This Islamic prayer rug depicts both Mecca and Medina. When Ramesh was visiting Morocco, he asked the shopkeeper where he was making purchases if he had a piece of artwork that depicted both holy places of the Muslim faith. The shopkeeper said that he did not, but his daughter reminded him of the rug in the back storeroom. Ramesh was happy to acquire.
Medina is depicted in the lower circle of the rug and Mecca in the two upper circles.
Mecca is a city in western Saudi Arabia, located in the Ṣirāt Mountains, inland from the Red Sea coast. It is the holiest of Muslim cities. Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was born in Mecca, and it is toward this religious centre that Muslims turn five times daily in prayer.
The most sacred place in Islam is the Ka'ba in Mecca. The Ka'ba is a mosque (built by Abraham according to Muslim tradition) constructed around a black stone. The prophet Muhammad designated Mecca as the holy city of Islam and the direction (qibla) in which all Muslims should offer their prayers. To Muslims, the Ka'ba is believed to be the first place that was created on earth and the place at which heavenly bliss and power touches the earth directly. Each year, thousands of Muslims from around the world join in a pilgrimage to Mecca (the hajj), in fulfillment of one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The importance of Mecca for Muslims is inestimable.
Medina is the second holiest site in Islam. "Medina" means the "City of the Prophet," and is in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia. It was to Medina city that Muhammad fled when he was initially driven out of Mecca, and the place where he attracted his first followers. Medina is the home of "The Prophet's Mosque." Its importance as a religious site derives from the presence there of the Masjid al Nabawi, the Mosque of the Prophet, which was built on the site of Muhammad's home, and is where he is buried. The first mosque of Islam is also located in Medina, and is known as Masjid al-Quba, the Quba Mosque.
- General information regarding Islam:
Islam is an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God (Allah), and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.9 billion followers or 24.4% of the world's population, commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and has guided mankind through prophets, revealed scriptures, and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, believed to be the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative examples (called the sunnah, composed of accounts called hadith) of Muhammad (c. 570 – 8 June 632 CE).
Muslims believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, and the Quran, in its Arabic, to be the unaltered and final revelation of God. Like other Abrahamic religions, Islam also teaches a final judgment with the righteous rewarded in paradise and unrighteous punished in hell. Religious concepts and practices include the Five Pillars of Islam, which are obligatory acts of worship.
The cities of Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem are home to the three holiest sites in Islam.