Hajj - pilgrimage to Mecca

Report from 1999: About two million Muslims take part in the annual pilgrimage to Arabia, known as "Hajj". The journey of Hajj begins from the city of Mecca and ends up in Mena. By the forth day, the Pilgrims and also the Muslims around the world celebrate their Feast of Sacrifice by slaughtering a sheep or cattle. Yearly in the Hajj dozens, if not hundreds of pilgrims die in accidents directly or indirectly related to their religious event. For Muslims, dying in the Hajj is a blessing and an honor for them from Allah. They believe that when a person dies in performing his Hajj duties, it is like being martyred in a holy war, "Jihad", as a sacrifice. His soul will go directly to paradise and escape Allah’s judgment day. The Hajj to Ka’ba is the 5th Pillar of Islam. Muslims are obligated to perform it at least once in their life time, except if they have a financial or physical disability (out of Allah’s mercy for them).

Salvation in Islam has a lot to do with Ka’ba by daily bowing towards it several times and by visiting it at least once. Therefore Ka’ba is a literal image of Allah and his residency. The Hajj is the most sacred religious event for Muslims. Meanwhile it is also a social gathering and a business appointment. In this period of time, Muslims fulfil their most sacred religious duty, meet to extend their relationships and build unity and use the opportunity to develop business and make material profit. The territorial triangle composed of Mecca, Medina and Jeddah is designed to be the capital religious-social-commercial center of the Islamic world. The period between the 7th, 8th and 9th days of the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar is the time set for the Hajj. The feast of sacrifice is held on the 10th. This year’s Hajj is coinciding between March 26 (Friday) and March 28 (Sunday) according to the Gregorian calendar 1999. And the Feast of Sacrifice will be celebrated on Monday in the East (Asia, E-Africa and E-Europe) and on Tuesday in the West (W-Africa, W-Europe and America).

* Allah of Islam is not a Father. Calling Allah "Father" or Jesus "Son of G-d" is a blasphemy that Allah and his servants hate and punish by capital death.

* Muslims Call Jesus "’Isa." However, His name in Arabic is "Yasu’e". ‘Isa is a twisted name for Jesus. It is actually "Esau". It is also said that "Isa" was the name of a false god! The point is that Satan in Islam is not even willing to spell Jesus’ name correctly. That means that he fears even the name of Yehshua.

* Most Muslims never heard about the person of the Holy Spirit and even those who have, believe that He is their prophet Muhammad and falsely interpret Joh.14:16-17, 25-27. This one of the major keys they also use to deceive weak Christians and lead them to believe that Muhammad is a true prophet. In Matt 24:26, Jesus clearly warned about a prophet in the desert and that he is a deceiver and an antichrist (that clearly fits with Muhammad).

A few years ago the Lord told me in a dream that He is going to fulfil His promise to Abraham (in the spiritual dimension) according to Gen.17:18-20. There are Christians who are prophesying that Islam is going to fall soon. I believe that is true, but we should not sleep. We have to make preparations and intercession. I believe that when Islam will fall, it is our duty to catch Muslims and not let them fall with their beast. We need to be there for them and be ready to snatch them from the fires of hell and from other deceptions and at the right time. We need to pray for our Christian brothers who are going to give their lives for saving Muslims. Many of the converts are going to die too. I believe that Islam is not going to die peacefully. It will cause great destruction and try to burn whatever it may find in its way. I believe that Satan will use Islam for revenge and to kill as many lives as possible and cause terror in all the earth.

The spirit of pride and false honor: One of the 99 names of Allah is "Al-Mutakabbir", it means the Prideful one. Therefore, Muslims honor pride and stick to it even to death. Yhwh or Yhshua never described Himself as a prideful G-d. Instead He says that He opposes the proud. The spirit of religion of Islam: Islam is a religion that promotes the work of the flesh and defends it with zeal even to death. The spirit of self-righteousness: Muslims boast about their religious rituals and Hajj. A Hajj becomes like a holy man, a sinless person after performing his pilgrimage.

The spirit of a one world system: Islam is a very well structured religion. Its goal is to unify the whole world under it in all the aspects of the human activities, religion, politics, society and trade. Hajj is a yearly opportunity to stimulate that spirit. The spirit of fear: Allah is a fearful god who requires total submission to his rules and rituals. For example, if a Muslim doesn’t pray to Allah daily, before going to heaven he must pass by hell and perform those missed duties. Muslims worship Allah out of fear of punishment on earth and in heaven. The spirit of Babel: The Arabic language of Koran is considered as the language that is going to unify men again under it. The Koran urges Muslims to learn Arabic because it is the very language of Allah!

Muslims believe that Koran is the sign that the curse of Babel has been broken by Allah and a call by him to return to one universal language, the Koran Arabic language. Amazingly, there is a verse in Koran which challenges men and demons to use science to escape from earth and the heavens. He urges them to use science for that purpose. The sign of Babel we see it also in mosques towers. There is a competition right now going between mosques, which one will rich the highest levels (Hassan II in Casablanca is the one that breaks the record with its minaret that reaches 170m.) Look at Gen.11:1-9. I discern that Muslims are bound by the spirit of Babel and are under the curse of G-d. I believe that is why Muslims have a lot of conflicts between each other and they never can have peace, even according to the physical dimension. The spirit of the antichrist: Koran denies the deity of Jesus (Joh.2:22-23). It also denies the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Him, which is the very heart of G-d’s message to human beings. Islam fits into all of the characteristics of the antichrist. The body of Islam is a body which is directly designed to be an adversary to the body of Christ and a competitor with it. Islam is a clear picture of the allegory of the beast of the sea in Rev.13:1-10. The spirit of tradition: Muslims are often controlled by their traditions. They may not believe that they are good but still they feel that they must follow those rules out of duty and by fear of the curse of Muhammad and their forefathers.

The city of Mecca

Mecca is a city in the South West part of the present Saudi Arabia, not far away from the Red sea. Since centuries before the rising of Islam, Mecca was serving as the main religious, cultural and commercial center for all of the Arabic tribes. An amazing detail about the city, is that it is surrounded by seven hills.

Mecca is also the city which gave birth to Muhammad (the strongest antichrist ever to appear throughout the last 2000 years) and to his religion of Islam. It became the capital of the Islamic empire and the official residency of Allah. Therefore and since then Mecca gained the title of being called "almadina almukarrama" (the bountiful/honored city). The Muslim’s prayers are required to be directed toward the city and its shrine of "Ka’ba." It is also their duty and one of their five pillars of faith to visit the city at least once in their life time. Non-Muslims are strictly forbidden to touch the (holy) soil of Mecca. If someone is caught, he will definitely be put to death.

The shrine of Ka’ba

Ka’ba is a cubic shrine in the middle of the city of Mecca. The shrine is covered by an expensive dark cloth which is made out of silk and satin, embroidered with golden koranic verses (and decorated by gems). On one of the corners of Ka’ba, there is a black stone covered by gold. This stone looks like a kind of meteor that can be found in the asteroid belt. The room inside Ka’ba is a forbidden place to visit. Only the king of the nation, the Imam (priests) of the city, and on rare occasions Muslim kings and princess are allowed to enter that room, (Nobody else knows what is displayed in its interior). Surrounding the shrine from four sides is the huge mosque called "alMasjid alharam". It is capable of holding around two million people at the same time. Ka’ba and the mosque are considered the most holy places on earth and the represent first direction for prayer. Islam teaches that Allah (the god of Muslims) chose the site of Ka’ba and commanded Adam to build a sanctuary there for the purpose of worship. This event was supposed to have happened right after Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden. Allah gave the black stone to Adam (in order to use it as the corner stone) for building the shrine.

(It is important to notice here that in the Koranic version of the story of Adam’s fall, there is no mention of G-d’s provision of skin garment ‘sacrifice’ (Gen.3:21). From this window we can see that Islam is a religion that is 100% designed to support the work of the flesh as the requirement for salvation. The blood and sacrifice of a substitute has absolutely no room in Islam). According to Islam, Adam and his descendants for generations worshipped at the ‘holy’ shrine, but when Noah’s flood came the shrine was destroyed and its location remained unknown until the time of Abraham. According to Islam also, Allah commanded Abraham and his son Ishmael to rebuild the shrine at the same site and use the black stone that was remaining there as the corner stone. Meanwhile they restored monotheism by calling all men to worship Allah and to gather at the site for Hajj every year.

According to the Koran, it was Abraham and Ishmael who instituted "Islam", Muhammed came to restore what was corrupted in Islam (that includes Judaism and Christianity) and to seal all prophecies. They also believe that the Well of Zamzam which is there, was dug by Ishmael. They believe that the water of Zamzam can heal them from all kinds of diseases. (There is no mention in the Bible that Abraham and Ishmael ever went down to that area. There is no archeological or historical evidence that can prove that Ka’ba existed since the time of Abraham and his son.

There are also some other questions that can be raised here. For example, if the story was true, why didn’t G-d ask Moses and Israel to go to Ka’ba and worship at it, instead of making a tabernacle? Why didn’t Allah tell David (if he had ever spoken to him) that he already had a house down in Arabia? Why wasn’t Jesus ever dedicated to G-d at Ka’ba instead of the temple.

Or at least, why didn’t he need to go to fulfil His ‘duty’ of Hajj as Allah has commanded?).

The best speculation a sincere and logical person can come up with is that Ka’ba was undoubtedly established and Hajj instituted some time during the early AD centuries. There is, in fact, evidence that can prove this speculation. For example, the examining of pre-Islamic Arab poetry.

When Muhammad appeared, Ka’ba was there and was considered a religious, political and commercial center. Prior to Islam, some 360 idols were surrounding it and Allah was their chief god. Interestingly, during Muhammad’s early adulthood (before his "prophethood"), Ka’ba had to be renovated and, of course, it was he who had the privilege and honor to re-install the black stone as the corner stone for the new building. Afterward, Muhammad used this fact to prove to the Arabs of his time that he was the messenger of Allah. The moving of the black stone, according to Muhammad, was a sign from Allah to the people that he was Allah’s true messenger. Ka’ba has been renovated at least twice during the past 1,400 years. The most recent renovation was just before last year’s Hajj. Now, Ka’ba is standing anew again like a young ‘beautiful’ and strong woman. (She is still ready to receive more and more people to share in her arrogance and adultery. She is using the oil, gold, money and luxury to seduce them and make them her slaves. The 20,000 hungry Iraqi of last week’s events are just a small example of how she corrupts people and sucks them into her immorality).

When Muhammad received his prophethood from Allah, he urged his followers to perform the Hajj, even during the time of his escape to and exile in Medina. When he defeated the Meccans and sized their city and shrine, he decreed the Hajj and made it a pillar of Islam. He also instituted the rituals relative to it and the times to perform them. Those rituals are the same ones that Muslims perform to this day. However, there are two kinds of Hajj. There is a regular, ‘small’ one called "Umra." There is a yearly one, the ‘great’ Hajj, which is officially called "Hajj". Umra can be performed at anytime of the year and takes only one day, but Hajj is to be performed only once a year and takes several successive days.

The main point that we want to emphasise in this article is that the city of Mecca and its abominable shrine of Ka’ba have covered and fulfilled most of the characteristics of the Bible’s ‘harlot’. If you compare the information about Mecca from the physical, historical and spiritual dimensions, we believe that you’ll certainly be astonished by how she perfectly fits into the harlot’s picture, as described by John in Revelation 17! Ka’ba as a whole is indeed a literal idol of the false god Allah. She doesn’t look like an image or statue, but two strong elements that prove her idol status are the fact that Muslims have to bow their heads toward her and worship her black stone.

The 1st day of Hajj

During the 1st day of Hajj, pilgrims have to spend the day at Mecca and perform the ritual called "Tawaf". They have to turn seven times around the Ka’ba and see if it is possible for them to touch and even kiss the black stone. It is considered a blessing, privilege and honor to touch the stone and kiss it. Pushing, shoving and elbowing their way, strong pilgrims can reach their goal, but weaker ones are cast out or even stepped on and crushed under the feet of others trying to get near the stone. The bodies of those who die in that ritual are to be immediately buried. According to Muslims, this is not a barbarical torture, but a sacrifice "Jihad" for the sake of Allah. Of course the victims’ relatives see the death of their family member as Allah’s blessing for their beloved ones that gives them honor and pride.

Special events

This year’s last Tawaf (circle around Ka’ba) will occur on Friday, which means that pilgrims have an ‘extra’ duty to perform. They will perform their weekly event of Friday’s prayer at the ‘holy’ grand mosque, which will add to them extra blessings. (The Friday prayer occurs at noon time, at the exact time where Jesus was hung on the cross and Satan and his followers were scoffing at Him and rejoicing for His pain. Perhaps, Satan didn’t want that Muslims to be empty handed from sharing in his crime. He required them to organize a weekly party for him at that exact time and celebrate his ‘victory’ by ignorantly worshipping him in the person of Allah).

After the Friday prayer, pilgrims will also have the opportunity to take part in another event by attending a special show where the "disobediants" to Allah are to be executed or punished. Every Friday afternoon after the "Jumu’a," those who have been sentenced to death,hand cutting or whipping are to be punished in public, so that people can learn the fear of Allah and his horrible judgments about sin and disobedience. The punishments are held right outside the city on one of it hills. Unfortunately, several Christians, who have been found guilty of worshipping Jesus or giving testimony about him, have been decapitated at that same spot.

Tawafu Assa’y between Assafa and Almarwa

One of the other necessary rituals of Hajj is called "Tawafu Assa’y". During the "Tawafu Assa’y" ritual, pilgrims have to walk, as fast as they can back and forth between a place called "Assafa" and another one "Almarwa", chanting verses from the Koran and making their wishes to Allah. Those weak people who have survived the Tawaf of Ka’ba (7 circles around the shrine), are exposed to another risk of being trampled on under the feet of the strong. Therefore, more pilgrims will be ‘sacrificed’ to Allah in the path between Assafa and Almarwa.

According to Islamic beliefs and tradition, the area between Assafa and Almarwa is the very place where Gen.21:15-20 took place. Hagar (Allah’s chosen wife for Abraham), was the first one who performed that ritual and was supposed to have made a wish to Allah to provide water for her son. Meanwhile, her little boy, who was sitting on the ground and crying, dug a hole in the sand and, miraculously, the water came out as a result of Allah’s answer to Hagar’s wish. Then, according to Islam, she called the well "Zamzam" (which means hush baby, don’t cry anymore!)

The story goes on to say that it was at that time she knew why Allah sent her and her son to that desert place. It was supposedly the site where Allah’s shrine had rested before. Later, it is said that Allah showed Ishmael and his father the black stone and commanded them to rebuild the shrine and call people to worship Allah there.

Many details in Allah-Muhammad’s version of Gen.21:1-21 contradict the Bible and its original details. There is no mention in the Bible of Mecca being a place of worship of the true G-d at all. According to the Bible, Ishmael lived far away from Mecca, in the desert of Paran (around

Beersheba). There is no historical evidence at all that can support any fact that either Hagar, Ishmael or Abraham had ever reached the soil of Mecca. However, Muslims believe that the Jews have twisted the Biblical account out of hatred and jealousy toward Ishmael and his descendants.

According to Muslim belief, Allah’s promise of a savior was made to Abraham about the seed of Ishmael and not of Isaac. They claim that Muhammad’s version of the story in the Koran is the true and genuine one, and that Jews should be punished and even exterminated for their ‘perversion of the truth,’ although, again, there is no historical evidence to prove their version of the story.

(Note: Allah and the True G-d are not the same. Muslims believe that Allah and the G-d of Israel are the same G-d. Sadly, even many Christians hold this misunderstanding as well).

The day at Mount Arafat

After finishing the duties of Hajj at Ka’ba and Mecca, pilgrims head toward Minan and then to Mount Arafat to perform another duty of their Hajj. They have to spend the whole 9th day(of the last month in the year, according to Muslim calendar) in the wilderness. Most of the time they have to stand under the scorching heat of the sun and listen to a sermon given by the Imam (high priest) in commemoration of Muhammad’s last sermon. They also have to perform their five daily prayers on that spot as one of the Hajj duties. Then they have to head toward a place called "Almuzdalifa" and spend the night there before getting back to Mecca and ending their official Hajj.

According to Muslim beliefs, the day of Arafat is a type of judgement day, where Allah is going to judge all men whether they are believers (Muslims) or unbelievers (non-Muslims). The ritual is somehow a kind of training for Muslims to be able to stand and wait for their turn to be judged according to their works. In Islam there is no guarantee for salvation or hope to escape that horrible day of judgment. In one of Muhammad’s Hadiths (sayings), he said that even he, ‘the prophet of salvation’, can’t guarantee the escape from hell for himself. Therefore, all that he could provide to his followers is a training to be able to stand in the scorching heat "hell", to wait for their trial.

(Muslims are usually kept away from the Gospel and that Jesus has paid for their sins and provided a way for men not go through judgement. Satan scoffs at Muslims in his Koran by telling them that only the pure in heart and righteous are able to make it to heaven. By that he is indirectly testifying to them and against them that they can’t go to heaven, since no man has a pure heart and no man is sinless. They must seek salvation out of Christ, the true Judge in the day of reckoning and the only One who can make them pure and righteous through His sacrifice on the cross and His blood.)

It is also amazing to notice how Muhammad seemed to be trying to copy and imitate Jesus in everything he could. Many "Hadiths" (Mohammad’s sayings) have been literally copied from Jesus’ words and actions while taking the credit for himself rather than the Originator, Jesus. One of those actions that Muhammad imitated was giving a sermon on a mount to his followers.

Sometime before he died (632AD), Muhammad stood at Mount Arafat and gave a sermon where he gave his last commandments to Muslims and told them that he was going to die soon. Within a year, he indeed died. Muslims consider that as a miracle from Allah, that he allowed his prophet to know the time of his death and they consider that a sign to prove his prophethood. (That was a kind of a miracle, yes, but it wasn’t something unique or something that can confirm anything. In fact there were several pagans and Satanists who have predicted their death accurately and even what was going to happen to their bodies. Nosterdamus, for example, was one of them. There were also saints and true prophets who have done such things, even Jesus. Predicting death with accuracy can be either from G-d or from Satan, like any other miracle.)

The Feast of Sacrifice

After spending the night at Muzdalifa, early in the morning pilgrims return to Mecca, perform a Tawaf (circling around Ka’ba), then gather for the Eid (feast) prayer. During that prayer the Imam (high priest) preaches a sermon to seal the Hajj and declare it ended. Then he slaughters a sheep in commemoration of Abraham’s sacrifice. Then Pilgrims go back to their residences and slaughter their sheep. In last year’s Hajj sermon, the Imam has called Muslims to make a Jihad against Israel and the Western (Christian) world and ‘liberate’ AlQods (Jerusalem) from the hands of the ‘infidels’, the Jews. The sacrifice in Islam has a totally different meaning than the sacrifice in the O.T. Sacrifice is not for atonement for sin, but for eating and having celebration for the work (Hajj) they accomplished. The feast is also celebrated among all the Muslims world wide. It is social warfare where Muslims have to remember the poor and needy and share with them the meat of their cattle.

This years’ feast will be celebrated on this coming Sunday and Monday (American Continent). Allah accepts as sacrifice, only a total submission to him by performing all the rituals he demands (works of the flesh). The perfect sacrifice for him is to worship him at Mecca and during the Hajj.

What Jesus did on the cross is totally denied by Islam. It is considered as a blasphemy against Allah and his Koran, because it nullifies the effort of the flesh and the pride of doing it. (This is another way how we can discern who Allah is really is. Who hates the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus? I let you answer it and know who is the real spirit that is behind Allah. By performing Hajj, Allah allow his followers to have something of their own to boast about and share in his character "almutakabbir" which means the prideful or haughty one.)

The visit to Muhammad’s tomb:Muslims are required to visit the dome of Muhammad and pray at his mosque "Al-Masjid-Annabawi", the second holiest place for Islam. This is an extra-ritual that a pilgrim can perform either before or after the Hajj. Before his death, Muhammad asked his followers to make a tomb next to his and leave it empty next to his. In his arrogance, character of antichrist and in his satanic revelation, he claimed that Jesus will be buried next to him. He ‘prophesied’ that when Jesus returns to earth, he will break the cross, punish and kill all of the infidels (Christians and the Jews) and the unbelievers (the rest of non-Muslims), unify the world under Islam, get married and live for 40 years. Then he will die and will be buried next to Muhammad. Muhammad denied the crucifixion and the resurrection. He wants to be the first to be resurrected. In one of his other deceitful claims and lies, he claimed that he lead all the prophets, including Jesus in a prayer before Allah at Alaqsa mosque (where the temple was and the Dome of the Rock lies). Indeed Muhammad was one who exalted himself before everybody else as the book of Daniel foretells (Dan.11:36-39).

Muslims are well deceived by Muhammad’s claims about himself and prophecies about the future. They believe in them and wait for the coming of ‘his Jesus’ who is not the true Jesus but the final antichrist of all times. They are waiting for a person called "Imam Al-Mahdi." They believe that he is coming to prepare the way for their ‘Isa the Messiah, who can only be the antichrist according to what Muhammad described. We can speculate that the final antichrist will have links and alliance with Muslims. We can also speculate that the coming antichrist will have many similarities with Muhammad and that he is going to honor him and support Islam!

Prayer points

  1. Pray to G-d that he will give to those pilgrims dreams and revelations about His Son, Jesus Christ, the True and Only Savior. Pray that G-d will open their eyes to see Jesus as He opened Hagar’s eyes to see the water in the desert (Gen. 21: 19). (Muslims are the spiritual seeds of Ishmael. If you look at the way Ishmael was persecuting Isaac in Genesis, you may notice similarities in the way Muslims persecute Jews and Christians—the children of the promise.)
  2. Pray that they will be able to hear the Gospel and that they will come to understand that Jesus is the True Rock of G-d’s salvation, the Cornerstone of G-d’s Temple, (not the blackstone of Ka’ba). Pray that they will come to know that Jesus is the True Giver of the Water of Healing and even Eternal Life (not the water of Zamzam). Pray that pilgrims and Muslims will come to know that worshipping G-d is made only in the inner spirit and not in a shrine or temple made by human hands (John 4:13-26).
  3. Pray that pilgrims will realize that Muhammad didn’t give them any true hope for salvation but just preparation to go to hell. Pray that they will come to know that Jesus is the solution that they need, the Advocate who can lead them to heaven without even standing condemned to wait for a trial, that He is the Door and the Holder of the Keys to heaven and hell.
  4. Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict Muslims of their sinful nature, sins and impure hearts. Pray that they will come to realize that no human can be pure in G-d’s sight by works or self-righteousness. Pray that they will be convicted that Jesus is the only One pure in the sight of G-d. And that only through faith in Him can they be pure and blameless before the True G-d, the Father.
  5. Pray that the Lord will raise ministers and laborers who will be anointed to preach the Gospel to the Muslims with power and wisdom and even miracles. Pray for ministers who can clearly discern Satan’s deception in Islam and the Koran and expose their fallacies according to the True Word of G-d, the Holy Bible.
  6. Pray for reconciliation between the spiritual seed of Ishmael (Muslims) and the spiritual seed of Isaac (Jews and Christians) as it was foretold in the picture of Abraham’s burial in Gen. 25:7-9.

Watchman (1999)

Pagan practices in connection with pilgrimage

When we consider Mecca, Mohammed's words of prophecy in the second chapter of his book seem to have been literally fulfilled: "So we have made you the center of the nations that you should bear witness to men." The old pagan pantheon has become the religious sanctuary and the goal of universal pilgrimage for one seventh of the human race. From Sierra Leone to Canton, and from Tobolsk to Cape Town, the faithful spread their prayer carpets, build their houses (in fulfilment of an important tradition, even their outhouses!) and bury their dead toward the meridian of Mecca. If the Moslem world could be viewed from an aeroplane, the observer would see concentric circles of living worshipers covering an ever-widening area, and one would also see vast areas of Moslem cemeteries with every grave dug toward the sacred city.

The earliest settlements at Mecca were undoubtedly due to the fact that the caravan trade from South Arabia northward found here a stopping place near the spring of Zem Zem, long before the time of Mohammed, just as the early Roman settlements at Wiesbaden and other places in Germany were so located because of the medicinal waters. The sacred Mosque, Masjid al Haram, with the Ka'aba as its center, is located in the middle of the city. Mecca lies in a hot, sandy valley, absolutely without verdure and surrounded by rocky, seven barren hills, destitute of trees or even shrubs. The valley is about 300 feet wide and 4,000 feet long, and slopes towards the south. Al-Ka'aba (the Cube) or Beit Allah (House of Allah) is located in the bed of the valley. All the streets slope toward it, and it occupies, as it were, the pit of a theater. The Ka'aba proper stands in an oblong space 250 paces long and 200 broad, surrounded by colonnades, which are used as schools and as a general meeting place for pilgrims. The outer enclosure has nineteen gates and six minarets; within the enclosure is the well of Zem Zem, the great pulpit, the staircase used to enter the Ka'aba door, which is high above the ground, and two small mosques called al Kubat-tain. The remainder of the space is occupied by pavements and gravel, where prayers are said by the four orthodox sects, each having its own allotted space. In the southeast corner of the Ka'aba, about five feet from the ground, is the famous Black Stone, the oldest treasure of Mecca. The stone is a fragment resembling black volcanic rock, sprinkled with reddish crystals, and worn smooth by the touch of centuries. It was undoubtedly a meteorite and owes its reputation to its fall from the sky. Moslem historians do not deny that it was an object of worship before Islam. In Moslem tradition it is connected with the history of the patriarchs, beginning as far back as Adam.

The word Ka'aba signifies a cube, although the measurements, according to Ah Bey, one of the earliest writers who gives us a scientific account of the pilgrim ceremonies, do not justify it being so called. Its height is 34 feet 4 inches, and the four sides measure 38 feet 4 inches, 37 feet 2 inches, 31 feet 7 inches, and 29 feet. The cloth covering is renewed every year. At present it is made of silk and cotton tissue woven at Khurunfish, the factory site in Cairo. The time of departure of the annual procession, which takes it to Mecca is one of the great feast days in Cairo. Formerly, we are told, the whole of the Koran text was woven into the Ka'aba covering. Now the inscription contains the words, "Verily, the first house founded for mankind to worship in is that at Mecca, a blessing and a direction to all believers." Seven other short chapters of the Koran are also woven into this tapestry, namely, the Chapter of the Cave, Miriam, Ali-Amran, Repentance, T.H., Y.S., and Tabarak.

The final duty of righteous Moslems and the most important ceremony of the Moslem religion is the pilgrimage to Mecca. The pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca is not only one of the pillars of the religion of Islam, but it has proved one of the strongest bonds of union and has always exercised a tremendous influence as a missionary agency. Even today the pilgrims who return from Mecca to their cities and towns are 'fanatical' ambassadors of the greatness and glory of Islam. From an ethical standpoint, the Mecca pilgrimage, with its superstitious and childish ritual, is a blot upon Mohammedan monotheism. But as a great magnet to draw the Moslem world together with an annual and ever-widening esprit de corps, the Mecca pilgrimage is without a rival. For the details of the pilgrimage one must read Burckhardt, Burton, or other of the score of travelers who have risked their lives in visiting the forbidden cities of Islam. The record of their heroism has been compiled in one short volume by Augustus Ralli under the title "Christians at Mecca" (Heinemann, London, 1909). The earliest European pilgrim was Ludovico Bartema who reached Mecca in 1503; The most accurate in his description of the ceremonies of the Hajj is Burckhardt (1814-15), the most fascinating, Burton (1853), and it remained for a Hollander, Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje, to give us a history of Mecca, a photographic atlas of the city, and a philosophical dissertation on the pilgrimage. This strange adventure led them all to observe the pagan rites of the great monotheistic faith of Islam, of which the ceremonies in brief are as follows: After donning the garb of a pilgrim and performing the legal ablutions, the Hajji visits the sacred mosque and kisses the Black Stone. He then runs around the Ka'aba seven times - thrice very rapidly and four times very slowly - in imitation of the motions of the planets. Next he offers a prayer: O Allah, Lord of the Ancient House, free my neck from hell-fire, and preserve me from every evil deed; make me contented with the daily food Thou givest me, and bless me in all Thou hast granted." At "the place of Abraham" he also prays; he drinks water from the sacred well of Zem Zem and again kisses the Black Stone. Then the pilgrim run between the hills of Safa and Marwa. He visits Mina and Arafat, a few miles from Mecca, and at the latter place listens to a sermon. On his return he stops at Mina and stones three pillars of masonry known as the "Great Devil," the "middle pillar" and the "first one" with seven small pebbles. Finally, there is the sacrifice of a sheep or other animal as the climax of the pilgrim's task.

Snouck Hurgronje and Dozy have given us the theory of the origin of these strange ceremonies in their monographs. The whole pilgrimage is, in the words of Kuenen, 'a fragment of incomprehensible heathenism taken up undigested into Islam.' And as regards the veneration for the Black Stone, there is a tradition that the Caliph Omar remarked: "By Allah, I know that thou art only a stone and canst grant no benefit or do no harm And had I not known that the Prophet kissed thee I would not have done it." (Nisai, Vol. II, p.38.)

Prayer is granted at fourteen places besides Al-Multazem, all of them connected, as we shall see, with the old idolatry of Arabia. Viz.: 1. At the place of circumambulation. 2. Under the Mizab, or spout of the a'aba. 3. Inside the Ka'aba. 4. At the well Zem Zem. 5. Behind Abraham's place of prayer. 6. On Mt. Safa. 7. On Mt. Marwah. 8. During the ceremony called "Al-Sai." 9. Upon Mount Arafat. 10. At Muzdalifah. 11. In Muna. 12. During the devil-stoning. 13. On first seeing the Ka'aba. 14. At the Hatim of Hijr.

If the Jews and Christians had harkened to the call of Mohammed at Medina when he made the Kibla, Jerusalem, the course of Moslem history might have been that of an oriental Unitarian sect. But when the Prophet changed the Kibla from Jerusalem to Mecca he compromised with idolatry and the result was that Islam at its very center has remained pagan. The transformation of the old Pantheon of the Arabs into the house of God which Abraham rebuilt and which Adam himself founded was the legend to justify the adoption of these pagan practices. Other ceremonies which had nothing to do with the Ka'aba but which were performed at certain places near Mecca were also adapted to the new religion. In the tenth year A.H. Mohammed made his pilgrimage to Mecca, the old shrine of his forefathers, and every detail of superstitious observance which lie fulfilled has become the norm in Islam. Pagan practices are explained away by inventing Moslem legends attributed to Bible characters, and the whole is an incomprehensible jumble of fictitious lore. The Ka'aba itself in its plan and structure is a heathen temple. The covering of the Ka'aba goes back to old heathenism. The Temple was the Bride and she received costly clothing. The building stands with its four corners nearly to the points of the compass; not the sides of the building, but the corners point north, south, east and west. We may therefore expect, as is the case, that the holy objects were at the corners of the building. The Black Stone is in the S.E. corner; the other four corners also had sacred stones which are still places of special worship.

The front of the Ka'aba is the N.E. side, and the door is not in the middle but near the Black Stone. Between the Stone and the door is the Multazam, the place where the pilgrim presses himself against the building, hugs the curtain and calls upon Allah ('God'). On the N.W. side there is an enclosure in the shape of a half-circle called the Hajr, or the Hatim. Wellhausen has a note to show that this enclosure was formerly a part of the Ka'aba but that shortly before Mohammed's time the building was restored on a smaller foundation. This enclosure, therefore, marks the original size of the heathen temple. There seems to be no doubt that the Black Stone was the real idol of the Ka'aba. Bait Allot and Masjid, according to Wellhausen, originally signified "the stone" and not "the temple." In ancient days there was an empty well inside the Ka'aba to receive votive offerings. In front of the well stood a human image, that of the god Hobal. One may still see a similar worship at the tomb of Eve, near Jiddah, where there is a well for offerings under the middle dome which is over the navel of Mother Eve. It has been thought that Hobal, the main god of the Ka'aba, was perhaps Allah" himself. Others say that the word has connection with Baal the sun-god. When we remember the circumambulation of the Ka'aba seven times, three times rapidly and four times more slowly in 'imitation of the inner and outer planets, it is not strange to find Baal the sun-god chief of the temple. The present place called Maqam Ibrahim, (Sura 2: 119) was originally a stone for offerings.

A short distance outside of Mecca are the two hills Al Safa and Al Marwa; both of these names signify "a stone," i.e., an idol. The road between them runs almost parallel with the front of the Ka'aba and directly east is the well of Zem Zem, originally also a place for sacred offerings. It contained two golden gazelles among other things. There are many other sacred places in the vicinity formerly associated with idol-worship now transformed by Moslem legend into graves of the saints, etc. Arafat and Muzdalifa are at present only stations where 'One stops on the pilgrimage. No offerings are brought there. Formerly Muzdalifa was a place of fire-worship. Wackidi says: "Mohammed rode from Arafat towards the fire kindled in Muzdalifa; this is the hill of the holy fire." The mountain was called Quzah and Wellhausen thinks it may have been the place of the thunder-god whose sign was the rainbow (Quzah). The early history of Mecca shows that it was a place of pilgrimage long before Mohammed. The battle of Islam for the conquest of Arabia was determined at Mecca. This was the capture of the Pagan center. In conquering it Islam was itself conquered. "There is no god but Allah "- and - the old idol-shrines at Mecca!

Not only the pilgrimage itself, but its calendar goes back to paganism. The names of the Arabic months have many of them a pagan significance. Of course the calendar was solar, but Mohammed changed it into a lunar calendar. Moharram was the month of the great feast. Tree worship and stone worship as we shall see later belong to the old heathenism. In Nagran a date-palm served as god. A number of sacred trees or groves between Mecca and Medina which formerly were idol temples, are now visited because "Mohammed resided there, prayed there, or had his hair cut under them." (See Bokhari, 1: 68-3: 36.) Prof. A. J. Wensinck in writing on the Hajj in the Encyclopedia of Islam (Vol.11, p. 22 if.) gives it as his opinion that "great fairs were from early times associated with the Hajj which was celebrated on the conclusion of the date-harvest. These fairs were probably the main thing to Muhammed's contemporaries, as they still are to many Muslims. For the significance of the religious ceremonies had even then lost its meaning for the people." Nevertheless the significance of the various rites and ceremonies although no longer understood clearly, point to a pagan origin. Snouck Hurgronje thinks he sees a solar rite in the wukuf ceremony. Wensinck says: "The god of Muzdalifa was Quzah, the thunder-god. A fire was kindled on the sacred hill also called Quzah. Here a halt was made and this wukuf has a still greater similarity to that on Sinai, as in both cases the thunder-god is revealed in fire. It may further be presumed that the traditional custom of making as much noise as possible and of shooting was originally a sympathetic charm to call forth the thunder." As soon as the sun was visible, the ifada to Mina used to begin in pre-Islamic times. Mohammed therefore ordained that this should begin before sunrise; here again we have the attempt to destroy a solar rite. In ancient times the are said to have sung during the ifada, "ashrik thabir kaima nughir." The explanation of these words is uncertain; it is sometimes translated: "Enter into the light of morning Thabir, so that we may hasten." And again we know from statement in Ibn Hisham (ed. Wustenfeld, p.76, et seq.), that the stone throwing only began after the sun had crossed the meridian. Houtsma has made it probable that the stoning was originally directed at the sun-demon; important support is found for this view in the foot that the Pilgrimage originally coincided with the autumnal equinox as similar customs are found all over the world at the beginning of the four seasons. With the expulsion of the sun-demon, whose harsh rule comes to an end with summer, worship of the thunder-god who brings fertility and his invocation may easily be connected, as we have seen above at the festival in Muzdalifa. The name tarwiya, "moistening," may also be explained in this connection as a sympathetic rain-charm, traces of which survive in the libation of Zem Zem waten Other explanations of the stone-throwing are given. Van Vloten connects it with snake-worship or demonolatry and as proof gives the expression used in the Koran so frequently, As Shaitan ar rajim "the pelted devil." Chauvin finds in it "an example of scopelism (sic) the object being to prevent the cultivation of the ground by the Meccans." Both theories have been refuted by Houtsma.

Regarding the throwing of the pebbles in the pilgrimage ceremony we may compare what Frazer says in his chapter on the transference of evil to stones and sticks among pagans and animists ("The Scapegoat," pp. 23-24) "Sometimes the motive for throwing the stone is to ward off a dangerous spirit; sometimes it is to cast away an evil; sometimes it is to acquire a good. Yet, perhaps if we could trace them back to their origin in the mind of primitive man, we might find that they all resolve themselves more or less exactly into the principle of the transference of evil. For to rid themselves of an evil and to acquire a good are often merely opposite sides of one and the same operation; for example, a convalescent regains health in exactly the same proportion as he shakes off his malady. And though the practice of throwing stones at dangerous spirits, especially at mischievous and malignant ghosts of the dead, appears to spring from a different motive, yet it may be questioned whether the difference is really as great to the savage as it seems to us.'"Thus the throwing of the sticks or stones would be a form of ceremonial purification, which among primitive peoples is commonly conceived as a sort of physical rather than moral purgation, a mode of sweeping or scouring away the morbid matter by which the polluted person is supposed to be infected. This notion perhaps explains the rite of stone-throwing observed by pilgrims at Mecca; on the day of sacrifice every pilgrim has to cast seven stones on a cairn, and the rite is repeated on the three following days. The traditional explanation of the custom is that Mohammed here drove away the devil with a shower of stones; but the original idea may perhaps have been that the pilgrims cleanse themselves by transferring their ceremonial impurity to the stones which they fling on the heap."

Dr. Snouck Hurgronje gives, in addition, the following pagan practices of the pilgrimage. It is commonly supposed that in the time of ignorance two idols were worshiped on Safa and Marwa, and the names of these idols are mentioned. In the second chapter of the Koran, Verse 153, the pagan custom observed by the Arabs before Islam is sanctioned. Prof. Hurgronje thinks that the existence of the small sanctuaries around the Ka'aba are due to the existence of sacred trees, stones and wells, which formerly were pagan places of worship, but were afterwards Islamized by stating that under such a tree the Prophet sat down - this stone spoke to him - on that stone he sat down - and certain wells even were made sacred because Mohammed spat in them. (Azraqi, p. 43S, quoted in Hurgronje, p.123.)

A little south of the valley of Arafat there is a small hill called the Hill of Grace, on the top of which there was formerly a small building with a dome. At present it is connected with Um Salima, but its origin is lost in obscurity. When the Wahhabis came to Mecca and desired to purify it of idolatry, they destroyed these places. Prof. Hurgronje concludes that while the general ritual of the pilgrimage is Mohammedan, there are many practices that now are condemned as innovations, which are in reality old Arabian and pagan in their character. His conclusion at the end of his learned paper is this: "Should Sprenger's hope ever be fulfilled, - and it is not probable - that a school of Tubingen critics should arise in Islam, then surely the feast at Mecca and the pilgrim ceremonies would be the first to disappear among the practices which belong to the heart of the Moslem religion."

The above article was quoted from the book: The influence of animism on islam by Samuel M. Zwemer.

Notes and comments:

1 - Some verses of the Koran woven into the Kaaba's covering deny the Sonship of Jesus and the Trinity of God.

2 - Though Muslims believe in 'One God,' they actually worship a false god, Allah. (The word Allah has two distinct meanings. For Muslims, it is the very personal name of their false god. For Arab Christians, it is only a common noun similar to "God" in English).

3 - Compare the above information and pictures about Kaaba with Revelation 17 and see the many close similarities.

4 - Islam is the strongest enemy, which attacks the Church from the outside. Therefore, as Christians, we should be more alert and active in fighting it, especially in the spiritual realm.

5 - For further information about Islam, visit the following Christian apologetic web site: http://answering-islam.org.uk/

6 - To see pictures of the pilgrimage sites and the hajj rituals, check the following Muslim web pages:

Legends and facts about ka'bah

Mecca (in Arabic Makkah) is the center of the Islamic world and the birthplace of both the Prophet Muhammad and the religion he founded. Located in the Sirat mountains inland from the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, ancient Mecca was an oasis on the old caravan trade route that linked the Mediterranean world with South Arabia, East Africa, and South Asia. By Roman and Byzantine times it had developed into an important trade and religious center, and was known as Macoraba. According to ancient Arabian legend, when Adam and Eve were cast forth from Paradise they fell in different parts of the earth; Adam on a mountain on the island of Serendip, or Sri Lanka, and Eve in Arabia, on the border of the Red Sea near the present port of Jeddah. For two hundred years they wandered separated and lonely about the earth. Finally, in consideration of their penitence and wretchedness, they were permitted to come together again on Mt. Arafat, near the present city of Mecca. Adam prayed to God that a shrine might be granted to him similar to that at which he had worshipped in Paradise. Adam's prayers were answered and a shrine was built. This shrine passed away, and many generations later Abraham and his son Ishmael rebuilt the ancient tabernacle. Gabriel assisted them and brought a magic stone for the shrine (that is the famous black stone).

According to legend also, flavored with some Quranic stories, the shrine was destroyed during Noah's flood and forgotten, until the time of Abraham and Ishmael. When God sent away Hagar and Ishmael from Abraham's tent, they journeyed until they reached the place, which became later the city of Mecca. When they arrived there, they had no more water and the baby Ishmael got very thirsty and began to cry. In her frustration and anxiety, Hagar, dropped the boy on the ground and cried out to Allah and he heard her. Then water sprang forth miraculously under Ishmael's tiny feet and they called it Zam Zam. They settled there and Abraham came to visit them. Later on, Allah led Ishmael to discover the remains of the old shrine and then him and his father Abraham rebuilt the shrine and called it Ka'bah (means cube). Then Abraham re-instituted the pilgrimage to the shrine and called it Hajj (the word probably derived from an old Semitic root meaning 'to go around, to go in a circle'), gradually the Hajj became a ritual of the many nomadic Arab tribes of the vast desert regions surrounding Mecca. As time passed "the original Abrahamic observances" at the Ka'bah were somewhat muddied by the addition of various pagan elements (these arriving via the caravan routes that led to Mecca) thus Hajj pilgrims visited not only the sacred stone of Gabriel but also collections of stone idols housed in and around the Ka'bah. During this pre-Islamic period Mecca became a thriving cultural and economic center with great trading fairs, pilgrimage celebrations and widely attended poetry gatherings. The city gained its real religious significance, however, following the birth and life of the Prophet Muhammed (570-632AD).

Another legend about Ka'bah is that by the time prior to Muhammed's birth (570AD), Allah did a miracle to protect his shrine. There was an Ethiopian Christian king, Abraha, whom out of jealousy and hatred declared war against Allah's shrine and marched toward Mecca to destroy it. In addition to his mighty army, he brought an elephant also who would destroy the building (like a tank!). When the helpless people of Mecca heard about it, they cried out to Allah and he heard their cries. He sent an army of birds, carrying stones from hell and threw them on the invading army until they were totally destroyed. Arabs called that year, the year of the elephant, and it was the year where Muhammed was born. The Ka'bah shrine was frequently rebuilt and enlarged, and became the dominant institution in Mecca. According to Arab traditions, during the time of Muhammed (before his prophethood), the shrine wore out and the Meccans decided to rebuild it. While doing so, a conflict rose between the main two tribes of Mecca regarding whom should be in charge of put the black stone back to its place. The dispute got so tense to the point where war was going to break between the two tribes. Noticing the danger, the "wise" young man Muhammed stepped out and made a solution to the problem and restored peace back to the city. Therefore and as recognition to his intervention, the Meccans, gave him the honor of being the person in charge of re-setting the black stone, and that was a sign from Allah to them about his prophethood.

In 630 Muhammed took control of Mecca, destroyed the 360 pagan idols, declared the city a center of Muslim pilgrimage, and dedicated it to Allah. Muhammed did not, however, destroy the Ka'bah and its sacred stone. Rather, he made them the centerpiece of the Muslim religion based on his belief that he was a prophetic reformer who had been sent by "God" to restore "the rites first established by Abraham" which had been corrupted over the centuries by the pagan influences. Thus, by gaining political control over Mecca, Muhammed was able to redefine "the sacred territory" and restore "Abraham's original order" to it.

According to the words of Muhammed and Quran, the Hajj pilgrimage is the fifth of the fundamental Muslim practices and institutions known as the 'Five Pillars of Islam'. The Hajj is an obligation to be performed at least once by all male and female adults whose health and means permit it. The pilgrimage takes place each year between the 8th and 13th days of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Before setting out, a pilgrim should redress all wrongs, pay all debts, and plan to have enough money for their journey and the support of their family while away. As pilgrims undertake the journey they follow in the footsteps of many millions before them. When the pilgrim is about 10 kilometers from Mecca he enters the state of holiness and purity known as Ihram, and dresses in special garments consisting of two white seamless sheets that are wrapped around the body. Entering the great Mosque in Mecca, the pilgrim first walks seven times around the Ka'bah shrine, now a huge hollow stone cube covered in black cloth embroidered with gold. Then entering into the structure, the pilgrim kisses the sacred stone. The stone is mounted in a silver frame in the wall of the northeast corner of the shrine, it is of an oval shape about seven inches in diameter, composed of seven small stones - probably basalt - of different sizes and shapes joined together with cement.

Legend tells that the stone was originally white but became gradually darkened by the kisses of sinful mortals. During the next few days the pilgrim follows a ritualized route to other sacred places in the vicinity and returns to the Ka'bah on the final day. Once a believer has made the pilgrimage they may add the title al-Hajji to their name. In some countries returning pilgrims will dye their hair or beard with henna (deep red colour) to indicate they have made the Hajj, while in other countries they will paint pictures of the Kabah (and their means of transportation to the shrine) upon the walls of their homes. It is interesting to note that prior to the age of the great European world explorations, the pilgrimage to Mecca was the single largest expression of human mobility. Nowadays about 2,000,000 people (even more) perform the Hajj each year, and the pilgrimage serves as a unifying force in Islam by bringing together followers from diverse countries and language groups. In a certain sense Mecca is said to be visited by all Muslims every day; this because five times each day, throughout the vast Arab world, millions upon millions of believers kneel to pray. Wherever the place of prayer, they face towards Mecca and are united to the Ka'bah by an invisible line of direction called the qibla. The Ka'bah has its east and west facades aligned to the sunrise at the summer solstice and sunset at the winter solstice. Its south face is directed to the rising of the bright star Canopus.

1 - Adam and Eve's fall was spiritual, not a literal fall from a 'planet to earth'. They were driven out from the garden of Eden.

2 - There is no evidence or information about any shrine/temple/tabernacle built for God, before Moses. Nether Adam nor Abraham built a building for prayer or pilgrimage.

3 - Ishmael was a lad when Abraham sent him and his mother away, not a tiny baby.

4 - Ishmael settled in Midian, between Israel and Egypt, hundreds of miles away from Mecca.

5 - Ka'bah was never mentioned once in the Bible as a temple for the YHWH. The only symbolic mention of Ka'bah in the Bible is in the prophetic/apocalyptic book of revelation, chapter 17.

6 - There are no historical or archeological evidences about Ka'bah and Mecca's origin and dating back to Abraham and Ishmael's time. Actually, the founding of Ka'bah and Mecca is still a 'mystery' which no one knows for sure. The main reason is because Saudi authorities wouldn't allow anybody to touch the 'holy ground' and to dig for the city's origin and past.

7 - The story of the Ethiopian king Abraha has no evidences of its occurrence, except it record in the Muslims 'holy' book, the Quran, which dedicates a whole chapter for the story as if it was a well known fact.

8 - Mecca didn't become a 'universal' religious center until the appearance of Islam. Even by the time of Muhammed, sectarian Jews and Christians of Arabia, used to face Jerusalem in their prayers and not the Ka'bah.

Hajj and Eid (From a Muslim source.)

It's that time of the year, Muslims all over the world are getting restless. Their Home in the heart of the planet beckons them. It's time to pay homage to the Beloved God in the House. It's time to come Home. It's time to come home to the Holy Sanctuary of Ka'aba. It's time to leave all and follow Him. It's time to abandon this illusory world and come to the House of God. It's time for Hajj-the Pilgrimage. Those who can go will head to Mecca, those who can't will join in the festivities of Homecoming wherever they may be by celebrating the Eid of Sacrifice. Hajj is a commemoration of love and celebration of faith. We commemorate Abraham's Supreme Sacrifice in love of his Beloved in Minna. We celebrate his wife Hagar's display of nprecedented love for the infant Ishmael and her unflinching trust in the Providence in the lonely desert around the Twin Peaks. We venerate God's Greatest Gift, the Quran by spending a day in Arafat where the final revelation was sent. We celebrate faith by coming face-to-face to the Qiblah of our prayers. Hajj is also an act of renunciation. Muslims from every corner of the globe don their coffins-two cotton sheets-to represent their deaths to this life and head to their Primordial Home. They pay their debts, ask forgiveness of everyone, bid farewell to one and all and prepare to die to this world to live in Him.

We are now ready for Hajj to the Ka'aba-a very special place. Ka'aba is a special place. It was the first house of worship built by the first man. God commanded Adam to make a journey. He walked umpteen months until he arrived guided by God to Mecca. Here, he was instructed to build Him a House. This was mankind's first House of Worship. This is where we first learned to mourn our separation from our Beloved. This is where Adam shed countless tears to lament loss of paradisiacal glory. This is where we sought to seek His nearness. This is where we sought to experience His intimacy. This House is the Archetype which basks under another House situated far beyond the realm of the Visible Universe and the prison of space and serial time. This is the first act of reconciliation with our Paradisiacal Destiny in the Home of our Beloved inspite of ourterrestrial sojourn.

Ka'aba is a special place. It was once lost to us but our Beloved led His Friend Abraham (God's Peace be upon him) to this Sanctuary and gave him the task of restoring this House. Our father Abraham recruited his son Ishmael for the Holy Task. For months at end, father and son toiled under the searing desert sun sustained only by their burning love for the Eternal God. This choice was no random choice. Abraham was *the* man for the job. Every year, when men and women were to come to this blessed House, they were to come on 10th of the month of Zilhijj. This auspicious day God asked Abraham to make the Supreme Sacrifice and Abraham delivered. Allah asked His Friend to sacrifice his son Ishmael and he obliged.

Ka'aba is a special place. Its foundations have been fortified by love and faith of Abraham's family. We go there to commemorate love. We go there to celebrate faith. Abraham lived the true meaning of Surrender. He loved God, his Friend, above all. God gave him a dream where he saw himself sacrificing his son. Persistence of the dream convinced him that it wasn't just a dream but an allusion from the Infinite. He intimated the dream to his son who readily concurred. Once it was known to be God's Will, the son didn't offer any excuses. It was a foregone conclusion that His Will be done. Father and son set off to the designated place. When they reached their destination, son suggested that the father cover his eyes so his love does not overwhelm him into disobeying His master. At the very moment that Abraham let loose his knife, the son was substituted with a lamb. This time and this day was made sacred. Every year, millions come this very day. Millions retrace the steps of these two in the valley of Mina, they stop where they stopped, walk where they walked and finally arrive where the Supreme Sacrifice was offered. Here, everyone offers a sacrifice in His Love and then gives it to the impoverished people of the land all the while marveling at Abraham's burning love and faith in God that he was willing to sacrifice his most precious love. Those who can't be here, celebrate this wonderful sacrifice wherever they may be in any part of the world. For indeed, love of God must be celebrated.

Ka'aba is a special place. We commemorate Abraham and his son's faith and surrender. We also celebrate Mother Hagar's love. Mother's love is the highest form of selfless human love. Hagar typified this love so well. She combined this love with her unshakable trust in God. Abraham was instructed to bring her and her infant son Ishmael near the mound that was once the Ka'aba. In this desolate place with nary a single soul and nary a water source, he left them with a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Ishmael's mother followed him saying, "O Abraham! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?" She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him, "Has Allah ordered you to do so?" He said, "Yes." She said, "Then He will not neglect us." What an exemplary Trust in their Beloved God! They knew that the Causer of all Causes will provide. He is Eminently Resourceful. Ishmael's mother went on suckling Ishmael and drinking from the water (she had). When all water ran out, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at Ishmael tossing in agony; she left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached the Marwa mountain where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between Safa and Marwa) seven times.

God loved this selfless display of motherly love so much that every pilgrim to His Holy House must run 7 times between the Twin Peaks of Safa and Marwa. When she reached the Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, 'O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?" And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zam-Zam, digging the earth with his heel till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it. This wonderful gift of God hasn't stopped yet. Hundreds of Millions come every year and take gallons and gallons of the Holy Water with them and still the small well never goes dry. Mecca is a special place. In celebration of the two momentous events in Abraham's family, we are reminded that Allah's will always work for our highest good. In the end, it all worked out for Abraham's family and in the end if we trust Him everything will work out for us too. From Him have we come and to Him shall we return!

Ka'aba is a special place. It is overwhelming to be in company of 3 million brothers and sisters in faith, all enshrouded in humble whites. The highest king to the humble laborer are both dressed alike. They stand shoulder to shoulder, they run side by side and they greet each other the greeting of peace. People of all races intermingle as co-equals. Black, white, yellow and brown all come together in harmony before their Beloved. Men and women all stand together. Veils are lifted off women's faces. In this searing passion for the Loved One, there is no distraction. He Alone Matters! It is wonderful to lift one's face and see one's Qiblah face-to-face. All their lives 5 times a day they turned their faces to their Qiblah-the Holy Ka'aba and now they see it right in front of them in all its majesty and glory. They savor the sweetness of coming Home all the while exclaiming "Labbaik Allahuma labbaik, la sharika laka labbaik, Labbaik Allahuma labbaik: I have come, my Lord, I have come. No one participates in Your Divinity (so I have nowhere to come but You). I have come." I have come, my Beloved. I have come. We circulate around the Holy Ka'aba proclaiming all the while our Arrival. Circling around the earthly shadow of the Pole, we are reminded to keep our Beloved at the Center of our lives. We are reminded to keep Him in front of our lives and in center of our existence. Whenever we pray, this circulation is affixed and imprinted in our consciousness. We stand in awe of His Presence as if we are circling non-stop in ecstasy round and round our Beloved. Accept the Hajj of all our lucky Muslim brothers and sisters who are given the grace of your Presence in Your Exalted House. Give us the Grace to one day be able to come visit You. O Allah, there is no one worthy of Love, Worship and Surrender but You. Allow us to love you, worship You and submit to Your Presence and to Your Wish and Will. Ameen!

'Eid al-adha 1420AH (The feast of sacrifice 2000 AD)

Eid-ul-Adha (the Festival of Sacrifice) is celebrated throughout the Muslim world as a commemoration of the patriarch Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son for God. Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated on the 10th day of the 12th month (Zul-Hijja). Hence, pending actual crescent sighting, Eid-ul-Adha, this year should be on Thursday 16th March 2000 for the Middle-East and Friday 17th March 2000 for most other locations. On that day, most pilgrims sacrifice a ram, goat or camel. They give the meat to the poor after, in some cases, keeping a small portion for
themselves to enjoy eating while staying at their tents in Mina. Muslims around the world share with the pilgrims by performing identical, individual sacrifices in a worldwide celebration of 'Eid al-Adha. There are more than one billion Muslims around the world. Image how many poor animals would be slaughtered within that 48 hours, if every Muslim family would sacrifice an animal (primarily a ram)! The instruction regarding the feast of sacrifice is given to Muslims in accordance with the following verse from Quran: [22:36] "The animal offerings are among the rites decreed by Allah for your own good. You shall mention Allah's name on them while they are standing in line. Once they are offered for sacrifice, you shall eat therefrom and feed the poor and the needy. This is why we subdued them for you, that you may show your appreciation."

As we all know, some of Satan's main characters are lying, deceiving and thief who tries to rob things that belong to God and turns them into his. No wonder that he took one of the most significant symbolic elements about God's message about His Son and turned it into joke. However, God in His infinite wisdom, He has allowed Satan to rob that element and to make part of the rituals he dictated in his Quran and Babylonian religion of Islam. Why? The Lord didn't permit Muslims (Ishmael's seed) to stay without a testimony about the sacrifice and work He accomplished on their behalf on the cross. Despite the fact that Muslims firmly deny the literal crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ, by believing that they are following Abraham's action, they actually testify against themselves that God provided a substitute to spare Abraham's son from death, a shadow of Christ's sacrifice.

Interesting elements about the rite and similarities with the biblical teachings: According to the Islamic law and tradition, there are some specific conditions to be met, as follow: The sacrifice is to be held once a year. It is similar to the Day of Atonement, which takes place once a year, and a testimony that Christ had to die only once. The animal destined for sacrifice should be a male animal, preferably a ram (sheep), over a year old and has no defect or disease. The animal's requirements are similar to the biblical requirements, which symbolize Jesus Christ, the innocent lamb without any blemish, the only pleasing sacrifice to God and way of reconciliation with Him. The Imam (national priest) should be the first one to slaughter the sheep, for himself and on behalf of all of the community, especially, those who cannot afford it. The sacrifice is an obligation only for the Imam, the rest are doing it only optional. This is another similarity with the OT high priest's atonement on behalf of the nation. Only one sacrifice is required and obligatory, the rest are only optional. It is also a testimony about Christ's death for all. The sacrificed ram should be shared between the community, especially the poor, those who cannot afford have their own animal should get a portion of meat and on that same day. According to some customs, families exchange meat or invite each other to share in eating with them. The idea here is similar to the Passover lamb and how all the community shares in it. This also a testimony that all people, especially the lowly ones should hear the Gospel and receive Christ so that the joy can be complete. The day of sacrifice is right in the middle of the week's long spiritual journey. Without sacrifice, the Hajj is of no value to Muslims. Jesus came in the middle of the earth's history week of God's plan for redemption. Another interpretation, if Jesus is to be taken out of the picture, humans journey (pilgrimage) in life and works for seeking righteousness are totally empty and in vain.

The sad part, Muslims do not think about why they follow Abraham's example by sacrificing an innocent and helpless animal. They blindly do the action, feed their belies and rejoice for a time, but forget to really focus on the essence of it. In one hand, its because the event has become more of a tradition rather than a spiritual task. On the other hand, it is because Satan has blinded their eyes and deafened their ears so that they couldn't understand. And that is by adding to the event some demonic and Babylonian yeast.

Demonic elements in the sacrifice's ritual: The animal is to be sacrificed to Allah, a pagan god, whom Satan has turned into 'God.' In the above Quranic verse (22:36), the meaning of sacrifice has been perverted and turned into a bribe given by Allah to those who worship him at Mecca and bow to his idol, Ka'bah. Satan in his craftiness, in the Quran twisted the Genesis account about Abraham's attempt to sacrifice Isaac. He used the word "only son" instead of Isaac for the purpose of confusion and leading Muslims astray. Muslims speculate that Ishmael was the son, not Isaac and therefore miss the point and turn 180 degree off from the truth and God's message of redemption.

Final note:
In more than two occasions, I have read testimonies of missionaries to the Muslims, to whom the Lord spoke regarding the feast of sacrifice and reminded them to pray and to reach out to muslims during their feast. Before and even while reading those testimonies, I was skeptical about the matter and it was hard for me to see this as a very positive opportunity for reaching out to muslims. However, I decided to pray about the situation and to study the issue with diligence. Finally the Holy Spirit gave the assurance that this one of the most effective ways of how to reach Muslims with the Gospel by beginning in their own culture and traditions. Therefore let us all pray that God will move through His Spirit among Muslims during this coming feast and give them clear revelations about His Son's atoning sacrifice, which has been preserved in their tradition as a testimony and link to the Gospel of Christ.

Hajj reaches climax

More than two million Muslims from around the world have been taking part in the climax of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia year 2000. Pilgrims were travelling from the holy city of Mecca to the nearby plain of Mina - retracing a journey taken by the Prophet Mohammad which is now an essential ritual for devout Muslims. "Here I am, Allah, answering your call," goes the chant, as pilgrims make the 11-kilometre (seven-mile) trek by bus, car or on foot. One and a quarter million pilgrims have poured into the Gulf state in recent days, joining almost 800,000 Saudi and other Muslim pilgrims who reside in the kingdom. Numbers are up by 20% on last year. The Hajj - one of five pillars of Islam - is required at least once of every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. It involves several rituals, including praying at Mina and Mount Arafat. At dawn on Wednesday, pilgrims will resume their journey to Mount Arafat, where they must arrive before dusk.


There were several deaths in road accidents the Hajj, during the pilgrimage to Mecca, 13th - 18th March 2000, and a number of Palestinian and Jordanian pilgrims were reportedly crushed to death inside Mecca's Grand Mosque.

Saudis open huge slaughterhouse

Camels are brought to the new slaughterhouse Saudi Arabia has opened what it says is the world's biggest slaughterhouse, in preparation for the Muslim sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep at the climax of the pilgrimage, or Hajj, to Mecca. Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz inaugurated the 500,000 square metre complex in the Mina valley, near Mecca. The Muaissem slaughterhouse cost 470 million rials ($125m) to build. Its 10,000 workers will be able to slaughter 200,000 animals a day in keeping with Islamic tradition. Some two million pilgrims will slaughter cattle, sheep and camels in memory of Abraham's readiness to sacrifice his son Ishmael, before God spared the boy's life.

Safety measures

Before the Saudi authorities began an intensive abattoir-building programme about a decade ago, pilgrims either slaughtered the beasts themselves or hired butchers to do the deed and the plain ran with blood. After opening the Muaissem slaughterhouse, Prince Abdullah inspected the
250,000 fireproofed, air conditioned tents in the pilgrims' camp. The use of fireproof tents began in 1998, a year after 343 pilgrims were killed when a blaze started by a stove swept through a tent camp in Mina. Since then, old tents, gas stoves and gas canisters have been banned.
On Friday, a senior cleric urged pilgrims to be patient as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims waited to pray at Mecca's Grand Mosque. Some pilgrims fell to the ground in the crush, reviving fears of a stampede in 1998 which left 180 dead. A similar stampede in 1994 left 270 dead. Aided by surveillance cameras, security personnel, dressed in the traditional Saudi white garb, mingled among the pilgrims to direct the crowds.

The Kaba: It's Size and History (Article from a Muslim source)

The small, cubed building known as the Kaba may not rival skyscrapers in height or mansions in width, but its impact on history and human beings is unmatched. The Kaba is the building towards which Muslims face five times a day, everyday, in prayer. This has been the case since the time of prophet Muhammad over 1400 years ago.

The Size of the Kaba:
The current height of the Kaba is 39 feet, 6 inches and total size comes to 627 square feet.
The inside room of the Kaba is 13x9 meters. The Kaba's walls are one meter wide. The floor inside is 2.2 meters higher than the place where people perform Tawaf. The ceiling and roof are two levels made out of wood. They were reconstructed with teak which is capped with stainless steel. The walls are all made of stone. The stones inside are unpolished, while the ones outside are polished. This small building has been constructed and reconstructed by prophets Adam, Ibrahim, Ismail and Muhammad. No other building has had this honor. Yet, not very much is known about the details of this small but significant building.

Did you know the Kaba was reconstructed as recently as close to four years ago? Did you know that the Kaba has been subjected to danger by natural disasters like flooding, as well as human attacks? You'll find some rarely heard of information discussed below and discover facts about the Kaba many are unaware of.

The other names of the Kaba
Literally, Kaba in Arabic means a high place with respect and prestige. The word Kaba may also be derivative of a word meaning a cube. Some of these other names include: Bait ul Ateeq - which means, according to one meaning, the earliest and ancient. According to the second meaning, it means independent and liberating. Both meanings could be taken. Bayt ul Haram - the honorable house

The Kaba has been reconstructed up to 12 times. Scholars and historians say that the Kaba has been reconstructed between five to 12 times. The very first construction of the Kaba was done by prophet Adam. Allah says in the Quran that this was the first house that was built for humanity to worship Allah. After this, prophet Ibrahim and Ismail rebuilt the Kaba. The measurements of the Kaba's Ibrahimic foundation are as follows: the eastern wall was 48 feet and 6 inches the Hateem side wall was 33 feet the side between the black stone and the Yemeni corner was 30 feet the Western side was 46.5 feet Following this, there were several constructions before the prophet
Muhammad's time.

Reconstruction of Kaba by Quraish
Prophet Muhammad participated in one of its reconstructions before he became a prophet. After a flash flood, the Kaba was damaged and its walls cracked. It needed rebuilding. This responsibility was divided among the Quraish's four tribes. Prophet Muhammad helped with this reconstruction. Once the walls were erected, it was time to place the Black Stone, (the Hajar ul Aswad) on the eastern wall of the Kaba. Arguments erupted about who would have the honor of putting the Black Stone in its place. A fight was about to break out over the issue, when Abu Umayyah, Makkah's oldest man, proposed that the first man to enter the gate of the mosque the following morning would decide the matter. That man was the prophet. The Makkans were ecstatic. "This is the trustworthy one (Al-Ameen)," they shouted in a chorus. "This is Muhammad". He came to them and they asked him to decide on the matter. He agreed. Prophet Muhammad proposed a solution that all agreed to-putting the Black Stone on a cloak, the elders of each of the clans held on to one edge of the cloak and carried the stone to its place. The prophet then picked up the stone and placed it on the wall of the Kaba. Since the tribe of Quraish did not have sufficient funds, this reconstruction did not include the entire foundation of the Kaba as built by prophet Ibrahim. This is the first time the Kaba acquired the cubical shape it has now unlike the rectangle shape which it had earlier. The portion of the Kaba left out is called Hateem now.

Construction after the prophet's Time - Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr The Syrian army destroyed the Kaba in Muharram 64 (Hijri date) and before the next Hajj Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him, reconstructed the Kaba from the ground up. Ibn az-Zubayr wanted to make the Kaba how the prophet Muhammad wanted it, on the foundation of the prophet Ibrahim. Ibn az-Zubayr said, "I heard Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) say, 'The prophet said: "If your people had not quite recently abandoned the Ignorance (Unbelief), and if I had sufficient provisions to rebuild it [the Kaba], I would have added five cubits to it from the Hijr. Also, I would make two doors; one for people to enter therein and the other to exit." (Bukhari). Ibn az-Zubayr said, "Today, I can afford to do it and I do not fear the people. Ibn az-Zubayr built the Kaba on prophet Ibrahim's foundation. He put the roof on three pillars with the wood of Aoud (a perfumed wood with aroma which is traditionally burned to get a good smell out of it in Arabia). In his construction he put two doors, one facing the east the other facing the west, as the prophet wanted but did not do in his lifetime. He rebuilt the Kaba on the prophet Ibrahim's foundation, which meant that the Hateem area was included. The Hateem is the area adjacent to the Kaba enclosed by a low semi-circular wall.

Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr also made the following additions and modifications: put a small window close to the roof of the Kaba to allow for light, moved the door of the Kaba to ground level and added a second door to the Kaba. Added nine cubits to the height of the Kaba, making it twenty cubits high. Its walls were two cubits wide. Reduced the pillars inside the House to three instead of six as were earlier built by Quraish. For reconstruction, ibn az-Zubayr put up four pillars around Kaba and hung cloth over them until the building was completed. People began to do Tawaf around these pillars at all times, so Tawaf of the Kaba was never abandoned, even during reconstruction. During Abdul Malik bin Marwan's time in 74 Hijri (or 693 according to the Gregorian calendar), Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf al-Thaqafi, the known tyrant of that time, with the approval of Umayyad Khalifa Abdul Malik bin Marwan, demolished what Ibn az-Zubayr had added to it from the older foundation of prophet Ibrahim, restore its old structure as the Quraish had had it. Some of the changes he made were the following: he rebuilt it in the smaller shape which is found today took out the Hateem walled up the western door (whose signs are still visible today) and left the rest as it was pulled down the wall in the Hateem area, removed the wooden ladder Ibn az-Zubayr had put inside the Kaba, reduced the door's height by five cubits.

When Abdul Malik bin Marwan came for Umra and heard the Hadith that it was wish of prophet for the Kaba to be constructed the way Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr had built it, he regretted his actions. Imam Malik's advice to the Khalifa Harun al Rasheed Abbasi Khalifa Harun al Rasheed wanted to rebuild the Kaba the way the Prophet Muhammad wanted and the way Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr built it. But when he consulted Imam Malik, the Imam asked the Khalifa to change his mind because constant demolition and rebuilding is not respectful and would become a toy in the hands of kings. Each one would want to demolish and rebuild the Kaba. Based on this advice, Harun al Rasheed did not reconstruct the Kaba. The structure remained in the same construction for 966 years, with minor repairs here and there.

Reconstruction during Sultan Murad Khan's time.
In the year 1039 Hijri, because of heavy rain, flood and hail, two of the Kaba's walls fell down. The flood during which this occurred took place on the 19th of Shaban 1039 Hijri which continued constantly, so the water in the Kaba became almost close to half of its walls, about 10 feet from the ground level. On Thursday the 20th of Shaban 1039 Hijri, the eastern and western walls fell down. When flood receded on Friday the 21st of Shaban, the cleanup started. Again, a curtain, the way Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr established on 4 pillars, was put up, and the reconstruction started on the 26th of Ramadan. The rest of the walls except for the one near the Black Stone, were demolished. By the 2nd of Zul-Hijjah 1040 the construction was taking place under the guidance of Sultan Murad Khan, the Ottoman Khalifa. From the point of the Black stone and below, the current construction is the same as that done by Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr. The construction which was done under the auspices of Murad Khan was exactly the one done at the time of Abdul Malik ibn Marwan which is the way the Quraysh had built it before prophethood. On Rajab 28 1377, one historian counted the total stones of the Kaba and they were 1,614. These stones are of different shapes. But the stones which are inside the outer wall which is visible are not counted in there.

Reconstruction of the Kaba In 1996
A major reconstruction of the Kaba took place between May 1996 and October 1996. This was after a period of about 400 years (since Sultan Murad Khan's time). During this reconstruction the only original thing left from the Kaba are the stones. All other material has been replaced including the ceiling and the roof and its wood.

What is inside the Kaba?
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi is the president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). He had the opportunity to go inside the Kaba in October 1998. In an interview with Sound Vision, he described the following features:
there are two pillars inside (others report 3 pillars),
there is a table on the side to put items like perfume,
there are two lantern-type lamps hanging from the ceiling,
the space can accommodate about 50 people,
there are no electric lights inside,
the walls and floors are of marble,
there are no windows inside,
there is only one door,
the upper inside walls of the Kaba were covered with some kind of curtain with the Kalima written on it.

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