the Fatwa Department Research Committee - chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî
The Black Stone is one of the stones of the Ka`bah. Its significance is that it is the only surviving stone from the original structure built by Abraham and Ishmael (peace be upon them both). The Ka`bah had been destroyed and rebuilt many times in its history, even before the arrival of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Black Stone is the single stone that has survived all the mishaps that have taken place since the time of Abraham and Ishmael.
The Ka`bah was again destroyed by flood during Muhammad’s youth, before Muhammad (peace be upon him) received revelation. At that time, the elders of Mecca fell into dispute over who should have the honor of putting the Black Stone in place on the rebuilt structure.
Muhammad (peace be upon him) was chosen to be the arbiter in the matter and instructed them to place the stone on a cloth.
Then four of the elders of the different clans each picked up a corner of the cloth and carried the stone to its place whereby Muhammad (peace be upon him) took it from the cloth and placed it. In this way, they all were able to share equally in the honor of placing the Black Stone in the newly-built structure, and a conflict was avoided.
Many years later, when Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) offered his Pilgrimage after years of exile from Mecca, he started by kissing the Black Stone. We understand this in its context. It was a poignant homecoming for the Prophet (peace be upon him) who had years earlier been driven out of his beloved city on account of his religion
The fact that the Prophet (peace be upon him) kissed the Black Stone is the only reason we do so today. We kiss it to emulate the Prophet’s practice.
The Caliph `Umar made this clear to the people when he led them in the pilgrimage. He used to kiss the Black Stone when he walked around Ka`bah any say: “I know that you are nothing but a stone. You cannot hurt or help anyone. And if I had not seen the Prophet (peace be upon him) kissing you, I would never have kissed you”.
This is the real application of this rite. It is only a matter of following what our Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us or showed us. It is known for sure that no benefit or harm can be received from the Black Stone.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today