The Kaaba (Arabic الكعبة, DMG al - Ka ʿ ba, cube, cubes ') is a cuboid- shaped building in the courtyard of the Holy Mosque in Mecca and forms as the "House of God" (Arabic: بيت الله Allāh bayt ) the central sanctuary of Islam. According to the Islamic idea it was built according to Sura 22/26 by Adam and rebuilt in the interim ruins of Abraham ( إبراهيم / Ibrāhīm ) in collaboration with his son Ishmael on God's behalf as a place of pilgrimage.

  • 3.1 The Kaaba conversion of ʿ Abd ibn az- Zubair
  • 3.2 Later history
  • 4.1 The Abraham - Ishmael - cycle
  • 4.2 The Kaaba as a starting point of creation

Description of the building

The Kaaba is located on a 25 cm high marble base, which projects to 30 cm. The building is 13.10 m high and has a surface area of ​​11.03 m × 12.62 m. The Four Corners show about the four cardinal directions.

To the east is the black corner (ar - RUKN al - aswad ), named after the Black Stone, which is attached here about eye level. In the north of the Kaaba is the Iraqi corner (ar - RUKN al - ʿ Iraqi ), the west lies the Levantine corner (ar - RUKN aš - Sami ), in the south of Yemen (southern ) corner (ar - RUKN al - Yamani ). The walls of the Kaaba is covered by a black brocade curtain ( the Kiswa ) in height ⅔ Koran with gold-embroidered calligraphy verses is decorated. It is renewed annually.

The entrance to the interior located at 2 m height on the northeast wall. It is reached by a wooden staircase on wheels, usually stored between the arch-shaped Banu - Shaiba 's Gate and the Zamzam. Inside the Kaaba, there are three columns. The interior walls are clad with marble halfway up, which is scented with fragrance oil. Panels with Koranic inscriptions are let into the marble. The upper part of the walls is covered with a green cloth, which in turn is decorated with verses from the Koran in gold embroidery.

Outside of the Kaaba is the northwestern wall opposite a semi-circular white marble wall that Hatim is called. It is 90 cm high and 1.50 m wide. The space between Hatim and Kaaba, which is called the Hijr, is considered part of the Kaaba and is not entered during the tawaf, the ritual circumnavigation. It contains the tombs of Ismail and his mother Hagar are located. In the Hijr, the rain gutter, mīzāb, the Kaaba pours.

Importance in the religious life of Muslims

Associated with the Kaaba rites

The importance of the Kaaba is that they both target the major pilgrimage ( Hajj ) is, which is to make every Muslim once in his life, if he is capable of, as well as the small pilgrimage ( Umrah ). During her stay pilgrimage in Mecca, pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba seven times counterclockwise and praise Allah while; this orbit is called Tawaf ( طواف ).

In addition, the Kaaba is at the center of the Islamic prayer ritual, because in every prayer, Muslims must follow the Kaaba align. The direction to the Kaaba or Mecca, the Qibla is usually highlighted in mosques by the mihrab.

Also easily view the Kaaba (an- nasr ila l - Ka ʿ ba ) is regarded as worship exercise ( ʿ Ibada ).

Annual cleaning ceremony

The interior of the Kaaba is closed and not open to the public. The building is opened twice a year for a ceremony known as the cleaning of the Kaaba. This ceremony takes place 15 days before the beginning of Ramadan and before the start of the annual pilgrimage. The keys of the Kaaba keep members of the Banu Shaiba / بنو شيبة. Tribesmen welcome visitors during the purification ceremony. A small number of dignitaries and diplomats will be invited to attend the ceremony. Here, the room is cleaned with a broom and washed with a mixture of Zamzam and rosewater.


Before Islam, the Kaaba was worshiped by the Arab tribes as a sanctuary of the god Hubal. For pre-Islamic Ka'ba cult belonged, in addition to the worship of Allah, the worship of the goddesses al -Lat, Manat and Uzza. Already in pre-Islamic times, there was a special priesthood, which was connected to the Kaaba and was hidschāba called. The holder of the office held with the keys of the Kaaba. First holder of the office to have been Qusaiy ibn Kilab, the actual founder of the tribe of Quraish. After his death, this office has been inherited among the descendants of his eldest son ʿ Abd al- Dār.

In the early 7th century, the Kaaba was destroyed by fire. The young Muhammad should even have been involved in the reconstruction: as the various clans of Quraysh argued about who should attach the Black Stone, he arbitrated the dispute with the suggestion that the Black Stone should be placed on a cloth all of members clans was held. He even brought to the Black Stone.

After the capture of Mecca in January 630 Muhammad confirmed the descendants ʿ Abd ad - Dar from the family of Abu Talha in her role as gatekeeper of the Kaaba. He let himself get out of ʿ Uthmān ibn Talha, a member of the Abu - Talha family, who knew the porter office at this time, the key of the Kaaba, entered the Ka'ba and then gave him back the key. Here he is said to have spoken the following words: " Take him, ye sons of Abu Talha, in trust of God. If so for all eternity in a decorous manner in order. Only a violent offender is snatch him your hand. " Since 632, the Kaaba is a purely Islamic shrine.

The Kaaba conversion of ʿ Abd ibn az- Zubair

Was severely affected the Kaaba 683 during the clashes between the Umayyad caliph Yazid I. and ʿ Abd ibn az- Zubair. The military leader Husayn ibn Numair, who besieged the city on behalf of Yazid, let her shoot from the surrounding mountains with catapults. It came on 31 October 683 the hangings of the Kaaba on fire, the flames spread to the wood work on, and the building collapsed. ʿ Abd ibn az- Zubair demolished the Kaaba then completely, so that they can rebuild. This decision was criticized by many companions of the Prophet, including ʿ Abd Allāh ibn ʿ Abbās. Since ʿ Abd ibn az- Zubair clung to his determination, pulled a large part of the inhabitants of the city to Mina because they feared that the demolition of the building of God could bring punishment upon them. Because no one found who dared to make a start, had to ʿ Abd ibn az- Zubair itself upon the wall, and throw down the stones. Was not until seen that nothing happened to him, the Meccans returned to their own town. The demolition of the building was completed on 8 February 684. So that the faithful could continue undisturbed perform their Tawaf and perform their prayer, the place of the Kaaba has been draped with cloths.

In the new persecuted ʿ Abd ibn az- Zubair the intention of the Kaaba restore " to their former state ," which had existed at the beginning of the 7th century before the conversion of the Quraysh. Here he referred to a statement of his aunt Aisha bint Abi Bakr, according to which the Prophet had been willing even after taking of Mecca, to undo the changes made by the Quraish reversed, however, this consideration of the fact that they just went over only to Islam were, had not been implemented. According to the transmitted by Aisha prophetic word, to which ʿ Abd ibn az- Zubayr appointed, the Quraysh had not erected in their re-establishment of the Kaaba lack of funds originally reaching to the roof Hatim wall, but originally located on the back second door the Kaaba closed and the bottom of the Kaaba raised so that they could only be reached by stairs. The Prophet had declared this to the fact that the Quraish wanted to show in this way their superiority because they could now occur every according to their will in the Kaaba or throw down the stairs. With reference to this hadith now let ʿ Abd ibn az- Zubair open with his Qibla new building on the east side of the building a second door, lower the bottom of the Kaaba to ground level and top up Hatim wall to an apse. The building was inaugurated new in this new form in March 685.

After 692 al - Hajjaj ibn Yūsuf had taken on behalf of ʿ Abd al -Malik ibn Marwan Mecca, he ordered the ʿ Abd made ​​by ibn az- Zubair structural changes at the Kaaba undo. But ʿ Abd al -Malik is said to have later regretted the recent change of construction by al - Hajjaj when he al - Harith ibn ʿ Abd, a former governor of ʿ Abd ibn az- Zubair in Basra, the authenticity of the statement of Aisha to which ʿ Abd ibn az- Zubair had appointed, confirmed.

Later history

Later Umayyad rulers distinguished themselves through generous donations to the Kaaba. So for example, let al - Walid the gutter of the Kaaba for the first time I. gild.

In the year 931 of the " Black Stone " was abducted by the Ismaili Qarmatis to Bahrain; only 951 he returned ( to teaching the Ismaili Fatimids also ) to Mecca.

After 1630, the Kaaba was badly damaged by a flood that threatened to collapse, the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV initiated a new building in the same year. The present building dates from this period.

The origins of the Kaaba after the Islamic tradition

The Abraham - Ishmael - cycle

Already in the Meccan Suras of the Koran, the Kaaba is represented as a abrahimitisches sanctuary, God instructed Abraham once, for those to clean this house who wanted there to make prayer exercises and circulation, and urged people to make a pilgrimage to the Kaaba (Surat 22:26-27 ). A text from medinischer time (Sura 2:127 ) states that Abraham (ie the Ka'ba ), together with his son Ishmael ( إسماعيل, DMG Ismā ʿ īl ) straightened the foundations of the " house ". This Qur'anic statements form the basis for the extensive Islamic legend cycle through Abraham and Ishmael building of the Kaaba. According to a tradition, which is attributed to ʿ Alī ibn Abī Taalib, it was the Sakina which led Abraham to Mecca, as he did not know where he should build the new sanctuary. The donated by Abraham at the Kaaba cult was said to be monotheistic. Only ʿ Amr ibn Luhaiy from the Arab tribe of chuza ʿ a, who lived several generations after him, have, it is said, the Arabs seduced into idolatry.

The Kaaba as a starting point of creation

In a Qur'anic passage from medinischer time (Sura 3:96 ) we find the statement that " the house " ( bayt ) in Mecca was the first that was built for the people. This is followed by the Islamic view of the Kaaba ties as the origin and starting point of creation, which is based on various traditions of the Prophet's companions. A version that is handed down in the name of ʿ Abd Allāh ibn ʿ Koranexegeten Abbaas, reads: " This house with its four corners was 2000 years before the world was created, set on the water. Was then stretched out the earth beneath her. "

After this original building had collapsed, Adam ( آدم Ādam ) should have the Kaaba was rebuilt in the same place. After further decay Abraham then have made ​​the new building.