Some may ask why we Moslems take Makkah as their qiblah in prayer. Why do we go around the Kaaba that includes the Black Stone (Al Hajar Al Aswad) in one of its sides?
Why do we go around the Kaaba anticlockwise? Why do we start every round from the Black Stone (Al Hajar Al Aswad) salute it at the end of each, try to kiss it if possible, or point to it while uttering the prayer (in the name of Allah and Allah is greater)? And why are there only seven rounds whether it is Hajj, Umra, or a supererogatory performance?
Regardless any other considerations, following these rituals without a glance is an integral part of worshipping Allah and imitating the Prophet (PBUH). These are things to be taken for granted and we – being Moslems – have to obey Allah’s orders in the Qur’an and the Prophet’s orders in Hadiths because he tells us: “take your rituals from me and pray as you saw me praying.”(1[a2]) It is the same case with the soldier who obeys the orders to win the battle. Yet, whether or not we know the foresight behind these orders, we believe for sure that there is a benefit for us because our Creator knows us better than we know ourselves. He says in the Qur’an: “Will He not know, (He) Who created? And He is The Ever-Kind, The Ever-Cognizant.” (The Kingdom 14[a3])Thus, His orders are ultimately for our interest and they suit our disposition, our nature and our surrounding universe.
Allah, the Creator, the Great and Almighty, is not in need of our obedience or our worship. It is all for our benefit as mentioned in the Divine Hadith: “O, my worshippers! If your first and your last (created) and your humans and Jinn were all most pious, this would add nothing to my dominion …” (2[a4]) In all types of worship, there are secrets, benefits, and foresights for the individual and the community. So, there is nothing wrong in searching for these foresights, benefits and hints that are in tune with the universe, the humans, and life. For Islam is a cosmological sharia as well as a comprehensive life system:
1) Regarding praying to Makkah at whose middle the Kaaba and the Inviolable Mosque lie, Allah orders us in the Qur’an to do so: “So turn your face towards the Inviolable Mosque; and wherever you are, then turn your faces towards it.” (The Cow 144[a5]) Various studies, among which one was done by Dr. Hussein Kamal Ad Din, Head of the Department of Survey Engineering at RiyadhUniversity, proved that Makkah is the center of earth. Dr. Robert G. Coleman (3[a6]), StanfordUniversity in USA, did a study on the center of earth gravity and the point in which gravity cosmological radiations meet (the meeting point magnetic gravitational radiations) on earth; he found that this center is Makkah. Makkah, then, is the center of the seven continents as well as the meeting point of magnetic gravitational radiations. Allah describes it in the Qur’an as “the Mother of the Towns”: “And thus we have revealed to you an Arabic Qur’an, that you may warn the Mother of the Towns and whomever are (dwelling) around it, and to warn the Day of Gathering, wherein there is no suspicion: a group in the Garden, and a group in the Blaze.” (Counsel 7[a7])
Allah, the All–Wise, choose the Kaaba in the Inviolable Mosque, the “the first Home laid down for mankind” (The House of Imran 96[a8]), to be the qiblah for Moslems all over the world. Thus it is dubbed as “the Mother of the Towns” and the Moslem nation is described as “the middle nation”: “And thus We have made you a middle nation to be witnesses over mankind, and (for) the Messenger to be a witness over you.” (The Cow 143[a9]) Thus, the nation of Islam, which is the middle nation in every aspect, directs to “the mother of the Towns”, the middle and center of earth; it is also the center of spiritual pull as well as the gathering point of magnetic rays of gravity.
2) As for going around the Kaaba anticlockwise, it is consistent with the movement of the whole universe: from the atom to the galaxy. Going around is a cosmological phenomenon that includes everything. The electron goes around the nucleus, the moons go around their planets, the planets go around their suns, the suns and the stars go around the centers of their galaxies, and even energy goes around in its paths; all these movements are anticlockwise. It is the same direction of the Hajji going around the Kaaba. It is a symbol of the evident phenomenon of the whole universe: “ … and each is swimming in an orbit.” (Ya Sin 40[a10]) and “…each one running to a stated term.” (Thunder 2[a11])
3) As for going around the Black Stone (Al Hajar Al Aswad), which lies in one side of the Kaaba, it may be a reference to the Black Hole. Each of the 130 billion galaxies known to date (each has around 100 billion star as our Milky Way) goes around a specific center in which there is that extraordinary-dense Black Hole whose density swallows up near light and galaxies (if our Earth should become a Black Hole, its mass would be as big as a ping pong ball; hence imagine the density and weight of this small ball). This Black Hole holds the planets and stars of its galaxy while going symmetrically and harmoniously around it and prevents them from breaking loose: “ … and each is swimming in an orbit.” (Ya Sin 40) It also prevents them from colliding into one another. In the same way, all Hajjis go around the Kaaba, and the Black Stone (Al Hajar Al Aswad), in a splendid symmetrical and harmonious manner that shows the Power of Allah the Almighty.
The symmetrical and harmonious non-colliding movement of the above-mentioned planets and galaxies around the Black Hole match the words of the Qur’an: “It does not behoove the sun to overtake the moon.”(Ya Sin 40[a12]) This applies to all planets and suns, not only to the sun and the moon. Likewise, for the Hajjis, the Black Stone (Al Hajar Al Aswad) is the starting and finishing point of every round as if it were the harmonizer of their movement around the Kaaba that prevents them from going astray in life. The Black Hole manages the turning of the solar groups and planets and other entities in spite of their extraordinary speed and mass that may help them break away centrifugally; yet, due to the extraordinary pulling power of these Black Holes, these bodies remain until Doomsday in their orbits in such an exact system. This connotes that the Moslems should be connected to their religion throughout their lives and should adhere to the Divine system in what they do.
The Holy Mosque , a picture snapped from space
4) Why do we kiss the Black Stone (Al Hajar Al Aswad)? It is a stone that neither hurts nor benefits as once Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, said to it: “You are just a stone that neither hurts nor benefits; if I had not seen the Prophet kissed you, I would not have done so.”(4[a13]) The foresight in this kissing may lie in this connection between the Prophet and his nation. It is a connection of a special kind: emotional, spiritual, and humane. It seems that the Prophet kissed the Black Stone (Al Hajar Al Aswad) to be like a material and sensual connection between him and his nation. Did not he say “I wish I could see my lovers!” Some orientlists and enemies of Islam say that kissing the Black Stone (Al Hajar Al Aswad) is a remnant of paganism, but they do not know the wisdom behind this: it is the love between the Prophet and his lovers who never saw each other: “Blessed be this who sees and believes me, blessed twice be this who believes me without seeing me.”(5[a14]) “I wish I could see my brothers, (the Companions said) aren’t we your brothers O Prophet of Allah? He replied: No, you are my Companions. My brothers are those who come after me and believe in me without seeing me.”(6[a15])The Companions saw the Prophet, they shook hands with him, they embraced him, and they heard the inspiration from his own mouth. This gave them a unique advantage as the first and greatest generation. But the believers who came after them did not experience all these material events; yet, they believe in them. Thus it seems as if the Prophet, through kissing the Black Stone (Al Hajar Al Aswad), wanted to reward every one of them and convey his feelings to them by kissing the same spot he kissed.
5) Why are there seven rounds around the Kaaba? The whole universe moves according to exact systems and rules set by Allah the Almighty: “and He created everything, so He has determined it an (exact) determination.” (The Criterion 2[a16]) This applies to all creatures including man: “He created the heavens and the earth with the Truth, and He fashioned you (and) so made fair your fashioning; and to Him is the Destiny.” (Mutual Fraud 3[a17]) “And in the earth are ayaat fro the ones having certitude; And in your selves; do you then not behold?” (The Winnowers 20-21[a18]) Because the Qur’an is the code for the whole universe and the eternal words of Allah, the Creator of the Worlds, and because the universe and the Qur’an share the same source, there must be mutual laws and systems that govern both, especially that the Qur’an predates the universe. One of these universal and Qur’anic laws is the hepta system. The heavens are seven, the earths are seven, the layers of the atmosphere are seven, the solar spectrum has seven colors, the orbits of the atom are seven, the week is seven days etc.
In the order of its suras, verses, and letters the Qur’an follows this hepta system. Allah says: “And indeed We have already brought you seven of the oft-repeated and the magnificent Qur’an.” (Al Hijr 87[a19]) These seven oft-repeated verses are the Opening sura, which follows the same rule as well. The Prophet said: “The Qur’an was revealed in seven letters (dialects).” So, as this rule is one of the systems that govern the whole universe, some rituals are in harmony with it, such as the seven rounds (7[a20]) around the Kaaba, which are an example of the harmony between the man and the universe on one hand, and between his intuition and universal phenomena on the other. Allah says: “(this religion is) the original disposition from Allah upon which He originated mankind. There is no exchange for the creation of Allah. That is the most upright religion, but most of mankind do not know.” (The Romans 30[a21])
Dr. Mohammad Jamil Al Habbal