Tuesday 24 January 2023

Do Muslims Worship Ka'bah and the Black Stone?

Makkah is the most sacred city for the Muslims all over the world, same as the Vatican City is to the Christians. Here in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, is located the Masjad Al Haraam (Arabic: ٱلْبَيْت ٱلْحَرَام, lit. 'The Sacred House') which houses the Ka'bah (Arabic: كعبة) - a cubical stone structure half covered by a heavy black covering with verses from Qur'an embroidered on it with gold threads.

Since the inception of Islam, non-Muslims have unleashed a number of misconceptions and disinformation not only about Islam, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and the Qur'an, but also misleading concepts about the Muslims worship. We have already shared our views on such misconceptions and disinformation, some of which are as under:
Today, in our series of posts on Understanding Islam - Frequently asked Q&A, we share yet another misconception: Do Muslims WORSHIP Ka'bah and the Black Stone?

Before we share the answer to this misconception, let us introduce Ka'bah to our readers who have least or know knowledge of what Ka'bah is. 
Ka'bah in center of Masjid Al Haram, Makkah (Photo: Wikimedia Common / Source]
  • Ka'bah literary means a cube for the structure of Ka'bah is cubical stone structure. The Kaba is about 50 feet in length, 33 feet wide, and 45 feet tall. The four corners of the Kaba correspond with the four points of the compass. The stone structure is covered with black silk cloth on which embroidery of verses from Qur'an is done with golden threads. The covering called "Kiswah" is changed every year on the 9th od Islamic month Dul Hajj.
  • On the eastern corner of the Ka'bah, a Black Stone has been installed (it can be seen installed in the photo above on the left corner of the Ka'bah encased in a silver frame). It is revered by Muslims as an Islamic relic which, according to Muslim tradition, dates back to the time of Adam and Eve, who received a stone when they were expelled from the heavens. And it was Prophet Ibrahim and his son who while building the Ka'bah structure had it installed on the eastern corner of the building.
  • Ka'bah is also called Bayt Allah (Arabic: بيت الله, romanized: Bayt Allah, lit. 'House of Allah'). This does not mean that Allah has His abode in this building, rather it is a symbolic place towards which Muslims all over the world turn to offer their prayers five times a day. During Hajj and Umrah, the pilgrims take seven anti-clockwise circles, called Tawaf (circumambulation), around this building. Why it is done so, wait till you reach the end of this post and watch a video on the very misconception of Muslim worshipping this building.
  • As per the information contained in the Qur'an, this structure was built by Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail (Abraham and Ishmail, peace be upon them) when the former visited the place called Makkah after many years when he left his wife Hajer and newly born son Ismail as directed by God. 
  • Although the Ka'bah was supposed to be a center for worship of Allah, by and by, the place was taken over by the idolators of Arabia and at one time there were approximately 360 idols in and outside the Ka'bah.
  • After most of Arabia accepted Islam, the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him remove the idols and restored the Kaba to its essence. He restored it as a place where only one God is worshipped.
The Qur'an contains several verses regarding the origin of the Kaaba. It states that the Kaaba was the first House of Worship for mankind, and that it was built by Ibrahim and Ismail on Allah's instructions.

And remember Ibrahim and Ismail raised the foundations of the House (With this prayer): "Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-knowing." [Quran, Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 127] 

Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and guidance for mankind. [Quran, Surah Al Imran (3), Ayah 96]
Behold! We gave the site to Ibrahim, of the (Sacred) House, (saying): "Associate not anything (in worship) with Me; and sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or stand up, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer)." [Quran, Surah Al-Hajj (22), Ayah 26]

This was a short introduction to the building of Ka'bah. Those who want to read details, they may follow the resources references given at the end of the post. 

Coming over the controversary raised against Ka'bah for it being a building that Muslims worship. Perhaps it is because of the disinformation spread by the religious priests and scholars and those following them have accepted it plain and square. Those who have any doubts about, had they read the impartial sources, which abound the internet, they would have known the factual status of Ka'bah and why it is so important for the Muslims all over the world.

Herein under is the explanation:

  • All religions have places of worship and their followers attend to religious ceremonies held therein. However, the placement of these religious centers, like the synagogues, churches and mandars, is not keeping any direction even within the same city, what to talk of their directional placing all over the world. That means a church may be facing south at one place, while another church may be facing in another direction in another place or country. And the same is true for the synagogues and the mandars. 
  • However, since Islam fosters unity among all its followers, they face towards Ka'bah from anywhere around the world to offer their prayers. Thus, Ka'bah in fact sets the DIRECTION for all Muslims around the world to face towards it. And it is if for this reason, Ka'bah is also known as the Qibla, the direction. That means, the Muslims face Ka'bah to pray in harmony and not worship the building as the misconception prevails. That is some Muslims who live towards the west of the Kaaba they face the east. Similarly, if they live towards the east of the Ka'bah they face the west.
"And for those calling Muslims worshipping Ka'bah, it is clarified that the prayer that Muslim offer facing towards Ka'bah does not include any mention of the Ka'bah; none of its words refers to or addresses the Ka'bah itself. In Salah (Arabic for Prayer), Muslims praise Allah and supplicate Him alone. In this sense, praying towards the Ka'bah is an embodiment of full devotion and submission to Allah alone; He commanded Muslims to face the Ka'bah while praying and they do so. Ahd the Muslims been worshipping Ka'bah, their prayers should have been embodiment of words Ka'bah (like O Ka'bah have mercy on us or listen to our vows as idolators around the world address their idols) rather than that of Allah. Thus, No Muslim entertains the idea that the Ka'bah can bring any benefit or remove any harm; let alone think that the Ka'bah has any divine attribute.
  • Imagine almost two billion Muslims facing Ka'bah almost a t the same time from around the world as against the worshippers of other faiths who face no direction at all. 
  • Idolators never stepover their idols when worshipping them. But in case of Ka'bah, the Muslim Adhan (Call for prayer) has been made from the roof top of the Ka'bah building during the times of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Had Muslims been worshipping the Ka'bah, would they dare stand atop their idol?
The Black Stone (Hijar Al Aswad) installed on eastern corner of the Ka'bah 
Now the misconception about the kissing of the Black stone, called Hajr Al-Aswad. Non-Muslims call Muslims idolators for they kiss this Black Stone. No Muslim worships this Black Stone for it is just a stone sent down from the Heave. Here We would like to quote a saying of Umer bin Abdul Khattab, the second Caliph of Islam who has been quoted as saying:
Narrated by `Abis bin Rabi`a: `Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said "No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) kissing you I would not have kissed you." [Source Sahi al Bukhari (Book on Hajj/ Chapter (50) What is said regarding the Black Stone)-Hadith 1597]
We hope after reading the aforesaid explanation, the misconception about Muslims worshipping Ka'bah will be settled. One may differ on religious matters, but spreading misconceptions to safeguard one's ideology and faith should not happen.

You may now listen to Dr Zakir A Naik, a prominent Muslim scholar of present times, answering the same question from a Hindu during one of his lectures on Islam and clarifying misconceptions:
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 

وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

Author's Note: The data above has been collected from the references given below. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

The viewpoint of Dr Naik in the video above about Ka'bah being in the center of the earth is debatable as no authentic scientific research points towards this claim. Please study the viewpoint expressed in references number 5-7 as given below.

You may read more posts on countering / responding to lies / misinformation and disinformation about Islam: The Rebuttal: Countering disinformation being spread about Islam (Reference Page)

You may also like to read an overview of the Ka'bah: Holy places of Islam: Ka'bah - the house of Allah

Photo: |Logo| |Ka'bahReferences: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |

For more Q&A about Understanding Islamplease refer to our reference page: Understanding Islam - Frequently asked Q&A

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