One of top-ten questions about Islam and Muslims is about kissing the Black Stone and facing the
Sacred Ka'ba during prayers. Some say that perhaps Muslims worship Ka'ba or the Black Stone?
What is the Black Stone? Black Stone (al-Hajr al-Aswad) is a Sacred Stone placed in the Sacred Ka'ba.
What is it for?When Muslims go for pilgrimage to Makkah this acts as starting point for circumambulating the
Sacred Ka'ba and has some symbolic significance.
As we mentioned it marks the starting point of the circumambulation (tawaaf) of the Sacred Ka'ba. Those who
circumambulate in the immediate place around Ka'ba kiss it while those who cannot make up-to it just wave
their hands towards it while there are people who circle the Ka'ba even from the first, second floors as well. They follow the mark parallel to the Black Stone as the start point of the tawaaf. Had there been something too special in this stone itself than it would have been mandatory for each and every pilgrim to physically touch and kiss which is not the case.
As its serves as a mark to something important so its just as if a soldier or some other person returns to his homeland after a long time so he kisses the soil of his land or shows admiration for some landmarks. Its his love, his affection for his homeland and nothing more. For itself soil is nothing, same way Black Stone for itself is nothing.
Do Muslims worship the Black Stone? No Muslims don't! The purpose of the Black Stone has been described above. Further there is more historic evidence that its not an object of Worship. In one of the most sad events of Islamic history the city of Makkah was sacked by the Qaramatians in the year 930 C.E. They killed many pilgrims, desecrated the sacred sites and took away the Black Stone to their seat of Power at Al-Hasa in Bahrayn. It was restored in the year 952 C.E. thus for about quarter of a century the stone was displaced from its location yet neither did Muslims turn to Al-Hasa for prayers during that period neither were the obligations of Salah (ritual prayers) and Hajj (obligatory pilgrimage) suspended. If it were an object of worship much consternation would have followed the unfortunate event.
Why kiss it? And we Muslims kiss it just because of Sacred Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did it.
Read the following Hadith, it makes the whole thing crystal clear.
عَنْ عَابِسِ بْنِ رَبِيعَةَ عَنْ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ
أَنَّهُ جَاءَ إِلَى الْحَجَرِ الْأَسْوَدِ فَقَبَّلَهُ فَقَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ حَجَرٌ لَا تَضُرُّ وَلَا تَنْفَعُ وَلَوْلَا أَنِّي رَأَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يُقَبِّلُكَ مَا قَبَّلْتُكَ
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 Hadith 1494)
Similar has been narrated about the First Caliph, Abu Bakr (RA). See Suyuti's Tarikh Al-Khulafa 1/35 cf. Ilal al-Darqutni
Is Kaba a direction? Ka’ba is the Qibla i.e. the direction Muslims face during their prayers. It is important to note that though Muslims face the Ka’ba during prayers, they do not worship the Ka’ba. Muslims worship and bow to none but Allah.
It is mentioned in Surah Baqarah: We have certainly seen the turning of your face, [O Muhammad], toward the heaven, and We will surely turn you to a qiblah with which you will be pleased. So turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you [believers] are, turn your faces toward it [in prayer]. Indeed, those who have been given the Scripture well know that it is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do. [Qur’an.Surah Baqrah 2:144]
At the time of the Prophet, people even stood on the Ka’ba and gave the ‘adhaan’ or the call to prayer. The cover of Ka’ba is changed by standing on it. One may ask those who allege that Muslims worship the Ka’ba; which idol worshipper stands on the idol he worships?
Muslim Blood more Sacred than the Sacred Ka`ba
Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As (Allah be well pleased with him) that he said: “I saw the Messenger of Allah (saw) performing tawaf around the Sacred Ka`ba saying to it: ‘how pure and good you are! how pure and good your fragrance is! how great and exalted you are! and how great and exalted your sanctity is! But by Him in Whose hand is Muhammad’s soul, the sanctity of a believer’s blood and property in the sight of Allah is greater than your sanctity!’” Sunan Ibn Majah- Silsilah as Saheehah: hadith #3420and Targhib wa’ l-Tarhib3/276(2441)
No Muslims, even the layman of them has any such belief about the Black Stone or the Sacred Ka'ba.