Seerah – Life of the Prophet: Placing of the Black Stone and History of the Kabah
Episode 23: Placing of the Black Stone and History of the Kabah
Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
In the renovations, the height of the Ka’ba was made taller, to move the door higher and prevent people from entering easily. There were also originally two doors, but one was removed. There were not enough resources to complete the Ka’ba, thus the Hateem area was left open. The Hateem is considered part of the Ka’ba: praying in there is as if you have prayed inside it. Interestingly, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said at the Conquest of Makkah that if the people were not new converts, he would have done a complete reconstruction of the Ka’ba, with an eastern and western door and including the Hateem area. However, he did not do this as he was sensitive to the culture and traditions of the people. Thus, we should respect sensitivities, as long as they do not compromise the religion itself.
Another fight broke out regarding who would position the Black Stone in its place. Abu Umaiyah bin Mughirah was one of the oldest men amongst the Quraysh, respected for his age and wisdom. He suggested praying to the Rabb of the House that the next man to enter will be the one to place it or the intermediary to make the decision to settle the matter. The person to enter was none other than the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Everyone was relieved to see him, commenting that ‘Al-Amin’, the ‘Trustworthy’, had come.
The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) asked for a large sheet to be brought to him; some say he removed his own shawl. He put it on the ground, placed the Black stone onto it, and called for all the leaders of the tribes to hold the sheet and lift the stone together to the Ka’ba. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) placed it himself into the final position. This event put him in the spotlight and highlighted the trust, honour and dignity he held amongst his people prior to the imminent revelation.
This episode elaborates on the history of the Ka’ba, discussing who first established it and how long it has existed. Allah says in the Quran:
Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Makkah – blessed and a guidance for the worlds. (3:96)
In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds. (3:97)
In Bukhari, it is mentioned that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that the first mosque to be established was the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, and then Masjid al-Aqsa. There were 40 years between each being established.
The origins of the coverings of the Ka’ba by Hajjaj bin Yusuf are discussed, as well as the first expansion of the mosque by Umar ibn Khattab. We learn it is acceptable to beautify and expand mosques.