The Erection of the Ka’bah

Heidi Mahmoud Kheyamy

22 Jan 2018

The Ka’bah was reported to have been built for the first time by the angels, after which the reconstruction of the Ka’bah was undertaken more than once. The first rebuilding began when Adam re-erected it.  Then it was reconstructed by Ibrahim and Ismael (PBUTh). During Jahiliyah, the Period of Ignorance which preceded the revelation of Islam to the prophet, Quraish rebuilt the Ka’bah and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) participated in this event.

The tribes of Quraish at that time wanted to build a roof for the Ka'bah as it was a mere arrangement of stones with no mortar. It was not very high, enabling thieves to steal its treasures which were in a well inside the building.

Quraish had previously used the wood of a shattered ship belonging to a Roman merchant, to make the roof for the Ka'bah. But people were afraid to pull the Ka'bah down, until Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah encouraged them by starting to pull it down himself. After they saw that nothing happened to him, they helped him pull it down. The tribes of Quraish collected stones to rebuild the Ka'bah but when it came to putting the black stone in its place, they started to argue. Every tribe wanted the honor of putting the black stone in its place. They were about to fight, when they finally agreed to let the first man who would enter through the Al-Safa gate of to resolve the problem. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the one who entered through the gate, so they said: "This is the trustworthy Muhammad, we accept his judgment."  They told him the problem and he asked for a cloak and put the black stone on it. Then he said: "let every leader of each tribe hold an edge of the cloak, so you may all lift it together." They followed his instructions and when they reached the place of the black stone, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) put it in its place himself.

Nearly a decade later, when Abdullah bin Az-Zubair refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid bin Mu'awiyah, he took refuge in Makkah. When Yazid got wind of this, he sent an army to arrest him. The army under the command of Al-Husain bin Numair moved to Makkah in 64 AH (After Hijrah) and fought Ibn Az-Zubair for a few days. During the war, Ibn Az-Zubair and his companions erected a barricade around the Ka'bah. There were many tents around the Ka’bah, which was covered by cloth, and when one of the tents caught fire, the Ka'bah was ravaged by the fire. The Makkans and the Syrians were petrified. Ibn Az-Zubair sent some people from Quraish and other tribes to tell Al-Husain that Yazid had passed away, and he told them to ask him: "Why are we still fighting?" "Go back to Syria and see what will happen regarding the new caliph." The people tried to convince him to approve, and finally he agreed and went back to Syria.

On the fifth of Rabi'ul-Akhir 64 AH Ibn Az-Zubair assembled with the nobles and leaders of the tribes to discuss pulling down the Ka'bah. Most of the people opposed the decision. Ibn Az-Zubair spent some days discussing the matter with them and finally they agreed to pull it down. He wanted to rebuild it according the report of 'A'isha, the wife of Allah's Prophet (PBUH), that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said to her: “Didn't you see that when your people built the Ka'ba, they reduced (its area with the result is that it no longer remains) on the foundations (laid) by Ibrahim. I said: Messenger of Allah, why don't you rebuild it on the foundations (laid by) Ibrahim? Thereupon Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said: Had your people not been new converts to Islam, I would have done that.” [Sahih Muslim, 1333 c]

So, Ibn Az-Zubair did that. He pulled down the Ka’bah and reconstructed it on the foundations of Ibrahim (PUH). He joined the Hijr with the Ka’bah and installed two doors, one on the east side and another one on the west side of the Ka’bah.

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