In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Building the Ka’abah and asking Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to accept the Deed
Ayah 127 shows another essential quality of Prophet Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam. In obedience to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, he left the fertile land of Syria and settled his family in the barren desert. Now, he was taking up the labor of building the House of Allah. This was a moment when a man who had been bearing such hardships in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala could normally be expected to feel satisfied with himself and relax in a mood of self-congratulation. But the Friend of Allah recognized the Majesty of Allah. He knew that no creature can possibly worship or obey his Creator as is His due. He also knew that in performing the hardest or the greatest tasks one should not be proud of one’s attainment, but should, in all humility, pray to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to accept the little effort one has been capable of making – and that, too, with the grace of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala Himself.
In this ayah, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is being addressed to tell the people the story of Prophet Ibraheem and Isma’eel ‘alayhi salaam. The Prophets of Allah were performing a good deed, yet they feared its acceptance. They did not take it for granted that since they are the chosen servants of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, their deed will certainly be accepted.
What is our attitude after performing as ordinary a deed as our daily Salah?
Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Wuhayb bin Al-Ward recited the ayah and cried, “O Khaleel of Ar-Rahman! You raise the foundations of the House of Ar-Rahman (Allah), yet you are afraid that He will not accept it from you.” This is the behavior of the sincere believers, whom Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala described in His statement, “And those who give that which they give with their hearts full of fear (whether it has been accepted or not).” [Al-Muminoon 23: 60]
Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “Prophet Ibraheem took Isma’eel and his mother and went away with them until he reached the area of the House, where he left them next to a tree above Zamzam in the upper area of the Masjid. During that time, Isma’eel’s mother was still nursing him. Makkah was then uninhabited, and there was no water source in it. Ibraheem left them there with a bag containing some dates and a water-skin containing water. Ibraheem then started to leave, and Isma’eel’s mother followed him and said, ‘O Ibraheem! To whom are you leaving us in this barren valley that is not inhabited?’ She repeated the question several times and Ibraheem did not reply. She asked, ‘Has Allah commanded you to do this?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘I am satisfied that Allah will never abandon us.’
Ibraheem left, and when he was far enough away where they could not see him, close to Thaniyyah, he faced the House, raised his hands and supplicated, ‘O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka’abah at Makkah); in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salat, so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks’ [Ibraheem 14:37].
Isma’eel’s mother then returned to her place, started drinking water from the water-skin and nursing Isma’eel. When the water was used up, she and her son became thirsty. She looked at him, and he was suffering from thirst; she left, because she disliked seeing his face in that condition. She found the nearest mountain to where she was, As-Safa, ascended it and looked, in vain, hoping to see somebody. When she came down to the valley, she raised her garment and ran, just as a tired person runs, until she reached the Al-Marwah mountain. In vain, she looked to see if there was someone there. She ran to and fro (between the two mountains) seven times.” Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “This is why the people make the trip between As-Safa and Al-Marwah (during Hajj and Umrah).”
“When she reached Al-Marwah, she heard a voice and said, ‘Shush,’ to herself. She tried to hear the voice again and when she did, she said, ‘I have heard you. Do you have relief?’ She found the angel digging with his heel (or his wing) where Zamzam now exists, and the water gushed out. Isma’eel’s mother was astonished and started digging, using her hand to transfer water to the water-skin.” Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then said, “May Allah grant His mercy to the mother of Isma’eel, had she left the water, (flow naturally without her intervention), it would have been flowing on the surface of the earth.”
“Isma’eel’s mother started drinking the water and her milk increased for her child. The angel (Gabriel) said to her, ‘Do not fear abandonment. There shall be a House for Allah built here by this boy and his father. Allah does not abandon His people.’ During that time, the area of the House was raised above ground level and the floods used to reach its right and left sides.
Afterwards some people of the tribe of Jurhum, passing through, camped at the bottom of the valley. They saw some birds, they were astonished, and said, ‘Birds can only be found at a place where there is water. We did not notice before that this valley had water.’ They sent a scout or two who searched the area, found the water, and returned to inform them about it. Then they all went to Isma’eel’s mother, next to the water, and said, ‘O Mother of Isma’eel! Will you allow us to be with you (or dwell with you)?’ She said, ‘Yes. But you will have no exclusive right to the water here.’ They said, ‘We agree.’
And thus they stayed there and sent for their relatives to join them. Later on, her boy reached the age of puberty and married a lady from them, for Isma’eel learned Arabic from them, and they liked the way he was raised. Isma’eel’s mother died after that.”
Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam later visited his dependents several times and then on one such visit he informed Isma’eel ‘alayhi salaam that they have been ordered to raise the foundations of the House of Allah.
The son helped his father in raising the foundation. Both of them were saying, “O our Lord ! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.”
The Story of rebuilding the Ka’abah by Quraysh
In his Seerah, Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar said, “When the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam reached thirty-five years of age, the Quraysh gathered to rebuild the Ka’abah, this included covering it with a roof. However, they were weary of demolishing it.
During that time, the Ka’abah was barely above a man’s shoulder, so they wanted to raise its height and build a ceiling on top. Some people had stolen the Ka’abah’s treasure beforehand, which used to be in a well in the middle of the Ka’abah. The treasure was later found with a man called, Duwayk, a freed servant of Bani Mulayh bin ‘Amr, from the tribe of Khuza’ah. The Quraysh cut off his hand as punishment. Some people claimed that those who actually stole the treasure left it with Duwayk.
Afterward, the sea brought a ship that belonged to a Roman merchant to the shores of Jeddah, where it washed-up. So they collected the ship’s wood to use it for the Ka’abah’s ceiling; a Coptic carpenter in Makkah prepared what they needed for the job. When they decided to begin the demolition process to rebuild the House, Abu Wahb bin ‘Amr bin ‘A’idh bin ‘Abd bin ‘Imran bin Makhzum took a stone from the Ka’abah; the stone slipped from his hand and went back to where it had been. He said, ‘O people of Quraysh! Do not spend on rebuilding the House, except from what was earned from pure sources. No money earned from a prostitute, usury or injustice should be included.’”
Ibn Ishaq commented here that the people also attribute these words to Al-Waleed bin Al-Mugheerah bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Makhzum.
Ibn Ishaq continued, “The Quraysh began to organize their efforts to rebuild the Ka’abah, each sub-tribe taking the responsibility of rebuilding a designated part of it.
However, they were still wary about bringing down the Ka’abah. Al-Waleed bin Al-Mugheerah said, ‘I will start to bring it down.’ He held an axe and stood by the Ka’abah and said, ‘O Allah! No harm is meant. O Allah! We only seek to do a good service.’ He then started to chop the House’s stones. The people waited that night and said, ‘We will wait and see. If something strikes him, we will not bring it down and instead rebuild it the way it was. If nothing happens to him, then Allah will have agreed to what we are doing.’ The next morning, Al-Waleed went to work on the Ka’abah, and the people started bringing the Ka’abah down with him. When they reached the foundations that Ibraheem built, they uncovered green stones that were above each other, just like a pile of spears.”
Ibn Ishaq then said that some people told him, “A man from Quraysh, who was helping rebuild the Ka’abah, placed the shovel between two of these stones to pull them up; when one of the stones was moved, all of Makkah shook, so they did not dig up these stones.”
The Dispute regarding the Black Stone
Ibn Ishaq said, “The tribes of Quraysh collected stones to rebuild the House, each tribe collecting on their own. They started rebuilding it, until the rebuilding of the Ka’abah reached the point where the Black Stone was to be placed in its designated site. A dispute erupted between the various tribes of Quraysh, each seeking the honor of placing the Black Stone for their own tribe. The dispute almost led to violence between the leaders of Quraysh in the area of the Sacred House. Banu ‘Abd Ad-Dar and Banu ‘Adi bin Ka’ab bin Lu’ay, gave their mutual pledge to fight until death. However, five or four days later, Abu Umayyah bin Al-Mugheerah bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Makhzum, the oldest man from Quraysh then intervened at the right moment. Abu Umayyah suggested that Quraysh should appoint the first man to enter the House from its entrance to be a mediator between them. They agreed.
The Messenger – Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – was the first person to enter the House. When the various leaders of Quraysh realized who the first one was, they all proclaimed, ‘This is Al-Amin (the Honest one). We all accept him: This is Muhammad.’ When the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam reached the area where the leaders were gathering and they informed him about their dispute. He asked them to bring a garment and place it on the ground. He placed the Black Stone on it. He then requested that each of the leaders of Quraysh hold the garment from one side and all participate in lifting the Black Stone, moving it to its designated area. Next, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam carried the Black Stone by himself and placed it in its designated position and built around it.”
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