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The Kaba: Its Size and History

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Post The Kaba: Its Size and History   Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:17 pm

The
small, cubed building known as the Kaba may not rival skyscrapers in
height or mansions in width, but its impact on history and human beings
is unmatched.The Kaba is the building
towards which Muslims face five times a day, everyday, in prayer. This
has been the case since the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace and
blessings be upon him) over 1400 years ago.The Size of the Kaba:The current height of the Kaba is 39 feet, 6 inches and total size comes to 627 square feet.The
inside room of the Kaba is 13X9 meters. The Kaba's walls are one meter
wide. The floor inside is 2.2 meters higher than the place where people
perform Tawaf.The ceiling and roof are two levels made out of wood. They were reconstructed with teak which is capped with stainless steel.The walls are all made of stone. The stones inside are unpolished, while the ones outside are polished.This
small building has been constructed and reconstructed by Prophets Adam,
Ibrahim, Ismail and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). No other
building has had this honor.Yet, not very much is known about the details of this small but significant building.Did you know the Kaba was reconstructed as recently as close to four years ago?Did you know that the Kaba has been subjected to danger by natural disasters like flooding, as well as human attacks?If
you didn't keep reading. You'll find some rarely heard of information
discussed below and discover facts about the Kaba many are unaware of.The other names of the KabaLiterally,
Kaba in Arabic means a high place with respect and prestige. The word
Kaba may also be derivative of a word meaning a cube.Some of these other names include:Bait ul Ateeq-which
means, according to one meaning, the earliest and ancient. According to
the second meaning, it means independent and liberating. Both meanings
could be takenBait ul Haram-the honorable houseThe Kaba has been reconstructed up to 12 timesScholars and historians say that the Kaba has been reconstructed between five to 12 times.The
very first construction of the Kaba was done by Prophet Adam (peace be
upon him). Allah says in the Quran that this was the first house that
was built for humanity to worship Allah.After
this, Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail (peace be upon them) rebuilt the Kaba.
The measurements of the Kaba's Ibrahimic foundation are as follows:-the eastern wall was 48 feet and 6 inches -the Hateem side wall was 33 feet-the side between the black stone and the Yemeni corner was 30 feet-the Western side was 46.5 feet Following this, there were several constructions before the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be uponj him) 's time.Reconstruction of Kaba by QuraishProphet Muhammad participated in one of its reconstructions before he became a Prophet.After a flash flood, the Kaba was damaged and its walls cracked. It needed rebuilding.This responsibility was divided among the Quraish's four tribes. Prophet Muhammad helped with this reconstruction.Once the walls were erected, it was time to place the Black Stone, (the Hajar ul Aswad) on the eastern wall of the Kaba.Arguments
erupted about who would have the honor of putting the Black Stone in
its place. A fight was about to break out over the issue, when Abu
Umayyah, Makkah's oldest man, proposed that the first man to enter the
gate of the mosque the following morning would decide the matter. That
man was the Prophet. The Makkans were ecstatic. "This is the
trustworthy one (Al-Ameen)," they shouted in a chorus. "This is
Muhammad".He came to them and they asked him to decide on the matter. He agreed.Prophet
Muhammad proposed a solution that all agreed to-putting the Black Stone
on a cloak, the elders of each of the clans held on to one edge of the
cloak and carried the stone to its place. The Prophet then picked up
the stone and placed it on the wall of the Kaba.Since
the tribe of Quraish did not have sufficient funds, this reconstruction
did not include the entire foundation of the Kaba as built by Prophet
Ibrahim. This is the first time the Kaba acquired the cubical shape it
has now unlike the rectangle shape which it had earlier. The portion of
the Kaba left out is called Hateem now.Construction After the Prophet's Time-Abdullah ibn az-ZubayrThe
Syrian army destroyed the Kaba in Muharram 64 (Hijri date) and before
the next Hajj Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him,
reconstructed the Kaba from the ground up.Ibn az-Zubayr wanted to make the Kaba how the Prophet Muhammad wanted it, on the foundation of the Prophet Ibrahim.Ibn
az-Zubayr said, "I heard Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) say,
'The Prophet said: "If your people had not quite recently abandoned the
Ignorance (Unbelief), and if I had sufficient provisions to rebuild it
[the Kaba], I would have added five cubits to it from the Hijr. Also, I
would make two doors; one for people to enter therein and the other to
exit." (Bukhari). Ibn az-Zubayr said, "Today, I can afford to do it and
I do not fear the people. Ibn az-Zubayr
built the Kaba on Prophet Ibrahim's foundation. He put the roof on
three pillars with the wood of Aoud (a perfumed wood with aroma which
is traditionally burned to get a good smell out of it in Arabia).In
his construction he put two doors, one facing the east the other facing
the west, as the Prophet wanted but did not do in his lifetime.He
rebuilt the Kaba on the Prophet Ibrahim's foundation, which meant that
the Hateem area was included. The Hateem is the area adjacent to the
Kaba enclosed by a low semi-circular wall.Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr also made the following additions and modifications:-put a small window close to the roof of the Kaba to allow for light. -moved the door of the Kaba to ground level and added a second door to the Kaba.-added nine cubits to the height of the Kaba, making it twenty cubits high. -its walls were two cubits wide. -reduced the pillars inside the House to three instead of six as were earlier built by Quraish. For
reconstruction, ibn az-Zubayr put up four pillars around Kaba and hung
cloth over them until the building was completed. People began to do
Tawaf around these pillars at all times, so Tawaf of the Kaba was never
abandoned, even during reconstruction.During Abdul Malik bin Marwan's timeIn
74 Hijri (or 693 according to the Gregorian calendar), Al-Hajjaj bin
Yusuf al-Thaqafi, the known tyrant of that time, with the approval of
Umayyad Khalifa Abdul Malik bin Marwan, demolished what Ibn az-Zubayr
had added to it from the older foundation of Prophet Ibrahim, restore
its old structure as the Quraish had had it.Some of the changes he made were the following:-he rebuilt it in the smaller shape which is found today -took out the Hateem-walled up the western door (whose signs are still visible today) and left the rest as it was-pulled down the wall in the Hateem area.

-removed the wooden ladder Ibn az-Zubayr had put inside the Kaba.-reduced the door's height by five cubits When
Abdul Malik bin Marwan came for Umra and heard the Hadith that it was
wish of Prophet for the Kaba to be constructed the way Abdullah ibn
az-Zubayr had built it, he regretted his actions.Imam Malik's advice to the Khalifa Harun al RasheedAbbasi
Khalifa Harun al Rasheed wanted to rebuild the Kaba the way the Prophet
Muhammad wanted and the way Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr built it.But
when he consulted Imam Malik, the Imam asked the Khalifa to change his
mind because constant demolition and rebuilding is not respectful and
would become a toy in the hands of kings. Each one would want to
demolish and rebuild the Kaba.Based on
this advice, Harun al Rasheed did not reconstruct the Kaba. The
structure remained in the same construction for 966 years, with minor
repairs here and there.Reconstruction during Sultan Murad Khan's timeIn the year 1039 Hijri, because of heavy rain, flood and hail, two of the Kaba's walls fell down.The
flood during which this occurred took place on the 19th of Shaban 1039
Hijri which continued constantly, so the water in the Kaba became
almost close to half of its walls, about 10 feet from the ground level.On Thursday the 20th of Shaban 1039 Hijri, the eastern and western walls fell down.When flood receded on Friday the 21st of Shaban, the cleanup started.Again,
a curtain, the way Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr established on 4 pillars, was
put up, and the reconstruction started on the 26th of Ramadan. The rest
of the walls except for the one near the Black Stone, were demolished.By
the 2nd of Zul-Hijjah 1040 the construction was taking place under the
guidance of Sultan Murad Khan, the Ottoman Khalifa. From the point of
the Black stone and below, the current construction is the same as that
done by Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr.The
construction which was done under the auspices of Murad Khan was
exactly the one done at the time of Abdul Malik ibn Marwan which is the
way the Quraysh had built it before Prophethood.On
Rajab 28 1377, One historian counted the total stones of the Kaba and
they were 1,614. These stones are of different shapes. But the stones
which are inside the outer wall which is visible are not counted in
there.Reconstruction of the Kaba In 1996A major reconstruction of the Kaba took place between May 1996 and October 1996.This was after a period of about 400 years (since Sultan Murad Khan's time).During
this reconstruction the only original thing left from the Kaba are the
stones. All other material has been replaced including the ceiling and
the roof and its wood.What is inside the Kaba?Dr.
Muzammil Siddiqi is the president of the Islamic Society of North
America (ISNA). He had the opportunity to go inside the Kaba in October
1998. In an interview with Sound Vision, he described the following
features:>-there are two pillars inside (others report 3 pillars) -there is a table on the side to put items like perfume-there are two lantern-type lamps hanging from the ceiling-the space can accommodate about 50 people-there are no electric lights inside-the walls and floors are of marble-there are no windows inside-there is only one door-the upper inside walls of the Kaba were covered with some kind of curtain with the Kalima written on it
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