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Quran 2:125 - We have rendered the shrine (the Kaaba) a focal point for the people, and a safe sanctuary. You may use Abraham's shrine as a prayer house. We commissioned Abraham and Ishmael: "You shall purify My house for those who visit, those who live there, and those who bow and prostrate."

The Kaaba 1

The rectangular photograph shows the inside of the Great Mosque in Saudi Arabia.  The Kaaba is in the upper left corner and is a black square building.  The Kaaba is covered with a black cloth that has gold decorations in 2 thick lines around the Kaaba.  Around the Kaaba in a wide circle are people, mostly military in uniforms.  Around them are masses of people circling the Kaaba.  At the bottom of the picture are heads and shoulders of people that must be on a second level of the Great Mosque looking down at the Kaaba.  At the top of the picture and behind the Kaaba are the arches that surround the inside of the Great Mosque.

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This picture of the Kaaba was taken during the annual washing, before the beginning of Hajj.

The Kaaba 2

The almost square picture has several men standing on the steps leading into the Kaaba; they start at the bottom center of the picture and go up perhaps 7 stairs.  Some men are dressed in military uniforms and some wearing white thobes (long loose robes) with red and white ghutras or all white qhutras (head scarves).  Four men have their thobes covered by long black or brown cloaks known as bisht or mishlah.  At the bottom of the picture you can see the large grayish blocks with tan mortar that is now the exterior of the Kaaba.  The Kiswa (the cloth that covers the Kaaba) has the bottom rolled up so that you see the white inside material and it makes a white stripe about one -third up from the bottom of the picture. Above the white bottom strip of the Kiswa and to the top of the picture is the black cloth that makes up the Kiswa. At the top of the photo you can see some of the gold embroidered band that is Arabic lettering spelling out text from the Quran. The doorway into the Kaaba is almost in the middle and is lined with white on both sides and a curved white arch is above.

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After the cleansing ceremony the Kaaba is then recovered with a new dark silk highly embroidered cloth known as the Kiswa.

The Black Stone

The image is rectangular in shape with the oval shaped Black Stone in the middle;. Around the Black Stone is a large silver collar holding the stone together.  The collar is oval in shape with the narrow almost pointed ends pointed up towards the sky and down towards the ground. Around the edges of the collar you can see the brownish large blocks put together with off-white mortar that now cover the outside of the Kaaba.

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The Black Stone is located on the eastern corner of the Kaaba and the photograph above shows how it is encased in a silver band.

The Kaaba 4

In the picture you can clearly see the intricate gold embroidered black Kiswa that covers the Kaaba. Hundreds of people dressed in white are standing on the white floor of the Great Mosque and are encompassing the Kaaba.  Behind the Kaaba you can see the pillars and arches that make up the inside walls of the Great Mosque and are tan and white in color.

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In the picture above you can clearly see the intricate gold embroidered Kiswa that covers the Kaaba.

Photograph by Abu Zayd of Webshots Community: Umrah 2005

The Kaaba (a square building) is the 'House of God', where the divine touches the mundane and it is toward the Kaaba that Muslims face during their prayers. The Kaaba is located in the courtyard of the Great Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. According to the Koran, the cubic-shaped structure was built by Adam according to a divine plan. When Ibrahim (also known as Abraham) was ordered by Allah to build a Shrine for worship he uncovered the original foundation of the Kaaba built by Adam. Ibrahim with the help of his son Ismael (also known as Ishmael) erected the new shrine on the original foundation. When the Prophet Muhammad began to preach to the people of Mecca the Kaaba was a shrine for the pagan deities of the Arabs. After the Prophet established control of Mecca, the shrine was rededicated to Allah. Around the Kaaba is a restricted area, haram, extending in some directions as far as 12 miles (19.3 kilometers), into which only Muslims may enter.

The actual structure of the Kaaba has been demolished and rebuilt several times in the course of its history and was originally four walls without a roof. The Kaaba is now a cubed shaped one room structure that is about 60 feet high (18.3 meters), 60 feet wide from east to west and 60 feet from north to south. A door is fixed about 7 feet (2.1 meters) above ground level facing north east.

The Black Stone, or the Kaaba Stone, is set on the outside of the eastern corner of the Kaaba and is about 5 feet (1.5 meters) above the ground. The stone is a dark reddish brown color and its diameter is about 12 inches (30.5 centimeters). The Black Stone is now in pieces, three large parts and smaller fragments, which are now encased in a massive silver band. It is presumed to be of pre-Islamic origin, possibly meteoric and has always been the dark color it is because it was burned as it fell through the atmosphere. Some Muslims believe that this stone fell from the sky during the time of Adam and has the power to cleanse worshippers of their sins by absorbing them into itself. For these, the Black Stone is believed to have originally been colored white, but it turned black because of the sins it has absorbed over the years. Others believe the stone was given to Ismael by the angel Gabriel in order to provide the cornerstone for the Kaaba. The Black Stone is kissed by all who can gain access to it but is not considered idol worship. The single most important reason for kissing the stone is that Prophet Muhammad did so. No devotional significance whatsoever is attached to the stone.



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