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The Importance of the Holy Kaaba

"Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Makkah – blessed and a guidance for the worlds." (Holy Quran, 3:96)

"In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds." (Holy Quran, 3:97)

The Holy Kaaba is a history within itself. To understand the importance Allah has placed on the Kaaba one must understand how each stone was laid down and the moments of a father and son working side by side, rebuilding the Kaaba, floating on a sea of sand amidst the waves of mountains and scattered hills, surrounded by bareness on each side.

"Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House, our Lord, that they may establish prayer. So make hearts among the people incline toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful." (14:37)

This ayat shows that when Prophet Ibrahim settled his wife and son in the barren lands of Mecca, there were signs showing the presence of the House of Allah, which is also shown in the ayah 3:96, above.

And as Allah wished to chose this desert land as a gathering place for Muslims, glory soon shaded the land of sand and stones.

"And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], "Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing." (2:127).

"Have you not considered, [O Muhammad], how your Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant? Did He not make their plan into misguidance?And He sent against them birds in flocks,Striking them with stones of hard clay,And He made them like eaten straw." (Surah 105).

As Abu Muttalib said during the occasion to the King of Yemen, Abraha, who had come to demolish the Kaaba, "The Kaaba too has a master, who will take care of it." Thus, Allah protected the Kaaba from any damage, using the tiny birds against the elephants, to show that power and victory itself is in the hands of Allah, however impossible it may seem.

"And take, [O believers], from the standing place of Abraham a place of prayer." (2:125).

Maqam-e-Ibrahim is recognised as a stone bearing the footprints of Prophet Ibrahim, whose way of path should be followed, following the footprints of this Prophet of Allah, to ensure one remains steadfast in the right path.

Hajr-e-Aswad, the starting point of the Tawaaf around the Kaaba, has a history which is less well-known (narrated in Safinatul-Bihaar, Volume 1,Sheikh Abbas Qumi) . Hajr-e-Aswad was first angel to bear witness to the oneness of God, and the prophethood of Prophet .Muhammed. Yet his witness went one step further, and declared Imam Ali as the rightful successor to the Prophet. Amongst the angels, there were none who had a greater amount of love Prophet Muhammed and his progeny. It was this stone which proved to the doubtful ones that the next Imam after Imam Hussain, was his son. It was a witness for the Imamat of the 4th Imam, therefore when we pay our respects, by kissing it, we recall it as history does as the witness for Imamat.

In the centre of the Kaaba, there was one personality who became the first and only person to be born in the House of Allah who was none other than the first Imam Ali (a.s.). .As the pagans traditions resulted in 360 idols taking centre place in the Kaaba, the Holy Prophet looked upon this sight with sadness, and following a period of eight years in Madina, returned, to cleanse the House of Allah from idols. It was with Ali on his shoulders that the final and largest idol was removed from the roof of the Kaaba, while reciting the ayah of the Quran, "Truth has come, and falsehood has departed. Indeed is falsehood, [by nature], ever bound to depart." (Holy Quran, 17:81)

From this, one sees that history itself bears witness to the importance which has been placed upon the Kaaba by the Lord of the Worlds, and the words of Nahjul Balagha are used to conclude the importance of fulflling the wajib act of Hajj. Imam Ali says in Nahjul Balagha, when he was wounded by the sword of Ibn-e-Muljim, in letter number 47:

"Keep Allah in view in the matter of Allah's house. Do not forsake it as long as you live, because if it is abandoned, you will not be spared. "

From "Al-Khutbah al-Qasi`ah", Nahjul balagha, Sermon 190:

"Do you not see that Allah, the Glorified, has tried all the people among those who came before, beginning with Adam, upto the last ones in this world with stones which yield neither benefit nor harm, which neither see nor hear. He made those stones into His sacred house which He made a standby for the people. He placed it in the most rugged stony part of the earth and on a highland with least soil thereon, among the most narrow valleys between rough mountains. soft sandy plains, springs of scanty water and scattered habitants, where neither camels nor horses nor cows and sheep can prosper.

Then He commanded Adam and his sons to turn their attention towards it. In this way it became the centre of their journey in seeking pastures and the rendezvous for meeting of their carrier-beasts, so that human spirits hasten towards it from distant waterless deserts, deep and low lying valleys and scattered islands in the seas. They shake their shoulders in humbleness, recite the slogan of having reached His audience, march with swift feet, and have dishevelled hair and dusted faces. They throw their pieces of cloth on their backs, they have marred the beauty of their faces by leaving the hair uncut as a matter of great test, severe tribulation, open trial, and extreme refining. Allah has made it a means to His mercy and an approach to His Paradise.

If Allah, the Glorified, had placed His sacred House and His great signs among plantations, streams, soft and level plains, plenty of trees, an abundance of fruits, a thick population, close habitats, golden wheat, lush gardens, green land, watered plains, thriving orchards and crowded streets, the amount of recompense would have decreased because of the lightness of the trial. If the foundation on which the House is borne and the stones with which it has been raised had been of green emerald and red rubies, and there had been brightness and effulgence, then this would have lessened the action of doubts in the breasts, would have dismissed the effect of Satan's activity from the hearts, and would have stopped the surging of misgivings in people. But Allah tries His creatures by means of different troubles, wants them to render worship through hardships and involves them in distresses, all in order to extract out vanity from their hearts, to settle down humbleness in their spirits and to make all this an open door for His favours and an easy means for His forgiveness (for their sins). "

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