Kaaba is the holiest place for Muslims. There are some relics and remains that are sacred to Muslims and hold religious importance. One of such relics that holds reverence among all the Muslims is the Hajre Aswad or commonly known as ‘The Black Stone’, engraved in the southeast wall of the Kaaba.
The History Behind the Black Stone (Hajre Aswad)
There are different narrations giving a different account of the background of the stone and how it was placed in the wall of Kaaba. According to Islamic tradition, the black stone dates back to the time of Prophet Adam (AS) and his wife Hawwa (AS). It is said that the stone came from heaven as a guide for Adam (AS) and Hawwa (AS) to build the first place of worship on earth. The stone was originally pure and white in colour but it has turned black because of the sins of the people who touch it. It was lost in the great flood during the times of Prophet Noah (AS).
“The Black stone descended from paradise, and it was whiter than milk, then it was blacked by the sins of the children of Adam.”
(Tirmidhi 877, Book 9: Hadith 70)
It was later revealed to Prophet Ibrahim (AS) by the Angel Jibreel (AS) who was commanded by Allah (SWT) to build a house for Him on the earth. The holy Kaabah marks the location where the heavenly realm intersects with the earthly and the Hajre Aswad symbolises as the link between them. Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba while performing Tawaf during the Hajj and Umrah and kiss the Black Stone, emulating Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
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Importance of the Black Stone (Hajre Aswad) in Kaaba
There are numerous hadiths of the Prophet (PBUH) that speak of the sanctity and importance of the stone. According to a hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) said,
“By Allah! On the Day of Qiyaamah, Allah will present the Hajare Aswad in such a manner that it will have two eyes and a tongue to testify to the Imaan (faith) of all those who kissed it.”
(Tirmidhi 961, Book 9: Hadith 155)
It was narrated from Ibn Abbas (RA) that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“The Black Stone is from Paradise.”
(Nasa’i 2935, Book 24: Hadith 0)
One of the most important acts done in reverence of the black stone is kissing it while performing Tawaf during the rituals of Hajj and Umrah. Kissing of Hajre Aswad is a sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) who kissed the stone during the first pilgrimage. That is why Muslims kiss the stone after every single circumambulation (Tawaf) of the Kaaba, but the kissing of Hajre Aswad is in no way worshipping of the stone, rather it is done to follow the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). As Muslims, we understand the reason behind the kissing of the Black Stone but non-believers who lack knowledge about Islam often have some misconceptions related to the kissing of Hajar al-Aswad which are discussed below:
A major misconception that non-believers have regarding Hajre Aswad is that although Islam is a monotheistic religion that forbids idolatry, kissing of the black stone is a form of idolatry and Muslims commit idolatry by kissing it. It is a huge misunderstanding as Muslims do not kiss the stone with the intention of gaining benefit from the stone and it cannot harm them in any way. The kissing of Hajre Aswad is merely out of respect of the tradition of the Prophet (PBUH) who expressed his love by kissing the stone. It was reported by Abbas bin Rabi’ah (RA) who said:
“I saw Umar bin Al-Khattab (RA) kissing the (Black) Stone and saying: ‘I am kissing you while I know that you are just a stone, and if I had not seen the Messenger of Allah kissing you, I would not kiss you.”
(Tirmidhi 860, Book 9: Hadith 53)
This shows the basic ideology of Muslims related the kissing of the black stone and hence the act is idolatry is a misconception with no basis in Islam.
Another misconception amongst the non-Muslims is that while performing Tawaf, Muslims lick the stone which is completely wrong. Muslims only kiss the black stone which can be done physically or symbolically by pointing towards it.
[ Read Also: Can Women Perform Umrah Alone? ]
Unknown Facts About Hajr-e-Aswad
Here are some of the lesser-known facts about the Black Stone:
- Hajre Aswad was reportedly stolen from the Holy Kaaba by the Qarmatian warriors during 930 CE who desecrated the Zamzam Well with the corpses of Muslims and carried the stone back to their base in Ihsaa in Bahrain. According to the historian Al Juwayni, the black stone was returned and restored to its original location in 952 CE.
- Hajre Aswad was initially a single stone but due to some incidents throughout the history, the stone is in eight pieces which are held together and encased in a silver frame. The original frame was constructed by Abdullah Bin Zuhair (RA) and replaced by the latter Khalifas when the need arose.
- Six pieces of the black stone are claimed to be in Istanbul, Turkey. One is displayed in the Blue Mosque, another is placed at the entrance of the Tomb of Sulaiman and other four pieces are inside the Sokullusehit Mehmet Pasa Camii Mosque.