The Foundations of Kabah : Shaykh al-Albanee

source: Silsilat ul-ahaadeeth us-saheeha – the series of authentic narrations – hadeeth no. 43
assaheeha translations.

The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “O ‘Aaisha, if your people had not recently been polytheists (and new converts to Islaam), and if I had enough means to reconstruct it, I would have spent the treasure of the Ka’bah in the way of Allaah, and I would have demolished the Ka’bah and made it at a level with the ground. Then I would have rebuilt it on its original foundations laid by Ibraaheem (Abraham) and made two doors for it – a door facing the east, for the people to enter, and a door facing the west, for their exit… And I would expand (the Ka’bah) by six cubits (around three meters) of area from al-Hijr (the unroofed portion of the Ka’bah which is at present in the form of a semi-circular, wall-surrounded area in the north side of the Ka’bah); (in [another] narration: I would have included the space of al-Hijr in it ), for when the Quraish had rebuilt the Ka’bah, they reduced its (area). And if your people would take initiative after me in rebuilding it, then come along with me so that I could show you what they have left out of it.” He [sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] showed her about seven cubits (three and a half meters) of area (from the side of al-Hijr).

In [another] narration from her (‘Aaisha), she said: “I asked the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) about the wall (i.e., al-Hijr): ‘Is it regarded as part of the House (the Ka’bah)?’ He [sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] replied, ‘Yes.’ I said: ‘Then why did they not include it in the House?’ He [sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] said, ‘Your people ran short of the means/money (to do so).’ I said: ‘Why is it that the level of its door is raised high?’ He [sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] said, ‘Your people did it to admit whomever they liked, and prevent whomever they disliked; (in [another] narration: (They did it) out of vanity so that (they might be in a position) to grant admittance to only whom they wished. So when a person intended to enter it, they called him to climb (the stairs), and when he was about to enter, they pushed him and he fell down). Were your people not close to the Pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance (i.e. they have recently embraced Islaam) and were I not afraid that their hearts might deny (my action), then surely I would have included the (area of the) wall inside (the building of) the House and I would have made its gate touch the ground.’”

Then, when Ibn uz-Zubayr ruled, he demolished it and made two doors for it. (In [another] narration: That was what urged Ibn uz-Zubayr to demolish (the Ka’bah). Yazeed bin Rumaan said: ‘I saw Ibn uz-Zubayr when he demolished it, rebuilt it and included al-Hijr in it. And I saw the original foundations of Ibraaheem (‘alayhi ssalaam) which were of stones joined together resembling the humps of camels.’)

*the translation of the above hadeeth, for the most part, was taken directly from the already translated text of saheeh al-bukhaari and saheeh muslim*

shaykh al-albaani (rahimahullaah) summarizes a number of benefits from the above narration:

“This hadeeth indicates two things:

First: that it is obligatory to delay carrying out rectification, if an evil greater than [its good] results from it. And from it, the scholars of fiqh took their famous principle: ‘Repelling the evil [comes] before bringing the good.’

Second: that the honorable Ka’bah is now in need of the reconstructions that the hadeeth includes, due to the disappearance of the reason for the sake of which the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) left that – and (the reason) is that the hearts of those who were recently polytheists in his time (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would have a dislike [for it]. And Ibn Battaal has reported from some of the scholars that: ‘the dislike that he (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) feared was that they would accuse him of boasting by himself over them.’

It is possible to list those reconstructions in what follows:

  • 1- Expanding the Ka’bah and building it upon the foundation of Ibraaheem (‘alayhi ssalaat wa ssalaam), and that is by adding approximately six cubits (three meters) of al-Hijr
  • 2- Leveling its ground with the surface of the Haram (Al-Masjid ul-Haraam)
  • 3- Opening another door for it from the Western side
  • 4 – Making the two doors low with the ground to organize and facilitate entering it and exiting from it for everyone who wishes

And indeed, ‘Abdullaah bin uz-Zubayr (radi Allaahu ‘anhumaa) had carried out the fulfillment of this reconstruction completely during his rule in Makkah, but the unjust political administration returned the Ka’bah after him to its previous state!”

the shaykh then mentions the following hadeeth as narrated by Muslim and Abu Nu’aym on the authority of ‘Ataa who said:

“The House was burnt during the time of Yazeed bin Mu’aawiya when the people of Shaam had fought (in Makkah), and it happened with it (the Ka’bah) what was (in store for it). Ibn uz-Zubayr left it (in the same state) until the people came in the season (of Hajj) – he wanted to encourage them or urge them on (to war) against the people of Shaam. When the people had arrived, he said to them, ‘O people, advise me about the Ka’bah. Should I demolish it and then build it from its very foundation, or should I repair whatever has been damaged of it?’ Ibn ‘Abbaas [radi Allaahu ‘anhu] said, ‘An idea has occurred to me, according to which I think that you should only repair whatever has been damaged for it, and leave the House (in the same state) in which people embraced Islaam, (and leave) the stones (in the same state) in which people embraced Islaam and upon which the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was sent.’ So, Ibn uz-Zubayr said, ‘If the house of any one of you was burnt, he would not be pleased until he had reconstructed it, then how about the House of your Lord (which is far more important than your house)?! Indeed, I will seek good advice from my Lord thrice and then I will make up my mind about this affair.’

After seeking good advice thrice, he made up his mind to demolish it. The people were suspicious and fearful that calamity might fall from heaven on those persons who would be first to climb over it (for the purpose of demolishing it), until a man climbed it and threw down one of its stones. When the people saw no calamity befalling him, they followed him and demolished it until they leveled it to the ground. Then, Ibn uz-Zubayr erected pillars and hung curtains on them until the walls were raised. And Ibn uz-Zubayr said, ‘Indeed I heard ‘Aaisha say that the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: (he then mentioned the first portion of the hadeeth [mentioned in the beginning], then he said) – I today have the means to spend and I don’t fear the people (that they would protest against this change).’ So he expanded it by five cubits (around two and a half meters) of area from the side of al-Hijr until it appeared as the original foundation (upon which Ibraaheem had built the Ka’bah), and the people saw it; and it was upon this foundation that he raised the wall. The length of the Ka’bah was eighteen cubits (around nine meters), and when he had expanded it, he found it to be short (since the addition was made to its width, so naturally the length appeared to be small compared to its width). Therefore, he expanded its length by ten cubits (around five meters). He also constructed two doors, one of which (was meant) for entrance and the other one for exit.

Then, when Ibn uz-Zubayr was killed, al-Hajjaaj wrote to ‘Abd ul-Malik bin Marwaan informing him about it, and telling him that Ibn uz-Zubayr had built (the Ka’bah) on the very foundation (which was laid by Ibraaheem) and which reliable persons among the people of Makkah had seen. Then, ‘Abd ul-Malik wrote to him: ‘Indeed, we are not concerned with disgracing Ibn uz-Zubayr in anything. As for what he added in the side of its length, keep it intact; and as for what he added from the side of al-Hijr, return it to its (previous) foundation, and close up the door which he opened.’ Thus, he (al-Hajjaaj) demolished it (that portion) and rebuilt it on its (previous) foundation.”

*the translation of the above hadeeth, for the most part, was taken directly from the already translated text of saheeh muslim*

shaykh al-albaani continues:

“That is what al-Hajjaaj the oppressor did by the command of ‘Abd ul-Malik the mistaken one, and I don’t think that his regret later on clears him of his mistake. Muslim and Abu Na’eem have also narrated from ‘Abdullaah bin ‘Ubayd who said: Al-Haarith bin ‘Abdillaah came to ‘Abd ul-Malik bin Marwaan as an envoy during his Khilaafa (Caliphate), and ‘Abd ul-Malik said, ‘I don’t think that Abu Habeeb (i.e., Ibn uz-Zubayr) heard from ‘Aaisha that which he claimed to hear from her.’ Al-Haarith said: ‘But yes, I [myself] heard it from her.’ He (‘Abd ul-Malik) said, ‘You heard her saying what?’ He (Al-Haarith) said, ‘She said: the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: (he then mentioned the hadeeth).’ ‘Abd ul-Malik said to Al-Haarith, ‘You heard her saying this?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ Then, he (‘Abd ul-Malik) scratched the ground with his staff for a while and then said, ‘I wish that I had left it and not changed [the reconstructions carried out by Ibn uz-Zubayr].’

And there is in [another] narration from them both (Muslim and Abu Na’eem) from Abu Qaz’ah that: While ‘Abd ul-Malik bin Marwaan was going around the House, he at that time said, ‘May Allaah fight Ibn uz-Zubayr since he uttered a lie upon the mother of the believers, saying: I heard her say: (he then mentioned the hadeeth).’ So, Al-Haarith bin ‘Abdillaah bin Rabee’ah said, ‘Don’t say this O leader of the believers, for I [myself] heard the mother of the believers saying this.’ He (‘Abd ul-Malik) said, ‘If I had heard it before I demolished it (the Ka’bah), I would have left it upon what Ibn uz-Zubayr had built.’

I (Shaykh al-Albaani) say: it was (obligatory) upon him, before the demolition, to verify and to ask the people of knowledge about that, whether it was allowed for him to criticize ‘Abdullaah bin uz-Zubayr and accuse him of uttering a lie upon the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). And his truthfulness (radi Allaahu ‘anhu) became clear to ‘Abd ul-Malik by Al-Haarith‘s agreeing with it, as many a group from ‘Aaisha (radi Allaahu ‘anhaa) agreed with it. And I have collected their narrations…in this hadeeth, and the hadeeth is detailed from ‘Aaisha. Therefore, I indeed fear that ‘Abd ul-Malik had prior knowledge about the hadeeth before he demolished the House, but he pretended that he did not hear about it except through Ibn uz-Zubayr. So when Al-Haarith bin ‘Abdillaah opposed him, that he also had heard it (the hadeeth) from ‘Aaisha, he (‘Abd ul-Malik) showed regret at what he had done, [but] it was too late for regrets.

On the other hand, it has reached us that there is an idea or plan to expand the area of tawaaf (circumambulation) around  the Ka’bah and transfer the Maqaam Ibraaheem (the Standing Place of Ibraaheem) (‘alayhi ssalaat wa ssalaam) to another place. So in relation to this, I suggest to those responsible (for the Ka’bah) that they hasten to expand the Ka’bah before everything (else) and rebuilt it upon the foundation of Ibraaheem (‘alayhi ssalaat wa ssalaam), fulfilling the noble, honorable Prophetic wish in this hadeeth, and saving the people from the problems of crowding at the door of the Ka’bah which is witnessed every year, and from the domination of the guard over the door who prevents whoever he wishes from entering and allows whoever he wishes, for the sake of a few dirhams!”

%d bloggers like this: