The Masa is the area in which Hagar ( wife of Prophet Ibrahim ) traveled back and forth between Safa and Marwah in Makkah al-Mukarramah about four thousand years ago, as she searched for water for her son Ismail. It is situated to the east of the Holy Mosque and is 375 meters in length. The Hajj or Umrah are not complete without the running between Safa and Marwah seven times.
During the recent past, attention has been given to the area of the Masa due to the tremendous increase in the numbers of Hajj pilgrims as well as Umrah visitors. To cope with this demand, the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has given particular attention to the Masa within the framework of its comprehensive maintenance, expansion and development programs for the Holy Mosque. In 1925, King Abdulaziz ordered that the course of the Masa be paved with granite to protect pilgrims from the dust and dirt of the road. Furthermore, the awning covering the Masa was renewed to provide better shelter from the sun's heat and the gates giving access to it were renovated and repainted.
During the reign of King Saud, construction began on a two-story structure to contain the Masa and during the reign of King Fahd, the first floor of the Masa was widened.
New doors were also installed on both floors of the Masa providing ingress and egress to the vicinity of Marwah.
In order to accommodate the ever-increasing numbers of pilgrims and Umrah visitors, in 2008, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz gave the order for the expansion of the Masa in line with the limitations imposed by the Islamic Shariah. As a result, the width of the Masa was doubled to 40 meters by making effective use of the exterior area adjacent to it, while the number of floors in the Masa was increased from two to four, thereby increasing the effective area from 29,000 to 87,000 square meters and the total area of the Masa building and its service areas to 125,000 square meters.
King Abdullah's expansion of the Masa provides four floors with four tracks for the pilgrims to perform their rituals on each floor, and it is directly connected with the first Saudi expansion of the Holy Mosque. The total height of the Masa is greater than the current height of the Holy Mosque, and it can be accessed by escalators and elevators in addition to three bridges.
The project also included the expansion of the areas surrounding Safa and Marwah in a manner consistent with the horizontal and vertical expansion of the Masa as a whole. Four escalators were also installed in the area of Marwah to facilitate movement out of the Masa.
Separate areas of the Masa have been dedicated for use by those with special needs, and assembly points have been included at both Safa and Marwah. A new minaret, 95 meters high, is also being built, so that the number and design of the minarets of the Holy Mosque reflect the greatly enlarged area of the Masa.
The expansion of the Masa undertaken by King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz is the largest expansion ever witnessed by the Masa throughout its history.