cubed building known as the Kaba may not rival skyscrapers in height
or mansions in width, but its impact on history and human beings is
The Kaba is the building towards which Muslims face
five times a day, everyday, in prayer. This has been the case since
the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) over
1400 years ago.
The Size of the Kaba:
The current height of the Kaba is 39 feet, 6 inches
and total size comes to 627 square feet.
The inside room of the Kaba is 13X9 meters. The
Kaba's walls are one meter wide. The floor inside is 2.2 meters higher
than the place where people perform Tawaf.
The ceiling and roof are two levels made out of
wood. They were reconstructed with teak which is capped with stainless
The walls are all made of stone. The stones inside
are unpolished, while the ones outside are polished.
This small building has been constructed and
reconstructed by Prophets Adam, Ibrahim, Ismail and Muhammad (peace be
upon them all). No other building has had this honor.
Yet, not very much is known about the details of
this small but significant building.
Did you know the Kaba was reconstructed as recently
as close to four years ago?
Did you know that the Kaba has been subjected to
danger by natural disasters like flooding, as well as human attacks?
If you didn't keep reading. You'll find some rarely
heard of information discussed below and discover facts about the Kaba
many are unaware of.
The other names of the Kaba
Literally, Kaba in Arabic means a high place with
respect and prestige. The word Kaba may also be derivative of a word
meaning a cube.
Some of these other names include:
Bait ul Ateeq-which means, according to one
meaning, the earliest and ancient. According to the second meaning, it
means independent and liberating. Both meanings could be taken
Bait ul Haram-the honorable house
The Kaba has been reconstructed up to 12 times
Scholars and historians say that the Kaba has been
reconstructed between five to 12 times.
The very first construction of the Kaba was done by
Prophet Adam (peace be upon him). Allah says in the Quran that this
was the first house that was built for humanity to worship Allah.
After this, Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail (peace be
upon them) rebuilt the Kaba. The measurements of the Kaba's Ibrahimic
foundation are as follows:
-the eastern wall was 48 feet and 6 inches
-the Hateem side wall was 33 feet
-the side between the black stone and the Yemeni
corner was 30 feet
-the Western side was 46.5 feet
Following this, there were several constructions
before the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be uponj him) 's
Reconstruction of Kaba by Quraish
Prophet Muhammad participated in one of its
reconstructions before he became a Prophet.
After a flash flood, the Kaba was damaged and its
walls cracked. It needed rebuilding.
This responsibility was divided among the Quraish's
four tribes. Prophet Muhammad helped with this reconstruction.
Once the walls were erected, it was time to place
the Black Stone, (the Hajar ul Aswad) on the eastern wall of the Kaba.
Arguments erupted about who would have the honor of
putting the Black Stone in its place. A fight was about to break out
over the issue, when Abu Umayyah, Makkah's oldest man, proposed that
the first man to enter the gate of the mosque the following morning
would decide the matter. That man was the Prophet. The Makkans were
ecstatic. "This is the trustworthy one (Al-Ameen)," they shouted in a
chorus. "This is Muhammad".
He came to them and they asked him to decide on the
matter. He agreed.
Prophet Muhammad proposed a solution that all agreed
to-putting the Black Stone on a cloak, the elders of each of the clans
held on to one edge of the cloak and carried the stone to its place.
The Prophet then picked up the stone and placed it on the wall of the
Since the tribe of Quraish did not have sufficient
funds, this reconstruction did not include the entire foundation of
the Kaba as built by Prophet Ibrahim. This is the first time the Kaba
acquired the cubical shape it has now unlike the rectangle shape which
it had earlier. The portion of the Kaba left out is called Hateem now.
Construction After the Prophet's Time-Abdullah
The Syrian army destroyed the Kaba in Muharram 64 (Hijri
date) and before the next Hajj Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr, may Allah be
pleased with him, reconstructed the Kaba from the ground up.
Ibn az-Zubayr wanted to make the Kaba how the
Prophet Muhammad wanted it, on the foundation of the Prophet Ibrahim.
Ibn az-Zubayr said, "I heard Aisha (may Allah be
pleased with her) say, 'The Prophet said: "If your people had not
quite recently abandoned the Ignorance (Unbelief), and if I had
sufficient provisions to rebuild it [the Kaba], I would have added
five cubits to it from the Hijr. Also, I would make two doors; one for
people to enter therein and the other to exit." (Bukhari). Ibn
az-Zubayr said, "Today, I can afford to do it and I do not fear the
Ibn az-Zubayr built the Kaba on Prophet Ibrahim's
foundation. He put the roof on three pillars with the wood of Aoud (a
perfumed wood with aroma which is traditionally burned to get a good
smell out of it in Arabia).
In his construction he put two doors, one facing the
east the other facing the west, as the Prophet wanted but did not do
in his lifetime.
He rebuilt the Kaba on the Prophet Ibrahim's
foundation, which meant that the Hateem area was included. The Hateem
is the area adjacent to the Kaba enclosed by a low semi-circular wall.
Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr also made the following
additions and modifications:
-put a small window close to the roof of the
Kaba to allow for light.
-moved the door of the Kaba to ground level and
added a second door to the Kaba.
-added nine cubits to the height of the Kaba,
making it twenty cubits high.
-its walls were two cubits wide.
-reduced the pillars inside the House to three
instead of six as were earlier built by Quraish.
For reconstruction, ibn az-Zubayr put up four
pillars around Kaba and hung cloth over them until the building was
completed. People began to do Tawaf around these pillars at all times,
so Tawaf of the Kaba was never abandoned, even during reconstruction.
During Abdul Malik bin Marwan's time
In 74 Hijri (or 693 according to the Gregorian
calendar), Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf al-Thaqafi, the known tyrant of that
time, with the approval of Umayyad Khalifa Abdul Malik bin Marwan,
demolished what Ibn az-Zubayr had added to it from the older
foundation of Prophet Ibrahim, restore its old structure as the
Quraish had had it.
Some of the changes he made were the following:
-he rebuilt it in the smaller shape which is
-took out the Hateem
-walled up the western door (whose signs are still
visible today) and left the rest as it was
-pulled down the wall in the Hateem area.
-removed the wooden ladder Ibn az-Zubayr had put inside the Kaba.
-reduced the door's height by five cubits
When Abdul Malik bin Marwan came for Umra and heard
the Hadith that it was wish of Prophet for the Kaba to be constructed
the way Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr had built it, he regretted his actions.
Imam Malik's advice to the Khalifa Harun al
Abbasi Khalifa Harun al Rasheed wanted to rebuild
the Kaba the way the Prophet Muhammad wanted and the way Abdullah ibn
az-Zubayr built it.
But when he consulted Imam Malik, the Imam asked the
Khalifa to change his mind because constant demolition and rebuilding
is not respectful and would become a toy in the hands of kings. Each
one would want to demolish and rebuild the Kaba.
Based on this advice, Harun al Rasheed did not
reconstruct the Kaba. The structure remained in the same construction
for 966 years, with minor repairs here and there.
Reconstruction during Sultan Murad Khan's time
In the year 1039 Hijri, because of heavy rain, flood
and hail, two of the Kaba's walls fell down.
The flood during which this occurred took place on
the 19th of Shaban 1039 Hijri which continued constantly, so the water
in the Kaba became almost close to half of its walls, about 10 feet
from the ground level.
On Thursday the 20th of Shaban 1039 Hijri, the
eastern and western walls fell down.
When flood receded on Friday the 21st of Shaban, the
Again, a curtain, the way Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr
established on 4 pillars, was put up, and the reconstruction started
on the 26th of Ramadan. The rest of the walls except for the one near
the Black Stone, were demolished.
By the 2nd of Zul-Hijjah 1040 the construction was
taking place under the guidance of Sultan Murad Khan, the Ottoman
Khalifa. From the point of the Black stone and below, the current
construction is the same as that done by Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr.
The construction which was done under the auspices
of Murad Khan was exactly the one done at the time of Abdul Malik ibn
Marwan which is the way the Quraysh had built it before Prophethood.
On Rajab 28 1377, One historian counted the total
stones of the Kaba and they were 1,614. These stones are of different
shapes. But the stones which are inside the outer wall which is
visible are not counted in there.
Reconstruction of the Kaba In 1996
A major reconstruction of the Kaba took place
between May 1996 and October 1996.
This was after a period of about 400 years (since
Sultan Murad Khan's time).
During this reconstruction the only original thing
left from the Kaba are the stones. All other material has been
replaced including the ceiling and the roof and its wood.
What is inside the Kaba?
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi is the president of the Islamic
Society of North America (ISNA). He had the opportunity to go inside
the Kaba in October 1998. In an interview with Sound Vision, he
described the following features:
>-there are two pillars inside (others report
-there is a table on the side to put items like
-there are two lantern-type lamps hanging from the
-the space can accommodate about 50 people
-there are no electric lights inside
-the walls and floors are of marble
-there are no windows inside
-there is only one door
-the upper inside walls of the Kaba were covered
with some kind of curtain with the Kalima written on it