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HAJAR AL-ASWAD (BLACK STONE)


The Black Stone (الحجر الأسود) near Kaba, Makkah, in Arabic, is called Al-hajar Al-aswad. Many geologists and historians believe it to be a meteorite. It is the eastern cornerstone of the Kaba, the ancient sacred stone building towards which Muslims pray, in the center of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The Stone is a dark rock, polished smooth by the hands of millions of pilgrims that has been broken into a number of fragments cemented into a silver frame in the side of the Kaba. [1]

 

Table of Contents

 

History

After Abraham (Peace be upon Him) finished erecting the Kaba, one rock was missing (in order to complete the Kaba) so he asked Ishmael to look for a rock. He searched and upon returning he found that his father had placed a rock. So he asked his father: 'O father where did you get this rock from?' He said: 'Gabriel brought it to me from the Heavens.'

 

And they completed the erection of the Kaba. When this rock was sent down from the heavens, it was whiter than milk. The Prophet said: 'The Black Stone was sent down from the heavens whiter than milk and it was blackened by the sins of man.' Tirmidhi 2577 (Ref. in Arabic 877)

 

When the Quraysh demolished the Kaba in order to reconstruct it, a dispute arose when the building reached the level of the Black Stone. They differed on the issue of who was eligible to restore the Black Stone to its original place. A civil war was about to break out. Banu Abdu’d-Dar brought a bowl full of blood and all of the tribes inserted their hands in it, which meant that they had made up their minds to fight one another. But Abu UmayyaIbn al-Mugheera , their elder, asked Quraysh to agree on the judgment of the first person to come through the BaniShaibah gate and they all agreed on this suggestion. The first to come through this gate was the Prophet (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace). This was five years before his mission. He put the Black Stone in the middle of a piece of cloth, and asked a representative of each tribe to hold one of the edges of the cloth and raise it close to its place. Then the Prophet (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) picked it up with his own noble hands and restored it to its original place. This was how the Prophet (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) prevented a war from breaking out among the Quraysh by a supreme demonstration of wisdom.

 

Ibn Abbas (R.) relates that the Prophet (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) while leaning against the Kaba said: “The Hajr al-Aswad and al-Maqam (Ebrahim) are two jewels from the jewels of Paradise. Had a (Glory be to Him) not concealed their radiance, they would illuminate everything between the East and the West.” [Tirmidhi]

 

The Hajar al-Aswad was stolen from the Kaba around 930 CE by Qarmatian warriors who were an Ismaeeli Shia sect. They sacked Makkah, desecrating the Well of Zamzam with Muslim corpses and carried the Black Stone away to their base in Ihsaa, in medieval Bahrain. According to the historian Al-Juwayni, the Stone was returned in around 952 CE and restored to its original location.

 

The Hajar al-Aswad was originally a complete stone but due to various historical incidents now consists of eight pieces of varying sizes affixed to a large stone and encased in a silver frame. The silver frame was first made by Abdullah bin Zubayr (May Allah be pleased with Him) and replaced by later Khalifas as the need arose.

 

Six (additional) pieces are claimed to be in Istanbul, Turkey. One is displayed in the mihrab of the Blue Mosque, one above the entrance of the tomb of Sulaiman the Magnificent and four in the one over the mihrab, one below the lower pulpit, another is above the upper pulpit and the last is over the entrance door. The authenticity of these additional pieces has been questioned, although the Turks did rule over what is now Saudi Arabia for many years and hold many historical Islamic relics. And Allah (Glory be to Him) knows best.

 

Hadith

It was narrated that Abu Tufayl said: "I saw the Messenger of Allah [PBUH] performing Tawaaf around the House, touching the corner [where the Stone is] with a crooked staff which he had with him, then kissing the staff." Sahih Al Muslim, 1275

 

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allah [PBUH] performed Tawaaf on his camel, and every time he came to the corner [where the Stone is] he would point to it and say “Allahuakbar.” Sahih Al Bukhari, 4987

 

According to a hadeeth narrated by al-Tirmidhi and others, it came down from Paradise, but there is some weakness in the isnaad of this report… the hadeeth was narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi, 695. [2]
 

Significance or Importance of Blackstone

There are a number of ahaadeeth etc. about the Black Stone which we will quote for our brother so that he may learn from them.

 

  1. The Black Stone was sent down by Allah to this earth from Paradise.
    It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas (R) said: The Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace)said: “The Black Stone came down from Paradise.”  Tirmidhi, 877; al-Nasaa’i, 2935. 
     
  2. The Stone was whiter than milk, but the sins of the sons of Adam made it black.
    It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas (R) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When the Black Stone came down from Paradise, it was whiter than milk, but the sins of the sons of Adam made it black.” al-Tirmidhi, 877; Ahmad, 2792. Classed as saheeh by Ibn Khuzaymah, 4/219. Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar classed it as qawiy (strong) in Fath al-Baari, 3/462).
    1. Al-Mubaarakpoori (May Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Marqaah: This means, the sins of the sons of Adam who touched the stone, caused it to turn black. The hadeeth should be taken at face value, because there is no reason not to, either narrated in a report or by virtue of common sense. (Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi, 3/525)
    2. Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar (May Allah have mercy on him) said: Some heretics tried to criticize this hadeeth by saying: How come the sins of the mushrikeen turned it black and the worship of the people of Tawheed did not make it white?
      I answer by quoting what Ibn Qutaybah said: If Allah had willed, that would have happened. But Allah has caused it to be the case that black usually changes other colours and its not itself changed, which is the opposite to what happens with white.
    3. Al-Muhibb al-Tabari said: The fact that it is black is a lesson for those who have insight. If sins can have this effect on an inanimate rock, then the effect they have on the heart is greater. Fath al-Baari, 3/463 
       
  3. The Black Stone will come forth on the Day of Resurrection and will testify in favour of those who touched it in truth.
    It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas(R) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said concerning the Stone: “By Allah, Allah will bring it forth on the Day of Resurrection, and it will have two eyes with which it will see and a tongue with which it will speak, and it will testify in favour of those who touched it in sincerity.” Tirmidhi, 961; Ibn Maajah, 2944. This hadeeth was classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi, and as qawiy by al-Haafiz ibn Hajar in Fath al-Baari, 3/462  
     
  4. Touching, kissing or pointing to the Black Stone – this is the first thing to be done when starting Tawaaf, whether it is for Hajj or ‘Umrah, or voluntary Tawaaf.
    It was narrated from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah (may Allah be pleased  with him) that when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to Makkah, he kissed the Black Stone Corner first while doing Tawaf,  and did raml (slow jogging) in the first three rounds of the seven rounds (of Tawaf) in Kaba. Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 2.673 and Sahih Al Muslim, 1218
     
  5. The Prophet (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) kissed the Black Stone, and his ummah followed his lead in doing so.
    It was narrated that ‘Umar (R) came to the Black Stone and kissed it, then he said: “I know that you are only a stone which can neither bring benefit nor cause harm. Were it not that I had seen the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) kiss you, I would not have kissed you.” Sahih Al Bukhari, 1520; Sahih Al Muslim, 1720 
     
  6. If a person is unable to kiss the Stone, he should touch it with his hand or something else, then he can kiss the thing with which he touched it.
    1. It was narrated that Naafi’ said: I saw Ibn ‘Umar (R) touch the Stone with his hand then he kissed his hand. I said, I have never ceased to do this since I saw the Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace)do it. Sahih Al Muslim 1268, 1270
    2. It was narrated that Abu Tufayl (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) performing Tawaaf around the House, touching the corner [where the Stone is] with a crooked staff which he had with him, then kissing the staff. Sahih Al Muslim 1275
       
  7. If a person is unable to do the above, then he can point to it with his hand and say “Allahu akbar”.
    It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) performed Tawaaf on his camel, and every time he came to the corner [where the Stone is] he would point to it and say “Allahu akbar.”Sahih Al Bukhaari, 4987
     
  8. Touching the Stone is one of the things by means of which Allah expiates for sins
    It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (R) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “Touching them both [the Black Stone and al-Rukn al-Yamani] is an expiation for sins.” Tirmidhi, 959. This hadeeth was classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi and as saheeh by al-Haakim (1/664). Al-Dhahabi agreed with him). [3]

 

Misconception:Could a Stone be God?

Although so reverently kissed and caressed during the Tawaf, the Black stone, in one of the corners of the Kaba, is no graven image for the pilgrims to worship. That is the last thing any One-God worshipper could ever imagine. For a stone is just a mere stone after all. It has no power whatsoever to do good or inflict harm to any one, apart from Allah, the Sole Deity of mankind. That is a thing cherished either knowingly, ignorantly or figuratively - by those who take to stone-worship instead of God-worship, a belief and practice as unholy as it is senseless. This is why the Black Stone becomes a mystery to such people, and so, some out of ignorance openly charge that Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) did break every Idol in Islam except one - meaning the Kaba, or the Black Stone. Why, even unwitting Muslims get easily confused about the Black Stone. It was hence that 'Umar the second Caliph, did well to remove this hidden doubt from the mind. So when he came to kiss the Stone, he cried out publicly to it: Narrated 'Abis bin Rabi'a: 'Umar (R) came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said, "No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can either harm anyone nor benefit anyone. Had I not seen Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) kissing you, I would not have kissed you. Summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari, 808

 

Kissing a stone is not a sign of its worship at all. Kissing the Black Stone cannot be twisted into an idol worship, for the stone is no image, just as mere kissing is not worshipping by a mere imagination. Anyone might allege that Muslims do worship a certain 'idol'. But the fact remains that they do not worship anything save God, the One. The idol and its worship simply do not exist. [4]

 

References

[1] http://www.answering-christianity.com/black_stone.htm

[2] http://www.islamhelpline.net/node/274

[3] http://islamqa.com/en/ref/1902/black%20stone

[4] http://www.missionislam.com/discover/hajjpaganblackstone.htm

 

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