Rebuilding the Ka`bah on the foundations of Abraham
23 Aug 2011 06:45 GMT
 
read that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “O `A’ishah! Were your people not close to the Pre-Islamic times of ignorance, I would have had the Ka`bah demolished and would have included in it the portion which had been left, and would have made it at a level with the ground and would have made two doors in it, one towards the east and the other towards the west, and then by doing this it would have been built on the foundations laid by Abraham.” Is it true that the Ka`bah is not on its original foundations? If it is true, then why wasn't it later restored as the Prophet (peace be upon him) had wished?

Answered by

Sheikh Muhammad al-Qannâs

`A’ishah relates that the Prophet said: “O `A’ishah! Were your people not close to the Pre-Islamic times of ignorance, I would have had the Ka`bah demolished and would have included in it the portion which had been left, and would have made it at a level with the ground and would have made two doors in it, one towards the east and the other towards the west, and then by doing this it would have been built on the foundations laid by Abraham.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

The Ka`bah had been rebuilt during the time of Muhammad’s youth, after it had collapsed. This was well before the time of his prophecy. The Prophet (peace be upon him) had witnessed it being rebuilt. However, the tribe of Quraysh at that time was short of money, so they did not rebuild it according to the original foundations that had been laid by Abraham (peace be upon him). They left out the portion referred to as the Hijr and make it outside the physical structure of the Ka`bah. They made only one door for the Ka`bah.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted to demolish the Ka`bah so that it could be rebuilt according to the foundations laid by Abraham (peace be upon him) and thereby restore the building to its original form. That is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not touch the Shâmî and Western corners when he circumambulated the Ka`bah. He wanted to make two doors for the Ka`bah and include the Hijr inside the structure of the Ka`bah because it was originally part of it.

The Prophet (peace be upon him), however, decided to leave off what was preferable in consideration of the state of the people. he wanted to avoid causing any trial for those who had newly embraced Islam and who not too long ago had been steeped in idolatry and polytheism.

Al-Nawawî comments:

Whenever there is a conflict between two considerations of welfare, or between the consideration of attaining some benefit and that of preventing some harm, and there is no way to reconcile between the two, then the most important consideration should be given priority. This is clearly seen in that the Prophet (peace be upon him) spoke about the benefits of demolishing the Ka`bah and rebuilding it according to the original foundations laid by Abraham (peace be upon him). However, doing so would have brought about far greater negative consequences, and that was the fear of putting to trial the faith of those who had newly embraced Islam. This was because the great reverence that they held for the Ka`bah would make them consider any changes made to it a serious matter. Therefore, the Prophet abandoned the idea. [al-Nawawî, Commentary of Sahîh Muslim (9/89)]

`Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr rebuilt the Ka`bah when it was beset by flame during the time of Yazîd b. Mu`âwiyah , when the people of Syria attacked it. He rebuilt it according to the way that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had wanted it built.

`Atâ’ gives us the following account:

When the House was beset by flame during the time of Yazid b. Mu`âwiyah when the people of Syria attacked it, it suffered serious damage. Ibn Zubayr left it as it was until the people arrived for the Hajj season, hoping to incite them to war against the people of Syria.

When the people arrived, he addressed them, saying: “O people, advise me about the Ka`bah. Should I tear it down and then rebuild it from its very foundation, or should I simply repair the damaged?”

Ibn `Abbas said: “My opinion is that you should only repair the damage and leave the House as it was when the people embraced Islam and leave the same stones that were there at the time when people embraced Islam and when Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) received his prophetic mission.”

Thereupon Ibn al-Zubayr said: “If the house of any one of you were to be burnt, he would not be contented until he had reconstructed it. Then how about the House of your Lord? I will seek Allah’s guidance three times and then resolve upon what I should do.”

After seeking Allah’s guidance three times, he resolved to demolish it. People apprehended that calamity would fall from heaven upon those who would be first to climb upon it (for the purpose of tearing it down). Then a man climbed upon it and threw down one of its stones. When the people saw no calamity befall him, they followed suit, until it was razed to the ground. Then Ibn al-Zubayr erected pillars and stretched curtains upon them, so that they were raised up.

Then Ibn al-Zubayr declared: “I heard from `A’ishah that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) had said: ‘Had the people not so recently abandoned unbelief, and had I means enough to reconstruct it, I would have definitely encompassed within it five cubits of area of the Hijr, and I would also have constructed a door for the people to enter, and a door for them to exit.’

“Well, today I have the means and I entertain no fear on account of the people.”

He extended the construction to include five cubits of the area of the Hijr until the old foundation became apparent to the people. Upon this foundation the structure was raised.

The length of the Ka`bah had been eighteen cubits. When the addition was made, he deemed its (length) to be short, so the addition of ten cubits was made to its length. Two doors were also constructed, one for an entrance and the other one for an exit.

When Ibn Zubayr was killed, al-Hajjâj wrote to 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwân, informing him about it, and telling him that Ibn al-Zubayr had built the Ka'bah on the foundations which reliable persons from among the Meccans had seen.

`Abd al-Malik wrote back to him, saying: “We are not concerned with the wrong done by Ibn al-Zubayr in anything. Keep intact the addition made by him in the length, and whatever he has added from the Hijr, bring it back to its previous foundation, and wall up the door which he had opened.”

Thus al-Hajjâj, at the behest of `Abd al-Malik, demolished (that portion) and restored its former structure. [Sahîh Muslim (1333)]

The following is also related in Sahîh Muslim:

While `Abd al-Malik b. Marwân was circumambulating the Ka`bah, he said: “May Ibn al-Zubayr be damned in his lie against the Mother of the Faithful, claiming that he heard her saying that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) had said: “O `A'ishah! Had your people not so recently abandoned unbelief, I would have demolished the House so as to add to it the area of the Hijr, for indeed your people had shortened it when rebuilding it.”

Al-Hârith b. `Abd Allah b. Abî Rabî`ah said to him: “O Commander of the Faithful! Do not say that. For I heard the Mother of the Faithful say this.”

Whereupon `Abd al-Malik b. Marwân said: “If I had heard this before demolishing it, I would have left it in the state in which Ibn al-Zubayr had built it.” [Sahîh Muslim (1333)]

Ibn Kathîr draws from this incident the following conclusion:

This indicates that what was Ibn al-Zubayr did was correct. If what he had done had been left alone, this would have been a good thing. However, since the building was again returned to its previous shape, some scholars disliked changing it again. It has been related that either the Caliph Hârûn al-Rashîd or his father al-Mahdî had asked Imam Malik about demolishing the Ka`bah to return it back to the shape built by Ibn al-Zubayr. Imam Malik said: “No, do not make the Ka`bâh of Allah a plaything for kings; so that whenever one of them wants to tear it down, he does so.” Upon hearing this al-Rashîd abandoned the idea. [Tafsîr Ibn Kathîr (1/184)]

Ibn Hajr, after quoting the statement of Imam Mâlik, writes:

This is exactly the same fear their forefather, `Abd Allah b. `Abbâs, had when Ibn al-Zubayr wanted to tear down the Ka`bah and rebuild it. He had told him to take down what was damaged and renew it without adding or demolishing anything. Ibn`Abbâs had said to him: “I am afraid another ruler will come along after you and change again what you will change now.” [Fath al-Bârî (3/448). The statement of Ibn `Abbâs is narrated by al-Fâkihî in Akhbâr Makkah (5/229)]

And Allah knows best.

Source: Islam Today



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