Maqam Ibrahim (a)
Maqām Ibrāhīm (a) [Ibrahim's (a) standing place] (Arabic: مقام ابراهیم ) is a stone where the footprint of prophet Ibrahim (a) is marked. The Qur'an has considered it among clear signs of God in Mecca and Muslims have been invited to perform prayer at this location. This stone is now placed in a golden cylinder located 13 meters away from the Ka'ba. In the views of Shi'a, the original location of Ibrahim's (a) station is right next to the Ka'ba.
In the Qur'an
In two verses of Quran there are mentions of Ibrahim's (a) station and it has been considered among clear signs of God in Mecca and Muslims have been invited to perform prayer at this location.
- verse 125 of Sura al-Baqara (2): وَاتَّخِذُوا مِن مَّقَامِ إِبْرَاهِیمَ مُصَلًّی (take the venue of prayer from Abraham’s Station)
- verse 97 of Sura Al 'Imran (3): فِیهِ آیاتٌ بَینَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِیمَ وَ مَنْ دَخَلَهُ کانَ آمِناً (In it are manifest signs [and] Abraham’s Station, and whoever enters it shall be secure.)
This stone is almost square shape having 40 cm of length and width and the height of about 20 cm. The color of this stone is yellowish and reddish white. On this stone, there is a foot print of 10 cm in depth the prints of fingers on which are not clear. Over time, the footprints have become larger on top due to rubbing of hands for blessing. Currently, the length of the footprints on the surface of the stone is 27 cm and their width is 14 cm which decreases to 22 in length and 11 in width in the deep part. There is about 1 cm place between the two footprints.
According to narrations, after God ordered prophet Ibrahim (a) to call people to hajj, he stood on a stone and did God's order and his footprint remained on the stone. In another narration, it is said that his footprint remained on this stone when he, standing on this stone, was constructing the top parts of wall of the Ka'ba.
This stone and al-Hajar al-Aswad are considered among holy stones from the paradise and Ibrahim (a) and Isma'il (a), when praying, placed this stone between themselves and the Ka'ba. The Prophet (s) prayed the same while he (s) was in Mecca.
According to historical sources, until the time of the Second Caliph, this stone was on the ground. At his time, the flood called Umm Ashhal moved this stone a great distance and the caliph built a column for it in its previous place. In the 2nd/8th century, this stone which was broken from several points was glued together using silver and was plated with gold. Later, to protect it more, a dome with four iron windows was built upon it. Until 1967, a wooden structure in 3 by 6 meters existed over Maqam Ibrahim which made trouble for tawaf of the pilgrims. Saudi government wanted to move Maqam Ibrahim to a place near Bab Bani Shayba, but they did not do so due to public objection of Muslim scholars and a golden cylinder was place on it. Through the windows around this cylinder, the stone and the footprints which are now silver-plated can be seen. Ibrahim's (a) station is 13 meters away from the Ka'ba.
Geographical direction of Qibla in the countries north-east of Mecca is such that Muslims stand for prayer facing toward Maqam Ibrahim.
There are different opinions about the original location of Ibrahim's (a) station.
Some Sunni historians and biographers believe that the stone of the Maqam Ibrahim was kept inside the Ka'ba before the Conquest of Mecca and after taking Mecca, the Prophet (s) took it out and installed it beside the Ka'ba. After revelation of verse 125 of Sura al-Baqara, the Prophet (s) ordered to move the stone to its current place.
Some Sunni writers considered the revelation of this verse among the merits of the Second Caliph and quoted from 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar, son of the Second Caliph, that the Prophet (s) took the hand of 'Umar and took him to the Maqam Ibrahim and said, "this is Ibrahim's (a) station." 'Umar asked, "O Messenger of God! Why do not you make it a venue for prayer?" Then, the following verse was revealed, "'Take the venue of prayer from Abraham's Station.'" (Qur'an 2:125)
Some other Sunni scholars believe that the place of Maqam Ibrahim has been the current place since the time of the Prophet Ibrahim (a).
Most Shia and some Sunni people believe that the location of Ibrahim's (a) station at Ignorance Era has been its current place and the Prophet (s) returned it to its original place right beside the Ka'ba. But, at the time of the Second Caliph, he moved the Maqam Ibrahim to the current place on the pretext that there were too much crowd of pilgrims, etc.
At the time of Imam Ali (a), in a sermon he (a) mentioned some of the mistakes of previous caliphs and included moving of the Maqam Ibrahim as well and said that if most of the companions did not leave Imam (a), he (a) could correct such issues to the way they were at the time of the Prophet (s).
In a hadith from al-Kafi, it has been said that the Maqam Ibrahim has been moved from its original place and the tawaf area (mataf) has been defined to be between the Ka'ba and the current place of Ibrahim's (a) station. Most Shia scholars in fiqh have considered the tawaf area to be as mentioned in this hadith and when it is very crowded, they have considered it permissible to perform tawaf outside this area with some conditions as well. Some others have interpreted this hadith as a recommendation for tawaf in this area.
Sunni people so not observe any specific distance from the Ka'ba while making tawaf.
Prayer of Tawaf
Praying behind the Maqam Ibrahim dates back to the time of Prophet Ibrahim (a) and Isma'il (a) until the time of the Prophet (s) and the Qur'an has called Muslims to pray at the location.
According to Shia fiqh, prayer of obligatory tawaf (obligatory tawafs are tawaf of Ziyarah and Tawaf al-Nisa') is obligatory to be said behind Ibrahim's (a) station and near it. There are different rulings about those who perform tawaf on the second floor of al-Masjid al-Haram due to some excuses but they cannot perform the prayer in the courtyard of al-Masjid al-Haram behind Ibrahim's (a) station. The prayer of recommended tawaf can be performed anywhere in al-Masjid al-Haram.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from مقام ابراهیم in Farsi WikiShia.