Friday, February 5, 2010

The Arbitration at the Kaaba

The arbitration the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) directed between the Quraishi people when he was thirty-five years old during the renovation of the Kaaba is extremely important. The Quraishi wanted to rebuild the Kaaba in 605 AD as it had been damaged by fire and flooding. During that time, news of a Byzantine ship striking the ground at the port of Shuaiba near Jeddah reached Mecca. According to reports, the ship had been sent from Egypt to Ethiopia on the order of the Byzantine emperor and it was filled with marble, wood and iron that were to be used to restore a church in Ethiopia. Valid bin Mugira and his friends went to Shu'ayba, purchased the wood from the ship and invited the carpenter and construction worker Baku mar-Rumi to Mecca to help repair the Kaaba. During the repair work Muhammad worked alongside his uncle Abbas, carrying stones and helping him; however a dispute occurred as to the location of the Hajarul Aswad (the black stone that is thought to have descended from heaven). Each tribe wanted to have the honor of placing the stone, some people even suggested fighting for the honor. Finally, Abu Umayya bin Mugira, a leader from among the Quraishi, suggested that "the decision of the first person who enters from the Banu Shayba gate of the Kaaba should be binding"; the Quraishis agreed and began to wait. When the people around saw that Muhammad was entering the gate they expressed their pleasure, saying "there he is, Al-Amin, there is Muhammad". Muhammad brought a cloth, the Hajarul Aswad was put on it and each tribe's leader took hold of the cloth. When the stone reached the level where it was to be placed, Muhammad took it and placed it in the building. As a result, a conflict that could have occurred among the Quraishis was prevented with a sensible and fair proposal.

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