The Holy Kaaba
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
PLS EXPLAIN WHAT IS K'AABA, ITS IMPORTANCE, HOLINESS AND WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR ALL TO FACE K'AABA AND PRAY. WHY NOT TOWARDS ANOTHER DIRECTION ???
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)
The Holy Kaaba
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
There are several verses in the Holy Quran regarding the Sacred House (the Kaabah) of Allah. This is the very first place of worship Allah had ordained for all of mankind, and it is reported in several authentic narrations that the first person to lay the foundation of this Sacred House of Allah was Prophet Adam. To write a complete history of the Kaabah from the Quran and authentic narrations and riwaayahs would indeed require a full book! But we will try and give you an overview of this Sacred House, Insha Allah.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale-Imran verse 96:Undoubtedly, the first house of worship ever to be built for mankind is the one which is at Makkah. It was blessed and made a center of guidance for all the peoples.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Al Baqarah verse 125:And remember that We made this House (The Kaabah) the center and sanctuary for mankind and enjoined the people to dedicate to worship the place where Ibrahim used to stand for prayer, and We urged Ibrahim and Ismail to keep My House pure for those who would go around it, and for those who would retire to it for devotion and prayer, and for those who would bow down and prostrate themselves there in worship.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Al Baqarah verse 127:And remember that when Ibrahim and Ismael were raising the walls of this House (Kaabah), they prayed, O our Lord, accept this service from us; You are indeed the All Hearing and the All Knowing.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 22 Surah Hajj verse 26:Recall to mind the time when We assigned the site of this House (the Kaabah) to Ibrahim, saying, Do not associate anything as a partner with Me; keep My House clean and pure for those who go around it, and for those who stand and bow down and prostrate here (in worship).
Through the passage of time, the Kaabah was repaired and built several times. Some commentators say 11 times and some say upto 15 times; Allah Alone has perfect knowledge of everything. The Holy Quran only mentions that this was the very first house ever dedicated for the worship of Allah, and according to several narrations, it is reported that the foundations of this house were first laid by Prophet Adam (a.s.). Then Allah mentions the building of the Sacred House when He ordained Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) and his son Prophet Ismael(a.s.) to rebuild the Kaabah under His guidance, which they did.
Five years before the appointment of Prophethood, when the Messenger of Allah (saws) was about thirty-five years old, the Quraish of Makkah decided to rebuild the Kaabah. They could not raise enough funds from their pure earnings to rebuild the complete Kaabah, so they left the semi-circular hateem half-built, which is how it is kept upto this day, even after several rebuildings by the muslims over the years. After they built the cubicle Kaabah, the tribes of Quraish ran into a disagreement on who would have the honor of placing the Black Stone in its place. As Allah would have it willed, Mohamed ibn Abdulla (saws) was chosen and he (saws) placed the Black Stone in the Kaabah with his own hands.
After the death of the Messenger of Allah (saws) the Kaabah was rebuilt several times by the muslims, and general repairs are carried out even until today.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 148:Everyone has a direction towards which he turns in Prayer. So try to excel one another in good works. Allah will find you wherever you may be, for nothing is out of Allahs reach.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 144:We have seen you, (O Mohamed), turning your face over and over again towards the heaven! Now, therefore, We turn you towards the Qiblah that you like best. So turn your face towards the Masjid-e-Haraam! Henceforth, wheresoever you may be, turn your face at prayer towards it.
In the Holy Quran, Allah Himself says that everyone has a direction towards which he turns to prayer, and the simple reason we pray in its direction is because the All Wise, All Knowing Allah, commanded the Messenger of Allah (saws) in the Holy Quran, and the Messenger of Allah (saws) commanded and taught the believers to pray in the direction of the Kaabah. And as in all our acts of worship in Islam, we have to follow exactly what was commanded by Allah and practiced by the Messenger of Allah (saws).
As to the wisdom behind the decision to pray towards the Kaabah, we let the Quran explain that in its own inimitable style.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 142-143:Of course the foolish people will say, What has turned them abruptly away from the qiblah towards which they formerly used to turn their faces in prayer? Tell them, East and West all belong to Allah; He shows the Right Way to anyone He wills. Thus have We made you a community of the Golden Mean so that you may be a witness in regard to mankind and the Messenger may be a witness in regard to you. We had appointed the former qiblah towards which you used to turn your face merely to test who would follow the Messenger and who would turn back. It was indeed a hard test, but not for those who had been blessed with Guidance from Allah. Allah will not let go to waste this faith of yours. Rest assured that He is full of pity and mercy to mankind.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,