“20 Years' Documenting the Role of the Two Noble Cities”
The Encyclopaedia of Makkah and Madinah project had been a living dream and an inspirational vision of His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani almost 30 years ago. HE Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani - the Chairman and Founder of Al-Furqān – had first raised the idea of such an encyclopaedia in 1978 with Dr Abbas Saleh Tashkandy.
During the first conference organised by Al-Furqan Foundation in 1991, the late Sheikh Hamad al-Jasser, a member of Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, gave a keynote speech at the Foundation’s launch, in which he presented some of the most valuable manuscripts of Makkah and Madinah and urged the Foundation to undertake the task of producing an encyclopaedia of the two great cities.
This event encouraged His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the Chairman of the Foundation, to fulfill his long-thought dream of publishing the Encyclopaedia of Makkah al-Mukarramah and Madinah al-Munawwarah.
After a series of intense meetings with consultants and academic councils, in Istanbul, Madinah and with various people inside and outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, spanning a period of four years, work started on the encyclopaedia.
The Makkah and Madinah Centre’s mission
The Makkah and Madinah Centre’s main goal is to acknowledge both Makkah's and Madinah's scientific and cultural roles and their historical significance throughout history.
The Makkah and Madinah Centre’s aims and objectives
The Makkah's and Madinah Centre’s main aims and objectives are:
• To promote research into and specialised study of the two holy cities, Makkah and Madinah
• To acknowledge Makkah and Madinah's scientific and cultural roles and their historical significance
• To compile a comprehensive Encyclopaedia about these two holy cities
To achieve its aims and objectives, the Centre pursues the following activities:
- Publishing books, studies and theses on Makkah and Madinah
- Publishing critical editions of historical references related to Makkah and Madinah
- Holding lectures and other public activities to stimulate research and discussions on topics related to Makkah and Madinah
- Compiling and publishing a multi-lingual bibliography of published works, references, theses and articles on Makkah and Madinah
- Establishing an Information Centre holding a collection of texts, references, photographs, documents, maps, theses, travellers’ accounts, journals, microfilms and audio-visual material on Makkah and Madinah
The Makkah and Madinah Centre’s boards
The Encyclopaedia project is implemented under the supervision of the Advisory Board, the Academic Board, a number of specialised committees and the executive management.
The Makkah and Madinah Centre’s activities
Within the framework of the cultural activities of the Centre, and in order to strengthen links with those who are interested in the Islamic heritage related to the two holy cities, Makkah and Madinah, Al-Furqan has, in the past few years, organised lectures with eminent speakers, tackling different topics. Below is a list of the main lectures that have taken place:
1. “Uncovering the Prophet’s Marital Home”, by H.E. Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani
2. “International Politics Pre-Islam and the Significance of Makkah in World Trade”, by Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani
3. “Images of Makkah and Madinah with Special Reference to the ‘Dalail al-Khayrát’”, by Jan Just Witkam
4. “The Discovery of the House of Khadeejah (may God be pleased with her) in Makkah al-Mukarramah”, by Dr Abbas Saleh Tashkandy
The Makkah and Madinah Centre’s publications
Beside its flagship project, the Encyclopaedia, the Centre has published around 20 titles in around 30 volumes, covering a wide range of topics and different subjects related to the two holy cities. The Encyclopaedia series of Makkah al-Mukarramah and Madinah al-Munawwarah has its main focus on bringing to light and documenting the many roles played by both holy cities of Makkah and Madinah in various fields. These include the natural environment, the social, economic, cultural, scientific, religious and political life, as well as the architecture, planning and the sources which document the history of both holy cities, based on an array of resources, such as books/publications, historical documents, photographs, maps and recordings.
The aim of the Encyclopaedia project – as described by His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the Chairman of the Foundation - is to acknowledge the merit and grace of two of the most holy sites on Earth, the city of Makkah, the sanctuary of the House of God, and Madinah, the city of the Prophet Muḥammad (peace be upon him), upon the Islamic civilisation and humankind. The project also highlights the profound role that these two cities played in supporting scientific and cultural initiatives throughout the centuries, as the origins of Islamic civilisation and its source of illumination, enlightening the whole world.
The First Volume of the Encyclopaedia was published in the year 2007. So far, 9 volumes have been published, with many more to come.