Now, close your eyes and imagine you're there, at the time of the prophet ﷺ, when he was growing up, what the society was like. You see the ka’bah looming before you, resplendent in its glorious colours of white and red, you see idols standing atop it, hundreds of idols surrounding it. A peek through the doors of the ka’bah, a privilege reserved only for those VIPs who have favour with the chiefs of Makkah, would reveal yet more idols within.
If you can pull your gaze off the majestic house of Allah ﷻ, so grand and breathtaking though surrounded by such perversion, you'll notice that after a large open space around the ka’bah, the houses and the streets begin. Over there you see Dar An-Nadwa, where the chiefs of makkah gather to make important decisions, you see structured rows and rows of houses, actual houses made of mud bricks and palm thatched roofs, not flimsy straw huts or the cloth tents we would imagine bedouins to use. You may begin to realise that some areas belong to certain tribes. You'll see groups of men standing around, hear them laughing and joking, engaged in lively conversations, swearing by the name of this idol and that, you'll witness the usual brawl here and there. You'll see the women walking past in their groups, servants rushing by too busy carrying out their errands to pay attention to you. You'll pass by a person scattering arrow shafts, holding their breath in anticipation as they wait for the arrows to determine their fate. You'll peer inside public houses, where alcohol flows freely and men gamble fiercely.
How on earth did Makkah get to a state like this? Where drinking and gambling is as normal as breathing, where polytheism is natural and belief in one God is labelled strange, far fetched and even dangerous?
To answer that question, we need to zoom out, way out of Makkah, and reposition ourselves in Iraq, in a village named Ur, 2500 years before the prophet Muhammad ﷺ was born.
Here, we see a young boy looking up at the stars, reflecting, looking up at the moon and the sun, and finally concluding that there is no God but Allah ﷻ. Here we witness the story of our forefather Ibrahim pbuh.
The life and culture of every place depends on its history, and the history of Makkah begins with Ibrahim. We see his struggle to lead people to the truth, their reaction, his eventual migration, the birth of his son Ismail, the historic event of Hajar desperately looking for water. The arrival of a group of travellers, the establishment of a small city that grows and flourishes and becomes known as Makkah.