The Kaaba, located in Makkah city, is the holiest site in Islam. Every year millions of pilgrims visit the holiest edifice for Hajj or Umrah, seeking forgiveness and praying to the Almighty. Going for Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. Those who visit Kaaba for Hajj or Umrah, circle around the sacred building seven times in a counter-clockwise direction, praying to Allah.
Kaaba, constructed by Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) and his eldest son Ismael, honored Allah and His greatness. Those performing prayers five times a day in the name of Allah perform the prayer in the direction of the Kaaba. The structure of the Kaaba has undergone several changes, with the latest one being in the 1950s. These changes made to incorporate more and more pilgrims have extended the holy site, which now spreads across forty acres.
The Importance of Kaaba
The Holy Kaaba, or Khana Kaaba, is a symbolic representation of Allah’s residence. It is not the literal home but the metaphorical home of God. According to the teachings of Islam, pre-Islamic cultures idol worshipped multiple gods, and their idols were housed inside Kaaba. The Almighty instructed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to restore the holy building and make it the center of prayer and worship only one God, that is Allah. So, Kaaba is a place that signifies one of Islam’s foundational principles, that is, the unity or oneness of God.
The concept of monotheism in Islam became a practice, and Kaaba served as a unifying force that called upon millions of Muslims to bow down to the only truth, that is Allah. And the Kaaba became the focal point of devotion for Muslims all around the world. It is important to note here that millions of Muslims do not go to worship Kaaba or the Black Stone. But they go there to stand in union with other Muslims and worship the supreme force that exists, which is Allah. The Holy Kaaba represents the unity of Allah, and hence every follower of Islam offers prayer to Allah in the direction or Qibla of Kaaba.
What is Inside the Kaaba?
The Kaaba, literally meaning “a cube” in Arabic, is a cubical structure with a 15-meter height. The cardinal directions were incorporated into the corners. The entrance to the Kaaba was adorned with pure gold in the 1980s. The black fabric covering the Kaaba, known as ‘Kiswah’, is made of silk. This fabric was earlier produced in Egypt and was imported from there, but now it is produced in Saudi itself. The fabric has calligraphy in gold threads symbolizing the Arabic verses of the Quran. The cloth piece is changed yearly on the second day of Hajj.
- Area covered and structure: The structure lacked a roof in the earlier days of Kaaba’s existence. It was roofless until the Quraysh reconstructed it. The ceiling of Kaaba is held in place by three wooden columns covering an area of 180 square meters. Each of these wooden columns, dating back to approximately a thousand years, has a pillar constructed by one of the most prominent Muslim leaders and compilers of the Holy Quran, Abdullah bin Zubair. Enclosed within is a stairway leading to a hatch, a closed rectangular space without any windows. There is just a door that gives access to the ceiling. The door, covered by silk curtains, is gilded with gold.
- The floor of the Kaaba: The floor and the walls of Kaaba are made from marble. The inside of the Kaaba, including the ceiling, is covered with crimson silk curtains with white embroidered calligraphy consisting of important verses of the Quran. Eight sacred stones engraved with Arabic calligraphy of different scripts reside inside the Kaaba. The floor of the Kaaba has unique marks that represent the location where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is said to have offered his prayers to Allah while he entered the building.
During the pilgrimage of Hajj, the doors of the majestic Kaaba are kept shut. The right to enter and see Khana Kaaba inside the structure is reserved for important Muslim leaders.
- The stone inside the Kaaba: The black stone inside the Kaaba is surrounded by a silver and a stone ring. According to Islamic culture, Adam brought the stone with him from heaven, and it was originally white. It is believed that the stone has absorbed the sins of those who touched and kissed it and has therefore become black. The stone, stolen in the past by extremists, is now heavily guarded under the King’s command.
The Black Stone, located near one of the borders of Kaaba, holds immense significance in Islam. While circling the Kaaba (Tawaf), the pilgrims try to touch and kiss the Black Stone. If they are unable to do so, they must point their hands towards it while crossing and chanting “Allahu Akbar”.
There are several legends about the existence and placement of the stone within the Kaaba. Another common version holds that Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) and His eldest son Ismael were seeking various sorts of stones to construct the Kaaba. They stumbled upon the Black Stone and realized its worth and placed it at the corner of Kaaba.
Facts About the Holy Kaaba
- Kaaba has other names. It is also called Bait al-Ateeq and Bait al-Haram.
- The corners of the holy structure are also named. These are called Rukan-e-Hijr-e-Aswa, Rukan-e-Shami, Rukan-e-Yamani and Rukan-e-Iraqi.
- Owing to natural and man-made disasters, the sacred Kaaba has undergone reconstruction multiple times earlier. In the pre-Islamic era, the building was used to worship multiple gods believed by the Arab tribes. The most recent restoration to the Kaaba occurred in 1999.
- Before being wrapped in black silken cloth, the Kiswa, the sacred Kaaba, was adorned in a variety of colors, including green and red.
- Previously, the sacred Kaaba had open access for all followers of Islam, twice a week. However, due to an increase in pilgrims visiting the place from across the globe, the Kaaba is accessible only twice a year for Muslim dignitaries.
- It is believed that there is a replica of the Kaaba just above it in heaven.
- Inside the sacred Kaaba, there is a tablet-kind structure with the names of all the kings who were involved in the rebuilding of the Kaaba.
Kaaba is the home of Allah, where every Muslim must surrender and devote themselves to worship the one supreme power that exists, that is Allah. Praying in Kaaba will cleanse all your sins, and each of your prayers will be accepted. It will pave your way to Jannah or Jannat (heaven), where there is no pain but only happiness.
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