Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition

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Kaʿba
(6,726 words)

, the most famous sanctuary of Islam, called the temple or house of God ( Bayt Allāh ). It is situated almost in the centre of the great mosque in Mecca. Muslims throughout the whole world direct their prayers to this sanctuary, where every year hundreds of thousands of pilgrims make the greater ( ḥad̲j̲d̲j̲ ) or lesser ( ʿumra ) pilgrimage. Around it they gather and make their ritual circuits; around the Kaʿba the young Muslim community spent the early years of Islam. For the Muslim community the Kaʿba holds a place analogous to that of the temple in Jerusalem for ancient Jewry.

I. The Kaʿba and …

Cite this page
Wensinck, A.J. and Jomier, J., “Kaʿba”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 19 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_COM_0401>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007



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