Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has joined others in calling for the destruction of the Kaaba Stone, reports Al-Jazeera this morning.
In a statement out this week, the ISIS leader said it is a Muslim’s “religious duty” to destroy the monument of “idolatrous worship”, which is the central shrine object of Islam.
The Black Stone, or al-Ḥajar al-Aswad, is the eastern cornerstone of the Kaaba, the ancient stone building, located in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Ibrahim Al Kandari, a Kuwaiti Islamist preacher, also demanded the destruction of the stone believed to be of meteoric origin. “The Black Stone should be destroyed to put an end to this ancient pagan ritual and idolatrous worship of images”.
“The fact that the prophet Mohammed discarded the 360 idols but did not destroy the Kaaba stone does not mean that we shouldn’t do it now” he insisted.
According to 7th century Islamic scholar Ibn Az-Zubair, and nephew of Aisha, third wife of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad even considered dismantling it:
“Aisha used to tell you secretly a number of things. What did she tell you about the Ka’ba?”. He replied, “She told me that once the Prophet said, ‘O ‘Aisha! Had not your people been still close to the pre-Islamic period of ignorance (infidelity)! I would have dismantled the Ka’ba and would have made two doors in it; one for entrance and the other for exit”.
Worship at the Kaaba and the kissing of the Black Stone are just the first of many practices adopted from 7th century paganism and repackaged within monotheistic Islam, believe many Islamic historians.