AL-HAJARU’L ASWAD الحر الاسود
Lit. “The Black Stone.” The famous black stone which forms part of the sharp angle of the Ka’bah in the temple at Makkah. Mr. Burkhardt says, “It is an irregular oval, about seven inches in diameter, with an undulating surface, composed of about a dozen smaller stones of different sizes and shapes, well joined together with a small quantity of cement, and perfectly well smoothed; it looks as if the whole had been broken into as many pieces by a violent blow, and then united again. It is very difficult to determine accurately the quality of this stone, which has been worn to its present surface by the millions of touches and kisses it has received. It appeared to me like a lava, containing several small extraneous particles of a whitish and of a yellow substance. Its color is now a deep reddish brown approaching to black. It is surrounded on all sides by a border composed of a substance which I took to be a close cement of pitch and gravel of a similar, but not quite the same, brownish color. This borders serves to support its detached pieces; it is two or three inches in breadth, and rises a little above the surface of the stone. Both the border and the stone itself are encircled by a silver band, broader below than above, and on the two sides, with a considerable swelling below, as if a part of the stone were hidden under it. The lower part of the border is studded with silver nails.
Captain Burton remarks, “The color appeared to me black and metallic and the centre of the stone was sunk about two inches below the metallic circle. Round the sides was a reddish brown cement, almost level with the metal, and sloping sown to the middle of the stone. The band is not a massive arch of gold or silver gilt. I found the aperture in which the stone is, one span and three fingers broacd.”
According to Ibn ‘Abbas, Muhammad said the black stone came down from Paradise, and at the time of its descent it was whiter than milk, but that the sins of the children of Adam have caused it to be black, by their touching it. That on the Day of Resurrection, when it will have two eyes, by which it will see and know all those who touched it and kissed it, and when it will have a tongue to speak, it will give evidence in favor of those who touched and kissed it.
Maximus Tyrius, who wrote in the second century, says, “The Arabians pay homage to I know not what god, which they represent by a quadrangular stone,” alluding to the Ka’bah or temple which contains the black stone. The Guebars or ancient Persians assert that the Black Stone was amongst the images and relics left by Mahabad and his successors in the Ka’bah, and that it was an emblem of Saturn. It is probably an aerolite, and owes its reputation, like many others, to its fall from the sky. Its existence as an object of adoration in an iconoclastic religious system, can only be accounted for by Muhammad’s attempt to conciliate the idolaters of Arabia.
A complete list of the falls of aerolites and meteoric stones through the atmosphere, is published in the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, from the work by Chladni in German, in which the subject is ably and fully treated.
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam