Editorial, The Review of Religions
Vol. LXXXVIII No. 5/6
The Kaaba, the House of Allah which is situated in the centre of Mecca, symbolises the Unity of God Who alone is worthy of worship. He is Independent and free of any kind of associate having no father, mother or son as is promulgated by the Roman Catholic Church and by most denominations of Protestant Churches. In every prayer of the day a Muslim affirms several times before God:
Thee alone do we worship and Thee alone do we implore for help.
The untenable Doctrine of Trinity i.e., God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost is described by our Christian friends as a mystery which they themselves are unable to understand or explain. If they wish to hold on to this belief they are, of course, free to do so for as far as Islam is concerned there is no compulsion in religion and everyone is free to believe in or disbelieve in whatever they like (2:257;18:30). In fact the Quran teaches that a Muslim’s attitude and approach to people of other faiths, even if they are idol worshippers should be courteous and respectful (6:108) although this does not mean one should withhold oneself from conveying to others what one believes to be the truth (34:29).
Regarding the absolute Unity of God the Quran states:
In the name of Allah, the Gracious and the Merciful. Say ‘He is Allah, the One! Allah the Independent and Besought of all. He begets not, nor is He begotten, and there is none like unto Him. (112:1-5)
We learn from the Quran that the first House of worship for the worship of the One True God was built in Becca which is the name given to the Valley of Mecca:
Surely the first House founded for all mankind is that at Becca abounding in blessings and guidance for all peoples. (3:97)
The Kaaba, as it stands today, is not the original structure. More than once it has suffered to a greater or lesser extent from the ravages of time. The Quran tells us that in the time of Hazrat Abraham, peace be upon him, its foundations alone existed on which it was rebuilt by Hazrat Abraham and his son Hazrat Ishmael, peace be upon them both:
Remember the time when Abraham and Ishmael raised the foundations of the House, praying, ‘Our Lord, accept this from us; for thou art the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.’ (2:128)
Pilgrimage to the Kaaba has been made incumbent at least once in a life time upon every Muslim who can afford to do so in a state of safety and security. While circumambulating the Kaaba the pilgrim should be completely absorbed in his or her attention on the Unity of God and on feelings of love for Him. The pilgrim constantly proclaims:
Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik;
Labbaik la sharika laka Labbaik;
Innal Hamda wannimata laka walmulk.
La sharika lak.
Here I am, O Allah, here am I;
Here am I, Thou hast no associate, here am I;
Truly, the praise and the favour is Yours, and the dominion.
Thou hast no associate.
The Kaaba is a monument in memory of Hazrat Abraham, peace be upon him, who through his utter devotion to God, even to being ready to sacrifice his own son in obedience to what he believed was God’s commandment, has inspired countless others from his progeny to recognise the Unity of God and to submit themselves to His will.