Religious Significance

The Kaaba has a special status in the hearts of Muslims, as they believe that it is the first house of worship on Earth, and represents the lineage of God’s prophets and Revelations from the Prophet Adam to the Prophet Muhammad {pbuh}.

Day to day, the vast majority of Muslims are most directly connected to the Holy Kaaba as the direction to which they turn to perform prayer.Those who are able to travel to Mecca can then perform the most sacred rite of tawāf, circling the Holy Kaaba seven times and making supplications to God as one goes.

Performing the tawāf is first and foremost an act of obedience to God. Customarily performed on arrival to Mecca, the tawāf is an obligatory part of Hajj and ʿUmrah (the lesser pilgrimage). Many also seek connection and solace in touching the Holy Kaaba as they pass, and following the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad {pbuh}, all seek to kiss the Black Stone set in one of the Kaaba’s corners if they are able. While the Holy Kaaba is a simple geometric structure of little material value, its spiritual importance to Muslims is beyond measure.

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Pilgrims making the Tawāf Shaykh

Muḥammad Amīn (active between 1964 and 1985) Gelatin silver print on high gloss paper, 1974

The Waymarks of Benefits and the Brilliant Burst of Lights in the Remembrance of Blessings on the Chosen Prophet

Muḥammad ibn Sulaymān al-Jazūlī (d. 870 AH/1465 CE)Decaan (India), 11th–12th century AH/17th–18th century CE


Safavid Qibla Indicator

Brass, Persia, 17th–18th century

In the Spiritual Kingdom of the Islamic World: A Journey to the Holy Land in 1349 AH/1931 CE

Muṣṭāfa Muḥammad al-Rāʿī , Medina Press, Cairo