( Are you inquisitive to know how did Prophet Ibrahim A.S built this massive structure of Ka'bah with his son Ismail A.S and the limited resources he had available? Did you know how was it rebuilt during time of Prophet Muhammad PBUH? Are you aware that according to historians Ka'bah has been reconstructed between 5-12 times? Here is Fareha Khan, Co-Founder and Logistics Head of The Islamic kidstore who has compiled all of this information in an interesting blog. Worth a READ!!)
As I sit down to write about the history of the Ka’bah, the images of my visit to this mesmerizing and beautiful place flash in front of me. Its not possible to control your emotions when you see the Ka’bah right in front of you. I was amazed that this is the house that has an exact replica in Jannah (Bait-ul Ma’mur -52:4) where 70,000 angels do tawaf every day and never return back but a fresh batch comes each day(sahih bukhari 3207)..Subhan Allah; this is the place built by Khalilullah Ibrahim a.s and Ismail a.s.; and this is the place where our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) prayed with his companions. So let’s begin with the history of this blessed house of Allah, The Ka’bah.
When was the Ka’bah Built and who built it.?
Most authentic and recorded view is that it was built by Ibrahim a.s and Ismail A.S ( Though another strong opinion also mentions Prophet Adam but Allah knows best) . As we are aware of this story when Allah the Almighty had commanded Ibrahim A.S to leave infant Ismail A.S and Hajara in the barren desert of Makkah. But Alhamdulillah with the emergence of Zamzam slowly few tribes started living there forming a new community .
Ibrahim a.s who was staying at sham with wife Sara would often visit his son Ismail and Hajara. In one such visit, he was ordered to build the Ka’bah. Ibrahim A.S was in charge of putting the stones and bricks on one another and Ismail A.S had to bring to him these stones (making sure they are even in size ).Through the process they would say ‘Our Lord accept it from us.”(2:127) .
When the walls were getting higher and there was no ladder Ismail A.S brought a stone for Ibrahim A.S to stand on. It left his footprints on it and is still there today known as Maqam- e- Ibrahim. The Ka’bah was built but all corners looked same so how was one going to know the start and end of tawaf, realizing this Ibrahim A.S sent his son to bring a different stone to be placed in one corner but before he could find one the angels brought down a white stone from the sky ..which is now known as Hajre Aswad -The black stone. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said the stone was white but got black from the sins of people of Adam .The stone was also bigger in size than now. The Ka’bah then built was rectangular in shape and smaller in height than structure we see today.
Rebuilding the Ka’bah .
In the 35th year of the Elephant i.e .when the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was 35 years old, the Ka’bah was rebuild again. There was a flood that had weakened the walls of the Ka’bah and brought cracks to it. So the chiefs of the Quraysh decided to rebuild the Ka’bah but only with Halal Money.(all money earned from illegal and haram means was excluded.)Allah also kept easing the task of rebuilding for Quraysh. A ship from Rome loaded with marble and construction materials supposed to go to Yemen landed in Jeddah due to some damage to it and all the material had to be sold in the Jeddah Market by them as it was not possible to take it back again. So the Quraysh brought those materials which were otherwise not found in the barren lands of Makkah. The Quraysh were initially too fearful to bring down the walls of Ka’bah for fear of Allahs wrath. It hadn’t happened since the time of Ismail a.s so they were too scared to start construction. Then Al walid bin Mughirah (father of Khalid bin Waleed) lifted the axe and brought down a wall…wen no harm came to him they too joined in. Work was going on smoothly till the time came to put the sacred Black stone-Hajre aswad in its place, work stopped for five days as each tribe contested over the honor of placing the stone. One of the oldest among them suggested let he who first enters the Ka’bah the next morning decide .And the one to enter first was none other than Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)All were happy and shouted Al Ameen(the trustworthy) has come and whatever he says we are here to obey. The solution by rasulullah (PBUH )was that a cloth be spread and the black stone be placed over it ;then the leader of each tribe would hold on to the corners of the cloth and raise it to the position on the Ka’bah and it would then be fixed there by Prophet (pbuh)himself. All agreed that all tribes are getting the honor to lift the stone and the grandson of the most loved Abdul Muttallib will fix it.
Few changes in the Ka’bah :
- Due to insufficient halal money the Quraysh eliminated the area on the northern side of Ka’bah which is called Hateem and was initially part of the Ka’bah (so the initial rectangular structure now became a cube shaped).
- The door was raised high above the ground level.
- Roof was made and the walls were made higher.
Changes in Later generations :
1)The Syrian army destroyed the Kaba in Muharram 64 (Hijri date) and before the next Hajj ,Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him, reconstructed the Kaba from the ground up. Ibn az-Zubayr built the Kaba on Prophet Ibrahim's foundation as Prophet Muhammad wanted it . He put the roof on three pillars with the wood of Aoud (a perfumed wood). 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. Hateem area was also included like before . Some other modifications were also done
2) 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 Quraish had had it. When Abdul Malik bin Marwan came for Umrah and heard the Hadith that it was the wish of Prophet for the Kaba to be constructed the way Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr had built it i.e on foundation of Prophet Ibrahim, he regretted his actions.
3) Abbasi Khalifa Harun al Rasheed wanted to rebuild the Kaba 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 Kaba. Based on this advice, Harun al Rasheed did not reconstruct the Kaba. The structure remained in the same construction for 966 years, with minor repairs here and there.
4) In the year 1039 Hijri, because of heavy rain, flood and hail, two of the Kaba's walls fell down. By the 2nd of Zul-Hijjah 1040 the construction was took place under the guidance of Sultan Murad Khan, the Ottoman Khalifa in a manner which was exactly the one done at the time of Abdul Malik ibn Marwan which is the way the Quraysh had built it before Prophethood.
5) A major reconstruction of the Kaba 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 Kaba are the stones. All other material has been replaced including the ceiling and the roof and its wood.
This was just a brief history of the Blessed house of Allah-The ‘Ka’bah. Scholars and historians say that the Kaba has been reconstructed between five to 12 times. One blog is not sufficient to mention all the details .I have made a humble effort to cover the important events.May Allah accept it. May Allah bless us all with Hajj and Umrah and frequent visits to this beautiful House of Allah. Aameen.