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Q20: What is the Kaaba and do Muslims worship it?

In short, the Kaaba is the large, black cuboid shaped building at the centre of the Holy Mosque (Masjid Al Haram) in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It has a long history but in short, it is mentioned in the Quran: “The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka: Full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings:” (Surah Aal Imran 3:96)

In pre Islamic times, it was filled with idols so Muslims did not face towards it during prayer. After Makkah came under Muslim rule and everyone there became Muslim, all the idols were removed and Muslims today around the world face towards it during prayer so it is the “Qibla”. It is therefore also a form of unity as Muslims all over the world -East and West, face towards it when they pray.

You can find out more about the Kaaba, its history and significance from this free e-book, Kaaba Unknown, by Sheikh Waleed Basyouni:

https://ebook.almaghrib.live/kabahinter-wb816?inf_contact_key=94aca421539757031c059918889ee46ed5ab65f714f46e2ed981dc6b5305bf29

Muslims face towards this but they do not worship it. In fact, every year groups of people stand on top of the Kaaba and change the black cloth covering it and that is not something that people can do with idols. Also, people can enter it and pray inside -although this is done very rarely with certain visitors only. You can get an idea of what it looks like from the inside from here:

 

7 thoughts on “Q20: What is the Kaaba and do Muslims worship it?”

  1. In other words, the Kaaba was one of the many idols. All the other ones were disposed of, and this one kept. Then Muslims do a pilgrimage around it, pray towards it. I do not see how that is not idolatry. Having to stand on top of it to change the cloth is certainly not an argument for discounting it as an idol.

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    1. Thank you for the message and for the comments. I am not a specialist on the subject and you are most welcome to do any background reading. If I find any more information on the topic I will try to share it. For now, perhaps it might help to download the e-book? Here are some things that you might find more details about from there for why the Kaaba is not an idol:

      Muslims, Christians and Jews are all part of the Abrahamic Faiths and are monotheistic so they believe in Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) PBUH; in Islam it is believed that Prophet Ibrahim PBUH built the Kaaba and there is also a place near it where he stood to check that it was being built properly known as “Maqam Ibrahim” (Station of Ibrahim) where his footprints are –”Remember We made the House a place of assembly for men and a place of safety and take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer; and We covenanted with Abraham and Ismail that they should sanctify My House for those who compass it round or use it as a retreat or bow or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer)” (Surah Al Baqara 3:125); going to the city of Makkah then has more to do with following the traditions and teachings of Prophet Ibrahim PBUH and is a testimony to his greatness; as the Kaaba used to be filled with idols Muslims did not face towards it and prayed facing towards Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem; they later faced towards Makkah when the idols had been removed and a command was given in the Quran for the change of direction (Surah Al Baqara: 2:144); the Kaaba had been burnt and damaged a number of times so it was completely demolished and rebuilt on different foundations (the original Kaaba was larger with two doors and a window like a house); early Muslim scientists drew maps of the world upside down but still Muslims managed to face the same direction until today so it is a form of unity (in the centre of the world); pilgrims circle around it in one direction as a form of unity. I hope this is useful.

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      1. Is this correct ?

        “Hadith: When the Holy Black Stone was brought down from the paradise it was green in colour.

        “Prophet Mohammad said it became black in colour as it absorbed the sins of Adams progeny. The word ‘Hajar Aswad’ means ‘Black Stone’ and it became black as it absorbed the sins. Now it is the Holy Black Stone which shall absorb the sins. And if you don’t kiss it, then what is the use of your Hajj or Umrah, when your sins have not been forgiven? Is this not a conspiracy when they say just kiss the Holy Black Stone from far away because of the rush of people? Kissing it absorbs the sins; if you just signal a kiss from a distance, your sins have not been absorbed and neither has your Hajj been accepted.

        If it is, then it is idol worship. How can a stone absorb sins and therefore purify humans of their sins??? Only God can do that! Also, there is a lot about the shape of the stone. I will leave it to you to find out.

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      2. Thank you for the message and for your question. Perhaps this might be a useful place to double check on Hadith? http://www.sunnah.com

        The information that you mentioned is partly correct; the black stone was originally white and not green. The story of the black stone also relates to the construction of the Kaaba and when Prophet Ibrahim PBUH was given the stone by the angel Jibreel (Gabriel) to place at the corner of one of the pillars.

        The stone itself is never mentioned as being “holy” and there is a narration of Omar, a companion of the Prophet PBUH who mentioned that he knows that the stone has no benefit and the only reason why he was kissing it was because he saw the Prophet PBUH doing so. The stone also has no “special powers” and does not absorb /take away people’s sins -as you mentioned, only God forgives sins in the end (I agree). Having said that, the more people visit religious site such as the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina and /or go to the black stone, the better it is for them. This however is not essential and there’s definitely no benefit if they push /fight other people to reach it.

        The stone has no bearing on the acceptance of the Hajj /Pilgrimage but it has a practical usage as it marks where the pilgrims start circling around the Kaaba (Tawaf) and where they finish so it is used a reference point /marker when people point at it in a somewhat similar way to how people might use poles at bus stops to make it easier to know where buses come and go. As for it changing colour; it is mentioned that it turned black due to people’s sins. However, stones generally change colour for various reasons and people are still finding other factors that can change the colours of stones. For example, as stones get older, they get darker and they can get darker due to rain. There are also other factors that affect stones such as radiation, sound vibrations, smoke from factories and air /water pollution.

        As for its shape; there is not much mentioned about it and it’s hard to say as it’s in a metal case. Having caught glimpses of the stone, it looks like the shape of any other ordinary stone and does not have any special shape, looking like a round /oval shape. It might surprise you that there was a time in the 9th /10th century where a group of people called “Qaramita” stole the black stone and took it to Bahrain (“Bahrain” means “two seas” and historically it covered a larger area between two seas, mostly covering the East Coast of Saudi Arabia; in some narrations they took it near the city of Al Ahsa in Saudi Arabia). The stone remained there for about 22 years before it was finally returned. However, it had been smashed into pieces so that it is why the black stone is in a metal case now. Throughout this time, there was nothing to say that there was no Hajj /Pilgrimage and /or that pilgrims did not have their sins forgiven because of the absence of the black stone.

        Here’s another link with some more information and clearing up some myths: https://¬islamqa.info/en/45643

        I hope this is useful

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      3. Thank you for the message. Here is a link someone sent me about the Black Stone and its significance:
        https://¬islamqa.info/en/1902

        Not everything is mentioned with reasons and I don’t see how it’s always relevant. For example, people could ask many questions about prayer such as “why do you prostrate in prayer twice instead of 3 times?”, “why do you pray 5 times a day instead of two?”, “why do you stand in prayer rather than lean against a wall?” and endless other questions. There is no specific reason given for these things but we are ordered to follow them and not everything needs specific rules with explanation as it would not really add to anything other than fulfill our curiosity. For example; people might ask why someone prefers blue over orange or why they are left handed rather than right handed. They don’t really need to know the answers to these to live a fulfilling life and can live their entire lives without ever knowing the answers to these. Sometimes it might be possible to suggest reasons for certain things like perhaps praying while standing encourages people to stay active, perhaps praying 5 times a day is a reasonable amount (not too much and not too little)…

        Based on the above, if you ask why the Prophet PBUH kissed the black stone, there are general reasons for this such as those mentioned in the link above and it marks the start /end of the Tawaf or circle around the Kaaba. If however you are asking why the Prophet PBUH kissed the black stone rather than (for example) touch it with the palm of his hand, I’ve never come across any specific reason for this. Perhaps doing this obliges people to keep track of how many rounds they have completed in a simple way (not every pilgrim has limbs) as they need to stop at the corner and maybe kissing the stone reminds them of the story of Prophet Ibrahim PBUH and paradise, which they are aspiring for. What is important however is that people realise that the Black Stone has no “special powers”, it can neither harm nor benefit and it is not worshipped at all, which was mentioned earlier. I hope that helps

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