Geographic Position of Makkah
about eighty kilometers east of the shore of the red sea a number of mountain chains run from north to south paralleling the shore line and dovetailing with the caravan route between yaman and palestine. these chains would completely enclose a small plain, were it not for three main outlets connecting it with the road to yaman, the road to the red sea close to the port town of juddah and the road leading to palestine. in this plain surrounded by mountains on all sides stands makkah. it is difficult to trace its origins. in all likelihood these origins lie thousands of years in the past. it is certain that even before makkah was built the valley on which it stands must have been used as a resting point for the caravan routes. its number of water springs made it a natural stopping point for the caravans going south to yaman as well as for those going north to palestine. isma`il, son of ibrahim, was probably the first one to dwell there permanently and establish it as a permanent settlement after it had long been a resting station for transient caravans and a market place in which the northbound and southbound travelers exchanged their goods.