International Geologiical Congress - Oslo 2008


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IEA-05 Geology and cultural heritage


Al-Hajar al-Aswad (The Holy Black Stone)


Parvaiz Habibullah, CAAP Pakistan (Pakistan)
Ahmad Rashid, GAC (Pakistan)


The Black Stone (called al-Hajar al-Aswad in Arabic) is a Muslim holy relics. It is one of the cornerstones of the kaaba sharif, the ancient stone building towards which all Muslims pray. The kaaba sharif is located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, surrounded by the enormous masjid al-Haram, the grand mosque. The black stone is fixed into the eastern corner of kaaba sharif, about 5ft above the ground level, near the door of the kaaba sharif. It (now ) consists of 3 large pieces and several small fragments stuck together and surrounded by a large ring which is held together by a silver band. During religious rites of pilgrimage and tawaaf which consist of circling around the kaaba sharif seven times, each circle begins by kissing the black stone, or by pointing it. The Karamathians (Arabic: al-Qaramiath) had removed the black stone in 317 AH/980 AD carried it away to their territory in Al-Ahsa (in the Arabian Gulf) and returned it to Mecca in 339 AH. There are various opinions to history and nature of this holy relics. (1) Muslims say that this stone was brought by Hz. Jabreil (A.S) (an angel) from paradise during the construction of kaaba sharif and it was found by Hz. Ibrahim (A.S) when he was searching for stones with which to build the kaaba sharif. (2) Secular historians point to the history of meteorite worship, in pre-islamic Arabia, and say it is likely that the stone is a meteorite or possibly impact glass, from the meteorite impact crater at wabar, about 1100 km from Mecca. (3) Thomas E. Lawrence, British adventurer and military strategist in middle east during WW-I crookedly hided magnifying glass in his dress and observed Hajar al-aswad with it and confirmed that this holy relics is of granite rock. However the material of holy black stone has not been precisely determined because Muslim do not allow to remove it. An other difficulty is that its visible surface is worn smooth by hand touching, etc. It is some times classified as lava and some times as basalt. During umrah (holy visit to kaaba sharif ) in Aug, 07, author* had the blessing of touching this holy relics. The holy black stone has smooth and soapy touch. Its colour is reddish black with red and yellow particles. Kissing of this holy stone is considered one of the noblest deed for believers of Islam. It may be concluded that holy black stone is an igneous rock, because top of the mountains around kaaba sharif and Mecca are made of granite which is an igneous rock of acidic composition. It may be a piece of volcanic rock (agglomerate) of rhyolitic composition (equivalent to granite) because of rocks exposed around kaaba sharif and Mecca are the igneous rocks of acidic granitic / rhyolitic composition. It can only be confirmed by microscopic study. A number of scientists and researchers are researching on geology of this relics independently what is written about it in our (Muslims) holy books.


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