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The Ka'bah is Rebuilt

As a young man, Muhammad was known for his truthfulness and honesty. For this reason many people called him as-Saadiq (the Truthful) or al-Ameen (the Trustworthy). Many people left their valuables and money in his care. He frequently accompanied merchants on their travels abroad to trade for goods. As time passed, merchants who were unable to make the journey themselves would ask Muhammad to go in their place. As he proved to be highly successful in handling the merchants’ business, more and more commissions came his way. Although he was still a young man, his judgment in all matters was greatly respected. The story of the rebuilding of the Ka'bah shows how he found a just solution to diffuse an explosive situation.

When Muhammad was about thirty-five years old, the Quraish decided to rebuild the Ka'bah. It had fallen into a state of disrepair and needed a roof, for it had none at all. Wood for the roof’s rafters would come from a dismantled ship which had been wrecked in a storm at Jedda. There was a skilled carpenter living in Makkah who was willing to help with the roof. They planned to completely dismantle the walls, which were made of loose stones, and rebuild from the bottom up. However, their respect and fear for the Ka'bah was so great that they were afraid to start tearing it down, especially since it seemed to be guarded by a large snake which threatened anyone who approached it. However, one day Allah sent an eagle which snatched up the snake and carried it away. The Quraish agreed that this was a sign that their good intentions had been accepted, especially in conjunction with the unexpected supply of wood, always in short supply in the desert, and the presence of a carpenter who knew what to do with it.

The first stone that was lifted from the wall jumped from the hands of the man who had removed it and returned to its place in the wall. Then all the people drew back from the walls and were afraid to start the work. Finally one man was brave enough to try , but he first prayed to Allah to accept his good intentions. The other men waited to see if any misfortune befell that man before they would join in the work. The following day, the man resumed work on the wall, still without any signs of disapproval from Allah. Then the other men took courage and began to tear down the walls until they had reached the foundation of Ibrahim.

Next came the task of rebuilding, using stones which they had gathered, as well as the original stones, to make the walls taller. Each clan, or extended family unit, within the tribe of the Quraish was assigned a certain portion of the walls to rebuild. At last the walls were high enough for the Black Stone (al-Hajar al-Aswad) to be rebuilt into its corner. Each clan wanted to have the honor of lifting it back into place, so a big disagreement arose. For four or five days the clans argued about which of them would have the honor of placing the Black Stone. As tensions mounted the threat of a war breaking out became very real. Finally the oldest man among them proposed a solution. They should choose the first man who entered the courtyard around the Ka'bah to settle the dispute for them.

The clans all agreed to the old man’s proposal and eagerly watched the gates. Who would have the honor of settling this grave dispute? The first man to enter the courtyard was Muhammad , who had been away on one of his journeys. Certainly no man was better suited to find a solution to their problem. They could all accept his judgment.

The problem was explained to Muhammad . He asked each clan to choose a representative. Then he spread his cloak out on the ground and placed the Black Stone in the middle of it. Next he asked all the representatives of the clans to take hold of the cloak along the edges and lift it. When it had been raised to the right height, he himself lifted the stone out of the cloak and placed it in its position in the wall. Then the work on the Ka'bah could be completed. All the clans were satisfied because they had shared in the honor of placing the Black Stone.


Published: June 1993

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Last modified 08/12/05 09:25 AM - Iqra - ISSN #1062-2756