i am a stone...
but i am not the kind of stone your houses and schools and factories are built of.
i am a valuable stone, more valuable than pearls, more valuable than rubies, more valuable than coral. i am a single stone. i am unique. there are no other stones like me. i am an ancient and sacred stone. i have my place in the holy kaaba that was built by ibrahim and his son ismael. i am the black stone.
when the people of makkah rebuilt the kaaba everyone joined in the work, and after they has finished everything they wanted to set me in the kaaba but they could not agree about who should put me there.
a struggle followed that involved all the tribes of makkah. each tribe wanted to win the honour of carrying me and setting me in my place in the kaaba, and each tribe was prepared to go to war and fight to win that honour.
the differences grew sharper. voices were raised and the air was filled with tension. each tribe started to make ready their swords and prepare for battle so that they might win the chance of carrying me and setting me in my place.
things were getting out of hand. it was almost impossible for them to agree now. i felt the danger growing and i knew that a fight could break out at any minute. i felt i was responsible. i was the reason. i prayed to allah that they would find a peaceful way out. after all, we were in the kaaba, in the holy house, the house of peace and safety. whoever enters this place should always be safe.
suddenly a voice of reason called out and said:
“everyone, everyone! what is the result of this arguing? is it allowed for us to fight in the holy house? bring reason to your minds and cast out satan from amongst you.”
the people replied: “have you got a solution that will please us all and to which we can all agree?”
he said to them: “what do you thing if we ask the first person who approaches to pass judgement on this issue and we will accept his decision and all will abide by it? “
everyone thought this was a good idea and they agreed. their voices become quiet and their spirits were calmed as they waited in silence for the first person to approach. they all hoped it would be a wise and just person who would be able to find a solution that would satisfy all the tribes.
they waited and i waited with them and a short time passed, thought it seemed to them and to me like an eternity. then suddenly a voice cried out, breaking the silence:
“i see a young man approaching in the distance.”
everyone turned to face the direction the man who had spoken was pointing in, and i turned too. as the young man drew near they recognized him and some called out with relief and joy:
“it is muhammad, the son of abdullah.”
and the man with the voice of reason, who had had the idea in the first place, said to them:
“do you accept his judgement?”
and they answered altogether:
“yes, for he is a reliable and trustworthy young man.”
so when muhammad was standing among them and the man said to him: “o muhammad! as you know we have rebuilt the kaaba. all the tribes collected stones and took part in the building. all that remains now is to set the black stone in its place. and this is where we fell out with one another. each tribe wants to have the honour of carrying it and setting it in its place. because of our differences we almost came to blows, and open warfare was about to break out. but now we are agreed that you should judge between us. what do you say? “
muhammad looked at me, the black stone, and then he looked at the assembled tribes and thought for a moment. then he stood up, took off his cloak and spread it on the ground. he picked me up in his two noble hands, lay me down in the middle of his cloak and said to the heads of the tribes:
“come, all of you! each one of you hold an edge of the cloak. this way you will all enjoy the honour of bearing the stone and setting it in its place.”
we were all amazed by the brilliant yet simple idea. why had it not occurred to any of them, they who were the sheikhs of the tribes, leaders and wise men. they were all relieved by this intelligent yet wonderfully simple idea. they liked it and the agreed to it.
so, the leaders of the tribes carried me to my place, and as they did so the malice and hatred in their hearts disappeared and was replaced by feelings of brotherhood and understanding, for no tribe was left out and none was favoured and they all helped equally to carry me and set me in my place.
since that day i have been here in the kaaba. the people of makkah have seen me, and all those who make the pilgrimage to the holy house of allah have seen me. and when they see me they thing of my story, which bears witness to muhammad’s wisdom, and reminds them that as a young man his greatness and genius was respected by all.