Baitullah, the house of Allah is the most sacred place on the surface of earth located in Makkah inside Masjid al Haraam. Ka’aba in Arabic means a high place with prestige. It is the center of Islamic world. Muslims around the world face Ka’aba when they offer prayers five times a day, no matter from which part of world they are. It is a sign of unity of the Muslim world.
The Quran states that the foundation of this Holy house was laid by Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) along with his son Hazrat Ismail (AS). During the construction work they kept praying to Allah:
“Our Lord! Accept this service from us: for you are All-Hearing, Knowing and most Merciful.”
However, the scholars are of the view that Ka’aba has been reconstructed up to 12 times during different eras and was first constructed by Hazrat Adam (AS).
The Kaaba is cubical in shape and the four walls of Ka’aba are covered with a black cloth which is called Kiswah. This cloth is 45 feet wide and 130 feet in length with embroidered Quranic ayahs on it. This cloth is changed every year at the conclusion of Hajj. The old cloth is then cut into pieces and distributed among the pilgrims. Moreover, the inside of Kaaba is also washed every year with the water of Zamzam. Not everyone is allowed to enter this Holy place except a very few. The interior of Kaaba is also decorated with gold and silver lamps and there are three pillars to support the roof.
Muslims perform the tawaaf around Ka’aba when they go for Umrah but they cannot enter it. At the time of Hajj, Muslims move in a circular motion seven times around the Kaaba. This is an important part of Hajj and every pilgrim is bound to do this.
During the time of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Ka’aba was used by the non-Muslims who used to keep their idols in there. When our Holy Prophet (PBUH) took over Makkah, he along with his companions destroyed all those idols, purified it and declared Ka’aba as the Qiblah of Muslims.
In the eastern corner of Kaaba, the sacred black stone embedded in silver casing is placed which is one of the prominent features of Ka’aba. This stone, called Hajr-e-Aswad, is kissed by the pilgrims at the time of Hajj and Umrah. They do so because it was kissed by our Holy Prophet (PBUH).
The Ka’aba is, and will remain the Qiblah of Muslims till the end of the world and the Muslims shall always face it during their prayers.