The Kaabah is the qualitative name of Bait-ul-Allah and its literal meaning is “high or lofty”. According to a tradition, the name Kaabah was given as in the beginning, there was water everywhere in the world. In such a case, the first piece of land that appeared from the water was called ‘Kaaba’ due to its height.
Later, the Bait-ul-Allah was built on the same site and was called the Kaaba because of its height. What other traditions are there for this name? What is the metaphorical meaning and the literal meaning of Kaaba? What is Maqam Meerat? To know more, keep reading.
More Traditions regarding the Name Ka’bah
According to another tradition, the Ka’bah has been sacred since ancient times, in which case no other building was built around it and hence it was called the Ka’bah because of its relative elevation. There is a third point of view in this chapter and that is that Bait-ul-Allah was called Kaaba because of its high status. Considering that the common denominator of these three traditions is ‘height’ which is included in the meaning of Ka’bah.
What is the Metaphorical meaning of Ka’bah?
As far as the metaphorical meaning of ‘Ka’bah’ is concerned, except for the four-cornered (square) style of construction of the Ka’bah, every house and room in Arabic is included in the definition of ‘Ka’bah’ which is square or square in shape.
What is the Literal meaning of Ka’bah?
The original word for ‘Ka’bah’ is ‘Ka’b‘. Ka’b is the Arabic word for “ankle”. Since the ‘ankle’ is slightly raised, so it gave rise to the concept of ‘height’, then the meaning of ‘greatness’ was given to this ‘height’. That is why it has been a custom among the Arabs to name it ‘Ka’b’.
Translation of Cubicle to Ka’bah
In English, everything that is square, including a building and a room, is called a cube, a cubic, and a cubicle. According to European linguists, Cube was kúbos in early Greek, which became Cubus in Latin and Cube in Old French, then entered the English language without any change. However. We think Cube is the original Arabic word for “Ka’b”. That is why in some dictionaries, Cubicle has been translated as “Kabiyah” which is similar to Ka’bah. Then the word Ka’b is also a Maq’ab, which is the English equivalent of ‘cube’.
The Ka’bah is also called the “Bait-ul-Allah” and the “Khaana Khuda”. The meaning of these two words is ‘House of Allah’. It is also known as “Bait-ul-Ateeq”. “Ateeq” means ancient and old. Because the Ka’bah is the first and oldest place of worship on earth, it is also called Bait-ul-Ateeq, the ancient house.
Why is Ka’bah also called “Qibla”?
The Ka’bah is also called the Qibla. The root of ‘Qiblah’ is ‘Qabl’ which means ‘to take the initiative, to face and to be attracted’. When we turn to the Ka’bah for prayers from anywhere in the world, we are in a way drawn towards the Ka’bah and the Ka’bah is in front of us and with this exception, it is called ‘Qibla’. Since Bait-ul-Allah is a sacred and blessed place, the meaning of Qibla and Ka’bah also includes honour and greatness. Thus, every person with a relationship of love and devotion came to be called ‘Qibla and Ka’bah’.
The building built around the Kaaba is called ‘Masjid-ul-Haram’ which means ‘Mosque of Honor’. Besides, the area of several kilometres around the Kaaba has been declared honourable and revered as “Hudood Haram”. These are the limits set by Allah Almighty which must be respected.
Are Hudood Haram and Maqam Meqat the same thing?
No, Hudood Haram and Maqam Meqat are two different things. Meeqat is the place where people going for Hajj or Umrah enter ihram or from where it is necessary to enter ihram. Five meeqat sites were initially designated, while the sixth meeqat was later designated for visitors from the subcontinent and the Far East. These six meeqats are as follows:
- Dhu’l-Halifah: Meeqat for pilgrims and pilgrims coming from Madinah.
- Jahfa: for those coming from Syria.
- Qarn al-Manazal: for those coming from Najd.
- Yilmlam: For those coming from Yemen.
- Zaat e Aarq: For those coming from Iraq.
- Ibrahim Murcia: For those coming from the subcontinent and the Far East by sea.
While the meeqat of the people of Makkah is their own house or Masjid al-Haram.
Location of the two Holy Shrines
The two holy shrines i.e. Makkah and Madinah are located in the area of Hijaz. The literal meaning of ‘Hijaz’ is ‘stop, barrier and distance’. Hijaz has been given this name because this area acts as a barrier between the highlands of Najd and the lowlands of Tahama, hence it is called Hijaz. It should be noted that ‘Najd’ means ‘high’ and ‘Tahama’ means ‘downhill’. These areas are named because of their geographical location.
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