Story No. 146 – Installation of sacred Black Stone (Al-Hajar Al-Aswad)
When Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was 35 years old and few years before Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) began his mission of preaching Islam there occurred an event of great concern in the lives of the Makkans.
It had rained heavily and continuously for a long period, and the water poured down towards the Kaaba. Kaaba was in the lower section of Makkah. This flood had shaken the foundations of the House of God, the Kaaba and cracked its walls. Besides, the Kaaba had no ceiling and the treasures it housed were exposed to robbery. The Makkans had seriously thought of rebuilding it; but a rebuilt Kaaba with doors and a ceiling, they imagined, would bring upon them a curse.
To each of the four clans of Makkah fell the task of demolishing and rebuilding one of the four walls of the Kaaba, but no one volunteered to begin the work of demolition for fear of punishment by its gods. At length Al-Walid after praying to the gods pulled down part of the Yamani wall assigned to his tribe, until the pillars that the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) had laid down, appeared. With baited breath the rest waited to see what would befall him. When the morning came and nothing had happened to him they took courage and began to work.
Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), like the others, helped in the work till the Kaaba was levelled except for the green stones which were found below the walls. The Makkans could not shake them loose and thus decided to use them as foundations on which to build the new walls. From the neighbouring mountains the Makkans carried stones of blue granite to the site of the Kaaba and the walls rose from the ground quickly.
Each quarter of the Kaaba was being built by one leading family of Quraish – the big and prominent tribe of Makkah. The sacred Black Stone (Al-Hajar Al-Aswad) had to be placed in the East wall of the Kaaba. Dispute arose as to who would have the honour of placing the Sacred Black Stone. Little by little, the dispute turned into harsh enmity, and the various tribes got ready for a bloody war. The members of the clan of Abdul Dar filled a large jar with blood and put their hands into it, thereby giving each other a pledge of death at the battlefield.
This terrible discord went on for four or five days until Abu Umayyah, who was the oldest of the Quraish, used his influence and said to the Makkans, Let the first person to pass through the gate of the Haram (precincts of the Holy Kaaba) be our arbitrator and that all of us accept his view on the problem so it will be solved.
Here comes Al-Ameen (The Trustworthy)The Quraish accepted his proposal and waited to see who would pass through the gate first. Suddenly they heard footsteps heading towards them. It was Muhammad, the son of Abdullah. Everyone, of course, knew, loved, admired and respected Muhammad, the son of Abdullah. So with a loud voice, everyone said, “Here comes Al-Ameen (The Trustworthy)” and the joyous voice echoed through the place over and over again. We will accept his verdict! For indeed he was known to everyone as Al-Amin, the trustworthy!
Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was surprised to hear of that title with which they called him. Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not know about the matter. He was told about what the people of Quraish were fighting for. It was all silent for a while. Everyone thought his family was going to be favored. Their hearts were beating hard and they were getting anxious and impatient.
When they explained their problem to him, he said, ‘Bring me a piece of cloth’. Although the Quraish did not know what he meant by that order, they brought the cloth immediately. Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) spread the cloth, put the sacred Black Stone in the middle of it, and said, ‘Each tribe should take hold of one side of the cloth so all can share in the honour’. The Quraish did as he had told them and lifted the sacred Black Stone to the point where it was to be installed. Then Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who observed that if he let any of them install it, conflict and disputes would arise, himself lifted the sacred Black Stone and installed it in its place. Through this excellent device, he put an end to the terrible enmity and conflicts.
To reconcile a fiery people in those turbulent times required great wisdom and tact which was so well displayed by Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in this incident in his life. This also clearly demonstrates the supreme character of Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his excellent thought and intelligence, which ended a serious dispute without any bloodshed. It is also clear that he (pbuh) enjoyed a reputation for honesty among his people, who, as you have just read, so willingly subjected their claims to his sense of Judgement. We should take a cue from such instances of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) life which is full of acts of great moral courage.
This is how Muhammad (pbuh), the son of Abdullah, the Prophet of Islam succeeded in uniting the ever-fighting and ignorant Arabs with his honesty, justice and noble character.
Indeed the Noble Qur’an says: “Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much.” (Noble Qur’an, 33:21)