The Ka'aba

This is the building towards which all Muslims around the world face five times a day, everyday, in prayer. This has been the case since the time of Prophet Muhammad over 1,400 years ago.  Also, during the annual pilgrimage (Haj), Muslims have to walk around the Ka’aba in a counter-clockwise direction in a ritual known as (Tawaf).

It is the most sacred site in Islam. The building, also known as the House of God, predates Prophet Muhammad and according to the Qur’an, the Ka’aba was first built by Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael as a house of monotheistic worship.  There is nothing placed inside the Ka’aba, it is hollow and empty.

Today, the Ka’aba is surrounded by the Grand Mosque, the biggest mosque in the world. It has a capacity to accommodate more than four million worshippers. The Ka’aba is considered the center of the Muslim world. It serves as a focal and unifying point among the Muslim people.

In order to unite Muslims in their worship of the One True God, Muslims, wherever they may be, are asked to face in only one direction that is towards the Ka’aba.  When the Muslims walk around around the Ka’aba during Haj, it symbolises the belief and worship of One God, since, just as every circle has one centre, so also there is only one God worthy of worship. Another interesting fact is that the Muslims were the first people to draw the map of the world.

They drew the map with the south facing upwards and north downwards.  The Ka’aba was at the centre.  Later, western cartographers drew the map upside down with the north facing upwards and south downwards. Yet, the Ka’aba is at the centre of the world map.

It should be noted that Muslims do not worship the Ka’aba and its environs as some people seem to imagine.  It is a total misconception; it is merely a direction towards which they are ordered to face during the ritual prayer. Muslims worship only God.

That the Ka’aba is not an object of worship is clearly brought out by the fact that at the time of the Prophet Mohammed, people even stood on the Ka’aba and gave the ‘adhaan’ or the call to prayer. If it was the Ka’aba that was worshipped then surely they would not stand on it.

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