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History of Kaaba-The House of Allah
The Holiest Site For Muslims
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Is Kaaba mentioned in Quran?
Yes, indeed. Allah says:
جَعَلَ اللّٰہُ الۡکَعۡبَۃَ الۡبَیۡتَ الۡحَرَامَ قِیٰمًا لِّلنَّاسِ
Meaning: Allah has made the Ka‘ba, the sacred (and venerable) House, a means to keep (peace in the spiritual and worldly matters of) the people. (al-Maida 97)
THE HOUSE OF ALLAH:
Where is the Kaaba Located?
Kaaba is a building at the centre of the Great Mosque of Makkah (al-Masjid al-Haram) called the sacred House of Allah. Kaaba determines the qibla which is the direction of prayer for all Muslims. Moreover, this is the holiest site for Muslims. Furthermore, according to the five pillars of Islam, it is incumbent upon every Muslim to visit it at least once in a lifetime if affordable. The name of the House of Allah is Kaaba due to its prominence and exaltation. Additionally, Kaaba is also Bayt al-Atiq that means the Ancient House as Allah has kept it safe from all pagan kings. Quran also calls it by this title in verse 29 of sura al-Hajj.
Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr relates the tradition of the Holy Prophet:
“Kaaba has been known as Bayt al-Atiq since no pagan king has been able to take it over.” (Book: Tareekh Makkah Mukarma by Mewlana Safi al-Rahman Mubarak Puri)
HIDDEN TRUTH OF KAABA
Allama Abu Saleh Mufti Mohammad Faiz Ahmad Awaisi Rizvi writes in his book ‘Tareekh Tameer Kaaba’:
“Kaaba is not the name of the room which is wrapped in a black cloth. It is infact the reality of theophany of the hidden Truth. Kaaba is its manifestation. The manifestation of Divine theophany is Prophet Mohammad in the way that before the creation of the earth and skies, it was all water on which the Divine Throne stood. Allah ordered Angel Gabriel to spread the earth but initiate it with the Light of the sacred bubble of the froth which is illuminating prominently above the water. This sacred bubble is the outward essence of the Holy Prophet. However, it was exactly located where Kaaba is now. Hence, the greatness of Kaaba is due to the Holy Prophet. This is the reason why the Holy Prophet is called the Kaaba for the Kaaba.”
NAMES OF KAABA:
The other names of Kaaba:
There are various names of Kaaba some of which are:
Bayt al-Atiq-the Ancient House;
Bayt Allah Sharif-the Sacred House of Allah;
Al-Masjid al-Haram-the Sacred Mosque.
CONSTRUCTION OF KAABA:
CONSTRUCTION BY THE ANGELS:
Who built the Holy Kaaba for the first time?
The first to have gained the honour of construction of Kaaba were the angels. Allah ordered the angels for the construction of a house on the earth similar to Bayt al-Mamoor i.e. the Kaaba in heavens. Hence, the angels began the construction of the sacred house. Thereafter, when it was complete, Allah ordered his earthy creation to circumambulate around His house the way the heavenly creation circumambulates around Bayt al-Mamoor.
CONSTRUCTION BY ADAM:
After the angels, Prophet Adam was the one who did the construction of Kaaba. Abdullah bin Abbas relates the tradition:
“When Allah sent Prophet Adam from heaven to the earth, his head touched the heaven but feet remained on the earth. He was also able to hear the worship of the angels. Prophet Adam used to tremble and shake like a boat in fear of Allah. Allah shortened his height to sixty hands. Prophet Adam requested in the holy court of Allah, ‘O Allah! Why am I unable to hear the voice of the angels?’ Allah replied, ‘O Adam! You have been deprived to hear their voices due to your mistake.’ Then He ordered, ‘Construct My house on the earth, circumambulate around it, remember Me the way you have seen My angels circumambulate around the Kaaba in heaven.’ Hence, hearing this order, Prophet Adam focused all his attention to the construction of Kaaba.
THE HIDDEN KAABA
He reached Makkah and started the construction of the House of Allah. When Prophet Adam circumambulated around the Kaaba, then this circumambulation became an obligation.”
Mujahid relates the tradition that the thunderstorm which came during the era of Prophet Adam, covered the Kaaba and concealed it. However, Angel Gabriel secured the al-Hajar al-Aswad (Black Stone) and placed it in Jabal Abu Qais which is near the Kaaba. After the thunderstorm, a small red hill appeared on the point of Kaaba which remained uncovered by the flood. However, people knew that this was the point of Kaaba but its foundations were missing. In addition, whoever came to pray there, his prayer would get fulfilled. It remained so till the time of Prophet Abraham. (Book: Tareekh Bayt Allah Sharif by Mewlana Saif al-Rahman al-Falah)
CONSTRUCTION OF KAABA BY PROPHET ABRAHAM AND ISHMAEL:
When Prophet Abraham reached the age of ninety, he was blessed with a son whose name was Prophet Ishmael. He is the same son who grew up and helped Prophet Abraham in the construction of Kaaba. However, before this construction of Kaaba, by the Divine order, Prophet Abraham left his wife Hajra and son Prophet Ishmael in the House of Allah. At that time, it was just a small hill.
When Allah ordered Prophet Abraham for the construction of Kaaba, he went to his son Prophet Ishmael in Makkah and told him that Allah has ordered for the construction of His House. He replied to his father that he should fulfil that which has been ordained to him. Hence, Prophet Abraham explained, you also have to help me per the Divine command as Allah says:
وَ عَہِدۡنَاۤ اِلٰۤی اِبۡرٰہٖمَ وَ اِسۡمٰعِیۡلَ اَنۡ طَہِّرَا بَیۡتِیَ لِلطَّآئِفِیۡنَ وَ الۡعٰکِفِیۡنَ وَ الرُّکَّعِ السُّجُوۡدِ
Meaning: And We urged Ibrahim and Isma‘il (Abraham and Ishmael): ‘Purify (and cleanse) My House for those who circumambulate it and those who go into retreat and those who kneel down and prostrate themselves.’(al-Baqarah 125)
APPEARANCE OF THE FOUNDATION OF KAABA:
Consequently, the father and son reached the point where Hajra had built a small hut on the word of Angel Gabriel. Both were oblivious to the foundation of the Kaaba. Then Allah sent a wind known as ‘Reh al-Khajooj.’ This wind broomed away all the dust and made the foundation appear. Afterwards, the duo started to dig the foundations. Then they placed their foundation upon the previous one. As Allah says:
وَ اِذۡ یَرۡفَعُ اِبۡرٰہٖمُ الۡقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ الۡبَیۡتِ وَ اِسۡمٰعِیۡلُ ؕ
Meaning: And (recall) when Ibrahim and Isma‘il (Abraham and Ishmael) were raising the foundations of the Ka‘ba. (al-Baqarah 127)
MAKING OF THE HOUSE OF ALLAH:
Prophet Abraham and Prophet Ishmael together built the walls of Kaaba. Prophet Abraham would do the construction while Prophet Ishmael would bring the material such as rocks. Both had one prayer upon their lips:
رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلۡ مِنَّا ؕ اِنَّکَ اَنۡتَ السَّمِیۡعُ الۡعَلِیۡمُ
Meaning: O our Lord, accept this (humble service) from us. You are, indeed, All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (al-Baqarah 127)
APPRECIATION BY ALLAH:
When it became difficult for Prophet Abraham to construct further due to the height of the walls, he continued the construction by standing on a rock. Allah greatly appreciated Prophet Abraham’s work, hence Allah engraved his footsteps on the rock so that it remains a memoir for his descendants as well as for other people. This rock is the Place of Abraham (Maqam-e-Ibrahim) about which Allah says:
وَ اِذۡ جَعَلۡنَا الۡبَیۡتَ مَثَابَۃً لِّلنَّاسِ وَ اَمۡنًا ؕ وَ اتَّخِذُوۡا مِنۡ مَّقَامِ اِبۡرٰہٖمَ مُصَلًّی
Meaning: And (remember) when We made this House (the Ka‘ba) a central place for mankind to turn to (and assemble) and a sanctuary for peace and (commanded:) ‘Make the place, where Ibrahim (Abraham) stood, a place of Prayer.’ (al-Baqarah 125)
MATERIAL AND DESIGN OF KAABA
Prophet Abraham and Prophet Ishmael completed the construction of Kaaba by the rocks of five mountains:
- Jabal Lebanon
- Jabal Judi
- Jabal Hira
The Kaaba built by Prophet Abraham was nine hands high and thirty-two hands wide. Now the distance from Rukn-e-Shami (the Syrian corner) to Rukn-e-Gharbi (the western corner) where the Black Stone is between is twenty-two hands. From Rukn-e-Gharbi to Rukn-e-Yamani (the Yemeni corner) is thirty one hands. From Rukn-e-Aswad (the Black Stone corner) to Rukn-e-Yamani the distance is twenty hands. By virtue of being cubical in shape, the House of Allah is known as Kaaba.
Moreover, Prophet Abraham strengthened the foundation constructed by Prophet Adam and made a door that touched the ground. The door had no handles. Later, King Taba Asaad Al-Hamiri rebuilt the door and had handles attached to it. In addition, he added Iranian styled knobs, covered it with cloth and sacrificed.
AL-HIJR AL-ASWAD-THE BLACK STONE:
Furthermore, during the construction, when Prophet Abraham reached the station of the Black Stone, he addressed Prophet Ishmael, “Go and bring forth a stone which would be placed here so that people may start circumambulation.” However, despite his search, he was unable to find such a stone. When he returned, he witnessed Prophet Abraham possessing such a stone whose light spread in all directions. Prophet Ishmael inquired that from where he found such a glorious stone. Prophet Abraham replied, “He has brought me this stone, who absolved me of trusting you.” He referred to Angel Gabriel. The Black Stone was relatively white and its light spread everywhere. Therefore, the reason why it turned black was that between the age of ignorance and era of Islam, it came into contact with fire a couple of times. (Book: Tareekh Bayt Allah Sharif by Mewlana Saif al-Rahman al-Falah)
CONSTRUCTION OF KAABA BY THE QURAYSH:
The Quraysh of Makkah started the construction of Kaaba because a woman fumigated there and a spark fell on the cover of Kaaba, which turned, into fire. The walls cracked and burnt from all sides. Before the construction by the Quraysh, the walls had mud or limestone layered on them. Also, curtains were drawn on the outer side of the walls and tied from the inner side. The Quraysh did the construction of Kaaba with mud. The person who built it with mud was Baqaum Rumi. (Book: Tareekh Khana Kaaba by Mohammad Tahir al-Kardi)
PLACEMENT OF THE BLACK STONE BY PROPHET MOHAMMAD:
In the construction of Kaaba, all the tribes of Quraysh collected rocks and then started the construction. However, when the building reached the height of the Black Stone, then the question of placing the Black Stone turned into an argument. Four to five days passed by but there was no conclusion. At this time, the eldest tribesman was Mugheera bin Abdullah bin Umar bin Makhzoom. He suggested that whoever first enters the mosque the next day would do the honour. Everyone agreed to this decision.
THE HOLY PROPHET AND TRIBESMEN:
Moreover, the next day, the first to enter the mosque was none other than the Holy Prophet. Everyone said, “He is trustworthy and we agree to whatever he decides.” When the Holy Prophet analysed the situation, he said, “Bring me a piece of cloth.” When people brought him the cloth, he placed the Black Stone on it and said, “Every tribe should hold a corner of this cloth and we will carry this together.” Further, when they all brought it near the decided place, the Holy Prophet picked the Black Stone and placed it. (Book: Tareekh Makkah Mukarma by Mewlana Safi al-Rahman Mubarak Puri)
CONSTRUCTION OF KAABA BY ABDULLAH IBN ZUBAYR:
Abdullah ibn Zubayr was the paternal grandson of Abu Bakr Siddiq and the son of Asma. After the incident of Karbala, the people of Hijaz had considered him to be their Caliph. To scare them, Yazid sent a huge army under the supervision of Husayn bin Nameer to Makkah and displayed extreme callousness. He fixed catapult over mount Abu Qais and threw fire and flammable substances upon Kaaba. As a result, the cover of the Kaaba burnt and so did the Yemeni corner. Till 10th Rabi al-Awwal 64H, Husayn bin Nameer continued the siege. However, as soon as the news of Yazid’s death came, he lost and left. (Book: Tareekh Bayt Allah Sharif by Mewlana Saif al-Rahman al-Falah)
DECORATION OF KAABA:
After doing istakhara for three days, Abdullah ibn Zubayr levelled the Kaaba. He dug up to the foundations set by Prophet Abraham and started the construction upon them. He did the construction of Kaaba with limestone, which came from Yemen. When he completed the construction, he filled it with perfume and layered the outer walls with perfume. He covered Kaaba with a cloth made of expensive silk brought from Egypt.
In addition, that day, liberation of a lot of slaves happened. Sacrifice of many goats and camels took place. Ibn Zubayr and many others walked barefooted to Masjid-e-Ayesha and performed Umrah in gratitude to Allah Who allowed them to construct upon the construction of Prophet Abraham. (Book: Tareekh Khana Kaaba by Mohammad Tahir al-Kardi)
CONSTRUCTION OF KAABA BY HAJJAJ:
Abdullah al-Malik bin Marwan belonged to the Umayyad family. Due to the lust of power he was dissatisfied upon his rule over his country and had greedy eyes on the Caliphate of Abdullah ibn Zubayr. In 72H, he sent Hajjaj bin Yusuf Saqfi to murder Abdullah ibn Zubayr. Hajjaj took over Makkah and bombarded Kaaba which greatly weakened the walls of Kaaba. This year, Abdullah bin Umar came to Makkah with the intention of performing pilgrimage. Watching the situation, he sent this message to Hajjaj:
“O slave of Allah! Have mercy upon those who come here from far off places. Give them chance to circumambulate the Kaaba and perform Sae of Safa and Marwa.”
Hajjaj got truly inspired by his words and stopped the bombardment. After Hajj, he asked people to empty Makkah as he intended the reconstruction of Kaaba. Soon, he started the construction of Kaaba. Ibn-e-Zubayr made everything of the Kaaba except the wall of Hijr, built by Hajjaj. Similarly, the entrance of the east door and inner stairs which lead to the roof of Kaaba and the two doors upon it have also been built by Hajjaj. (Book: Tareekh Bayt Allah Sharif by Mewlana Saif al-Rahman al-Falah, Book: Tareekh Khana Kaaba by Mohammad Tahir al-Kardi)
When the time of Waleed bin Abdul Malik came, he sent thirty six thousand dinars to Abdullah Qasari, the governor of Makkah. Hence, he covered the doors, pipes and inner sides with gold. Waleed bin Abdul Malik is the first Caliph who did gold work on Kaaba.
CONSTRUCTION OF KAABA BY SULTAN MURAH RABEH:
Sultan Murad VI was the sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Due to flood in the Kaaba, the Syrian and western walls and parts of the ceiling had fallen down. Sultan Murad ordered for the construction of Kaaba. Moreover, it completed in 1040. Sultan Murad made it according to the previous construction of Hajjaj. His construction is intact till present.
ERA OF HAROON AR-RASHID:
In his era, Haroon al-Rashid asked Imam Malik for a Fatwa for the reconstruction of Kaaba upon the foundations made by Abdullah ibn Zubayr. Imam Malik did not approve of it and said, “Please do not make it a toy of kings to be destroyed and reconstructed whenever they wish. It will stay safe as it is now till the Day of Judgement draws near.” (Book: Tareekh Bayt Allah Sharif by Mewlana Saif al-Rahman al-Falah)
After the advent of Gog Magog, a callous black would attack the walls of Kaaba. The Holy Prophet said a thin legged black would try to destroy the Kaaba. (Book: Tareekh Khana Kaaba by Mohammad Tahir al-Kardi)
After the demise of Sultan Murad, the process of renovation and extension of Kaaba as well as arrangements for visitors paced up. The Saudi government is still working on it. However, a few years ago, the door of Kaaba was made of gold which is a matter of honour for the Saudi government. Pakistani craftsmen made the gold door of Kaaba. The construction of Sultan Murad is the last one to date. (Book: Tareekh Tameer Kaaba by Hazrat Allama Abu Saleh Mufti Mohammad Faiz Ahmad Awaisi Rizvi)
COVER OF KAABA:
Imam Mohammad bin Ishaq says:
I have heard this from many scholars that the first to cover the Kaaba with a cloth was Taba Asaad Al-Hamiri. In the age of ignorance, the Quraysh prepared the cloth together. Every tribe was to give a fixed amount for it according to their financial capacity. In the time of Abu Rabeya bin Mugheera, he announced that he would separately prepare the cloth in one year and the whole Quraysh would prepare another the next year. The first Arabic woman to have prepared a silk cover for Kaaba was the mother of Syedna Abbas, Nateela bint Janab.
COVER OF KAABA IN ISLAMIC ERA:
In the Islamic era, Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman prepared the Kaaba cover with a special cloth from Egypt called Qabati. Ameer Muawiya bin abi Sufyan used to prepare the Kaaba cover twice within a year. However, at the time of Nasir Abbassi, for the first time the Kaaba adorned a black cloth. Moreover, this tradition is continues till present. In 810H, a beautiful and separate curtain was prepared for the door of Kaaba, that is the burqa/veil of the cover. Further, Malik Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rehman from the progeny of Saud performed a lot of services for Kaaba. Furthermore, he built ‘Umm al Jood’ a workshop in Makkah especially for the preparation of the covers of Kaaba so that they are the most attractive way. (Book: Tareekh Makkah Mukarma by Mewlana Safi al-Rahman Mubarak Puri)
REALITY OF KAABA:
قَلْبُ الانسان بیت الرحمٰنِ
Meaning: The inward of a person, is the house of Allah.
In fact, the Holy Prophet says:
قَلْبُ الْمُؤْمِنِ عَرْشُ اللّٰہِ تَعَالٰی
Meaning: The inward of a believer is the throne of Allah.
The inward of a Momin or believer is Kaaba whose real resident is the Essence of Allah. When a person is above all desires from within, that is when his inward actually becomes Kaaba.
The Holy Prophet said to Umar ibn Khatab:
“O Umar! Be certain that Kaaba is the inward of a person. One should perform the inward pilgrimage.”
Umar inquired as to how one performs the inward pilgrimage. So, the Holy Prophet replied:
“The existence of man is similar to a four walled chamber. If the veils of doubt, paranoia and everything except Allah are removed from this chamber, then it would manifest the Essence of Allah. This is the purpose of the inward pilgrimage.” (Asrar-e-Haqiqi)
However, this state of the inward Kaaba is only reached by the spiritual glance of the perfect spiritual guide. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman is the perfect spiritual guide of this era. He purifies the innerself, cleanses the inward and takes one to the level where one’s inward becomes Kaaba. I sincerely pray that Allah keeps us under Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s benevolent protection. Amen.
Haqeeqat-e-Hajj by Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman
Tareekh Makkah Mukarma by Mewlana Safi al-Rehman Mubarakpur
Tareekh Khana Kaaba by Mohammad Tahir al-Kardi
Tareekh Bayt Allah by Mewlana Saif al-Rehman al-Falah
Tarekh Tameer Kaaba by Hazrat Allama Abu al-Saleh Mufti Mohammad Faiz Ahmed Awaisi Rizvi
This article was originally published in the May issue of Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore (the monthly Urdu magazine of Tehreek Dawat-e-Faqr). The article was titled as ‘Tareekh-e-Khana Kaaba’. Originally written by Noreen Abdul Ghafoor, it has now been translated into English by Neyn Tara Sarwari Qadri. If you wish to read the original article, please visit:
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