Dispute over the Black Stone
Dispute over the Black Stone When Muhammad was thirty-five years old, a devastating flood damaged the Ka’bah. The walls of the Ka’bah had been weakened by a fire earlier, and the flood caused additional cracks to form. The structure revered by the Quraysh was in danger of collapse. Seeing their house of worship under threat of ruin, the Quraysh decided to rebuild the Ka’bah. They resolved not to taint the project with resources gained through usury, prostitution, or larceny.
As the walls of the Ka’bah had to be torn down before they could be rebuilt, the Quraysh feared Allah would punish anyone who raised his hand against the Sacred House. Waleed bin Mugheera was the first to approach the Ka’bah. Declaring, “Allah will not destroy reformers,” he began to dismantle the walls of the Ka’bah. When others saw that he had done so untouched by divine wrath, they joined in the work. They demolished the Ka’bah down to the original foundation laid by Ibraheem (Abraham). Then the construction started with each tribe being allocated specific duties. The nobles among them carried pieces of stone and piled them up in one place. Muhammad and his uncle Abbas were among those carrying stones.
A Roman mason named Baqoom reconstructed the walls. However, the tribes were unable to collect enough money to rebuild the Ka’bah completely, so a small wall was built showing the boundaries of the original foundation laid by Ibraheem This small wall enclosed an area of about six cubits on the northern side of the Ka’bah and is called Hijr Isma’eel. When the wall was completed up to the spot where the Black Stone (Al-Hajr Al-Aswad) was located, a dispute arose. Each chieftain claimed the honour of putting the Black Stone in place. The crisis continued for four or five days, and bloodshed was imminent. At that time, Abu Umayya – the oldest among them – found a solution to the problem. He suggested that the next man who entered the gate of the Ka’bah should be given the authority to settle the dispute. Everyone agreed to this suggestion, and it was by the will of Allah that the next man to enter the gate was Muhammad .
“It’s Muhammad,” they said as soon as they saw him coming. “Since he is trustworthy, we all agree to abide by his decision.” When Muhammad learned the details of the dispute, he asked them to bring him a sheet. He then took the Black Stone, and placing it on the sheet, asked each clan to take hold of an edge of the sheet and lift it in unison. When the Black Stone was lifted up by the tribal chieftains, Muhammad pushed it into place with his own hands. Everyone was satisfied with Muhammad’s decision, and a great conflict was averted.
The Black Stone rests about one and a half meters above the ground, with the Ka’bah door about half a meter above the Black Stone, The Quraysh did not lower the position of the door because they did not want anyone to enter the Ka’bah without their permission. They also doubled the height of the walls from nine to eighteen cubits, added a roof (fifteen cubits in height), and six pillars in two rows inside the Ka’bah to support it.