Facts on this part of the Haram

The vast open area that surrounds the Ka’bah which is used for the Tawaaf (going around) of the Ka’bah is called the Mataaf.
There were no walls aound the Haram during the time of the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. It was surrounded with houses on all sides with alleys in between, serving as entrances to the Ka’bah.
The area between the houses and the Ka’bah was known as the Mataaf.
During the Conquest of Makkah, pillars were erected to define the borders of the Haram of Makkah.
In 638 CE, in the reign of Umar radhiallahu anhu, houses adjacent to the Masjid were bought and demolished to accommodate te increasing number of Muslims in Makkah.
Umar radhiallahu anhu surrounded the Masjid with low walls of baked bricks, less than the height of a man, upon which lamps were placed for light.
Abdullah Ibn Zubair radhiallahu anhu was the first to pave the Mataaf area with a radius of about 5 metres. This continued till 1957. The area now had an oval shape with 40-50m radius paved. After this all stones and structures were removed.
The Mataaf was then paved with marble. The marble used for the Mataaf area is called crystalina (Tassos), brought from a Greek island and is heat resistant and cool even in severe heat.
Certain historic locations on the Mataaf have been paved with black marble to identify them.

From: Umm al-Qura, Bilal bin Ahmad

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