I just flew to Makkah without leaving my chair

Innalhamdulillah. And alhamdulillah, instead of the s-word it was the g-word that took me there. No, not jinn — I can spell, you know. And not a capital letter g, but lower case g for your friend and mine, Google. In this case, the addition of the “Earth” plug-in for Google Maps brings breathtaking excursions to my lowly internet browser and yours, too.

Warning, without the necessary plug-in, your view below may be only a 2-D map. And you might have to zoom in yourself to see all the simulated 3-D beauty of the Haram. But believe me, it is more fun than staring at television.

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Yes, in the time it took this article to be published, I could have gone there and back in a (fast) boat, and maybe the whole world has discovered this neat plug-in already. Alhamdulillah, alaa kulli haal. It’s still cool to me: I flew to Makkah without leaving my chair! And did I mention virtual tawaf? And no line to get up close to the virtual black stone? And zooming in so far (or too far) that you can see the virtual inside of the Kaaba?

Okay, what’s a trip to Makkah without a trip to Madinah?

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And while we are at it…

View Larger Map

As for me, the labels on that third map would look better in Arabic.

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13 responses to “I just flew to Makkah without leaving my chair”

  1. Sorry, when the page was first posted at midnight, none of the embedded maps were displaying. I forgot to tell the editors how to avoid turning them off by mistake. :)

  2. Bushra says:

    When I saw the title for this article, the first thing that popped into my head was ‘somebody’s been playing around with jinns!’ and then when that misconception was dispelled, I got a little excited thinking that I might be able to view the Ka’aba in 3D.

    How disappointed I was to find that Google Earth developers put lots of effort into getting the window and shutter details of Zamzam Towers and Makkah Towers, and even the intricate details of the doorway to Dar Al-Tawhid Intercontinental and yet, Masjid al-Haram and everything within it still remains 2D. :-(

    • I’m glad you picked up on the humor :)

      I’ve noticed that effect sometimes with the plug-in. Try zoooooming out farther, till the Haram is small part of your map, then zoom back in. InshaAllah, you’ll get the 3-D effect.

      If that fails, though, I recommend the “larger map” or as PakistaniMD (there’s anonymity for you!) recommends, Google Earth (which you can even get for Android phones now). And nothing beats the real thing — I mean traveling there physically, the halal way. :)

      • Bushra says:

        It worked, finally! Does this mean we can do a virtual ‘Umrah? I mean, we can even do salaah behind Maqaam Ibrahim!

        • Sayf says:

          You know, that made me realize this could be an excellent tool for educating people on how to perform Hajj/Umrah!

          • abuabdAllah Tariq Ahmed says:

            LOL, Hajj simulators. Would be good if someone can overlay a crowd and award points for not bumping the opposite gender, etc. :)

  3. Sayf says:

    Why does the Ka’bah look so rectangular? The distance between the Yemeni corner and the Black Stone is a bit longer than that (and feels even longer if you’re trying to get to the Black Stone lol).

    • I agree. :) Google needs a bot that searches for on-line pics of famous places and progressively synthesizes from them better and better 3-D representations for Google Earth.

      That way there could be a kind of gauge for how much people love to visit (at least photograph) any one of these sites — better res and accuracy would indicate a lot of good pics available.

      And such a bot would probably find a trove of pics of the Haramain, wAllaho’Alim.

  4. PakistaniMD says:

    Google Earth will give you a far better experience than a plug-in. Google Earth is also more interactive; I urge you to try that…. NYC, Boston, London have all be “3d”ed and they look awesome!

  5. habib says:


    Yo this thing sucks. Google earth is wayyyy better.
    Peace out!

  6. leo says:

    I dont know what im doing akhi!
    I zoom but get no 3D. Help. I want to fly to makkah without leaving my chair.

    • abuabdAllah Tariq Ahmed says:

      Were you able to download the extension? When you look at a Google Map, does an “Earth” button appear at the top-right of the map?

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