What is the history of kaba? What is the hajj? What is the religious history of kaba blackstone? What is the history and origin of the hajj? Why is the Hajj important in history?
Kaʿba literally means “Bayt al-Ḥaram in Mecca, square house, room”. In the city of Mecca, in the middle of the Masjid al-Ḥaram, the four-cornered building made of stone, approximately 13 meters high, 12 meters tall, and 11 meters wide, is called the Kaʿba. By this, it is meant Baytullāh (the house of Allah). In addition, there is the phrase “al-Bayt al-Ḥaram” meaning sacred house, and the phrase “al-Bayt al-Aṭīq” meaning old house in two verses. The name “Kaʿba” is only mentioned twice in the Qur’an.
According to what we learn from the Qur’an, Baytullāh is the first temple built on earth. “The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka: Full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings.” Upon a question from Abu Dharr (ra), one of the Companions, the Prophet (saw) responded stated that the first mosque built on earth was “Masjid al-Ḥaram” and the second one was “Masjid al-Aqṣā”, and that there was a period of forty years between these two. Allah has made Baytullāh a place of gathering and security for the realization of lofty goals. In the verse, “We made the Baytullāh a place of assembly for men and a place of safety.”
According to a narration, the Kaʿba was first built by angels from light, and the prophets Adam (as) and Seth (as) constructed it in the form of a building, but the place of the temple as a building was lost during Noah’s flood.
It is stated in the Qur’an that it was Ibrahim and his son Ismāʿil who built the Kaʿba. This should be considered the second construction. It is reported that these two prophets moved to the Hijaz region. Ibrahim’s prophethood started in Iraq and southern Anatolia. After he met Nimrod, who had declared himself a god, and after the destruction of his nation, he went to Palestine and continued his mission of preaching and guidance there for a long time. As a result of the emotional rivalry and jealousy between his first wife, Sarah, and his second wife Hagar, he had to settle Hagar in another region. Ibrahim took Hagar and her young son Ismāʿil and took them to Hijaz, where the current Zamzam well is located. At that time no city of Mecca existed and no people were living in that region. So, when he wanted to leave them there with a water skin of water and some food, Hagar asked whether this migration was by Allah’s command. When Ibrahim (as) said that he was given revelation, Hagar showed forbearance and surrendered herself to God by saying, “Then, Allah will not let His servants be harmed, you may go.”
Hagar and Ismāʿil’s migration from Palestine is similarly described in the Torah. Sarah gave birth to Isaac and at the feast given when he was weaning, she got angry with some of the behaviors of Ismāʿil, who was 14 years old at the time, and said to Ibrahim (as), “Send this concubine and her son to another place; for this concubine’s son cannot inherit together with my son Isaac.” Upon this, Ibrahim sent Hagar and her son Ismāʿil, by the order of Allah, and they went to the Beer-Sheba desert and started to live there. The place specified in the Torah is the Hijaz region.
While leaving there, Ibrahim supplicated with the following words, “O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House; in order, O our Lord, that they may establish regular Prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits: so that they may give thanks.”
While Hagar was commuting between Safa and Merve hills in search of water, water started to gush from the place where her son Ismāʿil was, as a blessing from Allah Almighty. Seeing this, Hagar began to call out loud “zam-zam (stop-stop)” to prevent the water from flowing away. Though this hot region suddenly was pouring out such quality abundant water that would not stop flowing, and it still has not, and God-willing will continue as long as the world stands. A short time later, an originally Arab tribe of Jurhūm, who was on the move, realized the presence of water from the movement of the birds and came there after altering their course. Hagar allowed them to get water, and they took care of Hagar and her son’s milk and food requirements. The tribe of Jurhūm, who settled in this place, which had been an abandoned valley after Noah’s Flood, constituted the first founders and first people of the city of Mecca.
After that, Ibrahim came to the Hijaz from time to time, and when his son Ismāʿil grew up, they built the Kaʿba together on the foundations shown by an angel. The event is described as follows in the Qur’an, “Behold! We gave the site, to Ibrahim, of the (Sacred) House, (saying): ‘Associate not anything (in worship) with Me; and sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or stand up, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer).’”
While the Kaʿba was being built, Ismāʿil carried stones from the surrounding area, and Ibrahim built the walls of the Kaʿba. When the walls rose and became inaccessible from the ground, Ismāʿil (as) brought the stone, which is now called “Maqām Ibrahīm”. And Ibrahim used this stone as a scaffold. The stone called “Ḥajar al-Aswad (black stone)” brought from Abu Qubays Mountain was placed in the corner where it is still located today, as a sign of the starting point of circumambulation.
When the walls of the House or Temple were risen, “And remember Abraham and Ismāʿil raised the foundations of the House (With this prayer)”, Ibrahim and Ismāʿil prayed the following supplication, “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For You are the All-Hearing, the All-knowing. Our Lord! make of us Muslims, bowing to Your (Will), and of our progeny, a people Muslim, bowing to Your (will); and show us our place for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for You are the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. Our Lord! send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall rehearse Your Signs to them and instruct them in scripture and wisdom, and sanctify them: For You are the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”
This prayer of Ibrahim was accepted and many of the prophets after him descended from his lineage. According to this, the prophets from the Children of Israel up to Jesus came from the lineage of his father Ibrahim through Ishāq (as), and the last Prophet Muhammad’s lineage goes back to Ibrahim through Ismāʿil. That is why the Prophet (saw) said, “I have been honored with the prayer of my father Ibrahim, the good news of my brother Isa, and my mother’s dream.” Furthermore, in a hadith narrated by Ibn Ujra, it is stated that Muslims pray to Allah for Ibrahim and his descendants by reciting the supplications of “taḥiyyāt” and “Allāhumma ṣalli and Allāhumma bārik” in all the ritual prayers is a form of thanks giving of this ancient supplication of Ibrahim. Moreover, these supplications serve as a constant link between Islam and previous divine religions.
When the construction of the Kaʿba was finished, Ibrahim was asked to invite all people to pilgrimage, “And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men: they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways.”
After that, Ibrahim went to the mountain of Abu Qubays from where he called out in all directions and exclaimed that Allah made it obligatory upon all people to visit the Kaʿba and perform the pilgrimage.
After Ibrahim made this announcement, Jibril (as) is reported to have come and taught him how to perform the pilgrimage, saʿy, waqfa, and other pilgrimage rituals such as stoning the devil. In the meantime, the angel recommended that he should erect a stone as a distinguishing mark, showing the boundaries of the Ḥaram al-Sharīf. This was an important practical training and this method and application of pilgrimage were taught later to the people of Hijaz by the prophet Ismāʿil. In the meantime, it is reported that prophet Isḥāq came to the Hijaz and performed a pilgrimage with his elder brother Ismāʿil (as).
For centuries after that, the Kaʿba and Masjid al-Aqṣā in Jerusalem continued to be visited as sacred places during the times of various prophets. Although the Kaʿba was full of idols before Islam, the people of the region, the Yemenis, and the rulers of Iran (Persia) visited it.
The Kaʿba has been repaired many times since its first construction. Some of these are simple repairs, while others are fundamental repairs. In fact, the Kaʿba, which was repaired during the time of the Prophet’s great grandfather Qusay, was destroyed by fire and flood when Muhammad was 35 years old. That was when the Quraysh decided to rebuild the Kaʿba but no one dared to break down its walls. Walid Ibn Mughira started the demolition by saying, “We want to build a better one, we have no bad intentions”. While the construction was in progress, a disagreement arose over the replacement of Ḥajar al-Aswad since each tribe wanted to place it themselves. When the dispute could not be resolved, they agreed to select the first person who would enter the Safa gate of the Masjid al-Ḥaram to be their arbitrator. After a while, it was Muhammad that entered from the gate. Afterward, he placed the stone on a mat and asked the tribal representatives to hold it by every side and himself put the Stone in its place, and each tribe shared in this honor.
The construction of the Kaʿba by Abdullah Ibn Zubayr (d. 72/691): Umayyad Caliph Yazid sent an army to Mecca in the 63rd year of Hijrah. The Kaʿba was stoned with catapults and a fire broke out. Yet Mecca could not be captured, and Yazid’s army returned defeated. Abdullah Ibn Zubayr (ra), who was the current Emir of Mecca, had the foundations of the Kaʿba dug for the height of one and a half man and rebuilt with large stones according to Ibrahim’s main foundations. These foundations were kept open for 8 days for the public to see. A five zira long section from the Hatim (Hijr) area was added to the Kaʿba and a door was opened on its west side. This is because there are hadiths that inform us that the inner part of the half-crescent wall called Hijr is also included in the Kaʿba. It is also reported that the graves of Ismāʿil and Hajar are located here. Therefore, circumambulations are performed from the outer part of this half-crescent wall.
The construction of Kaʿba by Ḥajjāj: The Umayyad Caliph Abdulmalik Ibn Marwān (d. 86/705) sent Ḥajjāj Ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafī (d. 95/714) to Mecca with an army. Ḥajjāj destroyed the Kaʿba and entered Mecca and Abdullah ibn Zubayr, the Emir of Mecca, was killed. When the caliph Abdulmalik was informed of the situation he ordered that the additions made by Abdullah Ibn Zubayr should be restored and the Kaʿba should be repaired from the foundation.
Repair of Kaʿba by Sultan Murad IV: During the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV (1623 to 1640), water entered the Ḥaram al-Sharīf due to flooding and heavy rains, some walls were demolished and the ground was filled with stones and sand at the height of a man. The situation was reported to Istanbul and Naqīb al-Ashrāf Mehmet Efendi from Ankara was sent to the Hijaz. The foundation stones laid by Ibrahim were recovered and repaired. However, the upper part of Ḥajar al-Aswad was damaged so it was repaired and placed into a copper casing for protection.
 Al-Mā’ida, 5: 2, 97. Al-Ḥajj, 22: 29. Al-Mā’ida, 5: 95, 97. Āl ʿImrān, 3: 96. For more information about Ka’ba see Old Testament, Psalms, LXXXIV, 6, 7, Judges, XVIII, 31. Al-Bukhari, Anbiya, 10. Al-Baqara, 2: 125. Al-Zabidī, ibid, VI, 13. See Torah, Genesis, 21/1-5, 8-21; Ahmet Güç, Çeşitli Dinlerde ve İslam’da Kurban, Düşünce Kitabevi, Bursa 2003, p. 149. Ibrahim, 14: 37. Al-Zabidī, Tecrid-i Sarih Tercemesi, Kamil Miras, Ankara 1984, VI, 13 ff. Al-Ḥajj, 22: 26. Al-Baqara, 2: 127-129. Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, IV, 127, 128, V, 262. Al-Zabidī, ibid, VI, VI, 18, 19. For these invocations see al-Bukhari, Tafsīru surah 33/ 10, Anbiya, 10, Da’awāt, 31, 32; Muslim, Ṣalāh, 65, 66, 69; Abū Dawūd, Ṣalāh, 179; al-Nasā’ī, Sahw, 49. Al-Ḥajj, 22: 27. Al-Zabidī, ibid, VI, 20, 21. Al-Zabidī, ibid, VI, 21.