Follow the link below to continue reading:
The Position of Maqām Ibrāhīm throughout the Ages: A Historical Analysis

Behind the Scenes: How Many People Lived in Makkah during the Lifetime of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ)?

Behind the Scenes: How Many People Lived in Makkah during the Lifetime of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ)?

Have you ever wondered how many people lived in Makkah during the lifetime of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ)?

Makkah is not just Islām’s holiest city, but also where the Prophet (ﷺ) was born and grew up, surrounded by his people—the powerful tribe of Quraysh, which had many clans and the safest trade caravans in the Arabian Peninsula. It is where he eventually married and built a life with his wife, Khadījah (RA), throughout their long and devoted marriage. It is also in Makkah where the Prophet (ﷺ) received the first revelations of the Qurʾān and preached Islām’s universal message of tawḥīd (belief in One God) to residents and visitors alike.

Knowing how many people lived in Makkah during the Prophet’s lifetime (570–632 CE) is not just a fascinating detail to share with friends and family; it is vital information that can help build a richer and more nuanced understanding of the environment in which the Prophet (ﷺ) and his Companions lived.

This is what I had in mind as I researched the issue of Makkah’s population while creating detailed maps of the Makkah Valley for my newly published book, Makkah at the Time of Prophet Muḥammad (PBUH), and later for SirahMaps.

Although several attempts have been made to calculate the population of Makkah during the Prophet’s lifetime, many of the estimates offered by researchers have been based on faulty methods. Their figures have thus been heavily skewed and often inflated.

Faced with these outdated and unsatisfactory estimates, I decided to do my own analysis, which resulted in a more accurate breakdown of the relevant demographics, and required looking at things like:

  • The number of Muslims who fled to Abyssinia and Madīnah in the early days of Islām;
  • The number of men who fought on both sides of important battles, such as the Battle of Badr;
  • Who else lived in Makkah or didn’t typically participate in battles.

Want to know more?

Become a SirahMaps Pro Member to read my full analysis of Makkah’s population during the era of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ), which takes all of the relevant factors neglected by others into account to come up with a figure that is more accurate than any of the previous estimates currently in existence.

In my short research article, you will also learn more about the residents of Makkah and what a typical household looked like in the city circa 600 CE. Although I cover much of this material in my book, Makkah at the Time of Prophet Muḥammad (PBUH), the article provides an even tighter analysis, and also includes new information not found in the book.

Pro Members gain access to other research articles as well, along with access to the Pro Version of the Makkah Interactive Map and other (future) exclusive materials only found on SirahMaps. com, including an Interactive Map of Madīnah and several battle maps planned for release in the near future.

Already a SirahMaps Pro Member? Follow the link below to continue reading:
The Population of Makkah during the Lifetime of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ)

The Makkah Map Comes to TEDxKuwaitCity

The Makkah Map Comes to TEDxKuwaitCity

One of the highlights of working for the last several years to resurrect the geography of Makkah and create an accurate map of the ancient city as it existed during the lifetime of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ) has been the level of interest and enthusiasm people have shown when learning about this project, which has grown much bigger than I could have ever imagined at the start of my journey. What began as a personal research project to supplement my research into the sīrah (biography) of the Prophet (ﷺ) has blossomed into countless opportunities to share the fruits of this research with people around the world. 

 

In addition to producing Mecca at the Dawn of Islam (the 2018 viral video that started it all), I have now written a companion book, Makkah at the Time of Prophet Muḥammad (PBUH), and partnered with Bilal Khan of Renderlounge Studio to create the SirahMaps website, where 3D interactive technology makes it possible for you to explore the city of the Prophet’s birth from the comfort of home. Allāh willing, the exciting educational tools we are providing will soon be available in schools, museums, and other places of learning.

Did you know that people generally only retain about 10% of what they read? This figure may be disheartening, but educators have long known that it is possible to achieve a much higher level of retention (up to 50% or more) with the use of audio-visual materials. This figure can be even further boosted when the materials are interactive, making learning even more fun and memorable.

This was the focus of my 2019 talk at TEDxKuwaitCity, where I spoke about the development of the Makkah map. Have a look above! As you will see, I mention some important studies demonstrating the crucial role of audio-visual materials in education. Regrettably, the audio on this recording is less than stellar due to technical issues experienced at the event, but we have added subtitles to make it easier to understand.

 

The Makkah Map on display at TEDxKuwaitCity, where I delivered a talk about the map’s development titled “Resurrecting Pre-Caliphate Makkah” on December 21, 2019.

Welcome to SirahMaps – A New Resource for Early Makkan History & Geography!

Welcome to SirahMaps – A New Resource for Early Makkan History & Geography!

Peace be upon you – and welcome to SirahMaps.com, a unique on-line resource dedicated to portraying early Islamic history, geography, and the sīrah (biography) of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ) with the use of interactive maps and other audio-visual technology. If you’re new to the site, you may be wondering what you will find here.  

Here are just a few of the site’s currently available features that you won’t want to miss:

The Makkah Interactive Map

Our newly developed Interactive Map of Makkah is a historically accurate map that allows you to explore the ancient city of Makkah as it existed during the lifetime of Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ) (570–632 CE).

[Access the free version of the Makkah Map by subscribing to SirahMaps as a Free Member]

The Makkah Interactive Map is not your everyday ordinary map of Makkah, but rather a heavily-researched and precise rendering of the city showing the locations of mountains, valleys, pathways, wells, and other topographic features based on the oldest authentic written sources, including books like Tārīkh Makkah (The History of Makkah), by Abū al-Walīd Aḥmad al-Azraqī (d. 219 or 222 AH / 834 or 837 CE),[1] and Akhbār Makkah fī Qadīm al-Dahr wa-Ḥadīthih (The News of Makkah from the Old Ages until Recent Times), by Muḥammad b. Isḥāq b. al-ʿAbbās al-Fākihī (d. 279 AH / 892 CE).

The map can be used for personal study, or in homeschooling or classroom environments to supplement Islamic history lessons and introduce the concept of Islamic geography.

Among the many captivating sites of interest you will see on the map as you explore the city of the Prophet’s birth:

  • The Prophet’s Makkan homes, including the home in which the Prophet (ﷺ) was born, and the home in which he lived with his wife, Khadījah bt. Khūwaylid (RA), throughout their long and devoted marriage;
  • The cave in which the Prophet (ﷺ) received the first revelations of the Qurʾān;
  • 80+ homes (each one labeled with the names of its occupants) in which the Prophet’s neighbors, relatives, Companions, and opponents lived amongst their clans throughout Makkah’s sprawling valley;
  • The vibrant marketplaces where Makkah’s residents conducted trade and other business;
  • Dār al-Arqam, where Makkah’s early Muslims used to meet in secret to learn about Islām;
  • Dār al-Nadwah, where Makkah’s most powerful nobles congregated to make important decisions;
  • The valley in which the pagan leaders of Quraysh isolated the Prophet (ﷺ) and his loyal Companions during a vicious boycott and “siege” campaign that lasted for a period of three years;
  • Where the Prophet (ﷺ) stood to greet Makkah’s inhabitants as the city was liberated from pagan rule;
  • Important Islamic landmarks, such as the Kaʿbah, Maqām Ibrāhīm, and the Well of Zamzam.

PRO Membership

While many of the map’s features are accessible to Free Members, a Pro Membership will allow you to unlock all features of the Makkah Interactive Map, which includes access to all current and future landmarks, along with detailed text descriptions and short biographies of the Prophet’s Companions and other residents of Makkah, voice narrations, and exciting 3D animations to make your experience with the map more enjoyable and memorable. Our tutorials show you how to get started.

Research Articles & Other Exclusive Content

In addition to the map, Pro Members will also gain access to our library of informative research articles and historical analysis posts on our blog, downloadable maps, quizzes, videos, and other exclusive materials, including future maps still under development, such as our Interactive Map of Madīnah.

Like what you see? Subscribe to the site for updates, and kindly consider making a donation to help fund the ongoing development of our work.

Also check out Makkah at the Time of Prophet Muḥammad (PBUH): An Illustrated Reference with Maps of Key Homes, Mountains, and Other Landmarks, a book I wrote to preserve crucial knowledge about Makkah’s history for future generations. This book can be used in combination with the Makkah Interactive Map to teach (and study) the biography of the Prophet (ﷺ), Islamic geography, and other topics of relevance.


[1]. Al-Azraqī is widely regarded as the greatest historian of early Makkah, and was himself both a resident of Makkah as well as a transmitter of authentic (ṣaḥīḥ) ḥadīth.