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Black Stone

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The Black Stone or Al-Ḥajar al-Aswad (Arabic: الحجر الأسود), is an ancient sacred stone in Islam. It is located in the eastern corner of the Ka'ba (known as al-Rukn al-Aswad, (the Black Angel) or al-Rukn al-Hajari (the Stone Angle), 1.5 meters above the earth. The Stone was honored before Islam. Nevertheless, even then, when the worshiping stones was customary at the age of ignorance, it was not worshiped, but it was a symbol of monotheism and rejection of polytheism.

The location of the Black Stone


Name

The Black Stone was called by the name because of its color. Some have also called it al-Hajar al-As'ad, meaning "the Fortunate Stone". According to Ibn Zahira, if aswad is taken to be derived from "sawdad" (grandiose), al-Hajar al-Aswad means the stone that is grander than other stones.

Physical Appearance

Now only some parts of the Black Stone is visible through the mortar that holds its parts together

The Black Stone is a soft, quasi-oval stone. It is black, with red and yellow tints. It is said that its extreme darkness is due to the burning of the Ka'ba, once before Islam and the second after at the time of the Yazid b. Mu'awiya.

The Stone has been attacked and crushed several times by different groups. The pieces have, then, been put in an adhesive mortar. Therefore, it is not easy to give an accurate and detailed description of the stone. Because of the adhesive mortar around the stone, now only eight pieces can be seen, the largest of which is only as big as a date. It is said that they are actually fifteen pieces, seven of which are hidden in the brown mortar. Clearly the stone has become softer and it has changed its color after centuries of being touched.

A nineteenth century western traveler to Mecca has given this description of the Black Stone: "[the Stone] is an irregular oval, about seven inches in diameter, with an undulated surface, composed of about a dozen smaller stones of different sizes and shapes, well joined together with a small quantity of cement, and perfectly smoothed: it looks as if the whole had been broken into many pieces by a violent blow, and then united again."[1]