Kaaba

The Kaaba (Arabic: كَعْبَةkaʿbah IPA: [kaʕba], "Cube"), also referred to as al-Kaʿbah al-Musharrafah (Arabic: ٱلْكَعْبَة ٱلْمُشَرَّفَة‎, the Holy Ka'bah), is a building at the center of Islam's most important mosque, Great Mosque of Mecca (Arabic: ٱلْمَسْجِد ٱلْحَرَام‎, The Sacred Mosque), in the Hejazi city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.[1] It is the most sacred site in Islam.[2] It is considered by Muslims to be the Bayt Allāh (Arabic: بَيْت ٱلله‎, "House of God"), and has a similar role to the Tabernacle and Holy of Holies in Judaism. Its location determines the qiblah (Arabic: قِبْلَة‎, direction of prayer). Wherever they are in the world, Muslims are expected to face the Kaaba when performing Salah, the Islamic prayer.

One of the Five Pillars of Islam requires every Muslim who is able to do so to perform the Hajj (Arabic: حَجّ‎, Greater Pilgrimage) at least once in their lifetime. Multiple parts of the hajj require pilgrims to make Tawaf (Arabic: طَوَاف‎, Circumambulation) seven times counter-clockwise around the Kaaba, the first three times fast, at the edge of the courtyard, and the last four times slowly, nearer the Kaaba. Tawaf is also performed by pilgrims during the Umrah (Arabic: عُمْرَة‎, Lesser Pilgrimage).[2] However, the most significant time is during the hajj, when millions of pilgrims gather to circle the building during a 5-day period.[3][4] In 2017, the number of pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform hajj was officially reported as 1,752,014 and 600,108 Saudi Arabian residents bringing the total number of pilgrims to 2,352,122.[5]

(Kaʿbah)
كَعْبَة
Kaaba Masjid Haraam Makkah
The Kaaba surrounded by pilgrims
Religion
AffiliationIslam
Location
LocationGreat Mosque of Mecca,
Mecca, Hejaz, Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates21°25′21.0″N 39°49′34.2″E / 21.422500°N 39.826167°ECoordinates: 21°25′21.0″N 39°49′34.2″E / 21.422500°N 39.826167°E
Height (max)13.1 m (43 ft)

Lexicology

The literal meaning of the Arabic word kaʿbah (كَعْبَة) is 'cube'.[6] In the Quran, the Kaaba is also mentioned as al-bayt (Arabic: البیت "the house") and baytī (Arabic: بیتی "My house") [2:125, 22:26], al-bayt al-ḥarām (Arabic: البیت الحرام "The Sacred House") [5:97], al-bayt al-ʿatīq (Arabic: البیت العتیق "The Ancient House") [22:29,33], and baytika al-muḥarram (Arabic: بیتك المحرم "your inviolable house"). The mosque surrounding the Kaaba is called al-Masjid al-Haram ("The Sacred Mosque"). According to some reports, in ancient times, the Kaaba was also called Qâdis (Arabic: القادس "holy") and Nâdhir (Arabic: الناذر "dedicated, consecrated").

Architecture and interior

The Kaaba is a cuboid stone structure made of granite. It is approximately 13.1 m (43 ft) high (some claim 12.03 m (39.5 ft)), with sides measuring 11.03 m (36.2 ft) by 12.86 m (42.2 ft).[7][8] Inside the Kaaba, the floor is made of marble and limestone. The interior walls, measuring 13 m (43 ft) by 9 m (30 ft), are clad with tiled, white marble halfway to the roof, with darker trimmings along the floor. The floor of the interior stands about 2.2 m (7.2 ft) above the ground area where tawaf is performed.

The wall directly adjacent to the entrance of the Kaaba has six tablets inlaid with inscriptions, and there are several more tablets along the other walls. Along the top corners of the walls runs a green cloth embroidered with gold Qur'anic verses. Caretakers anoint the marble cladding with the same scented oil used to anoint the Black Stone outside. Three pillars (some erroneously report two) stand inside the Kaaba, with a small altar or table set between one and the other two. (It has been claimed that this table is used for the placement of perfumes or other items.) Lamp-like objects (possible lanterns or crucible censers) hang from the ceiling. The ceiling itself is of a darker colour, similar in hue to the lower trimming. A golden door—the bāb al-tawbah (also romanized as Baabut Taubah, and meaning "Door of Repentance")—on the right wall (right of the entrance) opens to an enclosed staircase that leads to a hatch, which itself opens to the roof. Both the roof and ceiling (collectively dual-layered) are made of stainless steel-capped teak wood.

Kaaba
A drawing of the Kaaba. See key in text.
Kaaba-plan
A technical drawing of the Kaaba showing dimensions and elements
Rukn al-Yamani 01
Rukn al-Yamani

Each numbered item in the following list corresponds to features noted in the diagram image.

  1. Al-Ḥajaru al-Aswad, "the Black Stone", is located on the Kaaba's eastern corner. Its northern corner is known as the Ruknu l-ˤĪrāqī, "the Iraqi corner", its western as the Ruknu sh-Shāmī, "the Levantine corner", and its southern as Ruknu l-Yamanī, "the Yemeni corner" taught by Imam Ali.[2][8] The four corners of the Kaaba roughly point toward the four cardinal directions of the compass.[2] Its major (long) axis is aligned with the rising of the star Canopus toward which its southern wall is directed, while its minor axis (its east-west facades) roughly align with the sunrise of summer solstice and the sunset of winter solstice.[9][10]
  2. The entrance is a door set 2.13 m (7 ft) above the ground on the north-eastern wall of the Kaaba, which acts as the façade.[2] In 1979 the 300 kg gold doors made by chief artist Ahmad bin Ibrahim Badr, replaced the old silver doors made by his father, Ibrahim Badr in 1942.[11] There is a wooden staircase on wheels, usually stored in the mosque between the arch-shaped gate of Banū Shaybah and the Zamzam Well.
  3. Mīzāb al-Raḥmah, rainwater spout made of gold. Added in the rebuilding of 1627 after the previous year's rain caused three of the four walls to collapse.
  4. Gutter, added in 1627 to protect the foundation from groundwater.
  5. Hatīm (also romanized as hateem), a low wall originally part of the Kaaba. It is a semi-circular wall opposite, but not connected to, the north-west wall of the Kaaba. This is 131 cm (52 in) in height and 1.5 m (4.9 ft) in width, and is composed of white marble. At one time the space lying between the hatīm and the Kaaba belonged to the Kaaba itself, and for this reason it is not entered during the tawaf.
  6. Al-Multazam, the roughly 2 meter space along the wall between the Black Stone and the entry door. It is sometimes considered pious or desirable for a hajji to touch this area of the Kaaba, or perform dua here.
  7. The Station of Ibrahim (Maqam Ibrahim), a glass and metal enclosure with what is said to be an imprint of Abraham's feet. Ibrahim is said to have stood on this stone during the construction of the upper parts of the Kaaba, raising Ismail on his shoulders for the uppermost parts.[12]
  8. Corner of the Black Stone (East).
  9. Corner of Yemen (South-West), Rukan e Yamani. Pilgrims traditionally acknowledge a large vertical stone that forms this corner.
  10. Corner of Syria (North-West), Arabic Rukn e Shaami.
  11. Corner of Iraq (North-East). This inside corner, behind a curtain, contains the Babut Taubah, Door of Repentance, which leads to a staircase to the roof.
  12. Kiswah, the embroidered covering. Kiswa is a black silk and gold curtain which is replaced annually during the Hajj pilgrimage.[13][14] Two-thirds of the way up is a band of gold-embroidered Quranic text, including the Shahada, the Islamic declaration of faith.
  13. Marble stripe marking the beginning and end of each circumambulation.[15]
Gate of Ka-bah

Entrance, golden door—the bāb al-tawbah

Kaaba mirror edit jj

Pilgrims performing Tawaf

Maqam Ibrahim, Makkah

The Station of Ibrahim (Maqam Ibrahim)

Meezab -e- rehmat

Mizab al-Rahmah

Religious significance

Al-Haram mosque - Flickr - Al Jazeera English
The Kaaba and the Sacred Mosque during Hajj, 2008

The Kaaba is the holiest site in Islam, and is often called by names such as the House of God.[16][17]

Qibla

The Qibla is the direction faced during prayer.[Quran 2:143–144] It is the focal point for prayer. The direction faced during prayer is the direction of where the Kaaba is.

Pilgrimage

The Sacred Mosque is the focal point of the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages[18] that occur in the month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the Islamic calendar and at any time of the year, respectively. The Hajj pilgrimage is one of the Pillars of Islam, required of all able-bodied Muslims who can afford the trip. In recent times, about 1.8 million Muslims perform the Hajj every year.[19]

Some of the rituals performed by pilgrims are symbolic of historical incidents. For example, the incident of Hagar's search for water is emulated by Muslims as they run between the two hills of Safa and Marwah.

The Hajj is associated with the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Prophet Ibrahim.

History

Adriaan-Reland-Verhandeling-van-de-godsdienst-der-Mahometaanen MG 0723
View of the Kaaba, 1718. Adriaan Reland: Verhandeling van de godsdienst der Mahometaanen

Islamic views on origin

The Quran contains several verses regarding the origin of the Kaaba. It states that the Kaaba was the first House of Worship, and that it was built by Ibrahim and Ishmael on Allah's instructions.[20][21][22]

Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for mankind.

— Quran, Chapter 3 (Aale-Imran) verse 96[23][24][25]

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, Chapter 22 (Al Hajj) verse 26[26][27][28]

And remember Ibrahim and Ishmael 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, Chapter 2 (Al Bakarah) verse 127[29][30][31]

Ibn Kathir, the famous commentator on the Quran, mentions two interpretations among the Muslims on the origin of the Kaaba. One is that the shrine was a place of worship for Angels before the creation of man. Later, a house of worship was built on the location which was lost during the flood in Noah's time and was finally rebuilt by Abraham and Ishmael as mentioned later in the Quran. Ibn Kathir regarded this tradition as weak and preferred instead the narration by Ali ibn Abi Talib that although several other temples might have preceded the Kaaba, it was the first "House of God", dedicated solely to Him, built by His instruction and sanctified and blessed by Him as stated in Quran 22:26–29.[32] A Hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari states that the Kaaba was the First Mosque on Earth, and the Second Mosque was the Temple in Jerusalem.[33]

While Abraham was building the Kaaba, an angel brought to him the Black Stone which he placed in the eastern corner of the structure. Another stone was the Maqam-e-Ibrahim (literally the Station of Abraham) where Abraham stood for elevation while building the structure. The Black Stone and the Maqam-e-Ibrahim are believed by Muslims to be the only remnant of the original structure made by Abraham as naturally the remaining structure had to be demolished and rebuilt several times over history for maintenance purposes. After the construction was complete, God enjoined the descendants of Ishmael to perform an annual pilgrimage: the Hajj and the Korban, sacrifice of cattle. The vicinity of the shrine was also made a sanctuary where bloodshed and war were forbidden.[Quran 22:26–33]

According to Islamic tradition, over the millennia after Ishmael's death, his progeny and the local tribes who settled around the oasis of Zam-Zam gradually turned to polytheism and idolatry. Several idols were placed within the Kaaba representing deities of different aspects of nature and different tribes. Several rituals were adopted in the Pilgrimage (Hajj) including doing naked circumambulation.[34]

Independent views on origin

In her book, Islam: A Short History, Karen Armstrong asserts that the Kaaba was officially dedicated to Hubal, a Nabatean deity, and contained 360 idols that probably represented the days of the year.[35] However, by the time of Muhammad's era, it seems that the Kaaba was venerated as the shrine of Allah, the High God. Once a year, tribes from all around the Arabian peninsula, whether Christian or pagan, would converge on Mecca to perform the Hajj, marking the widespread conviction that Allah was the same deity worshiped by monotheists.[35] Guillaume, in his translation of Ibn Ishaq, an early biographer of Muhammad, that the feminine form of god used while the Quraysh demolished the Kaaba, indicates that it itself was being addressed as a female deity.[36] Circumambulation was often performed naked by men and almost naked by women.[34] It is disputed whether Allah and Hubal were the same deity or different. Per a hypothesis by Uri Rubin and Christian Robin, Hubal was only venerated by Quraysh and the Kaaba was first dedicated to Allah, a supreme god of individuals belonging to different tribes, while the pantheon of the gods of Quraysh was installed in Kaaba after they conquered Mecca a century before Muhammad's time.[37]

Ptolemy

Writing in the Encyclopedia of Islam, Wensinck identifies Mecca with a place called Macoraba mentioned by Ptolemy.[38][39] G. E. von Grunebaum states: "Mecca is mentioned by Ptolemy. The name he gives it allows us to identify it as a South Arabian foundation created around a sanctuary.[40] In Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam, Patricia Crone argues that the identification of Macoraba with Mecca is false and that Macoraba was a town in southern Arabia in what was then known as Arabia Felix.[41] A recent study has revisited the arguments for Macoraba and found them unsatisfactory.[42]

Turkish - Tile with the Great Mosque of Mecca - Walters 481307 - View A
Ottoman tiles representing the Kaaba, 17th century.

Diodorus Siculus

Based on an earlier report by Agatharchides of Cnidus, Diodorus Siculus mentions a temple along the Red Sea coast, "which is very holy and exceedingly revered by all Arabians".[43] Edward Gibbon believed that this was the Kaaba.[44] However, Gibbon had misread the source: Diodorus puts the temple too far north for it to have been Mecca.[45]

Others

Imoti[46] contends that there were numerous such Kaaba sanctuaries in Arabia at one time, but this was the only one built of stone. The others also allegedly had counterparts of the Black Stone. There was a "red stone", the deity of the south Arabian city of Ghaiman, and the "white stone" in the Kaaba of al-Abalat (near the city of Tabala, south of Mecca). Grunebaum in Classical Islam points out that the experience of divinity of that period was often associated with stone fetishes, mountains, special rock formations, or "trees of strange growth."[47]

The Kaaba was thought to be at the center of the world, with the Gate of Heaven directly above it. The Kaaba marked the location where the sacred world intersected with the profane; the embedded Black Stone was a further symbol of this as a meteorite that had fallen from the sky and linked heaven and earth.[48]

According to Sarwar,[49] about 400 years before the birth of Muhammad, a man named "Amr bin Lahyo bin Harath bin Amr ul-Qais bin Thalaba bin Azd bin Khalan bin Babalyun bin Saba", who was descended from Qahtan and was the king of Hijaz had placed a Hubal idol onto the roof of the Kaaba. This idol was one of the chief deities of the ruling tribe Quraysh. The idol was made of red agate and shaped like a human, but with the right hand broken off and replaced with a golden hand. When the idol was moved inside the Kaaba, it had seven arrows in front of it, which were used for divination.[50]

To maintain peace among the perpetually warring tribes, Mecca was declared a sanctuary where no violence was allowed within 20 miles (32 km) of the Kaaba. This combat-free zone allowed Mecca to thrive not only as a place of pilgrimage, but also as a trading center.[51]

Many Muslim and academic historians stress the power and importance of the pre-Islamic Mecca. They depict it as a city grown rich on the proceeds of the spice trade. Crone believes that this is an exaggeration and that Mecca may only have been an outpost trading with nomads for leather, cloth, and camel butter. Crone argues that if Mecca had been a well-known center of trade, it would have been mentioned by later authors such as Procopius, Nonnosus, or the Syrian church chroniclers writing in Syriac. The town is absent, however, from any geographies or histories written in the three centuries before the rise of Islam.[52]

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "before the rise of Islam it was revered as a sacred sanctuary and was a site of pilgrimage."[53] According to German historian Eduard Glaser, the name "Kaaba" may have been related to the southern Arabian or Ethiopian word "mikrab", signifying a temple.[39] Again, Crone disputes this etymology.

In Samaritan literature, the Samaritan Book of the Secrets of Moses (Asatir) claims that Ishmael and his eldest son Nebaioth built the Kaaba as well as the city of Mecca.[54] "The Secrets of Moses" or Asatir book was suggested by some opinion to have been compiled in the 10th century,[55] while another opinion in 1927 suggested that it was written no later than the second half of the 3rd century BCE.[56]

Pre-Islamic Era

Prior to the spread of Islam throughout the Arabian Peninsula, the Kaaba was a holy site for the various Bedouin tribes of the area. Once every lunar year, the Bedouin tribes would make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Setting aside any tribal feuds, they would worship their pagan gods in the Kaaba and trade with each other in the city.[57] Various sculptures and paintings were held inside the Kaaba. A statue of Hubal, the principal idol of Mecca, and other pagan deities were in or around the Kaaba.[58] There were paintings of idols decorating the walls. A picture of the Prophet 'Isa and his mother, Maryam, was situated inside the Kaaba and later found by the Prophet Muhammad after his conquest of Mecca. The iconography portrayed a seated Maryam with her child on her lap.[58] This description, which would later become a universal iconography in later times, is similar to Christian art and its portrayal of the seated Virgin Mary holding a young Jesus in her lap. The iconography in the Kaaba also included paintings of other prophets and angels. It is possible the paintings of the prophets and angels were figures associated with the Prophet 'Isa and Maryam. Inside the Kaaba, undefined decorations, money and a pair of ram's horns were recorded to be there. The pair of ram's horns were said to have belonged to the ram sacrificed by the Prophet Ibrahim in place of his son, the Prophet Ismail.

Al-Azraqi provides the following narrative on the authority of his grandfather, whose own source was Da'ud b.'Abd al-Rahman, who said that Ibn Jurayj had said that Sulayman b.Musa al-Shami asked 'Ata' b. Abi Rabah the following:[58]

I have heard that there was set up in al-Bayt (the Ka'ba) a picture (timthal) of Maryam and 'Isa. ['Ata'] said: "Yes, there was set in it a picture of Maryam adorned (muzawwaqan); in her lap, her son 'Isa sat adorned."[1]

-al-Azraqi, Akhbar Mecca: History of Mecca

Muhammad's era

The Blackstone
The Black Stone is seen through a portal in the Kaaba[59]

During Muhammad's lifetime (570–632 CE), the Kaaba was considered a holy site by the local Arabs. Muhammad took part in the reconstruction of the Kaaba after its structure was damaged due to floods around 600 CE. Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasūl Allāh, one of the biographies of Muhammad (as reconstructed and translated by Guillaume), describes Muhammad settling a quarrel between Meccan clans as to which clan should set the Black Stone cornerstone in place.

According to Ishaq's biography, Muhammad's solution was to have all the clan elders raise the cornerstone on a cloak, after which Muhammad set the stone into its final place with his own hands.[60][61] Ibn Ishaq says that the timber for the reconstruction of the Kaaba came from a Greek ship that had been wrecked on the Red Sea coast at Shu'ayba and that the work was undertaken by a Coptic carpenter called Baqum.[62] Muhammad's night journey is said to have taken him from the Kaaba to the Temple Mount and heavenwards from there.

Muslims initially considered Jerusalem as their qibla, or prayer direction, and faced toward it while offering prayers; however, pilgrimage to the Kaaba was considered a religious duty though its rites were not yet finalized. During the first half of Muhammad's time as a prophet while he was at Mecca, he and his followers were severely persecuted which eventually led to their migration to Medina in 622 CE. In 624 CE, the direction of the qiblah was changed from Jerusalem to the Kaaba in Mecca.[63] In 628 CE, Muhammad led a group of Muslims towards Mecca with the intention of performing the minor pilgrimage (Umrah) at the Kaaba, although he wasn't allowed by the people of Mecca. He secured a peace treaty with them, the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, which allowed the Muslims to freely perform pilgrimage at the Kaaba from the following year.[64]

At the culmination of his mission,[65] in 630 CE, Muhammad conquered Mecca. His first action was to remove statues and images from the Kaaba.[66] According to reports collected by Ibn Ishaq and al-Azraqi, Muhammad spared a painting of Mary and Jesus, and a fresco of Abraham; but according to Ibn Hisham, all pictures were erased.[67][66][68]

Narrated Abdullah: When the Prophet entered Mecca on the day of the Conquest, there were 360 idols around the Ka'bah. The Prophet started striking them with a stick he had in his hand and was saying, "Truth has come and Falsehood has Vanished.. (Qur'an 17:81)"

— Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book 59, Hadith 583

al-Azraqi further conveys how Muhammad, after he entered the Kaaba on the day on the conquest, ordered all the pictures erased except that of Maryam.

...Shihab (said) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) entered the Ka'ba the day of the conquest, and in it was a picture of the angels (mala'ika) and others, and he saw a picture of Ibrahim and he said: "May Allah kill those representing him as a venerable old man casting arrows in divination (shaykhan yastaqsim bi 'l-azlam)." Then he saw the picture of Maryam, so he put his hands on it and he said: "Erase what is in it [the Ka'ba] in the way of pictures except the picture of Maryam."[58]

-al-Azraqi, Akhbar Mecca: History of Mecca

After the conquest Muhammad restated the sanctity and holiness of Mecca, including its Great Mosque, in Islam.[69] He performed a lesser Pilgrimage (Umrah) in 629 CE, followed by the Greater Pilgrimage (Hajj) in 632 CE called the Farewell Pilgrimage since Muhammad prophesied his impending death on this event.[70]

After Muhammad

Kaba
The site of Kaaba in 1880
Masjid al-Haram 1
The Kaaba in 1907

The Kaaba has been repaired and reconstructed many times since Muhammad's day. The structure was severely damaged by fire on 3 Rabi I (Sunday, 31 October 683 CE), during the first siege of Mecca in the war between the Umayyads and Abd-Allah ibn al-Zubayr,[71] an early Muslim who ruled Mecca for many years between the death of ʿAli and the consolidation of Umayyad power. Ibn al-Zubayr rebuilt it to include the hatīm.[72] He did so on the basis of a tradition (found in several hadith collections[73]) that the hatīm was a remnant of the foundations of the Abrahamic Kaaba, and that Muhammad himself had wished to rebuild so as to include it.

The Kaaba was bombarded with stones in the second siege of Mecca in 692, in which the Umayyad army was led by al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf. The fall of the city and the death of Ibn al-Zubayr allowed the Umayyads under ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Marwan to finally reunite all the Islamic possessions and end the long civil war. In 693 CE, ʿAbdu l-Malik had the remnants of al-Zubayr's Kaaba razed, and rebuilt on the foundations set by the Quraysh.[74] The Kaaba returned to the cube shape it had taken during Muhammad's time.

During the Hajj of 930 CE, the Qarmatians attacked Mecca, defiled the Zamzam Well with the bodies of pilgrims and stole the Black Stone, taking it to the oasis region of Eastern Arabia known as al-Aḥsāʾ, where it remained until the Abbasids ransomed it in 952 CE. The basic shape and structure of the Kaaba have not changed since then.[75]

After heavy rains and flooding in 1629, the walls of the Kaaba collapsed and the Mosque was damaged. The same year, during the reign of Ottoman Emperor Murad IV, the Kaaba was rebuilt with granite stones from Mecca, and the Mosque was renovated.[76] The Kaaba's appearance has not changed since then.

The Kaaba is depicted on the reverse of 500 Saudi Riyal, and the 2000 Iranian rial banknotes.[77]

Cleaning

The Kaaba during Hajj

The building is opened twice a year for a ceremony known as "the cleaning of the Kaaba." This ceremony takes place approximately thirty days before the start of the month of Ramadan and thirty days before the start of Hajj. The keys to the Kaaba are held by the Banī Shaybah (بني شيبة) tribe. Members of the tribe greet visitors to the inside of the Kaaba on the occasion of the cleaning ceremony. A small number of dignitaries and foreign diplomats are invited to participate in the ceremony. The governor of Mecca leads the guests who ritually clean the structure, using a broom.[78]

See also

References

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  2. ^ a b c d e Wensinck, A. J; Kaʿba. Encyclopaedia of Islam IV p. 317
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  12. ^ According to Muslim tradition: "God made the stone under Ibrahim's feet into something like clay so that his feet sunk into it. That was a miracle. It was transmitted on the authority of Abu Ja'far al-Baqir (may peace be upon him) that he said: Three stones were sent down from the Garden: the Station of Ibrahim, the rock of the children of Israel, and the Black Stone, which God entrusted Ibrahim with as a white stone. It was whiter than paper, but became black from the sins of the children of Adam." (The Hajj, F.E. Peters 1996)
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  15. ^ Key to numbered parts translated from, accessed 2 December
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  23. ^ Quran 3:96 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)
  24. ^ Pickthall, Ed., Muhammad M. "The Quran". Retrieved 10 January 2018. Another version: "[96] Lo! the first Sanctuary appointed for mankind was that at Becca, a blessed place, a guidance to the peoples;"
  25. ^ Shakir, Ed., M. H. "The Quran". Retrieved 10 January 2018. And another version: "[96] Most surely the first house appointed for men is the one at Bekka, blessed and a guidance for the nations."
  26. ^ Quran 22:26 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)
  27. ^ Pickthall, Ed., Muhammad M. "The Quran". Retrieved 10 January 2018. Another version: "[26] And (remember) when We prepared for Abraham the place of the (holy) House, saying: Ascribe thou no thing as partner unto Me, and purify My House for those who make the round (thereof) and those who stand and those who bow and make prostration."
  28. ^ Shakir, Ed., M. H. "The Quran". Retrieved 10 January 2018. And another version: "[26] And when We assigned to Ibrahim the place of the House, saying: Do not associate with Me aught, and purify My House for those who make the circuit and stand to pray and bow and prostrate themselves."
  29. ^ Quran 2:127 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)
  30. ^ Pickthall, Ed., Muhammad M. "The Quran". Retrieved 10 January 2018. Another version: "[127] And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the House, (Abraham prayed): Our Lord! Accept from us (this duty). Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower."
  31. ^ Shakir, Ed., M. H. "The Quran". Retrieved 10 January 2018. And another version: "[127] And when Ibrahim and Ismail raised the foundations of the House: Our Lord! accept from us; surely Thou art the Hearing, the Knowing:"
  32. ^ Tafsir Ibn Kathir on 3:96.
  33. ^ Sahih Bukhari. Book 55, Hadith 585.
  34. ^ a b Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad (1955). Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad Translated by A. Guillaume. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 88–9. ISBN 9780196360331.
  35. ^ a b Karen Armstrong (2002). Islam: A Short History. p. 11. ISBN 0-8129-6618-X.
  36. ^ Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad (1955). Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah – The Life of Muhammad Translated by A. Guillaume. The text reads "O God, do not be afraid", the second footnote reads "The feminine form indicates the Ka'ba itself is addressed". Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 85 footnote 2. ISBN 9780196360331.
  37. ^ Christian Julien Robin (2012). Arabia and Ethiopia. In The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity. OUP USA. pp. 304–305. ISBN 9780195336931.
  38. ^ Neuwirth, Angelika; Nicolai Sinai, Michael (2010). The Qur'an in context historical and literary investigations into the Qur'anic milieu (PDF). Leiden: Brill. pp. 63, 123, 83, 295. ISBN 9789047430322. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 October 2015.
  39. ^ a b Wensinck, A. J; Kaʿba. Encyclopaedia of Islam IV p. 318 (1927, 1978)
  40. ^ G. E. Von Grunebaum. Classical Islam: A History 600–1258, p. 19
  41. ^ Crone, Patricia (2004). Makkan Trade and the Rise of Islam. Piscataway, New Jersey: Gorgias. pp. 134–37
  42. ^ Morris, Ian D. (2018). "Mecca and Macoraba" (PDF). Al-ʿUṣūr Al-Wusṭā. 26: 1–60.
  43. ^ Siculus, Diodorus. Bibliotheca Historica. Book 3 Chapter 44.
  44. ^ Gibbon, Edward. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Book 5 pp. 223–224.
  45. ^ Morris, Ian D. (2018). "Mecca and Macoraba" (PDF). Al-ʿUṣūr Al-Wusṭā. 26: 1–60, pp. 42–43, n. 200.
  46. ^ Imoti, Eiichi. "The Ka'ba-i Zardušt", Orient, XV (1979), The Society for Near Eastern Studies in Japan, pp. 65–69.
  47. ^ Grunebaum, p. 24
  48. ^ Armstrong, Jerusalem, p. 221
  49. ^ Hafiz Ghulam Sarwar. Muhammad the Holy Prophet. pp. 18–19.
  50. ^ Francis E. Peters, Muhammad and the origins of Islam, SUNY Press, 1994, p. 109.
  51. ^ Armstrong, Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths, pp. 221–22
  52. ^ Crone, Patricia (2004). Makkan Trade and the Rise of Islam. Piscataway, New Jersey: Gorgias. p. 137
  53. ^ Britannica 2002 Deluxe Edition CD-ROM, "Ka'bah."
  54. ^ Gaster, Moses (1927). The Asatir: the Samaritan book of Moses. London: The Royal Asiatic Society. pp. 262, 71. Ishmaelites built Mecca (Baka, Bakh)
  55. ^ Crown, Alan David (2001). Samaritan Scribes and Manuscripts. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. p. 27.
  56. ^ M. Gaster, The Asatir: The Samaritan Book of the "Secrets of Moses", London (1927), p. 160
  57. ^ Timur Kuran, “Commercial Life under Islamic Rule,” in The Long Divergence : How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East. (Princeton University Press, 2011), 45-62.
  58. ^ a b c d King, G. R. D. (2004). "The Paintings of the Pre-Islamic Kaʿba". Muqarnas. 21: 219–229. JSTOR 1523357.
  59. ^ University of Southern California. "The Prophet of Islam – His Biography". Archived from the original on 21 July 2006. Retrieved 12 August 2006.
  60. ^ Guillaume, A. (1955). The Life of Muhammad. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 84–87
  61. ^ Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, translated by Issam Diab (1979). "Muhammad's Birth and Forty Years prior to Prophethood". Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar): Memoirs of the Noble Prophet. Retrieved 4 May 2007.
  62. ^ Cyril Glasse, New Encyclopedia of Islam, p. 245. Rowman Altamira, 2001. ISBN 0-7591-0190-6
  63. ^ Saifur Rahman. The Sealed Nectar. p. 130.
  64. ^ Saifur Rahman. The Sealed Nectar. p. 213.
  65. ^ Lapidus, Ira M. (13 October 2014). A history of Islamic societies. ISBN 9780521514309. OCLC 853114008.
  66. ^ a b Ellenbogen, Josh; Tugendhaft, Aaron (18 July 2011). Idol Anxiety. Stanford University Press. p. 47. ISBN 9780804781817. When Muhammad ordered his men to cleanse the Kaaba of the statues and pictures displayed there, he spared the paintings of the Virgin and Child and of Abraham.
  67. ^ Guillaume, Alfred (1955). The Life of Muhammad. A translation of Ishaq's "Sirat Rasul Allah". Oxford University Press. p. 552. ISBN 978-0196360331. Retrieved 8 December 2011. Quraysh had put pictures in the Ka'ba including two of Jesus son of Mary and Mary (on both of whom be peace!). ... The apostle ordered that the pictures should be erased except those of Jesus and Mary.
  68. ^ Rogerson, Barnaby (2003). The Prophet Muhammad: A Biography. Paulist Press. p. 190. ISBN 9781587680298. Muhammad raised his hand to protect an icon of the Virgin and Child and a painting of Abraham, but otherwise his companions cleared the interior of its clutter of votive treasures, cult implements, statuettes and hanging charms.
  69. ^ W.M. Flinders Petrie; Hans F. Helmolt; Stanley Lane-Poole; Robert Nisbet Bain; Hugo Winckler; Archibald H. Sayce; Alfred Russel Wallace; William Lee-Warner; Holland Thompson; W. Stewart Wallace (1915). The Book of History, a History of All Nations From the Earliest Times to the Present. The Grolier Society.
  70. ^ Saifur Rahman. The Sealed Nectar. p. 298.
  71. ^ "On this day in 683 AD: The Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam, is burned to the ground".
  72. ^ Sahih Muslim, 7:3083
  73. ^ Sahih Bukhari 1506, 1508;Sahih Muslim 1333
  74. ^ Sahih Bukhari 1509; Sahih Muslim 1333
  75. ^ Javed Ahmad Ghamidi. The Rituals of Hajj and ‘Umrah Archived 7 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Mizan, Al-Mawrid
  76. ^ "History of the Kaba".
  77. ^ Central Bank of Iran. Banknotes & Coins: 2000 Rials. – Retrieved on 24 March 2009.
  78. ^ "Kaaba". Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2010.

Bibliography

  • Armstrong, Karen (2000,2002). Islam: A Short History. ISBN 0-8129-6618-X.
  • Crone, Patricia (2004). Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam. Piscataway, New Jersey: Gorgias.
  • Elliott, Jeri (1992). Your Door to Arabia. ISBN 0-473-01546-3.
  • Guillaume, A. (1955). The Life of Muhammad. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Grunebaum, G. E. von (1970). Classical Islam: A History 600 A.D. to 1258 A.D. Aldine Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-202-30767-1.
  • Hawting, G.R; Kaʿba. Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān
  • Hisham Ibn Al-Kalbi The book of Idols, translated with introduction and notes by Nabih Amin Faris 1952
  • Macaulay-Lewis, Elizabeth, The Kaba" (text), Smarthistory.
  • Mohamed, Mamdouh N. (1996). Hajj to Umrah: From A to Z. Amana Publications. ISBN 0-915957-54-X.
  • Peterson, Andrew (1997). Dictionary of Islamic Architecture London: Routledge.
  • Wensinck, A. J; Kaʿba. Encyclopaedia of Islam IV
  • [1915] The Book of History, a History of All Nations From the Earliest Times to the Present, Viscount Bryce (Introduction), The Grolier Society.

External links

Bakkah

Bakkah (Arabic: بكة‎ [ˈbæk.kæ]), according to Muslim scholars, is an ancient name for Mecca, the most holy city of Islam. Most people believe they are synonyms, but to Muslim scholars there is a distinction: Bakkah refers to the Kaaba and the sacred site immediately surrounding it, while Mecca is the name of the city in which they are both located.According to Lisan Al Arab of Ibn Manzor, the site of Kaaba and its surroundings was named Bakkah due to crowding and congestion of people in the area. The Arabic verb bakka (بكَّ), with double "k", means to crowd like in a bazaar. This is not to be confused with another unrelated Arabic verb baka (بَكَى)(single k) which is the past participle of yabki (يَبْكِي), to cry.

Bakkah is mentioned in sura 3 (Al-i-Imran), ayah 96 of the Qur'an,Translation: " Verily the first House set apart unto mankind was that at Bakka, blest, and a guidance unto the worlds.".

Bani Shaiba

The Bani Shaiba or the sons of Shaiba (Arabic: Banī Shaybah بني شيبه) are an Arab tribe that hold the keys to the Kaaba. The members of the tribe greet visitors into the Kaaba during the cleaning ceremony and clean the interior together with the visitors. Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheibi (sometimes spelled Al-Shaibi), who died in November 2010, kept the key for eighteen years. His brother, Abdul Qader Al-Sheibi, became the new key-bearer. Abdul Qader Al-Sheibi died on 23 October 2014. Sheikh Abdul Qadir Al-Shaibi was the 108th successor of Othman Bin Talha. Saleh Bin Taha Al-Shaibi, the oldest member of Shaibi family, will be the new keeper of the keys to the Kaaba.

Black Stone

The Black Stone (Arabic: ٱلْحَجَرُ ٱلْأَسْوَد‎, al-Ḥajaru al-Aswad, "Black Stone") is a rock set into the eastern corner of the Kaaba, the ancient building located in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is revered by Muslims as an Islamic relic which, according to Muslim tradition, dates back to the time of Adam and Eve.The stone was venerated at the Kaaba in pre-Islamic pagan times. According to Islamic tradition, it was set intact into the Kaaba's wall by the prophet Muhammad in 605 CE, five years before his first revelation. Since then it has been broken into fragments and is now cemented into a silver frame in the side of the Kaaba. Its physical appearance is that of a fragmented dark rock, polished smooth by the hands of pilgrims. Islamic tradition holds that it fell from heaven as a guide for Adam and Eve to build an altar. It has often been described as a meteorite.Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba as a part of the tawaf ritual during the hajj and many try to stop and kiss the Black Stone, emulating the kiss that Islamic tradition records that it received from Muhammad. Muslims do not worship the Black Stone.

Dhul-Suwayqatayn

Dhul-Suwayqatayn (Arabic: ذوالسويقتين‎) is a group that prophecies by Muhammad say will emerge at the end of time. They are Abyssinian (Ethiopian) men destined by God to destroy the Kabah. There are two traditions regarding the time of the Kabaa's destruction:

The Kaaba will be destroyed when Isa is still alive. Before Isa's army can reach him, God sends a wind to take the souls of all believers, leaving only disbelievers behind. Dhul-Suwayqatayn will then destroy the Kaabah, taking it down brick by brick.

The Kaaba will be destroyed after Yajuj and Majuj perish from the Earth and Isa has died while Muslims still perform Hajj and Umrah. As quoted by a hadith narrated by Abu Sa`id al-Khudri saying that Muslims will still be doing Hajj & Umrah to Kabaa after the event of Yajuj and Majuj.

Great Mosque of Mecca

The Great Mosque of Mecca, also known as the Haram Mosque (Arabic: ٱلْمَسْجِد ٱلْحَرَام‎, romanized: Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām, lit. 'The Sacred Mosque'), is a mosque that surrounds the Kaaba in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is a site of pilgrimage for the Hajj, which every Muslim must do at least once in their lives if able, and is also the main phase for the ‘Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage that can be undertaken any time of the year. The rites of both pilgrimages include circumambulating the Kaaba within the mosque. The Great Mosque includes other important significant sites, including the Black Stone, the Zamzam Well, Maqam Ibrahim, and the hills Safa and Marwa. It is always open, regardless of date or time.The Great Mosque is the largest mosque in the world and has undergone major renovations and expansions through the years. It has passed through the control of various caliphs, sultans and kings, and is now under the control of the King of Saudi Arabia who is titled the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

Hajj

The Hajj (; Arabic: حَجّ‎ Ḥaǧǧ "pilgrimage") is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence.The literal meaning of the word Hajj is heading to a place for the sake of visiting. In Islamic terminology, Hajj is a pilgrimage made to Kaaba, the "House of Allah", in the sacred city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The rites of Hajj are performed over five or six days, beginning on the eighth and ending on the thirteenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat and Sawm. The Hajj is the second largest annual gathering of Muslims in the world, after the Arba'een Pilgrimage in Karbala, Iraq. The state of being physically and financially capable of performing the Hajj is called istita'ah, and a Muslim who fulfils this condition is called a mustati. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah). The word Hajj means "to attend a journey", which connotes both the outward act of a journey and the inward act of intentions.The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th (or in some cases 13th) of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. Because the Islamic calendar is lunar and the Islamic year is about eleven days shorter than the Gregorian year, the Gregorian date of Hajj changes from year to year. Ihram is the name given to the special spiritual state in which pilgrims wear two white sheets of seamless cloth and abstain from certain actions.The Hajj (sometimes spelt Hadj, Hadji or Haj also in English) is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century AD, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Abraham. During Hajj, pilgrims join processions of millions of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals: each person walks counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaaba (the cube-shaped building and the direction of prayer for the Muslims), trots (walks briskly) back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah seven times, then drinks from the Zamzam Well, goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, spends a night in the plain of Muzdalifa, and performs symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing stones at three pillars. After the sacrifice of their animal, the Pilgrims then are required to shave their head. Then they celebrate the three-day global festival of Eid al-Adha.Pilgrims can also go to Mecca to perform the rituals at other times of the year. This is sometimes called the "lesser pilgrimage", or 'Umrah (Arabic: عُمرَة‎). However, even if they choose to perform the Umrah, they are still obligated to perform the Hajj at some other point in their lifetime if they have the means to do so, because Umrah is not a substitute for Hajj.In 2017, the number of pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj was officially reported as 1,752,014 and 600,108 Saudi Arabian residents bringing the total number of pilgrims to 2,352,122.

Hajr Ismail

Hijr-Ismail (Stone of Ismail) also known as Hateem, is a low wall originally part of the Kaaba. It is a semi-circular wall opposite, but not connected to, the north-west wall of the Kaaba known as the hatīm. This is 90 cm (35 in) in height and 1.5 m (4.9 ft) in width, and is composed of white marble. At one time the space lying between the hatīm and the Kaaba belonged to the Kaaba itself, and for this reason it is not entered during the tawaf. The graves of Ismail and his mother Hajar are located in this space. Pilgrims do not walk in the area between this wall and the Kaaba.

Hubal

Hubal (Arabic: هُبَل‎) was a god worshipped in pre-Islamic Arabia, notably by Quraysh at the Kaaba in Mecca. The god's idol was a human figure believed to control acts of divination, which was performed by tossing arrows before the statue. The direction in which the arrows pointed answered questions asked of the idol. The origins of the cult of Hubal are uncertain, but the name is found in Nabataean inscriptions in northern Arabia (across the territory of modern Syria and Iraq). The specific powers and identity attributed to Hubal are equally unclear.

Access to the idol was controlled by the Quraysh tribe. The god's devotees fought against followers of the Islamic prophet Muhammad during the Battle of Badr in 624 AD. After Muhammad entered Mecca in 630, he removed the statue of Hubal from the Kaaba along with the idols of all the other pagan gods.

Ishmael in Islam

Ishmael (Arabic: إسماعيل‎, Ismā‘īl) is the figure known in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as Abraham's (Ibrahim) son, born to Hagar (Hajar). In Islam, Ishmael is regarded as a prophet (nabi) and an ancestor to Muhammad. He also became associated with Mecca and the construction of the Kaaba. Stories of Ishmael are not only found in Jewish and Christian texts, such as the Bible and rabbinic Midrash, but also Islamic sources. These sources include the Quran, Quranic commentary (tafsir), hadith, historiographic collections like that of Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, and Isra'iliyat (Islamic texts about Biblical or ancient Israelite figures that originate from Jewish or Christian sources).

Islamic mythology

Islamic mythology is the body of myths associated with Islam and the Quran. Islam is a religion that is more concerned with social order and law than with religious myths. The Oxford Companion to World Mythology identifies a number of traditional narratives as "Islamic myths". These include a creation myth and a vision of afterlife, which Islam shares to some extent with the other Abrahamic religions, as well as the distinctively Islamic story of the Kaaba.The traditional biography of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, which plays a central role in Islamic teachings, is generally recognized as being largely historical in nature, and Islam depends less on mythology than Judaism and Christianity. However, the canonical narrative includes two key supernatural events: the divine revelation of the Quran and the Isra and Mi'raj — the night journey to Jerusalem followed by the ascension to the Seventh Heaven. In addition, Islamic scriptures contain a number of legendary narratives about biblical characters, which diverge from Jewish and Christian traditions in some details.

Jurhum

Jurhum (also Banu Jurhum or The second Jurhum) historically referred to as Gorrhamite by the Greeks, was an old Arab tribe in the Arabian peninsula. Traditionally, they were a Qahtanite tribe whose historical abode was Yemen before they emigrated to Mecca.

Kiswah

Kiswah (Arabic: كسوة الكعبة‎, kiswat al-ka'bah) is the cloth that covers the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is draped annually on the 9th day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, the day pilgrims leave for the plains of Mount Arafat during the Hajj. The term kiswah is Arabic for 'pall', the cloth draped over a casket.

Madh'hij

Madh'hij (Arabic: مذحج‎) also spelled Math'hij is a famous large Qahtanite Arab tribal confederation. It is located in south and central Arabia. This confederation participated in the Arabic Islamic conquest and was a major factor in the conquest of Persian empire and Iberian Peninsula. It is also found in Mosel and in Levant and Iberian Peninsula.The Islamic prophet, Muhammad said that most people in Paradise will be from Madhhij. They were described as being the noblest in nature amongst the Arabs, holding up the virtues Islam holds dear. Those of honour, bravery, valour, courage, justice, wisdom, chivalry, reasoning and humility.

al-Hamdani cited Madhhij 30 times in his book "Sifat Jazirat al Arab: Description of the Arabian Peninsula" as a Genuine Arabic dynasty with branches like Nukha, Zubaid, Ruha and Hada (best archers among the Arabs) that has famous Historical personalities such as the Arabian knight king of Yemen Amru bin Ma'adi Yakrib al-Zubaidi al-Madhhiji who became a Muslim and Malik Ashtar al-Nakh'ei a close friend of the Prophet Muhammad and a military leader with Ali ibn Abi Talib in the battle of Siffin, and Madhhij later fought the Qarmatians under leadership of Abul Ashira in Yemen and Malik ibn Marara a-Rahawi, and the commentaries on al-Hamdani's book shows that they still live in the same towns and places as Hamadani described them in his book dated 900 AD, 1100 hyears ago.Madhhij is mentioned in Namara inscription, a memorial of the Nasrid king of al-Hira Imru ’al-Qays bin ‘Amr (died in 328), “king of all the Arabs”, boasted of having launched a raid against Madhhij, reaching “Najran" city of Shammar (the Himyarite king Shammar Yahri'sh)

. The same story is mentioned in detail in Wahb ibn Munabbih in his book of Pre-Islamic saga and lore "The Book of The Crowns of Himyar Kings"Before Islam, Madhhij had its own Idol that they used to bring in the yearly pilgrimage to Kaaba before Islam (Pagan Arabs before Islam) and they used to make Talbiya specific to Madhhij for that Idol in which they encircle Kaaba several times and plead their Madhhij' Talbiya to Allah to let that Idol be put around the Kaaba. The Arabs are said to inherited Kaaba from Ibrahim who named it Beit Allah, (aka the house of God) but in much later ages they started worshipping idols and then they brought the idols to Kaaba to bless their Idols by God.Madhhij name was found in the Namara inscription dated 330 AD.The men of Madh'hij were described as being hardened and experienced warriors in praising their positive aspect. They were also known for their skills in horseriding and were famed for being the best archers when on a horse.

Mecca

Mecca, also spelled Makkah, is a city in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia. 70 km (43 mi) inland from Jeddah, in a narrow valley 277 m (909 ft) above sea level, 340 kilometres (210 mi) south of Medina, its population in 2012 was 2 million, although visitors more than triple this number every year during the Ḥajj ("Pilgrimage"), held in the twelfth Muslim lunar month of Dhūl-Ḥijjah.

It is the birthplace of Muhammad, a cave 3 km (2 mi) from Mecca was the site of Muhammad's first revelation of the Quran, and a pilgrimage to it, known as the Hajj, is obligatory for all able Muslims. Mecca is home to the Kaaba, one of Islam's holiest sites and the direction of Muslim prayer, and thus Mecca is regarded as the holiest city in Islam.Mecca was long ruled by Muhammad's descendants, the sharifs, acting either as independent rulers or as vassals to larger polities. It was conquered by Ibn Saud in 1925, since then Mecca has seen a tremendous expansion in size and infrastructure, such as the Abraj Al Bait, also known as the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel, the world's fourth tallest building and the building with the third largest amount of floor area, and lost some historical structures and archaeological sites, such as the Ajyad Fortress. Non-Muslims are prohibited from entering the city.

Mihrab

Mihrab (Arabic: محراب‎ miḥrāb, pl. محاريب maḥārīb) is a semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla; that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying. The wall in which a mihrab appears is thus the "qibla wall".

Mihrab should not be confused with the minbar, which is the raised platform from which an Imam (leader of prayer) addresses the congregation. The mihrab is located to the left of the minbar.

Qibla

The Qibla (Arabic: قِبْلَة‎‎, "Direction", also transliterated as Qiblah, Qibleh, Kiblah, Kıble or Kibla) is the direction that should be faced when a Muslim prays during ṣalāh (Arabic: صَلَاة‎). It is fixed as the direction of the Kaaba in the Hejazi city of Mecca. Most mosques contain a wall niche that indicates the Qibla, which is known as a miḥrâb (Arabic: مِحْرَاب‎). Most multifaith prayer rooms will also contain a Qibla, although usually less standardized in appearance than one would find within a mosque.Muslims all praying towards the same point is traditionally considered to symbolize the unity of the Ummah (Arabic: اُمَّة‎, the community Muslims worldwide), under the Sharīʿah (Arabic: شَرِيْعَة‎, Law of God). The Qibla also has importance beyond ṣalāh, and plays a part in various ceremonies. The head of an animal that is slaughtered using ḥalāl (Arabic: حَلَال‎, 'Allowed') methods is usually aligned with the Qibla. After death, Muslims are usually buried with the body at right angles to the Qibla and the face turned right towards the direction of the Qibla.

Religion in pre-Islamic Arabia

Religion in pre-Islamic Arabia included indigenous polytheistic beliefs, as well as Christianity, Judaism, Mandaeism, and Iranian religions of Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, and Manichaeism. Arabian polytheism, the dominant form of religion in pre-Islamic Arabia, was based on veneration of deities and spirits. Worship was directed to various gods and goddesses, including Hubal and the goddesses al-Lāt, al-‘Uzzā, and Manāt, at local shrines and temples such as the Kaaba in Mecca. Deities were venerated and invoked through a variety of rituals, including pilgrimages and divination, as well as ritual sacrifice. Different theories have been proposed regarding the role of Allah in Meccan religion. Many of the physical descriptions of the pre-Islamic gods are traced to idols, especially near the Kaaba, which is said to have contained up to 360 of them.

Other religions were represented to varying, lesser degrees. The influence of the adjacent Roman, Aksumite, and Sasanian Empires resulted in Christian communities in the northwest, northeast, and south of Arabia. Christianity made a lesser impact, but secured some conversions, in the remainder of the peninsula. With the exception of Nestorianism in the northeast and the Persian Gulf, the dominant form of Christianity was Miaphysitism. The peninsula had been a destination for Jewish migration since Roman times, which had resulted in a diaspora community supplemented by local converts. Additionally, the influence of the Sasanian Empire resulted in Iranian religions being present in the peninsula. Zoroastrianism existed in the east and south, while there is evidence of Manichaeism or possibly Mazdakism being practiced in Mecca.

Sujud

Sujūd (Arabic: سُجود‎, [sʊˈdʒuːd]), or sajdah (سجدة, pronounced [ˈsadʒda(tu)]), is an Arabic word meaning prostration to God (الله Allah) in the direction of the Kaaba at Mecca which is usually done during the daily prayers (salat). While in sujud, a Muslim is to praise and glorify Allah. The position involves having the forehead, nose, both hands, knees and all toes touching the ground together.

Tawaf

Tawaf (Arabic: طواف‎, Ṭawāf; literally going about) is one of the Islamic rituals of pilgrimage. During the Hajj and Umrah, Muslims are to go around the Kaaba (the most sacred site in Islam) seven times, in a counterclockwise direction; the first three circuits at a hurried pace on the outer part of the crowd, followed by four times closer to the Kaaba at a leisurely pace. The circling is believed to demonstrate the unity of the believers in the worship of the One God, as they move in harmony together around the Kaaba, while supplicating to God.

People and things in the Quran
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