cubical shrine in Mecca, Saudi Arabia; direction of prayer for Muslims

The Kaaba is a large cuboid-shaped building inside the mosque known as al-Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Muslims believe that the Kaaba was built by the command of Allah. The Kaaba’s original architecture has remained the same for centuries.

Muslim pilgrims around the Kaaba

History change

Before Prophet Muhammad change

According to Islamic sources, the Kaaba was a place of worship for angels before the creation of men. After the creation of Adam, the Kaaba was built by him. According to Qur'an, it is the first house on Earth.[1][2]

The Kaaba was buried under the sand by the Noah's flood. After a period of time, it was rebuilt by Prophet Abraham and his son, Prophet Ishmael.[3][4][5][6]The Kaaba was a place of monotheism for centuries. Then Amr bin Luhayy brought an idol to the Kaaba.[7] After that, the Kaaba became a place of pagan belief.[4][5][8]

After Prophet Muhammad change

The Kaaba began to be managed by Muslims in 630 AD. Prophet Muhammad removed the idols.[4] Also, the Kaaba was cleaned with sacred water (Zamzam) under his guidance.[3]

The general architecture of the Kaaba remained the same until 1630 because people wanted to keep the original architecture. Only simple repairs and small decorations were made during this long period of time. In 1630, three walls of the Kaaba were heavily damaged by a storm. Then, it was restored by Murad IV, 17th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. The Kaaba has remained the same after this renovation.[5]

Religious Significance change

The Kaaba is the holiest place in Islam.[9] Muslims believe that the Kaaba is the House of God (Baitullah).[4] Prophet Mohammed said[10] the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) is one of the three most important mosques on the Earth.[11]

Muslims are required to make a pilgrimage (hajj) once in a lifetime to the Kaaba.[12] As it is the most holy place in Islam, all Muslims pray towards this when they perform the five fardh (necessary acts mentioned in the Qur'an) Salat or prayer.[4][3] At the end of Hajj season, there is a holiday called Eid al-Adha (English: Festival of Sacrifice).

Appearance change

Architecture change

The Kaaba is a rectangular shaped building. It is 12 m long, 10 m wide, and 15 m high (33 feet x 50 feet x 45 feet).[13]The Kaaba is made of blue-gray granite.

Plan of the Kaaba

Inside the Kaaba, there are three pillars to support the roof. The floor is made of marble and the ceiling is covered with cloth.[5] Gold and glass decorations are hanging between the pillars.[3][14]

(See the image for each numbered item)
  1. The Black Stone is an egg-shaped black stone with red and yellow marks.
  2. The door is 2.13 m above the ground and made of pure gold. The Key has been held by the Shaiba family for 1400 years
  3. A rainwater pipe was added to protect the roof from the damage of accumulated rainwater.
  4. It is called al-Shadrawan, and it was added to protect the foundation of the Kaaba from the water.
  5. Hatim is a low wall. It is included as a part of the Kaaba’s sacred area. Muslims believe the place between the Kaaba and Hatim is the burial, area of Ishmael and Hajar.
  6. Al-Multezem, the part of the wall between the door and the Black Stone
  7. Station of Abraham, a glass and metal covering for Prophet Abraham’s footprint.
  8. Corner of Black Stone (East)
  9. Corner of Yemen (South-West)
  10. Corner of Syria (North-West)
  11. Corner of Iraq (North-East)
  12. Cover (Kiswah)
  13. The marble line helps pilgrims to count their walks around the Kaaba (Tawaf).
  14. The Station of Gabriel[5]

Cover (Kiswah) change

The Kaaba was first covered by Abu Karab As’ad, in 60 BC approximately.[7] The cover was made of valuable materials, as a symbol of his respect for the Kaaba. After that, the Kaaba has been covered with the most valuable materials, following the tradition of showing respect.[15]

The covers are produced by a factory every year, the factory was established only to produce the cover in 1927. The cover is replaced every year on the eve of Eid Al-Adha by 160 technicians.

The Kaaba’s cover contains Qur'anic verses. It is made of 450kgs of pure silk, and it includes hundreds of pounds of precious metals, 670 kgs of silver dyed black, about 120 kgs of pure gold and 50 kgs of silver. The cost of the cover is USD 4,534,325. The size of the cover is 658 square metres.[16]

The cover of the Kaaba

References change

  1. Seyyed Ḥusain Naṣr, Islamic Art And Spirituality (Albany: State Univ. of New York Pr., 1987),43
  2. Quran 3/96
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Britannica Concise Encyclopedia (Peru: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2006), 1008
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 John L Esposito, The Oxford History Of Islam (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2000), 78
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Andrew Petersen, Dictionary Of Islamic Architecture (London: Routledge, 1999), 142
  6. Quran 22/26
  7. 7.0 7.1 E. van Donzel, Bernard Lewis and Ch. Pellat, The Encyclopaedia Of Islam (Leiden: Brill, 1997), 91, 318.
  8. Inside Mecca, directed by Anisa Mehdi, (National Geographic, 2003)
  9. "Ka'bah". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  10. Sahih Muslim 1397
  11. Sunan an-Nasa'i 2898
  12. "BBC - Schools - Religion - Islam - Eid-ul-Adha". BBC. Archived from the original on 24 August 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  13. Richard Ettinghausen, Oleg Grabar and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina, Islamic Art And Architecture, 650-1250 (New Haven (Conn.): Yale University Press, 2001), 3.
  14. Issa 3d,”Inside Kaaba 3d,” (Kaaba- first time the 360), accessed November 4, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oviQ-L9Kv9Q
  15. Al Arabiya, The Covering Cloth Of The Kaaba: An All-Time Grandeur, video, March 12,2012, accessed November 4, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQVwlyUCjRw.
  16. "Kaaba’s Replacement Cloth Fitted In Record Time", Arab News, Last modified 2018, accessed November 4, http://www.arabnews.com/node/1359431/saudi-arabia.