The cube-shaped structure is roughly 50 feet (15 metres) high, and it is about 35 by 40 feet (10 by 14 metres) at its base. 'Honored Ka'bah'), is a building at the center of Islam's most important mosque, the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Shia definition is - the Muslims of the branch of Islam comprising sects believing in Ali and the Imams as the only rightful successors of Muhammad and in the concealment and messianic return of the last recognized Imam. [8] The iconography in the Kaaba also included paintings of other prophets and angels. In the Qur'an, the Ka'bah is also mentioned by the following names: The masjid surrounding the Kaaba is called al-Masjid al-Haram ("The Sacred Mosque"). The Kaaba has been repaired and reconstructed many times. [18] According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "before the rise of Islam, it was revered as a sacred sanctuary and was a site of pilgrimage. When the month of pilgrimages (Dhū al-Ḥijjah) is over, a ceremonial washing of the Kaaba takes place; religious officials as well as pilgrims take part. Circling the Kaaba seven times counterclockwise, known as Tawaf (Arabic: طواف‎, romanized: tawaaf), is an obligatory rite for the completion of the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages. The town is absent, however, from any known geographies or histories written in the three centuries before the rise of Islam. The Ka'aba is 40' cube style building made of granite, and rests on a marble base. The Bāb ut-Tawbah—on the right wall (right of the entrance) opens to an enclosed staircase that leads to a hatch, which itself opens to the roof. [8], al-Azraqi provides the following narrative on the authority of his grandfather:[8], I have heard that there was set up in al-Bayt (referring to the Kaaba) a picture (Arabic: تمثال‎, romanized: Timthal, lit. It is located inside the Grand Mosque in Makkah (Mecca) Saudi Arabia. Kaaba definition is - a small stone building in the court of the Great Mosque at Mecca that contains a sacred black stone and is the goal of Islamic pilgrimage and the point toward which Muslims turn in … Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. The Kaaba and the Mataaf are surrounded by pilgrims every day of the Islamic year, except the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah, known as the Day of Arafah, on which the cloth covering the structure, known as the Kiswah (Arabic: كسوة‎, romanized: Kiswah, lit. The wall directly adjacent to the entrance of the Kaaba has six tablets inlaid with inscriptions, and there are several more tablets along the other walls. [Petersen, Andrew. He secured a peace treaty with them, the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, which allowed the Muslims to freely perform pilgrimage at the Kaaba from the following year. [56][55][57], Narrated Abdullah: When the Prophet entered Mecca on the day of the conquest, there were 360 idols around the Kaaba. [1] It is the most sacred site in Islam. The Kaaba marked the location where the sacred world intersected with the profane; the embedded Black Stone was a further symbol of this as a meteorite that had fallen from the sky and linked heaven and earth. Caretakers anoint the marble cladding with the same scented oil used to anoint the Black Stone outside. [44] However, Ian D. Morris argues that Gibbon had misread the source: Diodorus puts the temple too far north for it to have been Mecca.[45]. Kaaba,the central, cubic, stone structure, covered by a black cloth, within the Great Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. [23], The Qur'an contains several verses regarding the origin of the Kaaba. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Kaaba-shrine-Mecca-Saudi-Arabia, Sacred Destinations - Kaaba, Mecca, Saudi Arabia, The David Collection - Mecca and the Kaaba. ", Ibn Kathir, in his famous exegesis (tafsir) of the Quran, mentions two interpretations among the Muslims on the origin of the Kaaba. [3][4] According to the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, 6,791,100 pilgrims arrived for the Umrah pilgrimage in the Islamic year 1439 AH,[a] a 3.6% increase from the previous year, with 2,489,406 others arriving for the 1440 AH Hajj. Kaaba, also spelled Kaʿbah, small shrine located near the centre of the Great Mosque in Mecca and considered by Muslims everywhere to be the most sacred spot on Earth. Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasūl Allāh, one of the biographies of Muhammad (as reconstructed and translated by Guillaume), describes Muhammad settling a quarrel between the Meccan clans as to which clan should set the Black Stone in its place. Ibn Kathir regarded this tradition as weak and preferred instead the narration by Ali ibn Abi Talib that although several other temples might have preceded the Kaaba, it was the first Bayt Allah ("House of God"), dedicated solely to Him, built by His instruction, and sanctified and blessed by Him, as stated in Quran 22:26–29. - Definition, Pilgrimage & History to learn more. …to a local shrine, the Kaʿbah. Many Muslim and academic historians stress the power and importance of the pre-Islamic Mecca. [8] The pair of ram's horns were said to have belonged to the ram sacrificed by Ibrahim in place of his son Ishmael as held by Islamic tradition. According to tradition, this stone was given to Adam on his expulsion from paradise in order to obtain forgiveness of his sins. [7] Various sculptures and paintings were held inside the Kaaba. The Kaaba is a cube-shaped building in Mecca held to be sacred both by Muslims and pre-Islamic polytheistic tribes. The Kaaba returned to the cube shape it had taken during Muhammad's time. Caaba: 1 n (Islam) a black stone building in Mecca that is shaped like a cube and that is the most sacred Muslim pilgrim shrine; believed to have been given by Gabriel to Abraham; Muslims turn in its direction when praying Synonyms: Kaaba Example of: shrine a place of worship hallowed by association with some sacred thing or person [77][78] To be in a state of Wudu (ablution) is mandatory while performing tawaf as it is considered to be a form of worship ('ibadah). The Qurʾān says of Abraham and Ishmael that they “raised the foundations” of the Kaaba. A Mosque in the area of Medina, possibly: This page was last edited on 13 December 2020, at 22:29. The Saudi Arabian city that attracts millions of religious pilgrims every year is Mecca. Hans Wehr, Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, 1994. It is approximately 13.1 m (43 ft 0 in) tall (some claim 12.03 m or 39 ft 5 1⁄2 in), with sides measuring 11.03 m × 12.86 m (36 ft 2 1⁄2 in × 42 ft 2 1⁄2 in). Apart from praying, Muslims generally consider facing the Qibla while reciting the Quran to be a part of good etiquette. The keys to the Kaaba are held by the Banī Shaybah (Arabic: بني شيبة‎) tribe, an honor bestowed upon them by Muhammad. The ceremony takes place on the 1st of Sha'baan, the eighth month of the Islamic calendar, approximately thirty days before the start of the month of Ramadan and on the 15th of Muharram, the first month. The early history of the Kaaba is not well known, but it is certain that in the period before the rise of Islam it was a polytheist sanctuary and was a site of pilgrimage for people throughout the Arabian Peninsula. A statue of Hubal (the principal idol of Mecca) and statues of other pagan deities are known to have been placed in or around the Kaaba. Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for mankind. The Ka'aba (literally "the cube" in Arabic) is an ancient stone structure that was built and re-built by prophets as a house of monotheistic worship. 'Depiction') of Maryam and 'Isa. According to Ishaq's biography, Muhammad's solution was to have all the clan elders raise the cornerstone on a cloak, after which Muhammad set the stone into its final place with his own hands. According to the Qur'an, the Kaaba was re-built by Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Ismāʿīl (Ishmael). The Kaaba is the holiest site in Islam,[73] and is often called by names such as the Bayt Allah (Arabic: بيت الله‎, romanized: Bayt Allah, lit. Tawaf begins from the corner of the Kaaba with the Black Stone. OK, this isn’t strictly true, but due to a lack of flood defences and … 'Cloth') is changed. [64][65] Inside the Kaaba, the floor is made of marble and limestone. When Muhammad’s forces conquered Mecca in 630, he ordered the destruction of the pagan idols housed in the shrine and ordered it cleansed of all signs of polytheism. Corrections? In 624 CE, Muslims believe the direction of the qibla was changed from the Masjid al-Aqsa to the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, with the revelation of Surah 2, verse 144. There were painti… In Samaritan literature, the Samaritan Book of the Secrets of Moses (Asatir) claims that Ishmael and his eldest son Nebaioth built the Kaaba as well as the city of Mecca. (The name "Kaaba"comes from the Arabic word meaning cube). ", And remember Ibrahim and Ismail raised the foundations of the House (With this prayer): "Our Lord! [15], According to Sarwar, about 400 years before the birth of Muhammad, a man named 'Amr bin Luhayy, who descended from Qahtan and was the king of Hijaz placed an idol of Hubal on the roof of the Kaaba. There was a "Red Stone", in the Kaaba of the South Arabian city of Ghaiman; and the "White Stone" in the Kaaba of al-Abalat (near modern-day Tabala). [81], The Governor of the Makkah Province and accompanying dignitaries clean the interior of the Kaaba using cloths dipped in Zamzam water scented with Oud perfume. Kaaba definition: a cube-shaped building in Mecca , the most sacred Muslim pilgrim shrine , into which is... | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples 'House of God') and is the qibla (Arabic: قِبْلَة‎, direction of prayer) for Muslims around the world when performing salah. The same year, during the reign of Ottoman Emperor Murad IV, the Kaaba was rebuilt with granite stones from Mecca, and the Mosque was renovated. [13] The others also allegedly had counterparts of the Black Stone. Grunebaum in Classical Islam points out that the experience of divinity of that period was often associated with the fetishism of stones, mountains, special rock formations, or "trees of strange growth. Every Muslim who makes the pilgrimage is required to walk around the Kaaba seven times, during which he or she kisses and touches the Black Stone. After the construction was complete, God enjoined the descendants of Ishmael to perform an annual pilgrimage: the Hajj and the Korban, sacrifice of cattle. This short Nestorian (Christian origin) chronicle written no later than the 660s CE covers the history up to the Arab conquest and also gives an interesting note on Arabian geography. They depict it as a city grown rich on the proceeds of the spice trade. Tradition holds that it was originally a simple unroofed rectangular structure. Later, a house of worship was built on the location and was lost during the flood in Noah's time and was finally rebuilt by Abraham and Ishmael as mentioned later in the Quran. (Princeton University Press, 2011), 45–62. ; Kaʿba. Once every lunar year, the Bedouin tribes would make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Not only is it a duty, but it is one of Islam’s five … Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. [43] Edward Gibbon believed that this was the Kaaba. Over 2 million Muslims from around the world are beginning the five-day hajj pilgrimage Sunday. The history and form of the Kaaba The Kaaba was a sanctuary in pre-Islamic times. The building has a mosque built around it, the Masjid al-Haram. the position or rank of a khan. Zamzam water mixed with rose perfume is splashed on the floor and is wiped with palm leaves. Muhammad was driven out of Mecca in 620 C.E. ", After the conquest, Muhammad restated the sanctity and holiness of Mecca, including its Masjid al-Haram, in Islam. The Kaaba is a cuboid-shaped structure made of stones. The Black Stone is said to have been given to the patriarch Abraham by the Archangel Gabriel. [41] A recent study has revisited the arguments for Macoraba and found them unsatisfactory. The Kaaba has since been the focal point of Muslim piety. The Kaaba was a sanctuary in pre-Islamic times. During Muhammad's lifetime (570–632 CE), the Kaaba was considered a holy site by the local Arabs. Muslims believe that Abraham (known as Ibrahim in the Islamic tradition), and his son, Ismail, constructed the Kaaba. Lamp-like objects (possible lanterns or crucible censers) hang from the ceiling. It is much more than a mosque; it is believed to be the place where the heavenly bliss and power touches the earth directly. [5], The literal meaning of the word Ka'bah (Arabic: كعبة‎) is cube.[6]. During the Hajj of 930 CE, the Shi'ite Qarmatians attacked Mecca under Abu Tahir al-Jannabi, defiled the Zamzam Well with the bodies of pilgrims and stole the Black Stone, taking it to the oasis in Eastern Arabia known as al-Aḥsāʾ, where it remained until the Abbasids ransomed it in 952 CE. [58] He performed the Hajj in 632 CE called the Hujjat ul-Wada' ("Farewell Pilgrimage") since Muhammad prophesied his impending death on this event.[59]. This is an early record from the Rashidun caliphate, of a Christian origin that explicitly mentions the Kaaba, and confirms the idea that not just the Arabs but certain Christians as well, associated the site with Abraham in the seventh century. Most Arabs probably viewed this deity as one among many, possessing powers not specific to a particular tribe; others may have identified this figure with…, In Muhammad’s view, the Kaʿbah had been dedicated to the aniconic worship of the one God (Allāh) by Abraham, who fathered the ancestor of the Israelites, Isḥāq (Isaac), as well as the ancestor of the Arabs, Ismāʿīl (Ishmael). "[19] According to historian Eduard Glaser, the name "Kaaba" may have been related to the southern Arabian or Ethiopian word "mikrab", signifying a temple. [11] It is disputed whether Allah and Hubal were the same deity or different. When the idol was moved inside the Kaaba, it had seven arrows in front of it, which were used for divination. [76] The circling is believed to demonstrate the unity of the believers in the worship of the One God, as they move in harmony together around the Kaaba, while supplicating to God. Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an p. 76, Key to numbered parts translated from, accessed 2 December, CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, Al-Muwatta Of Iman Malik Ibn Ana, p. 186, Anas, 2013, Islamic New Year#Gregorian correspondence, "As Hajj begins, more changes and challenges in store", "The Holy Land, Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Qur'an, Sunnah and other Islamic Literary Source", "IN PICTURES: Six doors of Ka'aba over 5,000 years", "Hijazi Rock Inscriptions, Love of the Prophet, and Very Early Islam: Essays from Informed Comment", "Muhammad's Birth and Forty Years prior to Prophethood", "On this day in 683 AD: The Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam, is burned to the ground", "Saudi Arabia's Top Artist Ahmad bin Ibrahim Passes Away", "الرسول شرّف بني شيبة بحمل مفتاح الكعبة حتى قيام الساعة", Ka'bah info: Everything you want to know about the Holy Ka'bah, ibn Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib ibn Hashim, Current Ummah of Islam (Ummah of Muhammad), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kaaba&oldid=994059904, Religious buildings and structures converted into mosques, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from November 2020, Articles with dead external links from November 2020, Wikipedia articles with TDVİA identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, The Agency of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, The entrance is a door set 2.13 m (7 ft 0 in) above the ground on the north-eastern wall of the, This slant structure, covering three sides of the. These key objectives will be accomplished at the completion of the lesson review: Identify how long Mecca has been considered a holy city by Muslims The idol was made of red agate and shaped like a human, but with the right hand broken off and replaced with a golden hand. During Muhammad’s early ministry, the Kaaba was the qiblah, or direction of prayer, for the Muslim community. [62] The Kaaba's appearance has not changed since then. definition: a black stone building in Mecca that is shaped like a cube and that is the most sacred Muslim pilgrim shrine significance: Sacred Muslim site, many pray … The Kaaba is a cube-shaped building in Mecca held to be sacred both by Muslims and pre-Islamic polytheistic tribes. However, the most significant increase in their numbers is during Ramadan and the hajj, when millions of pilgrims gather for tawaf. Located in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, it is the most sacred site in Islam. Pilgrims go around the Kaaba (the most sacred site in Islam) seven times in a counterclockwise direction; the first three at a hurried pace on the outer part of the Mataaf and the latter four times closer to the Kaaba at a leisurely pace. [Quran 2:144][52] In 628 CE, Muhammad led a group of Muslims towards Mecca with the intention of performing the Umrah, but was prevented from doing so by the Quraysh. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. 'Cleaning of the Sacred Cube'). The Kaaba, meaning "cube" in Arabic, is considered by Muslims to be the house of God; it rests within the Grand Mosque of Mecca. 'The Cube', Arabic pronunciation: [kaʕ.bah]), also spelled Ka'bah or Kabah, sometimes referred to as al-Kaʿbah al-Musharrafah (Arabic: ٱلْكَعْبَة ٱلْمُشَرَّفَة‎, romanized: al-Kaʿbah al-Musharrafah, lit. The building predates Islam, and, according to Islamic tradition, the first building at the site was built by Abraham. The most current dimensions for the structure are: 15 m high (49') with sides measuring 10.5 m (34') by 12 m (39'). ", In her book Islam: A Short History, Karen Armstrong asserts that the Kaaba was officially dedicated to Hubal, a Nabatean deity, and contained 360 idols which probably represented the days of the year. Muslims initially considered Jerusalem as their qibla, or prayer direction, and faced toward it while offering prayers; however, pilgrimage to the Kaaba was considered a religious duty though its rites were not yet finalized. Both the roof and ceiling (collectively dual-layered) are made of stainless steel-capped teak wood. Legend has it that the stone was originally white but has become black by absorbing the sins of the countless thousands of pilgrims who have kissed and touched it. [55] According to reports collected by Ibn Ishaq and al-Azraqi, Muhammad spared a painting of Mary and Jesus, and a fresco of Abraham. Accept (this service) from us: For Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-knowing. It is the site of the Kaaba, which is the holiest site in Islam, the central focus of the hajj pilgrimage, and the direction of Muslims’ daily prayers. These include the Creator, the King, the Almighty, and the All-Seer. American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. His first action was to remove statues and images from the Kaaba. [12], Imoti contends that there were numerous such Kaaba sanctuaries in Arabia at one time, but this was the only one built of stone. Updates? Several rituals were adopted in the pilgrimage including doing naked circumambulation. [53], At the culmination of his mission,[54] in 630 CE, after the allies of the Quraysh, the Banu Bakr, violated the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, Muhammad conquered Mecca. Prior to Islam throughout the Arabian Peninsula, the Kaaba was a holy site for the various Bedouin tribes of the area. [74][75] and Bayt Allah al-Haram (Arabic: بيت الله الحرام‎, romanized: Bayt Allah il-Haram, lit. 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). Muslims orient themselves toward this shrine during the five daily prayers, bury their dead facing its meridian, and cherish the ambition of visiting it on pilgrimage, or hajj , in accord with the command set out in the Qurʾān . Muhammad took part in the reconstruction of the Kaaba after its structure was damaged due to floods around 600 CE. Note: The major (long) axis of the Kaaba has been observed to align with the rising of the star Canopus toward which its southern wall is directed, while its minor axis (its east–west facades) roughly align with the sunrise of summer solstice and the sunset of winter solstice.[71][72]. Then he saw the picture of Maryam, so he put his hands on it and he said: "Erase what is in it [the Kaaba] in the way of pictures except the picture of Maryam. The interior contains nothing but the three pillars supporting the roof and a number of suspended silver and gold lamps. Tradition holds that it was originally a simple unroofed rectangular structure. [80] Members of the tribe greet visitors to the inside of the Kaaba on the occasion of the cleaning ceremony. Kaaba (Ka'abah or Ka'ba) Central shrine of Islam, located in the Great Mosque in Mecca.In prayer, Muslims face the meridian that passes through the Kaaba. Beginning Wednesday, nearly 1.5 million people will flock to … Hawting, G.R. This idol was one of the chief deities of the ruling Quraysh tribe. Kaaba, also spelled Kaʿbah, small shrine located near the centre of the Great Mosque in Mecca and considered by Muslims everywhere to be the most sacred spot on Earth. 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