There is a mosque (Al-Masjid al-Haram) in the city of Mecca. At its centre, is the shrouded Kaaba, a large sacred shrine, a huge black square building. What is it and what is it used for?
First, Muhammad was born in Mecca, one of the three holy cities for Muslims, Jerusalem and Medina being the other two. It was an important religious centre among the tribes of the western and central Arabia. At the time, the area called Kaaba in the centre of Mecca was dedicated to three goddesses but in fact contained 360 idols. For some reason the Kaaba was built around a Black Stone, thought to be a meteorite. Its identity a secret to this day. The people worshipped this stone and made yearly pilgrimages to the area, this pilgrimage was known as Hajj. People would circle the Kaaba either nude to semi-nude, seven times in a counter-clockwise ceremonial procession around and around this sacred shrine. Violence of any kind was prohibited with a 20 mile radius of the Kaaba, which allowed Mecca to thrive.
When Muhammad visited the Kaaba he knelt down before it and in a loud voice cried, "Allahu Akbar" (God is most great) affirming Islamic's most basic beliefs, the supreme oneness of God and ordered the destruction of all the idols within the box bringing an end to the worship of the cult of the goddesses. The Kaaba, from then on was claimed by Muslims.
|Time Lapse Photo|
In the year 632 Muhammad made his last pilgrimage to the Kaaba, called the Farewell Pilgrimage. At the time both Muslims and non-Muslims carried out the pilgrimage. That was the last time. From then on, only Muslims were allowed to worship the Kaaba. He dedicated it solely to the worship of Allah, 24/7.
Muslims are expected to make a pilgrimage (hajj) at least once in their lifetime.
The Kaaba, the first house of worship for Allah, is a brick square building made of granite, supposedly built by Abraham and his son Ishmael in 2130 BC, as shown by Allah to Abraham in a dream. It originally was multicoloured and had two doors and a small window and has been reconstructed many times over the years but today it is shrouded in black cloth. There is only one key and one family holds it, the Bani Shaiba family. At one time it was open to the public now you have to ask them first if you can enter the Kaaba, it's their decision who enters and who leaves. The Bani Shaiba family has held this position for centuries.
After it was finished an angel dropped from heaven and deposited the Black Stone, originally white but turned black by the acts of Adam and Eve. The inside is fully adorned with trim and colour. It aligns with the solstices, sunrise of the summer solstice and the sunset of the winter solstice. The huge door acts as the front facade. Inside, is the stone and a staircase to the roof, a Gate to the Seventh Heaven, which is supposedly floating directly above it. A UFO perhaps. The black stone, a link between heaven and Earth.
|The Black Stone|
The Black Stone, oval in shape about 7 inches in diameter, is the only surviving remnant of the original structure believed to be as old as Adam and Eve. It seems to have shrunk over time. Originally it was recorded to be the size 1 1/2 yards by 1 1/3 yards.
It is believed by some Muslims that during the Day of Judgement The Black Stone will emerge from the Kaaba, with eyes and a tongue to speak out against the non-believers. How crazy is that?
To top it off, the stone floats in water! The only stone in the world that floats. Weird but true. Supposedly.