History of Hajj
Prophet Ibraaheem (Abraham)
was commanded by Allah to leave his second wife, Haajar (Eng. Hagar), and their
newly born son, Ismaa'eel (Ishmael), alone in the un-inhabited and barren valley
of Bakkah (also known as Makkah). However, he used to return to visit them periodically.
After Prophet Ibraaheem left them, their supplies ran out and Hagar went in search
of water. She left the baby, Ismaa'eel, in the valley and she ran between the hills
of Safaa and Marwah trying to see if there were any oasis nearby or if any travellers
were in the area. As Allah willed it, a spring started bubbling forth from the sand
near the feet of baby Ismaa'eel. This spring became known as Zamzam and eventually
became a well.
During one of his visits, Prophet Ibraaheem and his son, Ismaa'eel were commanded
by Allah to lay the foundations of the first house built expressly for the worship
of Allah which became known as the Ka'bah. In subsequent visits they completed the
building of the Ka'bah.
In order to make a specific point as the starting point for circling the Ka'bah,
Prophet Ibraaheem placed a special stone in its eastern corner. This stone, according
to the Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم )'s explanation, was originally shining
white in color when it was brought down from Paradise, however due to the sins of
man it changed to its present color of dull black, hence its name, al-Hajar al-Aswad
(the Black Stone).
During the building of the Ka'bah, Prophet Ibraaheem stood on a large stone block
in order to complete the upper part of its walls. He used to move the block around
the Ka'bah as he built it and on completion of the building, it was left outside
the Ka'bah near the eastern wall and became known in later years as Maqaam Ibraaheem
(the standing place of Ibraaheem). In Ibraaheem's time, the Ka'bah reached a height
of 4.5 meters. It was rectangular in shape with a semi-circular back wall. Ibraheem
built in it two doors at ground level and did not put a roof on it. He would come
to Makkah once per year to perform the rites of Hajj with his family until he died.
His son Ismaa'eel who had by then married a woman from the tribe of Jurhum, continued
the tradition of Hajj and looked after the Ka'bah until he died.
The Ka'bah then fell into the possession of the Jurhum tribe which had settled in
the valley of Makkah. It remained in their hands for a thousand years until it became
the property of the Khuzaa'ah tribe who in turn held it for another three hundred
Since the Ka'bah was at the bottom of a valley surrounded by bare hills, it was
constantly exposed to floods. On one occasion it was completely destroyed, but was
rebuilt by Qusay ibn Kilaab in its original form except that he added a roof to
it to protect it from the elements.
Idolatry was introduced into Arabia by 'Amr ibn Luhay, who brought the idol, Hubal
from Mesopotamia (Iraq) and placed it inside the Ka'bah. Later a large wooden dove
was also placed inside the Ka'bah and the inside walls of the Ka'bah were also covered
with paintings of the Prophets including a picture of 'Eesaa (Jesus) and his mother.
Eventually over 360 idols were placed around the Ka'bah as well as altars for slaughtering
animals to the idols. During the annual fairs of 'Ukaadh, poetry competitions were
held and the seven most outstanding odes were etched in gold and hung inside the
These poems were called the Mu'allaqaat, literally the hanging things, and the best
poet to win the honor was Imr al-Qays (died 540 CE).
The tribe of Qusay was the first to build dwelling-houses around the Ka'bah. The
successors of the Qusay tribe were the Quraysh. Soon after they came into possession
of the Ka'bah, the fire of a woman incensing the Ka'bah is said to have caught the
building and laid part of it to waste. Since successive floods had again weakened
its structure, the Quraysh took it upon themselves to rebuild the Ka'bah. In approximately
600 CE the Quraysh gathered funds which had not been touched by Ribaa (interest)
or other illegal means in order to rebuild the Ka'bah. It happened that a Byzantine
ship was thrown ashore at Jiddah and the Makkans bought its wood and used it for
the new building. The Ka'bah was then built of alternate layers of stone and wood.
When the work reached the place of the Black Stone, a quarrel broke out among the
tribes. Each tribe wished to have the honor of raising the Black Stone into its
place. Eventually they agreed that the first man to enter the Haram (the area immediately
around the Ka'bah) should decide for them. Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم ) happened
to be the first to enter and he was appointed arbitrator. He then told them to place
the stone upon a cloth and a representative of each tribe was to take hold of a
portion of the cloth and together they would all lift it into its place.
The dispute was thus ended and when the stone had reached its proper place, Muhammad
( صلى الله عليه وسلم ) fixed it in its position with his own hand. In the course
of the building of the Ka'bah its height was doubled, its western door sealed off
and its eastern door was placed above ground level to prevent the common people
from entering it. A roof and a gutter were also added. However, due to the shortage
of funds untouched by Ribaa (interest) or illegal means, the length of the Ka'bah
was shortened leaving it in the now familiar cubic form. A semicircular wall was
built behind the main structure to indicate the excluded portion and the encompassed
area became known as Hijr Ismaa'eel.
During the siege, catapults of Yazeed's army were erected on the hills around Makkah
and huge boulders were hurled on the town and the sanctuary resulting in the smashing
of the Ka'bah and the splitting of the Black Stone into three pieces. After the
siege was lifted in 684, Ibn az-Zubayr ordered that the Ka'bah be rebuilt according
to its original form. These alterations lasted only a short period. In 693 CE, al-Hajjaaj
ibn Yoosuf conquered Makkah and killed 'Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr. In agreement with
the Caliph 'Abdul- Malik, he demolished the Ka'bah and rebuilt it according to the
Qurayshee form. He again separated the Hijr from the Ka'bah and walled up the west
door. The building, in keeping with the wish of the Umayyads, thus practically received
its pre-Islamic form again and this form has survived to the present day. However,
the Caliph Haroon ar-Rasheed (or as others write, his father al-Mahdi or his grandfather,
al-Mansour) intended to again change what had been altered by al-Hajjaaj and reduce
the Ka'bah to the old form in which it had been left by 'Abdullaah ibn az-Zubayr
but was dissuaded from meddling with it in order to prevent so holy a place from
becoming the sport of princes, from being newly modeled after everyone's fancy and
from losing the reverence which is justly paid it. Thus, the piety of the populace
has always resisted any considerable innovations to the Ka'bah's structure. Only
to an unimportant degree have the authorities now and then made improvements.
The Ka'bah successfully withstood the 929 CE invasion of Makkah by an army of fanatical
Shi'ites belonging to a deviant sect known as the Qaraamitah. The army was led by
Abu Taahir al-Janaabee, who on reaching the Ka'bah, ordered his men to kill the
pilgrims and dump their bodies in the well of Zamzam. He subsequently tore off the
door of the Ka'bah and carried away the Black Stone to the region of al-Ahsaa, which
lies on the north-eastern coast of Arabia. Al-Ahsaa had become their capital and
the Black Stone remained there for twenty years until the powerful Faatimid rulers
of Egypt, who were of the same sect, ordered the Qaraamitah to return the Black
Stone, and so they did.
The Ka'bah remained as it was until the beginning of the seventeenth century CE.
Seasonal flooding continued to present a danger to the building and in 1611 a huge
copper band was placed around its walls to prevent its eminent collapse. However,
in 1630 Makkah was struck by a major flood and the north wall of the Ka'bah finally
collapsed. Sultaan Muraad then ordered that the Ka'bah be demolished and rebuilt
using the original stones and maintaining the Qurayshee design. In 1957, during
the reign of King Saud, a new wooden roof was put in place and several other minor
renovations were introduced.
Source : http://www.tohajj.com