The Ka’bah

The Ka’bah (الكعبة‎ al-Kaʿbah) is a cube-shaped building in the city of Makkah al-Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam. The building predates Islam, and, according to Islamic tradition, the first building at the site was built by Prophet Ibrahim (عليه السلام) (Abraham). The building has a Masjid (Mosque) built around it, the Masjid al-Haram. All Muslims around the world face the Ka’bah during prayers, no matter where they are. Did you know that the city of Makkah al-Mukarramah is geographically at the centre of the earth.

According to the Qur’an, the Ka’bah was re-built by Prophets Ibrahim (عليه السلام)(Abraham) and his son Ismāʿīl (عليه السلام)(Ishmael). Islam states that the Ka’bah “reflects” and is directly below a house in heaven called al-Baytu l-Maʿmur (البيت المعمور‎), and that it was built by the first man, Prophet Adam (عليه السلام), being the first building ever built on earth. Prophets Ibrahim (عليه السلام) and Ismāʿīl (عليه السلام) rebuilt the Ka’bah on the old foundations.

Ka’bah Original and Rebuilt Structure

The Ka’bah is made of granite from the hills near Makkah al-Mukarramah, and stands upon a marble base. The interior of the Ka’bah is made from a marble and limestone floor. The interior walls are clad with marble halfway to the roof; tablets with verses from the Qur’an inscribed in the marble. The top part of the walls are covered with a green cloth decorated with gold embroidered Qur’anic verses. The exterior of the Ka’bah is covered by a black silk and gold cover known as the Kiswah, which is replaced annually. Washing of the Ka’bah is done with a mixture of water from the Zamzam Well and Persian rosewater. Caretakers perfume the Ka’bah with scented oil.

There is also a semi-circular wall opposite, but unconnected to, the north-west wall of the Ka’bah known as the Hatīm. This is composed of white marble. At one time the space lying between the Hatīm and the Ka’bah belonged to the Ka’bah itself, and for this reason it is not entered during the Tawaf. It has been claimed that the graves of the Prophet Ismāʿīl (عليه السلام)(Ishmael) and his mother Hagar are located in this space but this is unproven. During the Hajj or Umrah, pilgrims are required to walk seven times around the Ka’bah in a Anti-Clockwise direction (as viewed from above). This is called the Tawaf.

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