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A common query is: Where did the Black Stone come from? According to a Hadith in Sunan An-Nasa’i, the Black Stone originates from Heaven. The Hajr e Aswad is a sacred stone from ancient times. It is placed 1.5 meters above the ground in the Eastern corner of the Holy Kaaba in Makkah. It is an essential part of the Kaaba. The Kaaba is what the Muslims face during their daily prayers. It is also a central part of Hajj, as Muslims circumambulate the Kaaba several times during the pilgrimage.
The Black Stone is significant for Muslims. According to traditions, it was initially an utterly white rock. So, it is not made of a dark material. The Stone is often kissed or touched by Muslims, as per the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). There are also Hadith that describe its virtues for Muslims concerning the Day of Reckoning.
In a book titled “Travels in Arabia,” Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt described the stone as an uneven oval, which has a diameter of seven inches. Its surface consists of some dozen smaller stones of varying shapes and sizes, faultless smooth and held together with a bit of cement. It appears as if it had been shattered into pieces and then put back together.
A common question is that does the Black Stone take away one’s sins? In a Hadith in Jami at-Tirmidhi, Abdullah ibn Umar was clinging on to the two corners (The Black Stone and the Yemeni Corner) in the Kaaba. When asked, he stated that the Prophet (PBUH) told him that doing so atones for one’s sins.
The origins and history of the Black Stone and its primary state
A common query is what is the Black Stone made of? In Jami At-Tirmidhi, the Prophet (PBUH) stated that the Black Stone originated from Paradise. It was whiter than milk but got darkened by the sins of mankind.
Virtues of touching and kissing Hajr e Aswad
In a Hadith in Sahih Muslim, Jaabir ibn Abdullah (r.a.) narrated that when the Prophet (PBUH) came to Makkah, he touched Hajr-e-Aswad first before performing Tawaaf around the Kaaba.
According to Sahih Al-Bukhari ‘Umar (r.a.) kissed the Black Stone. He said that he is aware that it’s merely a stone, incapable of aiding or harming anyone. He kissed it because he saw the Prophet (PBUH) doing so. In Sahih Al-Bukhari, a man asked Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) about touching Hajr-e-Aswad. His reply was that he witnessed the Prophet (PBUH) touching it as well as kissing it.
In Sahih Muslim, Naafi’ (r.a.) stated the he saw Ibn ‘Umar touching the Black Stone and kissing his hand. Ibn ‘Umar said that he never left this practice since witnessing the Prophet (PBUH) performing it. Also, in Sahih Muslim, Abu Tufail (r.a.) said that he saw the Prophet (PBUH touching the corner with a stick, which he then kissed.
According to Sahih Al-Bukhari, Abdullah ibn Abbas said that the Prophet (PBUH) was performing Tawaf, and each time he reached the Corner containing the Black Stone, he pointed at it with something he was holding and said Allahu-Akbar.
The Black Stone on the Day of Resurrection
In Jami At-Tirmidhi, the Prophet (PBUH) said that Allah will raise the Black Stone on the Day of Reckoning with eyes and a tongue, and it will bear witness to those who touched it in truth.
The arbitration issue involving Hajr-e-Aswad
A famous story relating to Hajr-e-Aswad is narrated in the Seerah of the Prophet (PBUH). This particular account is according to Saif-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri’s “The Sealed Nectar.”
When the Prophet (PBUH) was 35 years old, the Quraish began to reconstruct the Kaaba. It had some structural weaknesses that required repairs. A great flood had occurred in Makkah and almost demolished the Holy Kaaba. Hence, the Quraish, who also adored it (this event occurred before Prophethood), decided to rebuild it.
Due to the gravity of the Kaaba, the Quraish recognized that they must only use their halal earnings for the rebuilding process. They demolished the walls until just the base of the Kaaba was remaining. Then, the tribes were each assigned to rebuild the different walls.
All went well until the time came to put the Black Stone in its rightful position. The chiefs of the tribes started arguing and began to fight. Eventually, it was decided that the next person to enter the area of the Kaaba would determine what happens.
Allah’s will decreed that the Prophet (PBUH) was that person. The people were pleased that “Al-Amin,” i.e., the trustworthy, would be able to help. The Prophet (PBUH) utilized his wisdom to avert a great disaster.
He asked for a cloth to be spread out on the ground, upon which he placed the Black Stone. Then, he allowed representatives from the tribes to lift up the fabric and take the Stone close to its resting place. Then, Muhammad (PBUH) placed the stone. Thus, he himself placed the stone in the Kaabah.
This short incident also allows us to see the respect and reverence the tribes had for the Stone since each wanted to have the privilege of putting it in its final position.
Muslims do not worship the Black Stone
There is a common misconception amongst non-Muslims, or those who want to malign Islam, that Muslims worship Hajr-e-Aswad, or indeed the Kaaba. This is entirely false as shown by the Hadith mentioned earlier.
The only reason for kissing and touching this rock is because that is the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). As stated by ‘Umar (r.a.), by itself, the Black Stone is just that – a stone. It can not provide any benefit or cause harm to anyone. However, as a mark of respect, Muslims should follow the Sunnah and try to kiss it, touch it, or at least wave to it.