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Every day, five times a day, Muslims across the world face the holy site of Mecca and pray. Mecca is believed to be the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad but when followers visit the site, it is not actually Mecca they are facing but a building called the Ka’aba. The Ka'aba is a mosque and on one corner of this sacred building, is a cornerstone known as the Black Stone. Its history is shrouded in mystery and there is much speculation over what the stone might be. Many Muslims believe the stone is in fact a meteorite possessing supernatural powers. The Hajj Pilgrimage Ritual Millions of Muslims travel to Mecca, Saudi Arabia every year and in a single day, Mecca is capable of attracting over two million Muslim followers for the annual hajj pilgrimage, considered one of the five pillars of Islam. There, they gather around the Ka’aba or simply Kaaba, a cubic-shaped building at the center of Islam’s most sacred mosque, Al-Masjid al-Haram. During the ritual of the hajj, pilgrims must walk around the Kaaba seven times in a counterclockwise direction, a ceremonial practice that has been going on for fourteen centuries. Muslims praying around the Ka'aba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia Muslims praying around the Ka'aba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia ( Mundairhouse) The Kaaba measures 50 feet (15.2 meters) high, 35 feet (10.7 meters) wide and 40 feet (12.2 meters) long. It is covered with a black silk cloth, known as the kiswa and decorated with gold-embroidered calligraphy. On the southeast side of the building is a gold door. Inside, the floor is made of marble and limestone and has three pillars. The Kaaba is built around a sacred Black Stone which is tucked away in the eastern corner about five feet off the ground. Muslims believe the prophet Mohammad once kissed the stone and during their mandatory, once in a lifetime (at least), trip to Kaaba, they try to kiss the Black Stone if possible. If they are unable to, they simply point to it every time they pass on their seven-circle journey around the Kaaba. Each time pilgrims pass the Black Stone they recite a prayer from the Qur’an: ' In the name of God, and God is supreme .' Non-Muslims are strictly forbidden from touching it and most of the year the Kaaba is covered in black cloth. The Ka'aba Stone with the black stone corner facing The Ka'aba Stone with the black stone corner facing ( Al-fouqarah) The Cause of the Ka'aba Black Stone's Color The stone is often described as a fragmented dark rock somewhere around two feet in length. Its surface is blackish in color, but there is speculation that this is due to how much it has been touched, along with the oils with which it is anointed. According to Muslim tradition, the stone was originally white, but turned black from being in a world where it absorbed humanity's sins. Archaeologists Discover Rare Seventh century Islamic dwelling in Qatar ‘Historical Amnesia’ has led to forgotten achievements of Muslim culture Muslims: The Origins of Human Beings First described in Western literature in the 19th century, Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt visited Mecca in 1814 and provided a detailed description of the Black Stone in his 1829 book Travels in Arabia: “It is an irregular oval, about seven inches in diameter, with an undulated surface composed of about a dozen smaller stones of different sizes and shapes, well joined together with a small quantity of cement and perfectly well smooth; it looks as if the whole had been broken into as many pieces by a violent blow and then united again.” History of the Ka'aba Black Stone Muslims believe that Allah ordered the Kaaba to be constructed. The story behind the black stone goes that Abraham built the mosque with his oldest son, Ishmael in the likeness of Allah’s home in heaven. Purportedly the oldest mosque on Earth, it is believed to have been originally used by pagans before Islam came into existence. According to Islamic tradition, the stone was set intact into the Kaaba’s wall by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the year 605 AD. Muslims also believe that the Kaaba stone was once part of the stones of heaven. There are various versions of its story of origin, all similar to one the another. When Adam was banished from the Garden of Eden, he was filled with sin. The Black Stone was given to him to erase this sin and allow him entrance back into heaven. Some instead believe the ancient stone was brought from a nearby mountain by the archangel Gabriel.