What does Mecca mean for Muslims


(Arabic al-kaʿba al-musharrafa, "the honored K."), a cube-shaped house (12 x 10 x 15 m) in the middle of the Great Mosque of Mecca. Millions of believers from all over the world make a pilgrimage to it every year, and all Muslims turn in the direction of the K when praying. Its importance for Muslims stems from the fact that it is in Islam. Tradition is considered to be the "first house of God on earth" (Sura 3:96). The prophets Abraham and Ismāʿīl are considered to be their builders (Sura 2: 127). In the room of the K., opposite the north-western wall, are the graves of Ismāʿīl and his mother Hāgar. Not far from it, between the bāb banī Shaiba and the K., is the maqām Ibrāhīm (Arabic: "Place of Abraham") mentioned in Sura 2: 125, where Abraham is said to have stayed when the K. was built. The maqām Ibrāhīm is referred to in that passage of the Koran as "the place suitable for prayer". Abraham was instructed by God to call people to pilgrimage to this holy place, "and they will come to you from every corner and corner" (Sura 22:27). Another reason for the holiness of the K. in Islam is the "black stone" carved into it. The Prophet Muḥammad is said to have carried him in his dress during a renovation of the K. shortly before the proclamation of Islam and thus ended a dispute among the Meccans. Every year, shortly before the pilgrimage, the K. is washed and temporarily covered with a white cover. At the end of the pilgrimage she gets a new cover made of black brocade (Arabic: kiswat al-kaʿba). On this occasion there is an annual ceremony of dressing the K., which is headed by the emir of the Mecca region and becomes a member of the diplomat. Representations of islam. World in Saudi Arabia, heads of pilgrimage missions from around the world and members of the royal family are invited. The preparations for the pilgrimage and corresponding safety measures are also checked. There are many legends about the K.

Dr. Abd al-Halim Ragab, University of Bamberg, Arabic and Islamic studies

Source: Elger, Ralf / Friederike Stolleis (eds.): Kleines Islam-Lexikon. History - everyday life - culture. Munich: 6th, updated and expanded edition 2018.