Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What Is Inside The Ka'bah

The small, cubed building known as the Ka'bah may not rival skyscrapers in height or mansions in width, but its impact on history and human beings is unmatched. The Ka'bah is the building towards which Muslims face five times a day, everyday, in prayer. This has been the case since the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) over 1400 years ago.

The Size of the Ka'bah

The current height of the Ka'bah is 39 feet, 6 inches and total size comes to 627 square feet. The inside room of the Ka'bah is 13 x 9 meters. The Ka'bah's walls are one meter wide. The floor inside is 2.2 meters higher than the place where people perform Tawaf.

The ceiling and roof are two levels made out of wood. They were reconstructed with teak which is capped with stainless steel. The walls are all made of stone. The stones inside are unpolished, while the ones outside are polished.

This small building has been constructed and reconstructed by Prophets Adam, Ibrahim [Abraham], Ismail [Ishmael] and Muhammad (peace be upon them all - Prophets of Allah]. No other building has had this honor. Yet, not very much is [commonly] known about the details of this small but significant building.

Did you know the Ka'bah was reconstructed as recently as close to four years ago? Did you know that the Ka'bah has been subjected to danger by natural disasters like flooding, as well as human attacks? If you didn't keep reading, you'll find some rarely heard of information discussed below and discover facts about the Ka'bah many are unaware of.

The Other Names of the Ka'bah

Literally, Ka'bah in Arabic means a high place with respect and prestige. The word Ka'bah may also be a derivative of a word meaning cube. Some of these other names include : Baitul Ateeq which means, according to one meaning, the earliest and ancient. According to the second meaning, it means independent and liberating. Both meanings could be taken.

The History of the Ka'bah

Scholars and historians say that the Ka'bah has been reconstructed between 5 to 12 times. The very first construction of the Ka'bah was done by Prophet Adam. Allah [swt, glory be to Him] says in the Qur'an that this was the first house that was built for humanity to worship Allah.

After this, Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail rebuilt the Kaba. The measurements of the Ka'bah's Ibrahimic foundation are as follows:

- the eastern wall was 48 feet and 6 inches
- the Hateem side wall was 33 feet
- the side between the black stone and the Yemeni corner was 30 feet
- the Western side was 46.5 feet

Following this, there were several constructions before Prophet Muhammad's time.

Prophet Muhammad participated in one of its reconstructions before he became a Prophet. After a flash flood, the Ka'bah was damaged and its walls cracked. It needed rebuilding. This responsibility was divided among the Quraish's four tribes. Prophet Muhammad helped with this reconstruction. Once the walls were erected, it was time to place the Black Stone, (the Hajarul Aswad) on the eastern wall of the Ka'bah.

Arguments erupted about who would have the honor of putting the Black Stone in its place. A fight was about to break out over the issue, when Abu Umayyah, Makkah's oldest man, proposed that the first man to enter the gate of the mosque the following morning would decide the matter.

That man was the Prophet. The Makkans were ecstatic. "This is the trustworthy one (Al-Ameen)," they shouted in a chorus. "This is Muhammad". He came to them and they asked him to decide on the matter. He agreed.

Prophet Muhammad proposed a solution that all agreed to putting the Black Stone on a cloak, the elders of each of the clans held on to one edge of the cloak and carried the stone to its place. The Prophet then picked up the stone and placed it on the wall of the Ka'bah.

Since the tribe of Quraish did not have sufficient funds, this reconstruction did not include the entire foundation of the Ka'bah as built by Prophet Ibrahim. This is the first time the Ka'bah acquired the cubical shape it has now unlike the rectangle shape which it had earlier. The portion of the Kaba left out is called Hateem now.

What Is Inside the Ka'bah?

Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, is the president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), had the opportunity to go inside the Kaba in October 1998. In an interview with Sound Vision, he described the following features:

* there are two pillars inside (others report 3 pillars)
* there is a table on the side to put items like perfume
* there are two lantern-type lamps hanging from the ceiling
* the space can accommodate about 50 people
* there are no electric lights inside
* the walls and the floors are of the marble
* there are no windows inside
* there is only one door
* the upper inside walls of the Kaba were covered with some kind of curtain with the Kalima written on it