City (pop., 1992: 965,697), western Saudi Arabia.
The holiest city of Islam , it was the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad . It was his home until AD 622, when he was forced to flee to Medina (See also Hijrah ); he returned and captured the city in 630. It came under the control of the Egyptian Maml 016B; k dynasty in 1269 and of the Ottoman Empire in 1517. King Ibn Sa 016B; d occupied it in 1925, and it became part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is a religious centre to which Muslims must attempt a pilgrimage (see hajj ) once during a lifetime; only Muslims may enter Mecca. Services related to pilgrimages are the main economic activity. It is the site of the 1E24; aram Mosque, which contains the Kabah .