Assalamualaikum SS Mufti, I understand that there are certain rules of hajj and umrah especially when one is in the Holy lands. My question is, what is the limitation or border of the Holy land?
Waalaikumussalam. Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Basically, the Holy land is the place where Allah SWT prohibit several matters in it until the Last Day to honour its sanctity. In a hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas RA, the Prophet PBUH gave a speech on the day of victory over the city of Mecca saying:
إنَّ هذا البَلَدَ حَرَّمَهُ اللَّهُ يَومَ خَلَقَ السَّمَواتِ والأرْضَ، فَهو حَرامٌ بحُرْمَةِ اللهِ إلى يَومِ القِيامَةِ، وإنَّه لَمْ يَحِلَّ القِتالُ فيه لأَحَدٍ قَبْلِي، وَلَمْ يَحِلَّ لي إلّا ساعَةً مِن نَهارٍ، فَهو حَرامٌ بحُرْمَةِ اللهِ إلى يَومِ القِيامَةِ، لا يُعْضَدُ شَوْكُهُ، وَلا يُنَفَّرُ صَيْدُهُ، وَلا يَلْتَقِطُ إلّا مَن عَرَّفَها، وَلا يُخْتَلى خَلاها، فَقالَ العَبّاسُ: يا رَسولَ اللهِ، إلّا الإذْخِرَ، فإنَّه لِقَيْنِهِمْ وَلِبُيُوتِهِمْ، فَقالَ: إلّا الإذْخِرَ.
“There is no Hijra (emigration) but only Jihad and good intention; and when you are called to battle, then go forth. He also said on the Day of Victory over Mecca: Allah made this town sacred on the day He created the earth and the heavens; so it is -sacred by the sacred- ness conferred on it by Allah until the Day of Resurrection and fighting in it was not lawful to anyone before me, and it was made lawful for me only during an hour on one day, for it is sacred by the sacredness conferred on it by Allah until the Day of Resurrection. Its thorns are not to be cut, its game is not to be molested, and the things dropped are to be picked up only by one who makes a public announcement of it, and its fresh herbage is not to be cut. “
Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) said: “Messenger of Allah, exception may be made in case of rush, for it is useful for their blacksmiths and for their houses.” He (the Holy Prophet) conceding the suggestion of 'Abbas) said: “Except rush.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (3189)
According to the above hadith on the Holy land, scholars discussed the border of the Holy Land as a guide for the Muslim ummah so that they will obey the restrictions throughout their stay in the area of the Holy land and Imam al-Nawawi in his book Tahzib al-Asma’ Wa al-Lughat (3/28) emphasized that it is crucial for the Muslim ummah to know it for it comes with various rulings.
There are two methods to determine the border of the Holy land. First; according to old routes explained by previous scholars and second based on the highways.
There are different opinions of scholars in the calculation according to the old routes. Among them, Imam al-Nawawi Rhm. (died in 676 H) stated:
فَحَدُّ الْحَرَمِ مِنْ جِهَةِ الْمَدِينَةِ دُونَ النتعيم عند بيوت نِفَارٍ عَلَى ثَلَاثَةِ أَمْيَالٍ مِنْ مَكَّةَ وَمِنْ طريق اليمن طرف أضاة لبن في ثنية لِبْنٍ عَلَى سَبْعَةِ أَمْيَالٍ مِنْ مَكَّةَ وَمِنْ طَرِيقِ الطَّائِفِ عَلَى عَرَفَاتٍ مِنْ بَطْنِ نَمِرَةَ عَلَى سَبْعَةِ أَمْيَالٍ وَمِنْ طَرِيقِ الْعِرَاقِ عَلَى ثَنِيَّةِ جَبَلٍ بِالْمَقْطَعِ عَلَى سَبْعَةِ أَمْيَالٍ وَمِنْ طَرِيقِ الْجِعْرَانَةِ فِي شِعْبِ آلِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ خَالِدٍ عَلَى تِسْعَةِ أَمْيَالٍ وَمِنْ طَرِيقِ جَدَّةَ مُنْقَطِعُ الْأَعْشَاشِ عَلَى عَشَرَةِ أَمْيَالٍ مِنْ مَكَّةَ
The border of the Holy land from Medina is before Tan’im (Tan’im is not considered as Holy land) at the village of Bani Nifar, three miles from Mecca.
From the route of Yemen, it is at the end of Adhaat (muddy soil) Libn – the hilly route og Libn, seven miles from Mecca.
From the route of Taif, it is at Arafah in the valley of Namirah, seven miles from Mecca.
From the route of Iraq, it is in the route of Maqtha’ hill, seven miles.
From the route of Ji’ranah. It is in the village of the tribe Ali Abdullah bin Khalid, nine miles.
From the route of Jeddah, it is at A’syasy lake (a part of it is Holy land while another part is not), ten miles.
(1 mile is approximately 1.6 metres)
(See al-Majmu’, 7/463)
Whereas the calculation if the distance based on the new road according to Global Positioning System (GPS),
- Jeddah highway: (21 Km): Starting from the west of Masjidil Haram of the King Fahad’s door through the Jeddah highway until it reaches the sign at the side of the highway.
- Laith highway: (20 km): Starting from the south of Masjidil Haram through the al-Laith highway until the sign at the side of the road.
- Taif – Hada highway: (14.6 km): Starting from the south of Masjidil Haram through the highway (Thaif – Hada) until the sign at the side of the road near University al-Qura.
- Taif – Sail highway: (13.7 km): Starting at the east of Masjidil Haram through the Thaif highway until the sign at the side of the road.
(See Ahkam al-Haram al-Makki al-Syar’iyyah, pg. 40)
Thus, the area inside this parameter of the sign is included in the category of the Holy land of Mecca. In this area, all the shariah rulings stated in the hadith should be obeyed. While the area or state outside of it is not considered as the Holy land and the mentioned rulings are not applicable here.
Nowadays, the border of the Holy land of Mecca is easily identifiable for landmarks such as towers at every corner are placed and there are signs which are written in Arabic and foreign languages which state the border of the Holy land.