What is the Black Stone?

The black stone is the remaining fragments of a rock placed in the Kaabah by Abraham under the command of Allah to serve as the cornerstone of Allah’s sacred House. According to the Prophet Muhammad, the black stone is from Paradise (an-Nisa’i) and was originally whiter than milk, but soon blackened due to the sins of the people who kissed it (al-Tirmidhi). The black stone has had a long history of difficult preservation. In 64AH, the black stone broke into three pieces. The companion Abullah Ibn Zubair (R.A) melded them together with silver. It was then stolen in 317 AH by the Qarmatians, an extreme Ismaili sect. They held it for 22 years, in complete disrespect to its sanctity. It was later returned in pieces and severely damaged. 60 years ago there were only 15 pieces left of it. Today, there are only 8. They are roughly the size of dates, held together in black clay with amber, wax, and musk. It is perfumed daily and goes through frequent maintenance, as it plays a central role in the ritual circumambulation of the Kaabah, known as tawaaf. Pilgrims are required to circle the Kaabah 7 times, and at the end of each to kiss the black stone, or simply to point and greet it, if kissing it is too difficult. May Allah allow us all to see it one day!