Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Physical attributes and location of the Kaaba

Kaaba - Physical attributes and location of the Kaaba
The Kaaba is a large masonry structure roughly the shape of a cube. (The name "Kaaba" comes from the Arabic word meaning cube). It is made of granite from the hills near Mecca. The structure is approximately 15 m (50 ft) high, 10 m (35 ft) wide, and 12 m (40 ft) long. It is covered by a black silk cloth decorated with gold-embroidered calligraphy. This cloth is known as the kiswah; it is replaced yearly. [1] [2]
The eastern cornerstone of the Kaaba is the Hajar el Aswad, (the sacred "Black Stone"), which is generally thought to be a meteorite remnant.
Entrance to the inside of the Kaaba is gained through a door set 2.13 meters above the ground on the north-eastern wall of the Kaaba.
Inside the Kaaba, there is a marble floor. The interior walls are clad with marble half-way to the roof; tablets with Qur'anic inscriptions are inset in the marble. The top part of the walls is covered with a green cloth decorated with gold embroidered Qur'anic verses. Lamps hang from a cross beam; there is also a small table for incense burners. The building is otherwise empty. The caretakers perfume the marble cladding with scented oil, the same oil used to anoint the Black Stone outside.
The global coordinates of the Kaaba are 21°25′24″N, 39°49′24″E. An analysis in Dec 2000 using a series of readings from a Garmin III+ Handheld GPS gives the centre of the Kaaba to be N 021 25.355' E 039 49.573' Muslims throughout the world face the Kaaba during prayers. This is known as Qibla. For most places around the world coordinates for Mecca suffice. However in Masjid Al Haram worshippers pray in concentric circles radiating outwards around the Kaaba. Therefore the focus point is in the middle of the Kaaba. As you cannot take a GPS reading from on top or inside the Kaaba an estimate must be made from various positions around the Kaaba.