New scientific studies proved that al-Kaaba is the center of the world because its four corners point exactly towards the four cardinal directions of the compass, therefore, every corner is called after the direction it points to.
1. Ruknu ‘l-Aswad – south east corner where the Hajar al-Aswad is located.
2. Rukn ‘l-`Iraqi – ‘the `Iraqi corner’
3. Ruknu sh’-Shami – ‘the Levantine corner’
4. Ruknu ‘l-Yamani – ‘the Yemeni corner’
“The two main corners of al-Kaaba are the Eastern corner, the “Black Stone”, and the Yemeni corner because they are the two corners built according to al-Kaaba’s Ibrahimic foundations, unlike the Iraqi and Levantine corners to which the Quraish tribe added the Hateem,” said Dr. Khalid Babteen, Director of the Research Centre in Islamic Studies at the Umm Al-Qura University, Saudi Arabi.
The Eastern corner carried different names but holds a sole sacred significance; it hosts the Black Stone and marks the starting and ending point of Tawaf (the circumambulation). It is believed that the Black Stone is one of the white rubies of the paradise and pilgrims try to touch the Black Stone or wave at it in case they couldn’t reach it.
Pilgrims meet at the northern corner after passing by the Black Stone. This corner was known by the Iraqi corner because Islamic conquests had recurrently triumphed in Iraq.
“Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, used to walk from the Yemeni corner to the Black Stone, touching the Yemeni corner with his right hand and reciting the famous supplication: ‘Our Lord, give us in this world what is good and in the hereafter what is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire.’ Then he used to touch the Black Stone and continue the round,” said Dr. Babteen.
After walking half of the Tawaf round, pilgrims arrive to the western corner. This corner is also known by “al-Shami corner” as Muslims were interested in their conquests and armies in the Levant and Maghreb region and because the corner’s sharp angle points as a compass to that land.
Before ending the Tawaf at the Black Stone corner, pilgrims pass by the Yemeni corner that points to the south and that still carries the name of Yemen, the land that gave Islam great wealth and riches.
History Of Hijre aswad
The Black Stone, an ancient sacred stone, is embedded in the eastern corner of the Kaba, one and a half meters above the ground. Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said , “The black stone came down from paradise and it was whiter than milk, but the sins of the sons of Adam turned it black”
Hijar-a-Aswad (The Black Holy Stone):
Located at the southeastern part of Holy Kaaba, a sign of divine grace, it is a heavy oval stone, of black reddish color. Its diameter is 30 cm, surrounded with a silver frame. The circler is required to kiss the black stone if possible. It is told that Messenger (peace of Allah be upon him) said, “the stone and the station of Ibrahim are two bequeathed from paradise, but Allah obliterated their light, otherwise they would have lit between east and west”. He also said, “when the black stone was lowered from paradise, it was whiter than milk, but the sins of humans made it black.
Hajar al-Aswad (The Black Stone), which is set in the eastern corner of the Ka’bah. Tawaf is started and ended by facing this sacred stone. Throughout the ages, innumerable people including many of the Prophets (upon them be peace), the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) himself, the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them), pious personalities and millions of Muslims who have performed Hajj and Umrah have placed their blessed lips on it.
• The Hajar al-Aswad was brought from Jannah and presented to Ebrahim (upon him be peace) to be placed on the corner of the Ka’bah. Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said: “The Black Stone came down from Paradise and it was whiter than milk, but the sins of the sons of Adam turned it black.” [Tirmidhi]
• Du’as are accepted at the Hajar al-Aswad and on the Day of Judgement it will testify in favour of all those who kissed it. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said: “By Allah! On the Day of Qiyamah, Allah will present the Hajar al-Aswad in such a manner that it will have two eyes and a tongue to testify to the Imaan (faith) of all those who kissed it.” [Tirmidhi]
• When the Quraysh demolished the Holy Ka’bah in order to reconstruct it, a dispute arose when the building reached the level of the Black Stone. They differed on the issue of who was eligible to restore the Black Stone to its original place. A civil war was about to break out. Banu Abdu’d-Dar brought a bowl full of blood and all of the tribes inserted their hands in it, which meant that they had made up their minds to fight one another. But Abu Umayya Ibn al-Mugheera , their elder, asked Quraysh to agree on the judgement of the first person to come through the Bani Shaibah gate and they all agreed on this suggestion. The first to come through this gate was the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). This was five years before his mission. He put the Black Stone in the middle of a piece of cloth, and asked a representative of each tribe to hold one of the edges of the cloth and raise it close to its place. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) picked it up with his own noble hands and restored it to its original place. This was how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) prevented a war from breaking out among the Quraysh by a supreme demonstration of wisdom.
• Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), while leaning against the Ka’bah said:“The Hajr al-Aswad and al-Maqam (Ebrahim) are two jewels from the jewels of Paradise. Had Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) not concealed their radiance, they would illuminate everything between the East and the West.” [Tirmidhi]
• Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) once kissed the Hajar al-Aswad and said, “I know well that you are just a stone that can do neither good nor harm. Had I not seen the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) kiss you, I would not have done so.” Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) made the statement because there were many people who were newly converted to Islam and he did not want them to get the impression that Muslims also revered stones as the Arabs revered and worshipped stone idols during the Period of Ignorance. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) made it clear that he was following the Sunnah practice of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and that although the stone is blessed, it can do neither harm nor good.
• The Hajar al-Aswad was stolen from the Ka’bah around 930 CE by Qarmatian warriors who were an Ismaeeli Shia sect. They sacked Makkah, desecrating the Well of Zamzam with Muslim corpses and carried the Black Stone away to their base in Ihsaa, in medieval Bahrain. According to the historian Al-Juwayni, the stone was returned in around 952 CE and restored to its original location.
• The Hajar al-Aswad was originally a complete stone but due to various historical incidents now consists of eight pieces of varying sizes affixed to a large stone and encased in a silver frame. The silver frame was first made by Abdullah bin Zubair (may Allah be pleased with him) and replaced by later Khalifas as the need arose.
• Six (additional) pieces are claimed to be in Istanbul, Turkey. One is displayed in the mihrab of the Blue Mosque, one above the entrance of the tomb of Sulaiman the Magnificent and four in the Sokullu Sehit Mehmet Pasa Camii mosque (one over the mihrab, one below the lower pulpit, another is above the upper pulpit and the last is over the entrance door). The authenticity of these additional pieces has been questioned, although the Turks did rule over what is now Saudi Arabia for many years and hold many historical Islamic relics. And Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) knows best.
• Note that when kissing the Hajar al-Aswad, one should neither push people nor harm anyone because while kissing the Hajar al-Aswad is Sunnah, causing harm to people is a forbidden act (haram). When the area is crowded, it will suffice to merely point towards the Hajar al-Aswad with one’s hand or a stick while reciting the Takbeer and then to kiss the hand or stick. Although the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) kissed the Hajar al-Aswad directly, he also pointed towards it when the area was crowded, it is therefore clear that both kissing it and pointing towards it are Sunnah.
Islamic History Of Sham
The name ‘Ash-Shaam’ is an ancient Arabic word, going back to Saam, the son of Nabi Nooh (a), who took the area as his home after the flood. The land today makes up the countries of Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. The offspring of Saam ruled in those lands from the time of Nabi Nooh As until recent times, and they were known for their severe way of fighting in battle, their love for travelling and their desire to learn. Their language remained the universal language for seventeen centuries, from the seventh century BC, until the seventh century AC; and no other language is known to have remained for such a long time. They created an alphabet for it, which became the basis for all languages, and they always held on steadfastly to their language.
When Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (pbuh) came with the message, they welcomed Islam with open hands and helped the Arabs against Rome. Within a few years, they had accepted Islam and they adopted the Arabic language as their new mother-tongue, in place of their ancient language. Thus, Arabic excelled over all other languages for many centuries.
It is well known as part of the history of Ash-Shaam, that they warmly received Sayyiduna ‘Umar (r), the second successor after Sayyiduna Muhammad Rasoolullah (pbuh). They gave him the title ‘Al-Farooq’, which meant in their ancient language ‘The Saviour’. It was for this reason that Islam found a strong foothold in those areas, and especially in Ash-Shaam.
After the liberation of Damascus and after it had become a Muslim city, within 26 years it had become the capital of the Islamic Caliphate. The people of Ash-Shaam were the most courageous of people when it came to fighting in battle and whosoever remained loyal to them would be victorious. This was the reason behind the leadership of Banu Umayyah, and for this reason Sayyiduna ‘Ali (a) said to his followers from Persia and Iraq: “Whosoever is successful alongside you, has won with the most solidified foothold.” When Sayyiduna ‘Uthmaan (r) was martyred, and the fitnah (tribulations) spread like wild fire, no land was saved except the lands of Ash-Shaam, bearing testimony to the saying of the Noble Prophet (Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam) (pbuh): “Behold! Verily Imaan will be in Ash-Shaam when the tribulations take place.”
When Yazeed died and his son, Mu’aawiyah the second refused to submit the leadership, the people of Ash-Shaam and the surrounding lands took allegiance to ‘Abdullah Ibn Az-Zubayr . When Mu’aawiyah died and Marwaan Ibn Al-Hakam came after him, no one remained in those lands who did pledge allegiance to ‘Abdullah Ibn Az-Zubayr , except for a section of Ash-Shaam. The army of Ash-Shaam advanced face to face with an army that was multiplied many times in number to it near Damascus, and the people of Ash-Shaam were victorious. A few years later, they had all the Islamic lands under their leadership. After that, they started to carry out the liberation of other places, and then their leadership spread from west China to the middle of France, which was the biggest country under one rule that history had witnessed until that time.
Many great scholars of Islam have come from the lands of Ash-Shaam, including Jurists and learned men of hadeeth. Amongst them is Sayyiduna ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (r), who was the seventh leader of the Muslims from Banu Umayyah. Another great scholar is Imam Zakariyya An-Nawawee (r), the great compiler of hadeeth, author of Riyaadus Saliheen, who was from Damascus. They also include the likes of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hajar Al-‘Asqalaanee (r), the author of the great commentary and explanation of Saheeh Al-Bukhari, who was from ‘Asqalaan, a place in Palestine.
The lands of Ash-Shaam hold great significance and value in Islam, granted to it by Allah and His Beloved Rasool (pbuh). Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (r) reported that the Noble Prophet (Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam) (pbuh)made the du’aa: “Oh Allah, grant us blessings in our Shaam.” [Narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari .] This truly bears witness to the holy verse in the Holy Qur’aan, when Allah speaks about the Israa (journey) of the Noble Prophet (Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam) (pbuh) to Al-Quds: [Glory be The One Who took His servant on a night journey from the Sacred Masjid to the Furthest Masjid, whose precincts We have blessed, so that We may show him some of Our signs. Verily, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.] The scholars have agreed that these blessings include the entire lands of Ash-Shaam, taken from the hadeeth of the Noble Prophet (Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam) (pbuh): “Verily Allah blessed the area between the ‘Areesh River, the Euphrates and Palestine; and He chose Palestine specially and sanctified it.”
Imam Abu Dawood(r) narrates that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (pbuh) said: “Indeed, the stronghold of the Muslims on the day when the great battle will take place is next to a city called Damascus, which is one of the best cities of Ash-Shaam.”
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Ibn Hawaalah (r) reports that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (pbuh) said: “I saw on the night that I was taken on the journey white pillars resembling pearls, which were being carried by the angels. I asked: ‘What are you carrying?’ They replied: ‘The pillars of Islam, which we have been commanded to place in Ash-Shaam.’ And while I was sleeping, I saw the pillars of The Book glowing from under my head, and I thought that Allah had deserted the people of the earth. I followed it with my eyes and saw that it was a shining light in front of me, until it was placed in Ash-Shaam.” Then Ibn Hawaalah (r) said: “O Rasoolullah Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam make my decision for me.” He replied: “Hold on to Ash-Shaam.”
Sayyiduna ‘Ali (a) reports: “I heard the Noble Messenger of Allah (pbuh) saying: ‘The Abdaal who are forty men, are in Ash-Shaam. Each time of them dies; Allah replaces him with another man. It is through them that He sends down rain, grants victory over the enemies, and removes the punishment from the people of Ash-Shaam.’” The Abdaal are amongst the greatest of Allah’s beloved and close Friends, and they will always exist until the end of this world.
Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (pbuh) has also told us that Imam Mahdi will rule from Damascus, that Nabi ‘Isa (a) will descend at the eastern pillar of the Masjid in Damascus, and that Ad-Dajjaal will be killed in Palestine.
We learn from these ahadeeth the great importance and remarkable significance of the lands of Ash-Shaam. May Allah restore honour to the lands of Ash-Shaam, especially Palestine, and rid us of His enemies. Ameen!
Islamic History Of Iraq
In 634 A.D., the newly-created Muslim empire expanded into the region of Iraq, which at the time was part of the Persian Empire. Muslim armies, under the command of Khalid ibn Waleed, moved into the region and defeated the Persians. They offered the mostly-Christian residents two choices: embrace Islam, or pay a jizyah tax to be protected by the new government and excluded from military
The caliph Omar ibn Al-Khattab ordered the foundation of two cities to protect the new territory: Kufah (the new capital of the region) and Basrah (the new port city).
Baghdad only came into importance in later years. The city’s roots date back to ancient Babylon, a settlement as far back as 1800 B.C. However, its fame as a center for commerce and scholarship began in the 8th century A.D.
Meaning of the Name “Baghdad”
The origin of the name “Baghdad” is under some dispute. Some say it comes from an Aramaic phrase that means “sheep enclosure” (not very poetic…). Others contend that the word comes from ancient
Persian: “bagh” meaning God, and “dad” meaning gift. “The gift of God….” During at least one point in history, it certainly seemed so.
The Capital of the Muslim World
In about 762 A.D., the Abbasid dynasty took over rule of the vast Muslim world and moved the capital to the newly-founded city of Baghdad. Over the next five centuries, the city would become the world’s center of education and culture.
Iraq, known in classical antiquity as Mesopotamia, was home to the oldest civilizations in the world, with a cultural history of over 10,000 years, hence its common epithet, the Cradle of Civilization. Mesopotamia, as part of the larger Fertile Crescent, was a significant part of the Ancient Near East throughout the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.
Arabs have been the majority of Iraq’s population since Sassanid times. Iraq was ruled by the indigenous empires, Sumerian , Akkadian, Babylonian Assyrian and also by foreign empires:Median, Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanian empires during the Iron Age and Classical Antiquity, before Iraq wasconquered by the Muslim Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century, and became a center of the Islamic Golden Age during the medieval Abbasid Caliphate. After a series of invasions and conquest by the Mongols and Turks, Iraq fell under Ottoman rule in the 16th century, intermittently falling under Iranian Safavidand Mamluk control.
Ottoman rule ended with World War I, and Iraq came to be administered by the British Empire as Mandatory Iraq until the establishment of the Kingdom of Iraq in 1933. A republic was established in 1958 following a coup d’état. It was controlled by Saddam Hussein from 1979 to 2003, into which period falls theIran–Iraq War and the Gulf War. Saddam Hussein was deposed following the 2003 US-led invasion of the country. Following the invasion, the situation deteriorated to the extent that in 2006–07, Iraq was on the brink of civil war. However, conditions improved following a surge in U.S. troops in 2007–08, and the war was declared formally over in December 2011, with the U.S. troops leaving the country.
History Of Yaman
Islam spread readily and quickly in Yemen, perhaps because of the century of economic decline and the atrocious behaviour of both Jews and Christians during that time. The Prophet Muhammad sent his son-in-law as governor, and two of Yemen’s most famous mosques—that in Janadiyyah (near Ta.izz) and the Great Mosque in Sanaa (said to have incorporated some materials from earlier Jewish and Christian structures)—are thought to be among the earliest examples of Islamic architecture.
Despite the fact that Muhammad’s first successor, the caliph Abū Bakr (served 632–634), managed to unify the Arabian Peninsula, it was not long before Yemen once again demonstrated its fractious nature. Often when the caliph sent a representative to put down rebellions or deal with other problems, the representative would establish his own dynasty. Such was the case with Muḥammad ibn Ziyād, who early in the 9th century founded the city of Zabīd as his capital. (See Ziyādid dynasty.)
For the history of Yemen, however, the most important event after the triumph of Islam was the introduction in the 9th century of the Zaydī sect from Iraq—a group of Shīʿites who accepted Zayd ibn ʿAlī, a direct descendant of Muhammad, as the last legitimate successor to the Prophet. Much of Yemeni culture and civilization for the next 1,000 years was to bear the stamp of Zaydī Islam. That same span of time was host to a confusing series of factional, dynastic, local, and imperial rulers contesting against one another and against the Zaydīs for control of Yemen. Among them were the Ṣulayḥids and the Fāṭimids, who were Ismāʿīlīs (another Shīʿite branch); the Ayyūbids; and the Rasūlids, whose long rule (13th–15th century) firmly established Sunnism in southern and western Yemen.
Yemen next appeared on the world stage when, according to one account, the leader of a Sufi religious order discovered the stimulating properties of coffee as a beverage, probably about the beginning of the 15th century. As a result, Yemen and the Red Sea became an arena of conflict between the Egyptians, the Ottomans, and various European powers seeking control over the emerging market for Coffea arabica as well as over the long-standing trade in condiments and spices from the East; this conflict occupied most of the 16th and 17th centuries. By the beginning of the 18th century, however, the route between Europe and Asia around Africa had become the preferred one, and the world had once again lost interest in Yemen. In the meantime, the coffee plant had been smuggled out of Yemen and transplanted into a great variety of new and more-profitable locales, from Asia to the New World. The effect of the redirection of trade was dramatic: cities such as Aden andMocha (as the name would suggest, once a major coffee centre), which had burgeoned with populations in excess of 10,000, shrank to villages of a few hundred.
Yemen plays a prominent role in the early history of Islam. The Christian Yemeni king Abraha is said to have attacked Mecca during the lifetime of Muhammad’s grandfather. The Sassanian governor of Yemen, Bathan, was an early convert to Islam. It is also said that ʿAli, Muhammad’s nephew, brought the message of Islam to Yemen. During the reign of the Ummayid caliph al-Muʿawiyya, Yemen was divided into two regions: the north, centered around the city of Sanʿa’, and the south, around the town of al-Janad. Yemen proved difficult to control under the Abbasid caliphate because of its remoteness and tribal character. In the mid-9th century the local dynasty of the Yuʿfirids too control of the highlands. At the beginning of the 10th century the Shiʿa leader Yahya ibn al-Husayn established the Zaydi imamate in the northern highlands of Yemen; this lasted until the Republican revolution of 1962. In the southern highlands, along the Red Sea coast and along the Gulf of Aden, local dynasties evolved, which were often subjected to foreign invasions. The Ayyubids invaded Yemen from Egypt at the end of the 12th century, followed by the Rasulid dynasty until the middle of the 15th century and the first Ottoman Turkish occupation in the mid-16th century. From 1839 to 1967 Britain controlled the major southern seaport of Aden. Most of Yemen remained divided, with the Shiʿa Zaydi school dominant in the north and the Sunni Shafiʿi school most common in the south and along the coast. The Hadramawt region maintained its independence for most of Yemen’s history and established strong links with India and Indonesia through out-migration. Following the unification of North and South Yemen in 1990 there has been an increasingly Islamist perspective, promoted in part through Saudi Arabian Wahhabi influence. The current state constitution defines Yemen as following Islamic law, with only a small number of Yemenite Jews and no indigenous Christian population.