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Old 05-06-2008, 03:39 PM
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The Holy Mosque (Ka'ba)

The structure of the Ka'bah

Due to flooding, fires, attacks and other disasters, the Ka'bah has been rebuilt on several occasions, but always on the same foundation built upon by Ibraaheem may Allaah exalt his mention. One of these renovations occurred few years before Prophet Muhammad's sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) prophethood. Although this was before the time of the Quranic Revelation, the people of Quraysh made a pledge not to use money made from impure sources, such as prostitution, usury and other types of bad dealing or injustice. For this reason, they ran out of funds and were not able to cover the "Hateem area" of the Ka'bah, which remains exposed to this day.

A disagreement broke out as to who would have the honor of placing the Black Stone in its position. Finally, one of the elders of the tribe suggested that the first man to walk through the gate the next morning should be the one to solve the dispute. This man happened to be the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) who told the clan leaders to place the Black Stone on the middle of a cloth. Then each leader picked up one corner of the cloth and carried the stone to its place, where the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) himself affixed it.

Inside the Ka'bah

The Ka'bah is essentially an empty room, which again emphasizes the centrality of Allaah and contrasts sharply with its pre-Islamic plight as a house of idol-worship.

The walls and floor of the Ka'bah are made from marble. There are gold and silver lamps hanging from the ceiling, some of which are quite old, and the aroma of incense perfumes the room. Three wooden pillars hold up the roof, which is accessible by a ladder. The upper walls are covered with curtains. Verses of the Quran decorate the pillars, walls and curtains, and the room is big enough to accommodate about fifty people comfortably.

The Kiswah (cover) of the Ka'bah

The tradition of covering (or placing the Kiswah on) the outside of the Ka'bah started before the advent of Islam. Over the years, many kinds of materials were used, such as red rugs made of skin, striped sheets and other scraps of cloth in a myriad of colors. Many reports state that one of the leaders of Yemen called As'ad Al-Himyari was the first person to dress the Ka'bah thoroughly with a Kiswah.

The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) later covered the Ka'bah with Yemeni cloth, while ‘Umar and ‘Uthmaan may Allaah be pleased with them covered it with Qibti —an Egyptian white cloth. Others used silk to dress the Ka'bah. Sa’eed Ibn Mansour may Allaah have mercy upon him reported in the Sunan that “Umar may Allaah be pleased with him used to take down the old cover of the Ka'bah every year, cut it into pieces and distribute (the pieces) among the pilgrims, who used them as shelter from the heat of Makkah.”

To this day, changing the Kiswah of the Ka'bah is still an annual event. In a labor of love and devotion, over 200 specially trained craftsmen spend the entire year putting together a new Kiswah in a factory that is located in Umm Al-Joud, a suburb of Makkah. The Kiswah consists of 450 kilograms of pure silk that is dyed black and embroidered with gold and silver threads at a total cost of more than $4.5 million for materials and production. The embroidery displays verses of the Quran along with words and phrases that glorify Allaah.

The Kiswah is affixed to the ground with the use of copper rings.

Watch on YOUTUBE ( kaaba keswa change)

YouTube - كسوة الكعبة المشرفة

Black Stone

The Black Stone (called الحجر الأسود al-Hajar-ul-Aswad in Arabic) is a Muslim object of reverence, which according to Islamic tradition dates back to the time of Adam and Eve. It is the eastern cornerstone of the Kaaba, the ancient sacred stone building towards which Muslims pray, in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Stone is roughly 30 cm (12 in.) in diameter, and 1.5 meters (5 ft.) above the ground.

When pilgrims circle the Kaaba as part of the Tawaf ritual of the Hajj, many of them try, if possible, to stop and kiss the Black Stone, emulating the kiss that it received from the Islamic prophet Muhammad. If they cannot reach it, they are to point to it on each of their seven circuits around the Kaaba.

The Stone is broken into a number of pieces from damage which was inflicted during the Middle Ages. It is now held together by a silver frame, which is fastened by silver nails to the Stone. Some devout Muslims believe that the stone should be less accessible to the general public, as a way of protecting such a relic.

Origins and history

According to Islamic tradition, the Stone fell from Heaven during the time of Adam and Eve, when it was a pure and dazzling white, but has since turned black because of the sins it has absorbed over the years. It was later removed and hidden in the hill of Abu Qubays near Mecca. When Abraham rebuilt the Kaaba, the Archangel Gabriel brought the stone out of hiding and gave it to him.

Muhammad is said to have played a key part in the history of the Black Stone. In 602, before the first of his prophetic revelations, he was present in Mecca during the rebuilding of the Kaaba. The Black Stone had been temporarily removed while a new structure was being constructed. A story found in Ibn Ishaq's Sirah Rasul Allah (as reconstructed and translated by Guillaume) shows Muhammad settling a quarrel between Meccan clans as to which clan should set the Black Stone in place. His solution was to have all the clan elders raise the cornerstone on a cloak, and then Muhammad set the stone into its final place with his own hands.

some Muslims believe that this stone fell from the sky during the time of Adam and has the power to cleanse worshippers of their sins by absorbing them into itself. For these, the Black Stone is believed to have originally been colored white, but it turned black because of the sins it has absorbed over the years. Others believe the stone was given to Ismael by the angel Gabriel in order to provide the cornerstone for the Kaaba. The Black Stone is kissed by all who can gain access to it but is not considered idol worship. The single most important reason for kissing the stone is that Prophet Muhammad did so. No devotional significance whatsoever is attached to the stone.

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