The Kaaba in Mecca
Al Haram, Mecca 24231, Saudi-Arabia
No other place in the world emits such a magic and mystical aura, like the Kaaba, which is located in the courtyard of the Holy Mosque in the city of Mecca. Every year millions of Muslim pilgrims come to Mecca to round the Kaaba according to strict rituals. This place of power which is unique in the world, is the center of the Islamic prayer ritual. All Muslims bow in their daily prayers, in the direction of Mecca.
Open only twice a year!
Since Mecca is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, only the followers of his teachings are allowed to enter this sacred area. Only believers who have already undergone the spiritually cleansing are allowed to enter the Grand Mosque in Mecca and approach the Holy Kaaba. Not only is the ritual circling of this place is considered a devout ritual, during the pilgrimage to Mecca. But just looking at the Kaaba is considered a prayer ritual.
The inner room is opened only twice a year. The ceremonial cleansing of this holy place is performed exactly 15 days before the start of Ramadan. Only a small number of invited dignitaries and diplomats are allowed to participate in this ceremony. After cleaning the area with a broom, the broom is then washed with a Zamzam and rose water mixture. After that, the members of the Bani Schaiba then reseal the Kaaba again and keep the key safe until the next opening.
According to Islamic tradition the Kaaba was built by Abraham and his son. The Kaaba is 12 meters long, 10 meters wide and 15 meters high. Standing on a marble pedestal, draped with black brocade, the four corners of the building pointing towards the four respective cardinal points. The northern corner is called the Iraqi corner. The Levantine corner lies in the west and the Yemenite corner in the south. The corner pointing to the east, gave the name to a black monolith. This one is attached on eye level. As a black monolith it has been assigned an extreme amount of importance to it.
There have been numerous assumptions and legends as to where such a black monolith has come from. From a geological point of view this black monolith is a meteorite. The traditions also state that this black monolith is a meteorite, which however fell into the Garden of Eden, so that it could absorb Adam's sins. According to legend however it turned from a previously white stone into a black monolith, which changed its color by absorbing the sins of mankind. Others believe, a black monolith was given to Abraham by the archangel Gabriel as a foundation-stone for the construction of the Kaaba.
When a fire in the 7th century destroyed the Kaaba in Mecca, the building was completely torn down under protest. Only after Abdallah ibn az-Zubair who was responsible for it, proved through self initiative that no punishment of God was to be expected did the inhabitants return to Mecca again. Later, after the reconstruction, the different Quraisch clans argued about who would be allowed to reattach the black monolith. Muhammed is said to have put the controversy to rest with a wise decision, by putting the black stone on a blanket. All members of the clan held it, so that Muhammed could attach it.
The stone, meanwhile known as black monolith, would be exposed to calamities on more occasions. In 931 it was stolen and returned only 20 years later to its place of destination, the Kaaba in Mecca. It also survived the flooding of 1630, which heavily damaged Mecca and the Kaaba, intact. In certain religions or cultures it is said it has religious or ritual meaning as the black monolith. The Kaaba in Mecca is considered an important strength place all over the world.