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MECCA. A holy site since the beginning of Arab memory of the place, Mecca (Makkah) is the goal of the annual pilgrimage that the Qur'an (2.196-198) requires every Muslim to perform once in a lifetime. Whatever the surmises regarding the origin of its sanctity, the Muslims traced the holiness of its sanctuary back to Adam, who was directed there and built a cubelike house (ka'bah) directly beneath an identical structure in heaven. Adam's ka'bah was destroyed in the Flood, but, according to the Qu ...more

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