Picture Perfect : The first vision of the Kaaba

The first vision of the Kaaba and the Sacred Mosque is an unforgettable moment indeed.

The first vision of the Kaaba and the Sacred Mosque is an unforgettable moment indeed.

The first vision of the Kaaba and the Sacred Mosque is an unforgettable moment. The Kaaba is a magnificent structure; it stands serene and immovable as thousands circumambulate it on three levels and playful birds chirp as they maneuver with wondrous swiftness above, occasionally mirroring the clockwise motion of the pilgrims below them. Its sight is compelling, gripping the eyes of hundreds who stand on the roof of the mosque staring at its mysterious beauty for hours at a time, impervious to fatigue. As Haddad observed:

“Everybody performs the tawaf , moving in one circular motion around one pivotal point, synonymous with the regulation and orderliness of the universe. The celestial zones rotate, as does the electron in an atom. We are a part of this creation, we travel with it and it travels with us; our Lord and object of worship is One.”

This is the center of the world of worship, the most important physical space on earth for Muslims, the oldest place of prayer to the God of Mankind. Prophetic narrations affirm that directly above the Kaaba is al-Bayt al-Ma’mur, its celestial equivalent – an unfathomably more ancient place of worship – where the Angels have circumambulated beneath the Majestic Throne from time immemorial, praising and glorifying His Majesty in such throngs that, it is narrated, the heavens creak with their sheer numbers. Standing now as a pristine cube, many have conjectured over the significance of the Kaaba’s shape. But it was not always a cube, for once it stood in the shape of an arched doorway, and Allah alone knows the significance of these shapes and any symbology therein.

It is said that Angels laid the foundations for the Kaaba which were eventually obscured under a mound of red rubble by the time Hagar of Egypt was left there by her husband, Ibrahim, with their son Ismail. As is well known, the Well of Zam Zam gushed forth, the tribe of Jurhum arrived, and a community began to thrive there.

Some 3,000 years later ‘Abdul-Muttalib would sleep by the Kaaba with his grandson Muhammad. Here the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had animal entrails thrown on his head, the companions were persecuted, Abu Bakr beaten almost to death.

In the grounds of the sacred mosque would have been the homes of numerous Prophetic companions, as well as ardent adversaries of Islam and its Muslim adherents. This ancient land is rich with sacred history and it is knowledge of this history which brings to the fore of one’s mind the grave significance of the ground on which pilgrims sit reading Quran and making ritual prayer. The Mosque in Makkah is breathtakingly beautiful and conducive to deep introspection and worship, but it is the knowledge of over 4,000 years of history which really renders a pilgrim to tears. It is that history which one must study in depth before embarking on the Hajj journey.

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