The Kaaba -Masjid Al-Haram - The Traveller


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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Kaaba -Masjid Al-Haram

Masjid Al-Haram

The Kaaba – A Cuboid Shaped Building

The Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is a cuboid shaped building which is the most sacred site in Islam as well as the oldest and the most Famous Cultural monuments in the world. According to the Quran, the Kaaba had been constructed by Abraham – Ibrahim in Arabic and his son Ishmael – Ismaeel in Arabic, after the latter settled in Arabia.

The building is said to have a mosque constructed around it known as the Masjid al-Haram. Muslims all over the world face the Kaaba while praying irrespective of where they are. This is known as facing the Qiblah. The Kaaba is also known as Kaaba Muazzama. Being the most sacred site of the Muslims it is considered the `House of God’ just like the Tabernacle and Holy of Holies in Judaism. The present height of the Kaaba is 39 feet, 6 inches with the total size amounting to 627 square feet.

 The interior of the Kaaba is 13 x 9 meters and the walls are one meter wide. The floor inside is 2.2 meters higher than the place where the perform Tawaf. The ceiling and the roof are two levels made of wood and were reconstructed with teak capped with stainless steel. All the walls are made of stone where the interior stones are unpolished and the exterior are polished.

Subject to Danger – Natural Disasters/Human Attacks

The Kaaba had been reconstructed recently as close to four years ago and had been subjected to danger by natural disasters like floods as well as human attacks. One of the Five Pillars of Islam wants every Muslim who is capable of performing the hajj pilgrimage, at least once in their lifetime.

Multiple parts of the hajji need pilgrims to make tawaf, which is the circumambulation seven times around the Kaaba in a counter clockwise route. During umrah or lesser pilgrimage, tawaf is also performed by pilgrims but the most amazing times are during the hajj when millions of the pilgrims assemble to circle the building on the same day.

The total number of pilgrims from outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform hajj in 2013 was officially reported as 1,379,531. Saudi Arabia had reported in 2014, of having completed Hajj permits for 1,389,053 international pilgrims and 63,375 for residents.

The Holiest Shrine in Islam

Pilgrimage to holy site is main principle of all faiths and the Kaaba which means cube in Arabic is a square building which is gracefully draped in silk and cotton veil and is the holiest shrine in Islam. The Muslims in Islam tend to pray five times a day and these prayers after 624 .C.E had been directed towards Mecca and the Kaaba instead of Jerusalem.

 This direction or qibla is marked in all mosques enabling the faithful to understand in which direction they need to pray. Most of the Muslims tend to undertake the hajj or the annual pilgrimage to the Kaaba at least once in their life if they are in a position to do so. On arrival at Mecca, the pilgrims draw together in the courtyard of the Masjid al-Haram around the Kaaba and the circumambulate or walk around the Kaaba where they hope to kiss and touch the Black Stone or al-Hajar al-Aswad that is embedded in the eastern corner of the Kaaba.

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