Surely, al-Safa and al-Marwah are the symbols of Allah. Hence, whoever performs Hajj (full Pilgrimage) to the House (of Allah) or makes Umrah (minor Pilgrimage), will find it is no sin for him to ambulate between the two. And whoever does a good work voluntarily should know that Allah is Appreciative, All-knowing.
(Al-Qur’an – 2: 158)
Safa and Marwah are the names of two hillocks near the Holy Mosque in Makkah. To run between the two is among the rites which Allah taught Prophet Ibraheem in connection with Hajj. Later, when Pagan Ignorance prevailed in Makkah and the neighbouring regions, altars were built for Isaf at Safa and for Na’ilah at Marwah, and people began to circumambulate them. After the advent of the Holy Messenger (may Allah bless and greet him), when the light of Islam had spread in Arabia, Muslims came to doubt whether running between Safa and Marwah was one of the original rites of Pilgrimage or a mere innovation of the Age of Ignorance.
Even in pre-Islamic times, the people of Madinah were not favourably disposed to this practice. Although they believed in Manat, they did not believe in Isaf and Na’ilah. For these reasons, it was necessary, at the time of change of Qibla, to dispel popular misconception about this rite. It seemed necessary to clarify that running between the two hillocks was part of the original rites of Pilgrimage and that the sanctity of Safa and Marwah, stemmed from the revealed law. One should perform this rite with wholehearted devotion out of a sense of duty.