Is God inside Ka'aba?
Why do Muslims turn towards Ka'aba during the prayer? Is God inside Ka'ba? Or is Ka'ba a symbol of God or his consecration?
According to Islam God is not confined to any particular place or consecrated anywhere. He has neither idols nor consecration.
"To God belong the East and the West: whithersoever ye turn, there is the Presence of God. For God is All pervading, All-knowing''. (2:115)
''Seest thou not that God doth know (all) that is in the heavens and on earth? There is not a secret consultation between three, but He is the fourth among them, - Nor between five but he is the sixth, - Nor between fewer nor more, but he with them, wheresoever they be''. (58:7)
''It was we who created man, and we know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for we are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein''. (50:16).
Islam is a comprehensive system of life which unites the whole humanity in all walks of life. Its way of worship has a major role in uniting the believers. This is possible only if their form of worship is alike. So a place is essential for all Muslims of the world to turn towards during prayer. So Ka'ba, the first house built for the worship of One God, was decided to be that place. Hence Ka'ba is the central point to unite the whole human beings; it is never a place where God is consecrated, or his symbol or anything of that sort. It is a symbol of worship of God alone.
''The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka: full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings'' (3:96)
''Remember we made the House a place of assembly for men and a place of safety'' (2:125)
''God made the Ka'ba the sacred House, a means of support for men''. (5:97)
Hence it is not Ka'ba that is to be worshipped, but God its Lord.
''Let them adore the Lord of this House'' (106:3)
Some historians have misunderstood and written that Ka'aba is a stone. It is not a stone. It is a structure built of stone having a length of 12 meters, width of 10 meters and a height of 15 meters. The Arabic word Ka'ba itself denotes its cubic structure. It is a symbol of simplicity and it cannot claim any architectural skill, artistic engravings or structural beauty.
But it is a most remarkable House. About 100 crore people turn toward it at least five times a day. The faces of billions of people through out centuries were turned toward it when they were laid to rest after death. There is no other house in the world which is so much involved with people's emotions and feelings. It is the house of Lord and hence it belongs to all. Ka'ba is the symbol of worship of One God alone.
Why do Muslims Compass round the Ka'ba? What is the use of it? Isn't it a meaningless custom?
It is God who has to decide the way to worship him. The compassing or going round the Ka'ba is a form of worship that has been followed, as per God's instructions, since the time of Prophet Abraham. We are not allowed to worship God according to our whims and fancies. Had it been so we could have invented forms of worship for ourselves. But God has given strict instructions about the time and form of worship. People were taught them through His messengers. No one has any right to add or delete anything, or to alter their forms. The compassing of Ka'ba is a worship which is instructed by God. It has its own pre-determined form. However, a little thought will reveal the good reason and meaning behind this worship.
Going round the Ka'ba is a unique form of worship in which man harmonizes with the structure of the universe and its wonderful system. The central point in this worship is Ka'ba. The believers compass round it like the planets of the solar system revolving around the sun. Or it is like the electrons of an atom revolving round the nucleus. Seven laps make one Tawaf. Here number seven signifies the structure of the universe. The continents and seas are seven in number. According to the Quran the skies are also seven.
Islam which normally prefers right side to left, has insisted that during the Tawaf, the Ka'ba should be on the left side of the pilgrim. This instruction is very remarkable, because by doing so, the Tawaf perfectly agrees with the system of the universe. The planets of the solar system revolve round the sun anti clockwise, so that the sun will be on the left side of the planets. Planets also rotate anti- clockwise in their own axis. Comets too revolve round the sun in the same direction. Before fertilization the sperms go round the ovum anti-clockwise. So this unique form of worship Tawaf amazingly agrees with, and is completely in harmony with the system of the Universe. It creates awareness in the believer that he too is a part of this vast universe ranging from atom to galaxy; and he too must be subservient to God and worship Him, like the vast universe obeying His laws. Tawaf is a declaration from human beings that they will obey God's laws as the universe does.
All these wonderful and sublime levels of meanings behind the Tawaf were understood only recently. May be there are many more dimensions of Tawaf yet to understand. Human beings, who are Gods creations, are obliged to perform the worship in its determined form whether they realize the reason behind it or not.
Compassing of temples and the Tawaf of Ka'ba
Hindus compass the temple, and isn't going round the Ka'ba, like the compassing of the temple?
The Holy Ka'ba was rebuilt by Prophet Abraham. It was he who announced Hajj. In the Ka'ba built by Abraham there were no idols, statues, consecrations or pictures. On the other hand, Ka'ba was built by Abraham and his son Ismail, both prophets, for the worship of one God alone. The Tawaf, as an essential part of Hajj, has been in existence since then. Later, people became slaves of superstition and other evil customs, that they even drew pictures of their prophets in the Ka'ba and worshipped them. Gradually, the Tawaf of Ka'aba, which was originally a form of worship of one God alone, evolved into idol worship. It was at this time that prophet Muhammad was appointed by God, and when they underwent thorough change in their beliefs, the people with their own hands removed the idols from the Ka'ba and cleaned it. The worship of going round the Ka'ba was continued; but it was purified into worship of one God alone, instead of the idol worship practised at some point in history. In the period before Prophet Muhammad some had practised this worship naked. But Islam instructed that Tawaf should be done wearing clothes in a decent manner. The Tawaf was thus cleaned of all earlier evil practices associated with it.
The source of all religions is basically the same, and that is from God himself. So there are similarities in worships and other practices. It is worth mentioning that some historians suppose that the Aryans who immigrated to India were the followers and descendents of Prophet Abraham. So it is reasonable to believe that the compassing of temple is a corrupt form of the Tawaf that had been implemented through Prophet Abraham. However Islam has strictly prohibited the installation and worship of idols and statues to represent God, and it has also prohibited compassing of the structures where such idols have been placed.
It will certainly be a great achievement if similarities in worship and other practices among religions could lead to an objective and truthful study of the source of religion, a study that may eventually lead to the oneness of religion.