Black Stone


Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu,

I don’t have any knowledge of the Black stone at the Kaba. Where does the stone come from and what for was the stone sent? Can you tell us everything you know about that stone? Thank you in advance for your efforts.

Jazakallah khair.



wa `alaykum salam,

May Allah reward you for your desire to gain understanding in what concerns you and every believer. Shaykh Hisham Kabbani explains that “our spirit longs to reach back to its origin and establish a connection with Paradise in this worldly life before reaching the after life,” and identifies the Black Stone as our connection between this world and the hereafter. A very brief summary of its history will hopefully suffice.

Tabari mentions in his tafsir that Adam, peace be upon him, was accompanied in his descent from Paradise by two treasures: the Tabut, or Ark of the Covenant, and the Rukn, or what becomes the Black Stone. Islamic histories relate that within the holy structure that once stood at the Navel of the Earth where the Ka`ba would come to be built, the Rukn held the place of honor. During the Flood when this structure was raised to its Heavenly station, the Stone was entrusted by Noah, peace be upon him, to the mountain Abu Qubays for safekeeping. This mountain was thus known as al-Amin, the trustworthy.

Tirmidhi in his Asrar ul-hajj describes in a most beautiful manner how the Stone was returned. Even though the Prophet Ibrahim charged his son Isma`il, peace be upon them, to find a final stone for the nearly completed Holy House, the mountain Abu Qubays sought and received Divine Permission to pass its sacred trust to Ibrahim, the Intimate Friend of Allah, and thereafter to remain in close proximity. So the Black Stone was the last stone to be placed in the House of Allah, and remained there until the time of the Last Prophet.

Even before the descent of Revelation, biographers relate how our master Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, confirmed the sanctity of the Black Stone. In the chivalric pact of the Hilf ul-fudul, water was poured over the Stone into a receptacle that was then shared by those assembled, including the young Muhammad and Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him. Later, when the Quraysh had rebuilt the Ka`ba upon the foundation stones of Ibrahim and Isma`il, it was Muhammad – hailed significatly as al-Amin – who was given the privilege of lifting the Black Stone into place from the cloth borne by four representatives of Quraysh. There it remained after the rites of the Pilgrimage were renewed by Revelation.

The Sutan ul-awliya Shaykh Nazim al–Haqqani – may Allah sanctify his secret – describes the different levels of understanding among the Sahaba in relation to the Black Stone in the rite of circumambulation. For `Umar al-Faruq, may Allah be pleased with him, the Stone is to be kissed only because of the example of the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him; Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, understood this much and more. From a sohbet of Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani:

We know through our Naqshbandi transmission that Abu Bakr said about the Black Stone that it is not just an ordinary stone, but rather a “stone of trusts” (sakhrat ul-amana) which contains a record of the promises that all the Sons of Adam made on the Day of Promises, and also registers the names of all who circumambulate the Ka`ba…it is a stone which has ears, eyes and a heart.

The Stone is also known as “the Right of Allah on earth.” According to Tradition, the Black Stone was originally a brilliant white, but became black with the sins of humanity. For his part, the Greatest Shaykh Muhyiddin – may Allah sanctify his secret – observes the ambiguity of this “becoming black,” since the word in Arabic signifies also to become lordly, and so associates the Black Stone with the establishment of His caliphate on earth. It may be observed that the function of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq – and so also the Naqshbandi transmission from him – is pre-eminently caliphal. Perhaps it should also be mentioned that the Caliph of Allah and Imam of the Time – peace be upon him – is expected to receive allegiances near the corner of the Black Stone.

The introduction to The Royal Book of Spiritual Chivalry may also be consulted for the relationship between the Holy Grail of Western Chivalry and this subject.

Mahmoud Shelton

About Ustadh Mahmoud Shelton

Mahmoud Shelton studied at the University of Edinburgh before taking a degree in Medieval Studies at Stanford University. Shelton is the author of Alchemy in Middle Earth: The Significance of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, The Balance of George Lucas' Star Wars, and numerous articles. He is also a contributor to The Royal Book of Spiritual Chivalry and The Sufi Science of Self-Realization. Contributions by Mahmoud Shelton * Chivalry of the Night and Day * Alchemy in Middle Earth * contributor, The Royal Book of Spiritual Chivalry
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