Volume 1, Number 2
Jumada II, 1417/October, 1996

Kaaba Walls Torn Down by Saudis

Muslims are outraged at the demolition of the walls of the holiest site in Islam, the Kaaba, in Mecca al-Mukarramah. The unique cubical stone building towards which nearly 2 billion Muslims direct their faces in prayer, has been taken down and replaced by a plywood box. Muslims visiting for 'Umrah reported that the walls of the Kaaba, including the beautifully decorated gold door, the stone of the Yemeni corner, and even al-Multazam (threshold of the Kaaba's door) have all been taken away. These reports are confirmed by many persons in Makkah. They reiterate that all that remains of the Kaaba, which was once rebuilt under the gaze of our Prophet Muhammad (s)1 is an empty shell with only the Black Stone in place.

At no time in Islamic history has the Kaaba been destroyed in this manner, except when fighting has caused its destruction. In the past many Muslim rulers have made construction to strengthen and support the Kaaba, keeping the original house in place. The Kaaba was structurally sound before its demolition two months ago, so there was no reason for the supposed restoration. This action by the Saudi authorities has prompted outrage by Muslims and their officials. The Saudi regime has not responded to high level communiques from Muslim governments, and no satisfactory explanation has been given for their destruction of this holy site. The unofficial explanation, filtered out by Saudi spokespersons, remains that they have only erected the wooden box around the Kaaba in order to prevent harm to pilgrims during renovation, and that the four months of work has simply been to erect some pillars to strengthen support for the roof after heavy rains caused it damage. [See related Editorial]

1 Before his Commission as Prophet, Sayiddina Muhammad (s) was asked by the chiefs of the Quraysh to arbitrate who should place the Black Stone in its setting after the Kaaba had been destroyed by a flood. After they had rebuilt the walls, he had each chief take hold of a his mantle, then placed the Black Stone on it himself. The chiefs transported the blessed stone to its location, and the Prophet (s) placed it with his own holy hands.

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