Islam: Meteorite Worship of the black stone
Islam's meteorite that they circle at the Kaba is like the Meteorite of Acts 19:23-36, six hundred years earlier. It seems pagans would think the meteor was a god and start worshipping it.

"But when they recognized that he was a Jew, a single outcry arose from them all as they shouted for about two hours, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" After quieting the crowd, the town clerk said, "Men of Ephesus, what man is there after all who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the image which fell down from heaven? [ie. a meteor] "So, since these are undeniable facts, you ought to keep calm and to do nothing rash."

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If I told you Christmas was celebrated by the apostles, you would chide me. Yet Islam teaches that Abraham made the pilgrimage and circled the Kaba with the black stone in it.


Pagan Origin

Ritual retained, meaning redefined. Paganism spiritualized into monotheism:


December 25 was the birthday of the Pagan Mythra, the god of light.

Christians practice the pagan festival but redefined Dec 25 as the birthday of Christ.

Pilgrimage and Circling Kaba 7x

Each local tribe of Arab pagans walked 7 times around their own kaba that housed their own black stone.

Muslims circle the Kaba, claiming Abraham did such.

Kissing black stone

Each local tribe of Arab Pagans kissed their own tribal black stones.

Muslims kiss black stone but say it was a divine meteorite that fell at Adam's feet and was rediscovered by Abraham.

"The stone throw" at Mina

Wide spread custom among Pagan Arabs.

Muslims claim the custom was started by Abraham when he threw stones at the devil.

"The Run": Safa and Marwa

Pagans ran between two idols, Isaf and Na'ila:

Muslims perform the same running but redefine the meaning to be Hagar running between hills, looking for water for Ishmael.

"The Praise" after Pilgrimage

Pagans praised dead ancestors

Muslims perform the same praising but redirect the praise to Allah, and with more zeal!


Ibn al Kelbi reports that Manat was a large stone in the territory of the Hudhail tribe, that Allat was a rectangular stone upon which a Jew used to grind wheat, and that Sa'd was a high block of stone in the desert. In some cases the divinity was identified with a particular part of the natural rock. Al-Fals was a reddish projection, resembling a man, on an otherwise black mountain. But specially erected stones might also serve as the dwelling-places of the divinity or the seats of his power. The most famous of all of the stone fetishes of Arabia was, of course, the black stone in the sanctuary of Mecca. The Ka'ba was, and still is, a rectangular stone structure. Built into its Eastern corner is the black stone which had been an object of worship for many centuries before Mohammed appropriated the Ka'ba for his new religion, and made the pilgrimage to this holy place one of the pillars of Islam. (Mohammed: The man and his faith, Tor Andrae, 1936, Translated by Theophil Menzel, 1960, p13-30)

The Black Stone
(Hajar al-Aswad)
Black Stone
(Click on thumbnails for high resolution photographs.)

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Muslims believe (without proof) that the revered "black stone" (Alhajar Al-Aswad) is a special divine meteorite, that pre-dates creation that fell at the foot of Adam and Eve. It is presently embedded in the southeastern corner of the Kaba. Muslims touch and kiss the black stone during Hajj but non-Muslims are strictly forbidden to even touch it.

The stone has been attacked many times and is now composed of several pieces and fragments, bound together by a silver ligature. It is semicircular and measures about ten inches horizontally and twelve inches vertically. Here a woman and her husband touch the stone.

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It is presently embedded in the southeastern corner of the Kaba. Muslims touch and kiss the black stone during Hajj but non-Muslims are strictly forbidden to even touch it.



The pagan Ka'bah, which became the Palladium of Islam, was an unpretentious cube-like (hence the name) building of primitive simplicity, originally roofless, serving as a shelter for a black meteorite which was venerated as a fetish. At the birth of Islam the structure was that rebuilt in 608 probably by an Abyssinian from the wreckage of a Byzantine or Abyssinian ship destroyed on the shore of the Red Sea. (History Of The Arabs, Philip K. Hitti, 1937, p 96-101)

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Quotes and notes:

  1. The kiss which the pious Muhammadan pilgrim bestows on it is a survival of the old practice, which was a form of worship in Arabia as in many other lands. (The Original Sources of the Qur'an, Tisdall, p. 43).
  2. Of the numerous baetyls, the best known is the Black Stone of the Ka'bah at Mecca, which became the central shrine object of Islam. (Britannica, Arabian Religions, p1059, 1979)
  3. Narrated Salim that his father said: I saw Allah's Apostle arriving at Mecca; he kissed the Black Stone Corner first while doing Tawaf and did ramal in the first three rounds of the seven rounds (of Tawaf). (Sahih al-Bukhari 2:673)
  4. Narrated 'Abis bin Rabia: 'Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said "No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah's Apostle kissing you I would not have kissed you." (Sahih al-Bukhari 2:667, 675, 676, 679, 680)
  1. This was like a small house, in the shape of a square box, called the Kaba, which means the cube. The object of especial veneration was a black stone, of meteoric origin, which may have been the cornerstone. Stones of this kind were worshipped by Arabs in most parts and by the Semitic races generally. When the young Syrian Arab Elagabalus, High Priest of the Black Stone of Emesa, was Emperor of Rome in 219, he had the holy thing transported solemnly to Rome and built a temple for it, much to the horror of the old Romans. (Mohammed, Maxime Rodinson, 1961, translated by Anne Carter, 1971, p 38-49)
  2. A celestial Black Stone, brought to Abraham by an angel and now thought to be a meteorite, is built into the southeast corner of the Kaaba; Muslims today kiss the stone as the Prophet used to do. (The Joy of Sects, Peter Occhigrosso, 1996, p394-397)
  3. The pagan Arabs practiced polytheism. They worshipped nature, stones. angels and demons. Particular reverence was accorded the three 'daughters of God', and various national, local and family idols. Each tribe gave allegiance to a special protector: one god to whom it turned in time of distress. Our modern altars may have had their beginnings in the stone worship of the ancients. One stone still holds a revered spot in the Arab heart. This is the stone that fell from paradise at the fall of Adam. Pure white it was and housed in a temple built by Seth, Adam's son, until a great flood ravaged the land, destroyed the temple, and buried it under the mud and debris. Tradition relates that the stone remained hidden until Abraham sent his wife Hagar into the desert with their infant son Ishmael. One day, weakened by thirst, Hagar laid her baby on the sand to rest. His fitful thrashings uncovered a spring of clear water near the site of the lost relic. It is told that an angel descended from heaven and helped recover the sacred stone and that Ishmael rebuilt the holy house of Seth with the assistance of Abraham and the archangel Gabriel. This, in brief, is the story of the Kaaba,' holiest building in Islam. (Islam and the Arabs, Rom Landau, 1958 p 11-21)
  4. One aspect of the worship of the pre-Islamic Arabs that attracted the attention not only of Greek and Latin authors who came in contact with Arab society but also of later Muslim authorities on the Age of Barbarism was a widespread cult of stones. For both sets of observers it seemed odd to venerate stones, whether they were totally unshaped or fashioned into some kind of very rudimentary idol. It was not, of course, the stones that were being worshiped but an animated spirit within them. (The Hajj, F. E. Peters, p 3-41, 1994)
  5. Doubtless the more simple believed the block of stone to contain magic powers, while the more sophisticated worshippers prayed to the invisible spirit, which perhaps dwelt in the tree or stone. Certainly many Arabs believed that a blessing could be obtained by kissing, touching, or rubbing a sacred object. (The Life and Times of Muhammad, John Bagot Glubb, 1970)
  6. In Mecca, Allah was worshiped in the Ka'bah and possibly represented by the famous Black Stone in that place. (The Archeology Of World Religions, Jack Finegan, 1952, p482-485, 492)
  7. "That Islam was conceived in idolatry is shown by the fact that many rituals performed in the name of Allah were connected with the pagan worship that existed before Islam. ... Because the Ka'aba, the sacred shrine which contains the Black Stone, in Mecca was used for pagan idol worship before Islam and even called the House of Allah at that time. (Is Allah The Same God As The God Of The Bible?, M. J. Afshari, p 6, 8-9)
  8. In particular the Semites regarded trees, caves, springs, and large stones as being inhabited by spirits; like the Black Stone of Islam in a corner of the Ka'bah at Mecca, in Petra and other places in Arabia stones were venerated also" (History of the Islamic Peoples, Carl Brockelmann, p 8-10)
  9. "According to a theory held by many, this temple [Kabah] had been sourceally connected with the ancient worship of the sun, moon and stars, and its circumambulation by the worshippers had a symbolical reference to the rotation of the heavenly bodies. Within its precincts and in its neighborhood there were found many idols, such as Hubal, Lat, Ozza, Manah, Wadd, Sawa, Yaghut, Nasr, Isaf, Naila, etc. A black stone in the temple wall was regarded with superstitious awe as eminently sacred" (Muhammad and Muhammadanism, S.W. Koelle, 1889, p. 17-19)
  10. The god Il or Ilah was originally a phase of the Moon God, but early in Arabian history the name became a general term for god, and it was this name that the Hebrews used prominently in their personal names, such as Emanuel, Israel, etc., rather than the Bapal of the northern semites proper, which was the Sun. Similarly, under Mohammed's tutelage, the relatively anonymous Ilah became Al-Ilah, The God, or Allâh, the Supreme Being. (Southern Arabia, Carleton S. Coon, Washington, D.C. Smithsonian, 1944, p.399)
  11. "Before Muhammad appeared, the Kaaba was surrounded by 360 idols, and every Arab house had its god. Arabs also believed in jinn (subtle beings), and some vague divinity with many offspring. Among the major deities of the pre-Islamic era were al-Lat ("the Goddess"), worshiped in the shape of a square stone; al-Uzzah ("the Mighty"), a goddess identified with the morning star and worshiped as a thigh-bone-shaped slab of granite between al Talf and Mecca; Manat, the goddess of destiny, worshiped as a black stone on the road between Mecca and Medina; and the moon god, Hubal, whose worship was connected with the Black Stone of the Kaaba. The stones were said to have fallen from the sun, moon, stars, and planets and to represent cosmic forces. The so-called Black Stone (actually the color of burnt umber) that Muslims revere today is the same one that their forebears had worshiped well before Muhammad and that they believed had come from the moon. (No scientific investigation has ever been performed on the stone. In 930, the stone was removed and shattered by an Iraqi sect of Qarmatians, but the pieces were later returned. The pieces, sealed in pitch and held in place by silver wire, measure about 10 inches in diameter altogether and several feet high; they are venerated today in patched-together form.)" (The Joy of Sects, Peter Occhigrosso, 1996)
  12. At Mekka, Allah was the chief of the gods and the special deity of the Quraish, the prophet's tribe. Allah had three daughters: Al Uzzah (Venus) most revered of all and pleased with human sacrifice; Manah, the goddess of destiny, and Al Lat, the goddess of vegetable life. Hubal and more than 300 others made up the pantheon. The central shrine at Mekka was the Kaaba, a cube like stone structure which still stands though many times rebuilt. Imbedded in one corner is the black stone, probably a meteorite, the kissing of which is now an essential part of the pilgrimage." (Meet the Arab, John Van Ess, 1943, p. 29.)
  13. Religious objects, practices, and institutions. Sacred stones. A principal sacred object in Arabian religion was the stone, either a rock outcropping or a large boulder, often a rectangular or irregular black basaltic stone without representative sculptural detail. Such stones were thought to be the residences of a god-hence the term for them employed by Byzantine Christian writers in the 5th and 6th centuries: baetyl, from bet 'el, "house of the god." Of the numerous baetyls, the best known is the Black Stone of the Ka'bah at Mecca, which became the central shrine object of Islam. (Britannica, Arabian Religions, p1059, 1979)
  14. According to some, it was an elementary form of fetishism, the worship of stones and similar objects; already certain Greek writers had pointed out that Arabs worshipped stones. (Studies on Islam, edited by Merlin L. Swartz, Pre-Islamic Bedouin Religion, by Joseph Henninger, 1981, p 3-22)
  15. One detail which already impressed the Greek authors was the role played by sacred Stones, 52 a phenomenon that they interpreted as a worship of raw and unpolished stones, that is to say, fetishism, regarded as the oldest and crudest form of religion. However, the scientific study of religion has long since rejected the theory that accorded to fetishism such a place of honor. In fact what is customarily called fetishism is not an independent phenomenon. The material object is not venerated for itself but rather as the dwelling of either a personal being (god, spirit) or a force (Studies on Islam, edited by Merlin L. Swartz, Pre-Islamic Bedouin Religion, by Joseph Henninger, 1981, p 3-22)
  16. "Embedded in the corner of the structure is the Black Stone, a meteorite used by Abraham as a foundation stone. This stone, although respected as the only surviving object from the original building, has never been worshipped and has no special sanctity or power." (Makkah And The Holy Mosque, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington DC, website)
  17. "The rites and ceremonies connected with the Hajj and Umrah are exceedingly puerile, and decidedly inconsistent with the spirit of Islam The idolatrous customs of the ancient Arabs, though sanctified by the teaching of the Qur'an and the example of' Muhammad, but poorly comport with the monotheistic teaching of the reformer of Makkah, and come far short of "confirming the former Scriptures." Its sanction by Muhammad is one of the darkest plots on his religion, and shows at the same time how far the politician of Madina differed from the preacher of Makkah. How his apologists fail to see the inconsistency of his conduct and teaching here, not only with the dignity of a prophet of God, but with the character of an honest man, is beyond our comprehension. The kissing of the Black Stone and the Yamani Pillar was so manifestly inconsistent with the doctrine of Islam, that naught but the example of the prophet and the implicit obedience of his followers secured its perpetuation. The fiery Omar, kissing the stone, said, "Verily I know that thou art a stone; thou dost no good or harm in the world, and if it was not that 1 saw the prophet kiss thee, I would not kiss thee." (Mishqat ul Masabih, Matthews, book 11. chapter 4, part 3)
  18. At some point on the road to Mecca the pilgrims will be stopped at a police checkpoint to have their passports examined. For them, this, and not the Saudi entry-point, is the real frontier, for it marks the boundary of the holy territory which no non-Muslim may enter. The Saudi consulates in their home countries will have issued them with special pilgrim visas, only granted against proof of Muslim birth or conversion. In the past, people suspected of being Christians or members of extremist sects outside the Islamic consensus have been done to death for entering the holy places. (Islam in the World, Malise Ruthven, 1984, p 28-48)
  19. Each pilgrim makes the tawaf or ritual circumambulation of the Ka'ba, a ceremony that has changed little, if at all, since pre-Islamic times. He will make seven circuits of the building, in an anti-clockwise movement, during which he will try to kiss, touch or otherwise greet the famous Black Stone which is set in a silver casing in the eastern corner. Muslims are taught that this is a fragment of the original temple, for the Ka'ba is said to have been rebuilt several times, before, during and after the Prophet's lifetime. (Islam in the World, Malise Ruthven, 1984, p 28-48)
  20. Another clue to the origins of the cult is the fact that although the Black Stone was venerated as a fetish, it was not directly associated with any particular deity. There seems to have been a general cult of stone-worship in the peninsula. The early Muslim sources suggest that it developed in imitation of the cult of the Ka'ba: They say that the beginning of stone worship among the sons of Ishmael was when Mecca became too small for them and they wanted more room in the country. Everyone who left the town took with him a stone from the haram area to do honour to it. Wherever they settled they set it up and walked round it as if going round the Ka'ba. This led them to worship whatever stones pleased them or made an impression on them. (Islam in the World, Malise Ruthven, 1984, p 28-48)
  21. In the Hebrew tradition the stone 'pillow' on which Jacob, son of Isaac, had his dream of the heavenly ladder becomes the cornerstone of the Temple, the pivot on which the whole world is balanced. The first ray of light which illuminated the whole world issued from it; it is said to have come down from heaven, being one of the few objects of heavenly origin on earth. There are very similar traditions about both the Black Stone and the stone known as the 'place of Ibrahim'. One of the commonest traditions about the Black Stone is that it once shone so brightly that if God had not effaced it, it would have illuminated everything between the east and the west. In Muslim tradition the stone's blackness is attributed to its pollution by human sin, or by the various fires which have engulfed the Ka'ba. (Islam in the World, Malise Ruthven, 1984, p 28-48)
  22. Sir Richard Burton, who made the pilgrimage in disguise in 1853, have suggested that the Black Stone is really a meteorite. Could this have been the 'Star' originally worshipped by Ibrahim? What more natural object of adoration than a fragment fallen from outer space, which may once have lit up the sky with a trail of blazing particles? Such a possibility is strongly suggested by the Quranic account of Ibrahim's spiritual progress from the worship of the stars to that of the one Creator. In ritualistically imitating the primal motion of all heavenly bodies, around a temple incorporating an extra-terrestrial object, the Muslim, like Ibrahim, is expressing his allegiance as a subject of a universal cosmic order. (Islam in the World, Malise Ruthven, 1984, p 28-48)
  23. At the south-east corner of the Ka'bah, near the door, is the famous black stone, which forms a part of the sharp angle of the building, at four or five feet above the ground. The black stone is an irregular oval. about seven inches in diameter, with an undulating surface, composed of about a dozen smaller storm of different shapes and sizes. It is surrounded on all sides by a border of reddish brown cement, both the stone and the border being encircled by a band of a massive arch of gold or silver gilt, the aperture of the stone being one span and three fingers broad. In the corner facing the south, there is another stone about five, set from the ground. It is one foot and a half in length, and two inches in breadth, placed upright, and of common Makkan stone. According to the rites of the pilgrimage, this stone; which is called ar-Ruknu 'l-Yamani, or Yaman pillar, should only be touched with ,the right hand as the pilgrim passes it, but Captain Burton says he frequently saw it kissed by the pilgrims. (A Dictionary Of Islam, Thomas Patrick Hughes, 1965, Kaba, p 256)


    Written by Brother Andrew

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