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 Kaaba

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PostSubject: Kaaba   Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:10 pm

Quran; 2:125] We have rendered the shrine (the Ka`aba) a focal point for the people, and a safe sanctuary. You may use Abraham's shrine as a prayer house. We commissioned Abraham and Ismail: "You shall purify My house for those who visit, those who live there, and those who bow and prostrate."

The History of Kaaba As A Place Of Worship

Kaaba, also known as, Ka'bah, Kabah and Caaba is the center of the holiest place of worship in Islam (Submission in English), i.e. the Sacred Mosque of Mecca, Al Masjid Al-Haram. Its name means the cube in Arabic as it is a cube shaped stone structure built in the middle of the Sacred Mosque. The Kaaba was built by prophet Abraham as a landmark for the House of God ,for the sole purpose of worshipping of God alone.
[2:127] As Abraham raised the foundations of the shrine, together with Ismail (they prayed): "Our Lord, accept this from us. You are the Hearer, the Omniscient.
Kaaba is the center of the circumambulations performed during the pilgrimage (hajj), and it is toward the Kaaba that Muslims face in their prayers (salat). Before prophet Muhammed's advent, Meccans who lost the religion of Abraham's monotheism, worshipped many idols, most notable of which were al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat. The Black Stone, possibly of meteoric origin, is located at one of its outside corners. It has been used by the pilgrims as a landmark to count the number of cicumambulations. Some traditional Muslims in defiance of their religion, consider the stone holy and put emphasis on touching it and kissing it. The actual structure of the Kaaba has been demolished and rebuilt several times in the course of its history. Around the Kaaba is a restricted area, haram, extending in some directions as far as 12 miles, into which only Muslims may enter.
Kaaba is located in the city of Mecca (Makkah) in the Arabian desert in the Arabian peninsula, of what is known today as Saudi Arabia.

Location Of Mecca (Makkah)
Mecca is at the intersection of latitude 21 to 25 degree north and longitude 39 to 49 degree east. It is set in a rugged landscape consisting mostly of solid granite, with rocks sometimes reaching 300 meters (1,000 feet) above sea level.
Makkah is enclosed by the Valley of Abraham, which is surrounded by two nearby mountain ranges to the east, west and south. The northern range comprises the Al-Falaq and Qu'aqi'an mountains, while the southern range consists of Abu Hudaidah mountain to the west, Kuday to the south and Abu Qubais and Khindimah to the south-east.
There are three main entrances to Makkah: Al-Mu'allat (also known as Al-Hujn), Al-Musfalah and Al-Shubaikah.

Kaaba & Mecca In History
Edward Gibbon writes about the Ka'bah and its existence before the Christian era in his book:
<BLOCKQUOTE>
..... of blind mythology of barbarians - of the local deities, of the stars, the air, and the earth, of their sex or titles, their attributes or subordination. Each tribe, each family, each independent warrier, created and changed the rites and the object of this fantastic worship; but the nation, in every age, has bowed to the religion as well as to the language of Mecca. The genuine antiquity of Caaba ascends beyond the Christian era: in describing the coast of the Red sea the Greek historian Diodorus has remarked, between the Thamudites and the Sabeans, a famous temple, whose superior sanctity was revered by all the Arabians; the linen of silken veil, which is annually renewed by the Turkish emperor, was first offered by the Homerites, who reigned seven hundred years before the time of Mohammad.[2] </BLOCKQUOTE>
Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian of 1st century BC who wrote Bibliotheca Historica, a book describing various parts of the discovered world. The following lines are the English translation of Greek quoted by Gibbon from the book of Diodorus Siculus (Diodorus of Sicily) describing the 'temple' considered to be the the holiest in the whole of Arabia.
<BLOCKQUOTE>
And a temple has been set-up there, which is very holy and exceedingly revered by all Arabians.[3] </BLOCKQUOTE>
It is interesting to know that Claudius Ptolemy of Alexandria, mathematician and astronomer, flourishing about a century after Pliny, undertook to make an atlas of the habitable world. He was not a descriptive geographer, and his book was intended to be no more than a commentary on his maps. He enumerated some hundred and fourteen cities or villages in Arabia Felix.
<BLOCKQUOTE>
For example, Dumaetha, placed by Ptolemy just outside the northern boundary of Arabia Felix, must be the mediaeval Arabian Daumet, which is today the chief village of the great oasis of Jauf. Hejr, famous in the "times of ignorance" as the seat of a kingdom, and now Medayin Salih, is Ptolemy's Egra. His Thaim is Teima, now known for its inscriptions to have had temples and some sort of civilization as far back as 500 BC. It is the Tema of Job. In Lathrippa, placed inland from Iambia (Yambo), we recognize the Iathrippa of Stephan of Byzantium, the Yathrib of the early Arab traditions, now honoured as El Medina, the City of Cities.[4] </BLOCKQUOTE>
Apart from this a place called Macoraba is also shown which is identified as Mecca (please refer to the map facing page 17 of reference [3]). G E von Grunebaum says:
<BLOCKQUOTE>
Mecca is mentioned by Ptolemy, and the name he gives it allows us to identify it as a South Arabian foundation created around a sanctuary.[5] </BLOCKQUOTE>
Makkah In The Scriptures
The Qur'n talks about Bakkah (the older name of Makkah) being the first house of worship appointed for mankind. It also addresses this place as Umm ul-Qur i.e., Mother of the Settlements.
<BLOCKQUOTE>
"The most important shrine established for the people is the one in Becca; a blessed beacon for all the people. In it are clear signs: the station of Abraham. Anyone who enters it shall be granted safe passage. The people owe it to GOD that they shall observe Hajj to this shrine, when they can afford it. As for those who disbelieve, GOD does not need anyone." [3:96-97]
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*3:96 Sura 3 is an M-initialed sura, and this peculiar spelling of "Mecca" as "Becca" causes the occurrence of "M" to conform to the Quran's mathematical code. The normal spelling "Mecca" would have increased the frequency of occurrence of "M". See the Mathematical Miracle of the Quran, (Appendix 1). </BLOCKQUOTE>
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