بسم الله الرحمن الحيم
جَعَلَ الله الْكَعْبَةَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ قِيَامًا لِلنَّاسِ
“Allah made the Ka’bah, the Sacred House, an abode of security for mankind”
(Al Qur’an, Chapter 5, Verse 97)
The Ka’bah: Its Size and History
The small, cubed building known as the Ka’bah may not rival skyscrapers in height or mansions in width, but its impact on history and human beings is unmatched.
The Ka’bah 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 Ka’bah:
The current height of the Ka’bah is 39 feet, 6 inches and total size comes to 627 square feet.
The inside room of the Ka’bah is 13 x 9 meters. The Ka’bah'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 Ka’bah was reconstructed as recently as close to four years ago?
Did you know that the Ka’bah 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 Ka’bah many are unaware of.
The other names of the Ka’bah
Literally, Ka’bah in Arabic means a high place with respect and prestige. The word Ka’bah 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 taken
Bait ul Haram-the honorable house
The Ka’bah has been reconstructed up to 12 times
Scholars and historians say that the Ka’bah has been reconstructed between five to 12 times.
The very first construction of the Ka’bah 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 Ka’bah.
The measurements of the Ka’bah'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 upon him) 's time.
Reconstruction of Ka’bah by Quraysh
Prophet Muhammad participated in one of its reconstructions before he became a Prophet.
After a flash flood, the Ka’bah was damaged and its walls cracked. It needed rebuilding.
This responsibility was divided among the Quraysh'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 Ka’bah.
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.
Young 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 Ka’bah.
Since the tribe of Quraysh did not have sufficient funds, this reconstruction did not include the entire foundation of the Ka’bah as built by Prophet Ibrahim. This is the first time the Ka’bah acquired the cubical shape it has now unlike the rectangle shape which it had earlier. The portion of the Ka’bah left out is called Hateem now.
Construction After the Prophet's Time
The Syrian army destroyed the Ka’bah in Muharram 64 (Hijri date) and before the next Hajj Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him, reconstructed the Ka’bah from the ground up.
Ibn az-Zubayr wanted to make the Ka’bah 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 Ka’bah], 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 Ka’bah 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 Ka’bah on the Prophet Ibrahim's foundation, which meant that the Hateem area was included. The Hateem is the area adjacent to the Ka’bah 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 Ka’bah to allow for light.
-moved the door of the Ka’bah to ground level and added a second door to the Ka’bah.
-added nine cubits to the height of the Ka’bah, 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 Quraysh.
For reconstruction, ibn az-Zubayr put up four pillars around Ka’bah 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 Ka’bah was never abandoned, even during reconstruction.
During Abdul Malik bin Marwan's time:
In 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 Quraysh 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 Ka’bah.
-reduced the door's height by five cubits
When Abdul Malik bin Marwan came for Umrah and heard the Hadith that it was wish of Prophet for the Ka’bah 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 Rasheed
Abbasi Khalifa Harun al Rasheed wanted to rebuild the Ka’bah 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 Ka’bah.
Based on this advice, Harun al Rasheed did not reconstruct the Ka’bah. The structure remained in the same construction for 966 years, with minor repairs here and there.
Reconstruction during Sultan Murad Khan's time:
In the year 1039 Hijri, because of heavy rain, flood and hail, two of the Ka’bah'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 Ka’bah 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 Ka’bah 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 Ka’bah in 1996:
A major reconstruction of the Ka’bah 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 Ka’bah are the stones. All other material has been replaced including the ceiling and the roof and its wood.
What is inside the Ka’bah?
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi is the president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). He had the opportunity to go inside the Ka’bah 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 Ka’bah were covered with some kind of curtain with the Kalima written on it
May Allah give an opportunity to every Muslim, male and female, to visit His House atleast once in a life time. Aameen
Let's also pray to Allah to accept our sincere efforts....aameen.
وَإِذْ يَرْفَعُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ الْقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ الْبَيْتِ وَإِسْمَاعِيلُ
رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
“And remember Ibrahim and Ismail raised the foundations of the House (of Ka’bah, with this Prayer): Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For You are the All-Hearing, The All-Knowing”
(Al Qur’an, Chapter 2, Verse 127)