Station of Abraham (Maqam Ibrahim)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Station of Abraham (Maqām Ibrahim, مَـقَـام إِبْـرَاهِـيْـم), is a small square stone inside a glass and metal enclosure with what is said to be an imprint of Abraham's feet. Prophet Ibrahim (biblical Abraham) is said to have stood on this stone during the construction of the upper parts of the Kaaba, raising Ismail on his shoulders for the uppermost parts. The Maqam Ibrahim has always been an integral part of the Mataf area.


The Maqam Ibrahim (also spelled Muqam, literally meaning 'station'), is a small square stone, which according to Islamic tradition, bears the imprint of prophet Ibrahim's feet. According to tradition the imprint appeared when prophet Abraham stood on the stone while building the Kaaba; when the walls became too high.

According to another tradition this stone was sent from the heaven to Prophet Ibrahim along with 2 more stones. One being Hajr Aswad, and the second is the stone of children of Israel. The place it stands today is the spot where Prophet Ibrahim purportedly offered two rak’ahs prayers after the completion of construction of the Ka’bah to Allah.

Mentioned twice is the Quran, Maqam Ibrahim first appears in the Surah al-Baqarah verse 125 (وَاتَّخِذُوا مِن مَّقَامِ إِبْرَاهِیمَ مُصَلًّی), and instructs the believers to take the Station of Abraham as a place of salah (prayer). And then in Surah al-'Imran verse 97 Maqam Ibrahim is mentioned the second time where it is counted among one of the signs menifest and a station of peace ( فِیهِ آیاتٌ بَینَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِیمَ وَ مَنْ دَخَلَهُ کانَ آمِناً ).

Muqam Ibrahim (The Station of Abraham)

The Stone

circa 1982 CE
(1399 Hj.)

Maqam Ibrahim is the stone with the purported footprints of prophet Ibrahim. This stone is almost square shape having 40 cm of length and width and the height of about 20 cm. The color of this stone is yellowish and reddish white.

On this stone, there is a foot print of 10 cm in depth the prints of fingers on which are not clear. Currently, the length of the footprints on the surface of the stone is 27 cm and their width is 14 cm which decreases to 22 in length and 11 in width in the deep part. There is about 1 cm place between the two footprints. Over time, the footprints have become larger on top due to rubbing of hands for blessing (touching the stone for blessing has no tradition or significance in Islam).

In the 8th (2nd century Hijri) century, the stone broke in to several pieces and was put together using silver and plated with gold.

Outer Shrines

circa 1930 CE
(1347 Hj.)

Ottoman Shrine
During the Ottoman era the Maqam Ibrahim (left) was built in the form of a shrine, topped with a small dome, as seen with the Bab Bani Shaybah (right). After the takeover by Saudis this structure along with a few others inside the Mataf area were demolished and a wooden box covered with iron sheets was installed over the Station of Abraham.

circa 1982 CE
(1399 Hj.)

Wood-Iron Enclosure
During the Saudi era until 1967, a three by six meters wooden structure existed over Maqam Ibrahim which put pilgrims in trouble when performing tawaf. Saudi government decided to move Maqam Ibrahim to a place near Bab Bani Shayba, but they did not do so due to public objection of Muslim scholars and a golden cylinder was place on it instead.

circa 1982 CE
(1399 Hj.)

Modern Gold Casing
Today, the Maqam Ibrahim is found in front of the entryway of the Ka’bah, in a smaller casing, to facilitate the circumbulation. The casing of Maqam Ibrahim (station of Abraham), at the Exhibition of Two Holy Mosques' Architecture, used to hold the Maqam Ibrahim up until the time of King Fahad's (bin Abdulaziz) expansion of Masjid al-Haram.


circa 1930 CE

The stone is originally believed to have been placed inside the Kaba, and was moved outside at some point in antiquity. This move may have been after the Conquest of Mecca by the Muslims.

According to tradition, once outside it was simply placed on the ground near the door of the Kabah. And later during Umar ibn al-Khattab's reign, he built a column and placed the stone over it to protect it during floods. When the number of the pilgrims increased, the Maqām was moved more towards the east to its current location, so that the individuals who try to perform Tawaf are able to perform it conveniently, without being in the way.

Today the Maqām Ibrahim is located some 13 meters (43 feet) east of the Kabah.


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