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Instructor: Doctor Thomson

Student: Mugeeth Mousawi

Date: Saturday, June 18th, 2016
Assignment M13:Nano History Topic

The Kaaba

In the Muslim faith the Kaaba is a holy monument dating back to when the Bible
and the Torah were revealed; although this is argued against via modern day internet,
many Muslims rely solely on faith. A verse in the Quran states: Recall when Abraham
and Ishmael raised the foundations of the house, praying: Our Lord! Accept this from us;
You are All-Hearing, All-Knowing. The house the Quran is referring to in the verse is
believed to be the Kaaba and the verses after this verse are stating that the prophet
Abraham and his son Ishmael are pleading for God to show their community a way to
worship. The Kaaba is located in the city of Mecca and has an annual pilgrimage rate of
two million people from all across the globe.
Kaaba means cube and just as the name implies, the shrine is structured in such
a way. The house is sometimes referred to as Bait-ul-Ateek, meaning, the ancient
house, or it is sometimes called the Qiblah. It is a metaphorical representation, and
reminder, of the monotheistic God preached about by all the prophets, leading up to the
seal of the prophets Muhammed. It is obligatory to make the pilgrimage to the Kaaba,
as a Muslim, at least once in a lifetime. Also, when Muslims pray, they are to pray in the
direction of the Kaaba, using a compass if necessary (towards north-east if you live in

the U.S.). In the Quran, verse (2:144), it reads: We see you oft turning your face towards
the sky; now We are turning you to the direction that will satisfy you. Turn your face
towards the Holy Qiblah, and wherever you are, turn your faces towards it in Prayer.
Here the Quran refers to the Kaaba as Qiblah, however, it is the same meaning. In
addition, the Kaaba is also called the Masjid al-Haram, which literally means the
sacred Mosque. It seems that the Kaaba has quite a few names and each one has a
symbolic connotation behind it, in fact, to add more to its sacred appeal, it actually has a
black stone embedded in it; this stone has a mystic meaning, as it is believed that it was
sent down by the Angel Gabriel and given to Abraham. When people circumambulate the
Kaaba, as a religious ritual, they are eager to get near the stone. If people do eventually
reach it through the masses and populous crowd, they are relieved to kiss it.
Although Muhammad, the last prophet of Islam, is associated performing the hajj
(pilgrimage) and reiterating its school of thought, there is one other person that correlates
with the Kaaba Imam Ali, the brother-in-law of the prophet, is said to be the only one
born inside the Holy Kaaba. Imam Ali is known as the 4th caliph in Islam after the
prophet Muhammed's passing. There are two branches of Islam, Shia and Sunni; the Shia
believe that Imam Ali should have been the first caliph, but conversely being the fourth
was a part of God's plan. And so, there seems to be a constant struggle in regards to Alis
status for both branches. In relationship to where Imam Ali was born, there are hadiths, or
sayings, that Muslims extract their information from, stating that he was born in the
Kaaba, like the Mustadrak hadith; however, not all Sunni consider that source reliable.
The tradition states that a part of the Kaabas wall shifted open and Alis mother was
guided into the opening by heavenly beings that then guided her through the labor

process, which lasted three days.

There seems to be many incidents with the Kaaba in history; symbolic, prophetic
intercessions, holy grounds, angels, and a representation of the one absolute God that
Muslims proclaimed. According to Islamic history, within that gap of Abrahams demise
and the coming of prophet Muhammad, pagans were worshiping statues for over three
thousand years. It was not until 630 CE when Muhammad destroyed the idols that were
being worshiped by a notorious tribe the Quraysh. These idols were erected at the site
of the Kaaba in Mecca, the most famous of the idols being Hubal, which was a human
figure and they believed that he controlled acts of divination, such as throwing arrows in
the direction of the statue and however the arrows pointed, when they landed, would
answer the questions that the people sought answers to from Hubal. The Quraysh were in
control of the idol and would only allow access to it whenever they deemed necessary.
When Muhammed came to Mecca during this time frame, he removed the statue of Hubal
and all other idols that were erected to pagan gods from the site surrounding the Kaaba.
So, because this site is sacred to all those of Islamic faith, they are instructed, by
Muhammed, to make the pilgrimage once in their lifetime, if their health and finances
permit. When Muhammed tore down the idols at this site, he instructed his followers to
the rites of the hajj. Thus, the hajj became one of the five pillars of Islam, the others being
shahadah, salat, zakat, and sawm. These five pillars are summarized in the hadith of
Gabriel (the angel) and they are the foundation of the Muslim's life; they are basically
what is required of a Muslim to have faith, to pray, to have concern for the less
fortunate (charity), to self-purify (fasting), and to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, to the
site of the Kaaba. This is the reason for the mass amount of people making the long and

treacherous trek to their holy site of the Kaaba in Mecca and why it is obligatory it is
their very foundation.