The Black Stone stepped in legends
It is widely known that the Kaaba situated at the centre of Islam’s most sacred mosque Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca is revered by Muslims as the most precious Islamic relic.
The Kaaba is a stone structure which is 15 m high and 12.10 m long. The corners of the Kaaba point to the four cardinal directions of the compass. The so called “Black Stone” (Al-Hajaru al-Aswad) is located on the Kaaba’s eastern corner which is known as the Ruknu al-Aswad (the black corner). The Black Stone is the most precious part of the whole site.
The Black stone symbolises the power of Allah. It was sent to the earth from heaven to remind people about the time when Adam and Hawa, peace be upon them, lived in Paradise. Some people believe that the Black Stone used to be sharply white onyx or sapphire which decorated Paradise. According to some legends, Allah gave the Stone to Adam when banished from Paradise he reached Mecca. The most important feature of the Black Stone was not that it was given in sign of forgiveness and mercy from God, but that Adam and Hawa, peace be upon them, could see Paradise at the depth of this heaven stone.
The Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, appreciated this gift a lot. He built a small construction above the stone. According to other versions of this legend, the construction was built by the angels. Sometime later, Adam’s son Shis (Sif) built a cubical structure above it. It was a kind of the present Kaaba prototype.
Yet, the heaven stone turned black soon and they were not able to see Paradise through it anymore. The stone colour changed because of the people’s sins. It is widely known that the first murder was committed by Adam’s son Qabil (Cain). He killed his brother Habil (Abel). The legend tells that anyone who saw Paradise through the Stone was sure to be there in the afterlife. So, due to people’s sins, the gift from Paradise turned black and people could not see Paradise through it any longer.
According to this legend about the Black Stone, Kaaba has always represented a sanctuary given to Adam, peace be upon him, by Allah. However, it is hardly possible to find out the true story behind the Black Stone. It is steeped in mystery, legends and speculation. It is worth noting that some legends mention the Black Stone for the first time at a quite later point. For instance, there is a story which says that there was a temple of radiant clouds on the place of Kaaba. It was brought to Adam by the angels as a reply of Allah to Adam’s prayer to forgive him and present him with an altar like the one he prayed by when being in Paradise. This temple was taken to the heaven after Adam’s death. So, Adam’s son Sif built a stone temple on its place. The flood destroyed it. The next temple was built by the Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail, peace be upon them. At this point angel Jibreel brought the Black Stone to them.
Another legend says that the Black Stone used to be a guardian angel that looked after Adam, peace be upon him, in Paradise. As the angel did not manage to prevent Adam from committing the sin, he was turned into a stone and banished from Paradise…
There exists quite an interesting story related to India. According to it, Adam was banished from Paradise along with the precious stone which decorated Paradise. The stone dropped into the water and got lost in ooze. Adam turned out on the island Serendib (Ceylon). The stone also turned out to be somewhere on the same territory (Hindostan land). Jibreel brought it to Ibrahim, peace be upon him, from this place. Allah knows best.
Kaaba survived a lot of natural disasters and was reconstructed and repaired multiple times. Even the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, took part in the reconstruction of the Kaaba in 600 CE. He was entrusted to set the Black Stone in its place where it is at the present moment.
At present the Black Stone presents three red-coloured fragments cemented into a silver frame. When Muslims carry out hajj, they consider it essential to touch the Black Stone. Despite the fact that this is not one of the prescribed hajj rituals, people’s craving can be understood. The Black Stone is not just one of the most ancient gifts from God and the stone from Paradise, but it is also an object which our honourable Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, touched.