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Mina (Arabic: منا) is a plain located between the holy city of Mecca and al-Mash'ar al-Haram which is a part of Haram. From the morning of Eid al-Adha to two days later, pilgrims of Hajj perform some rituals of Hajj in this land. These rituals are: Ramy al-Jamarat, Sacrificing, Halq or Taqsir, Baytuta (stay at night) in Mina.
Various reasons have been reported for naming Mina. According to a report from Imam al-Rida (a), its name was taken from a phrase that the archangel Gabriel told Prophet Ibrahim (a): "Wish whatever you want from your Lord!" Ibrahim (a) asked God to send down a ram to be sacrificed instead of his son, Isma'il (a), and God fulfilled his wish.
Mina is located 7 kilometers to the northeast of Mecca, between Mecca and Muzdalifah (another name of al-Mash'ar al-Haram). Through Mina tunnel, it is only 4 km away from Masjid al-Haram. On the other side of the tunnel there is a district of 'Aziziyya, form which one can walk to Mina.
The plain of Mina which starts after Wadi al-Muhassir, has a length of about 3/5 km and a width of about 500 meter and is situated between two line of mountains and is stretched to Mecca. The borders of Mina are marked by boards. Toward Mecca, Jamarat al-'Aqaba is the limit of Mina. Mina is a part of Haram.
Wadi al-Muhassir is a plain between Mina and al-Mash'ar, which is not a part of any of them. After Wuquf in al-Mash'ar, by passing this Wadi pilgrims of hajj enter Mina. According to historical reports the Army of Abraha were killed there.
In Islamic terminology, Jamarat (Jamaras) or Jamarat al-Thalath (the three Jamaras) is the name of three special spots in Mina marked with stone pillars. Pilgrims of hajj must stone each of them with 7 pebbles.
In the past slaughtering sites of Mina were located at the entrance of Mina from Wadi al-Muhassir, and apparently no part of them was in Mina. In 1420 a big slaughtering site was built in Mu'aysim, 500 meter away from Mina. The new equipped site, which is divided into special sections for each country, is in operation nowadays. However, some slaughtering sites are still located on that old region.
Rituals in Mina
In the morning of the tenth of Dhu l-Hijja (Eid al-Adha) and after the sunrise, pilgrims of Hajj enter Mina from al-Mash'ar al-Haram and after stoning Jamarat al-'Aqaba, they perform Halq or Taqsir and Sacrifice a sheep, cow or camel. After Halq or Taqsir most of the prohibitions during Ihram are lifted. One who performs Hajj must stay in Mina the eve of the eleventh and twelfth of Dhu l-Hijja until the midnight and the next day (twelfth of Dhu al-Hijja), a pilgrim must stone Jamarat al-Thalath (the three Jamaras) between the sunrise to the sunset. These rituals were part of Hajj even before Islam and Prophet Ibrahim (a) is the one who founded these rituals.
It is possible for pilgrims to stay in Mecca rather than Mina during these night, but one must be worshiping all night. For some pilgrims it is compulsory to stay the eve of thirteenth in Mina too, and stone the Jamaras in the thirteenth of Dhu l-Hijja.
Jurisprudential Ruling about Construction in Mina
One of the jurisprudential issues about Mina is permissibility of construction there. There are various opinions in this regard. Before Wahhabis, there were many buildings in Mina; however afterward, they were destroyed and even until recently 'Abd Allah bin Baz (Wahhabi Mufti) opposed any permanent construction there. From 1418 new permeant tents made of fireproof canvas were set up in Mina.
Mina in History
- Before Islam Mina was one of the most important trade and business centers.
- The furthermost part of Mina from Mecca, Wadi al-Muhassir, which is situated between Mina and Muzdalifah, is said to be the place where the Army of Abraha was destroyed by divine retribution.
- The first and the second Pledge of al-'Aqaba were made in Mina.
- During the Conquest of Mecca in 8/630, Muslims were deployed in Mina and after the Conquest, Prophet Muhammad (s) delivered a sermon in a place where nowadays is Masjid al-Khayf.
- Proclaiming the verses of Bara'a (the beginning verses of Sura al-Tawba) by Imam Ali (a) in Eid al-Adha of 9 was in Mina.
From early Islamic centuries, several Masjids (mosques) were built in Mina. Some of these Masjids were destroyed and some are still there. The most famous Masjids in Mina are: Masjid al-Khayf, Masjid al-Bay'a, Masjid al-Kabsh (or al-Nahr), Masjid al-Safa'ih and Masjid al-Kawthar.
- The content of this article is mainly taken from سرزمین منا in Farsi WikiShia.