Why non-Muslims were not allowed to enter Medina and Mecca for many years?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 01, 2020 02:51 PM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 01, 2020 02:51 PM

Originally Answered: Are Non-Muslim people allowed to go to Mecca? If not, why?

No, Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the geographically defined Islamic boundaries of Makkah.

For the question as to what constitutes this boundary, the conventional answer is whatever is at the time of implementation considered the city of Makkah. In case someone does raise the doubt that it will only be the boundary as was defined in the times of the Beloved Prophet (SallallaahuAlaihiWaSallam), the general practice hasn’t been so. Moreover, for political implementation, it would be the interpretation of the law as per the administration that will be enforced. Hence, the current rule.

This also shows us two dimensions along which reasons for the ban can be implemented – religious and political.

The religious reason is a simple one – sanctum sanctorum.

Islamic law declares the entire city of Makkah as a holy sanctuary and not just the area around the Kaaba or the holy mosque. Therefore, there are many other rules – both religious and political – associated with the place. For example, the entire area is considered a sanctuary where no human can be harmed. The reward for any good act and the punishment for any sin spiritually is magnified a 100,000 times. There are other such laws as well as well.

Again, the purpose of anybody’s stay in Makkah is primarily a spiritual and religious one. For visitors, there ideally is no other reason. For visiting traders, etc. the religious reason is very important and for the residents, the spirituality is embedded even in daily mundane acts. From the simple act of remembering Allaah to the higher forms of worship, each of them is special within the boundaries of Makkah.

For a person who does not believe, all these things have no meaning.

Agreed, she or he may be utterly respectful and adhere to the laws, but Makkah exists to take the believers closer to the Maker and not for the sight-seeing pleasures of those who don’t believe.

Hence, the people who don’t believe are not allowed to enter the legal boundaries of Mecca.

The political reasons are many – overburdened population, interference, threats to the structures, political disturbance, theft of holy artifacts, and many such things which need to be controlled as well as preserving the place where believers in Allaah and his Prophet come to pray.

It can be said that there were disbelievers used to stay and come to Mecca during the Beloved’s times. True, but the rule was abrogated in his time itself and the new law of maintaining the status of Mecca as sanctum sanctorum was implemented.

Other mosques and famous places of Islam apart from the holy Masjid e Nabawi in Madinah are not banned because the sanctity of the environment does not hold there. For people willing to learn about Islam, there are way too many places one can do that from.

This concept exists in other religions as well. The word sanctum sanctorum is a Christian term.

In simplest words therefore – Makkah is for the spiritual benefits of the Muslims and not for the sightseeing pleasures of Non-Muslims and therefore entry to Makkah is banned for non Muslims.

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