Aal-Imran · Juz 4 · Qur'an Tafseer

The Ka’abah is the First House of Worship On Earth

Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayaat 96-97 [Part 1]


Ka’abah was the first house of worship to be built on the earth for all the people. People go around the House doing Tawaf, pray in its vicinity and remain in its area for aitekaaf.

This House was re-built by Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam whose religion the Jews and the Christians claim to follow. However, they do not perform Hajj to the House that Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam built by Allah’s command and to which he invited the people to perform Hajj.

[The Re-Construction of Ka’abah by Prophet Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam]

Describing the House, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “blessed and a guidance for the worlds.”

How is it blessed? It has been seen that most of the people who go for pilgrimage, they come back changed. They are motivated to hold on to the spiritual high that they have experienced and reform themselves. Men are seen to be keen on leaving haram jobs or businesses. Women adopt the Islamic dress code. Some return to their hometowns and enroll in a religious class. Of course, these reformations are only seen in the people who were sincere in their worship and they “desired” guidance.  

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Dharr radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam! Which Masjid was the first to be built on the earth?’ The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, ‘Al-Masjid Al-Haram (in Makkah). I said, ‘Which one was built next?’ He replied, ‘Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem).’ I said, ‘What was the period of time between building the two?’ He said, ‘Forty years.’ He added,

ثُمَّ حَيْثُ أَدْرَكْتَ الصَّلَاةَ فَصَلِّ، فَكُلُّهَا مَسْجِد

‘Wherever (you may be, and) the prayer becomes due, perform the prayer there, for the whole earth was made a Masjid.’”

Al-Bukhari and Muslim also collected this hadeeth.

The Names of Makkah such as Bakkah

Ibn Katheer writes Bakkah means “it brings Buka’ (crying, weeping) to the tyrants and arrogant” meaning they cry and become humble in its vicinity.

It was also said that Makkah was called Bakkah because people do Buka next to it meaning they gather around it.

There are many names for Makkah such as Bakkah. Al-Bayt Al-‘Ateeq [the Ancient House], Al-Bayt Al-Haram [the Sacred House], Al-Balad Al-Amin [the City of Safety] and Al-Ma’moon [Security]. Makkah’s names include Umm Rahm [Mother of Mercy], Umm Al-Qura [ Mother of the Towns], Salah, as well as others.

The Station of Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “In it are clear signs,” meaning clear signs that Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam built the Ka’abah and that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has honored and blessed it. “…the standing place of Ibraheem,” when the Ka’abah was raised, Ibraheem ‘alayhi salaam stood on the Maqaam [station] so that he could raise the walls higher while his son Isma’eel ‘alayhi salaam was handing the stones to him.

[Note that the Maqaam was situated right next to the House. Later, during the reign of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab radhiAllahu ‘anhu the Maqaam was moved farther to the east for the ease in performing Tawaf without disturbing those who pray next to the Maqaam (after finishing the Tawaf).]

Mujahid said, “The impression of Ibraheem’s feet remains on the Maqaam as a clear sign.”

[Prophet Ibraheem Building the Ka’abah and Asking Allah to Accept it]

Al-Haram, the Sacred Area, is a Safe Place

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “And whoever enters it shall be safe.” The Haram of Makkah is a safe refuge for those in a state of fear. There in its vicinity, they will be safe, as was the case during the time of Jahiliyyah [pre-Islamic period of ignorance]. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “During the time of Jahiliyyah a man would commit murder, then wear a piece of wool around his neck and enter the Haram. And even when the son of the murdered person would meet him, he would not make a move against him, until he left the sanctuary.”

In another Surah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala asks the people,

أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا أَنَّا جَعَلْنَا حَرَمًا آمِنًا وَيُتَخَطَّفُ النَّاسُ مِنْ حَوْلِهِمْ ۚ

“Have they not seen that We made [Makkah] a safe sanctuary, while people are being taken away all around them?”
[Al-‘Ankaboot 29:67]

In Surah Quraysh, He says,

فَلْيَعْبُدُوا رَبَّ هَٰذَا الْبَيْتِ – الَّذِي أَطْعَمَهُم مِّن جُوعٍ وَآمَنَهُم مِّنْ خَوْفٍ

“Let them worship the Lord of this House, Who has fed them, [saving them] from hunger and made them safe, [saving them] from fear.” [Quraysh 106:3-4]

[Tafseer of Surah Quraysh]

It is not allowed for anyone to hunt in the Haram or to drive game out of its den to be hunted or cut the trees in its vicinity or pick its grass, as the ahadeeth of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the statements of the Companions testify.

The Two Saheehs recorded (this being the wording of Muslim) that Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “On the day of the conquest of Makkah, the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,  

لَا هِجْرَةَ، وَلــكِنْ جِهَادٌ وَنِيَّـةٌ، وَإِذَا اسْتُنْفِرْتُمْ فَانْفِرُوا

‘There is no more Hijrah [migration to Madinah], only Jihad and good intention. If you were mobilized, then march forth.’”

On the day of the conquest of Makkah, he also said,  

إِنَّ هَذَا الْبَلَدَ حَرَّمَهُ اللهُ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَواتِ وَالْأَرْضَ، فَهُوَ حَرَامٌ بِحُرْمَةِ اللهِ إِلى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ، وَإِنَّهُ لَمْ يَحِلَّ الْقِتَالُ فِيهِ لأَحَدٍ قَبْلِي، وَلَمْ يَحِلَّ لِي إِلَّا فِي سَاعَةٍ مِنْ نَهَارٍ، فَهُوَ حَرَامٌ بِحُرْمَةِ اللهِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ، لَا يُعْضَدُ شَوْكُهُ، وُلَا يُنَفَّرُ صَيْدُهُ، وَلَا يَلْتَقِطُ لُقَطَتَهَا إِلَّا مَنْ عَرَّفَهَا، وَلَا يُخْتَلَى خَلَاهَا

“Beware! Allah made this town (Makkah) a sanctuary when He created the heavens and earth, and it is sacred by Allah’s decree until the Day of Resurrection. Fighting in Makkah was not permitted for anyone before me, and it was made legal for me for only a few hours or so on that day. No doubt, it is at this moment a sanctuary by Allah’s decree until the Day of Resurrection. It is not allowed to uproot its thorny shrubs, hunt its game, pick up its lost objects, except by announcing it, or to uproot its trees.”

Al-‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “Except the lemon grass, O Allah’s Messenger, as they use it in their houses and graves.” The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Except lemongrass.”

The Two Saheehs also recorded that Abu Shurayh Al-‘Adawi said that he said to ‘Amr ibn Sa’eed while he was sending the troops to Makkah (to fight ‘Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr), “O Commander! Allow me to tell you what Allah’s Messenger said on the day following the conquest of Makkah. My ears heard it and my heart memorized it thoroughly, and I saw the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with my own eyes when he, after glorifying and praising Allah, said,

إِنَّ مَكَّةَ حَرَّمَهَا اللهُ، وَلَمْ يُحَرِّمْهَا النَّاسُ، فَلَا يَحِلُّ لِامْرِى يُؤْمِنُ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ أَنْ يَسْفِكَ بِهَا دَمًا، وَلَا يَعْضِدَ بِهَا شَجَرَةً، فَإِنْ أَحَدٌ تَرَخَّصَ بِقِتَالِ رَسُولِ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلّم فِيهَا فَقُولُوا لَهُ: إِنَّ اللهَ أَذِنَ لِرَسُولِهِ وَلَمْ يَأْذَنْ لَكُمْ، وَإِنَّمَا أَذِنَ لِي فِيهَا سَاعَةً مِنْ نَهَارٍ، وَقَدْ عَادَتْ حُرْمَتُهَا الْيَوْمَ كَحُرْمَتِهَا بِالْأَمْسِ فَلْيُبَلِّغِ الشَّاهِدُ الْغَائِب

“Allah, not the people, made Makkah a sanctuary. Therefore, anybody who has belief in Allah and the Last Day should neither shed blood in it nor cut down its trees. If anybody argues that fighting in it is permissible on the basis that Allah’s Messenger fought in Makkah, say to him, ‘Allah allowed His Messenger and did not allow you.’ Allah allowed me only for a few hours on that day (of the conquest), and today its sanctity is as valid as it was before. So, those who are present, should inform those who are absent of this fact.”

Abu Shurayh was asked, “What did ‘Amr reply?” He said that ‘Amr said, “O Abu Shurayh! I know better than you in this respect; Makkah does not give protection to a sinner, a murderer or a thief.”

Jabir bin ‘Abdullah radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying,

لَا يَحِلُّ لِأَحَدِكُمْ أَنْ يَحْمِلَ بِمَكَّةَ السِّلَاح

 “None of you is allowed to carry a weapon in Makkah.”

Muslim recorded this hadeeth.

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Adi ibn Al-Hamra’ Az-Zuhri said that he heard the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam say while standing at Al-Hazwarah in the marketplace of Makkah, 

وَاللهِ إِنَّكِ لَخَيْرُ أَرْضِ اللهِ، وَأَحَبُّ أَرْضِ اللهِ إِلَى اللهِ، وَلَوْلَا أَنِّي أُخْرِجْتُ مِنْكِ مَا خَرَجْت

“By Allah! You are the best of Allah’s land and the most beloved land to Allah. Had it not been for the fact that I was driven out of you, I would not have left you.”

Imam Ahmad collected this hadeeth and this is his wording. At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah also collected it. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Saheeh.”

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us.
Indeed You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.”
[Al-Baqarah 2: 127]

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