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by Harry Hunter

At the height of the cerimonies of the Hajj, Muslims worship in concentric circles, about the Kaaba

(Nov. 28, 2009) – Jews and Christians are “people of the Book”; Muslims are people of the Rock:  a black  rock about a foot in diameter enshrined in the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.  It is toward this Black Stone that Muslims must face five times every day as they pray.  Thus Muslims must also be people of the map and compass, which explains why they always made good navigators.

According to a feature story broadcast today by BBC radio, the Kaaba is the spiritual heart of Islam (“Heart and Soul:  The Black Cube,” BBC World Service 11-28-2009).  Every Muslim who is able to is required to make at least one pilgrimage, called hadj or hajj, to pay homage to the Black Stone.  Per Wikipedia, “All Hajj pilgrims must attempt to kiss the Stone as Muhammad once did. If they cannot then a flying kiss would be sufficient Because of the large crowds, this is not always possible, and so as pilgrims walk around the Kaaba, they are to point to the Stone on each circuit.”  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaaba)

Every year at this time we get news reports of 2-3 million pilgrims doing their hadj/hajj, during which they experience group solidarity and indoctrination.  In recent times this has naturally included protests against America and Israel — “death to America,” I suppose.  This year the Saudi authorities banned the political protests but did nothing to stop the sacred politicization when it happened yet again.

To begin the hadj pilgrims symbolically give up their individual identities, as all are issued identical clothing to put them in the right group-think frame of mind.  Over a period of days, they march en masse to various stations to perform various rituals, including animal sacrifice, before finally circling seven times around the holiest shrine in Islam, the Kaaba/Ka’bah, which contains the Black Stone.  The Stone is embedded in one corner of the Kaaba, which is a small, square masonry building draped with black cloth.

The stone was a cult center of  pagan Arabia long before Mohammed came along.  Per online Encyclopedia Britannica, “According to popular Islamic legend, the stone was given to Adam on his fall from paradise and was originally white but has become black by absorbing the sins of the thousands of pilgrims who have kissed and touched it.”  The stone is also being worn away by so much kissing and touching.

I understand Barack Hussein Obama’s paternal grandmother was bankrolled by some prince so that she could perform her hadj this year.   Now I mean no disrespect to Obama by this, but Americans should be cognizant of the fact that Muslims worship a rock fetish.  It is at the heart of one of Islam’s Five Pillars.

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  1. Mark, nothing you said indicates that you read beyond the subheading. Every day five times a day Muslims align their bodies to face the Kaaba before they bow and pray in that direction. That is an act of worship. The Black Stone is the key feature of the Kaaba. Every Muslim who is able to is required to do hajj, the centerpiece of which is reverently circling the Kaaba, during which every pilgrim is required to pay homage to the Black Stone at every one of seven circuits, preferably by kissing or touching it. These required rituals are essential to Islam and constitute religious worship of a rock.

  2. Really, now, there is much to criticize Islam about. There is reason to question the textual integrity of the Koran. There is reason to criticize the schizophrenia of Muslims, who have to engage continually in what Orwell would call Doublethink: God is a loving God who also says its all right to kill non-believers, etc., for being non-believers, etc.

    But Muslims worship a rock? Be serious. Every religion incorporates sacred places and the legends that grow around those places.

    Mr. Charlton replies: Mark, there is no point living in denial. Muslims do worship a rock (it’s actually a meteorite, to be specific). Perhaps you misunderstand, like many speakers of the English language, that “worship” means “to give religious respect,” “to venerate,” or “to adore.” By using the phrase “rock fetish,” the author of the above article is making clear that he does not mean that Muslims believe the rock is a god; rather that they pay it a religious, albeit superstitious veneration.

    As for your statement regarding “every religion;” general characterizations are usually wrong. Christianity for example does not venerate rocks, but it does venerate places where Christ Jesus or His faithful disciples lived or worked miracles. Hindus are pantheists, they actually believe everything is God, you, I, and yes even rocks. But Buddists believe that there is no God; they hold that God is an erroneous projection of own’s own ego. Followers of the Japanese religion Shinto worship spirits which live in trees, mountains and yes, I suppose, in monumental rocks. Those beautiful gateways to nowhere, in Japan, are sites for the veneration of these spirits. Sh’iite Muslims (predominate in Iran & Iraq), which are considered heretics by Suni Muslims (the rest of the Islamic world), do venerate places, becaus they regard their marytrs, like Hussein, as saints, and venerate the places of their martyrdom, burial, and birth.