We have a Hindu woman at work. I tried to give her dawah, but today she asked me an astonishing question. She said:
“Dont you Muslims worship the kabaa and the hajr aswad (black stone)? I mean, you guys go around the kabah and face it in each prayer. Likewise, you guys actually kiss the black stone. That proves that Muslims worship the kabaa and black stone.”
I became baffled with this, and did not know what to respond.
Can you kindly assist me?
Thanks so much.
Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
The circumambulation of the Ka’bah and facing it in prayer is only because Allah commanded us to do so. It is a sign of love and respect for the most Sacred House of Worship on the face of the earth. An act of love centred around an object cannot be construed to mean that one is “idolizing” and worshiping that object.
There are various proofs which show that Muslims do not worship the Ka’bah. To mention a few:
1) Even if an ordinary Muslim layman is asked if the Ka’bah was his idol and deity, he would reply in the negative and banish such a thought. No person would denounce his own deity. Even polytheists never tend to denounce their idols.
2) If at any time the structure of the Ka’bah is destroyed then too, it will be compulsory to perform prayer facing the direction of the Ka’bah. Therefore, we can say without a shadow of doubt that Muslims do not worship its stone structure, otherwise by its destruction Salaah would immediately come to a temporary stop.
3) If a person decides to pray on the roof of the Ka’bah, the prayer will be valid. If we worshipped the Ka’baa, it would obviously not be correct to pray on top of the item being worshipped, since this would be regarded as disrespect and disgraceful to the deity.
4) If a person does not know the direct of the Ka’bah, he can apply his discretion and pray in any direction. That proves that Salaah can even be correct without facing the ka’bah.
The kissing of the Black Stone too, is done merely out of love and in order to emulate the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). Hadhrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) once made this point very clear while kissing the Stone by saying:
“By Allah, I am kissing you whilst I know that you are only a stone, you have no power of harming or benefiting anyone. Had I not seen Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam kissing you, I would not have kissed you either” (Sahih Muslim, 2/925).
The reason why Hadhrat Umar radhiallahu anhu made this statement was to impress on the minds of onlookers (some of whom were newly converted Muslims), that Islam is a monotheistic religion. Shirk (idolatry and polytheism) would result if one believed that the Black Stone can directly harm or benefit mankind. We do not kiss it while harbouring such a belief. Just as a person kissing his wife or/and children does not mean that one regards them as idols or objects of worship, so too must the kissing of the Black Stone be understood in the same context. Such acts are merely carried out to display love and attachment.
We are not putting our faith in the Ka’bah and Black Stone to the extent that we depend upon these objects for the forgiveness of our sins. Our sins can only be forgiven by Allah Ta’aala. By performing the Tawaaf and kissing the Black Stone we are merely carrying out the Commands of Allah Ta’aala and the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). By doing so, we draw closer to Allah Ta’aala and this nearness in turn attracts the Mercy of Allah which facilitates the forgiveness of our sins.
And Allaah Ta’aala knows best
Ismail Moosa (Mufti)