The Kabah: The First House of Worship
The Kabah is the oldest house of worship on earth. Every year more than two and a half million Muslim pilgrims from all over the world come to Makkah to perform the rites of hajj. The do tawaaf around the Kabah with devotion and hope of Allah’s mercy. During the month of Ramadan. more than million Muslims journey to Makkah’s Grand Mosque for Umrah. In fact. people go to Makkah for Umrah all year round.
The Building of the Kabah
Some scholars believe that it was Adam who first built the Kabah in Makkah. Later, Prophet Ibraaheem came to Makkah with his wife Haajar and their son Ismaeel, recovered the foundation of the Kabah and rebuilt it, at Allah’s Command, The Kabah in its present form owes its origin to him.
Haajar and Ismaeel
Leaving his wife Haajar and their son Ismaeel, Ibraaheem left Makkah, on Allah’s Command. During those days, Makkah was barren. Nobody lived there. There was no source of water in it. Prophet Ibraaheem left them there with a bag containing dates and a water-skin filled with water. When Ibraaheem prepared to leave, Haajar followed him and asked impatiently, “To whom are you leaving us in this barren valley?” She repeated the question but Ibraaheem did not answer. She then asked, “Has Allah commanded you to do this?” He replied, Yes.” She said, “Then surely Allah will not neglect us!” Prophet Ibraaheem left, and Haaja looked after her son, suckled him and drank the remaining water. Soon, however, both suffered great thirst and the child began to cry. She looked at him suffering from thirst and could not bear to see him in that condition. She ascended the nearby mount. as-Safa, hoping to find someone around, but she found no one. When she came back down into the valley, she raised the hem of her garment and began to run. She feared for the life of her son. She ran and climbed mount al-Marwah on the other side. She looked anxiously if there was someone to help her, She ran seven times back and forth between the two hillocks. This is why pilgrims walk between these two hillocks during the Hajj and the Umrah.
Haajar walked back and forth in desperation until Angel Jibreel appeared, struck the ground with one of his wings, and the spring of Zamzam gushed forth. Henceforth Makkah was blessed with a source of water, which has continued to this day. It was because of the Zamzam that the Juhum tribe from northern Yemen came to settle in Makkah. Ismaeel learnt Arabic from them and, when he grew up and reached the age of puberty, he married a woman from amongst them.
Prophet Ibraaheem Rebuilt the Kabah
When the time came, Prophet Ibraaheem called upon his son Ismaeel to help him in the construction of the Kabah. Alah revealed to them the foundations of the Kabah, and so they started rebuilding the House. Ismaeel handed him the stones.
Prophet Ibraaheem stood on a stone while building the Kabah. This stone is called Maqaam Ibraaheem (the station of Ibraaheem).