Inside the Kaaba

Muslims face the Kaaba five times a day in prayer, no matter where they are in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people turn towards this immense cube (which is what “Kaaba” means).

Did you know that it isn’t solid? It has a place to worship inside. The Kaaba is a mosque, a holy house. It is said to have been originally built by Adam and Eve, then restored by Abraham and Ishmael, as the very first place to worship the One God, who Muslims call Allah.

The interior is 13 m (43 feet) high, and the sides are about 10.15 m (33.3 ft) by 8.24 m (27 ft). There are no windows but there are lanterns.

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These are screenshots from a 3D animation of the interior.

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This is a top-down map of it.

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These are cutaway illustrations.

Kaaba inside

What is inside the Kaaba

What is inside the Kaaba

The Kaaba used to be opened twice a week for anyone to pray inside. But now it is opened just twice a year, and then for only dignitaries and exclusive guests, who enter to ceremonially clean it. The door is 2.13 m (7 feet) above ground. There is a wooden staircase on wheels that is used to reach the door.

The key is kept by one tribe. Here are pictures of the key.

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This is all very interesting, but I think this is the most interesting part– if you are inside the Kaaba, what direction do you pray? You are in the center of the center of worship.

The 12th century Sufi mystic and friend of the poet Rumi, Shams of Tabriz said – “The Kaaba is in the middle of the world. All faces turn toward it. See! Each is worshipping the soul of each.”

Now try this. Visualize that you are inside the Kaaba every time you pray, no matter where you are, no matter what faith tradition you practice. You are in the epicenter. You are in the eye of the storm. You are in the heart of the Creator. You are in the first holy place ever made by human hands. Hold that feeling in your heart.  You don’t have to face any direction.  Your prayers go directly to God, right where you are.

 

(Pictures and information are from Wikipedia and other online sources. All copyright belongs to the original owner. Used for educational uses only.)

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The empty cross

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I love this shape. It is the cross, the intersection of heaven and earth, but empty. It is filled with the wearer.

I love that it is a quatrefoil. It reminds me of a four leaf clover. It looks medieval, yet the place I bought it from calls it “Moroccan.” It isn’t just one thing, and that kind of thing makes me really happy.

It reminds me of the bead that launched my love of beads way back when I worked in Washington D.C.

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I loved that bead so much that I got a tattoo of it. In fact, it was my first tattoo.

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I’ve since added to it, as you can see. But it is the center of the design.

This tattoo reminds me that God is always with me. It got it after the first time I was in the hospital for my bipolar disorder. They take away all of your “stuff” when you are in a mental hospital. That is the one place where you need something solid to hold on to. Me? I chose to have a reminder of God’s love with me. I figured they couldn’t take this from me.

But this symbol – this empty cross, I like even more. It is the same shape as that bead of course, but it means more because it is less. By having the center of it empty, it shows the wearer through it. It reminds me that I carry God with me, and so does everyone else.

I made this version of the empty cross necklace with green, orange, and purple. I’m not sure why these colors keep standing out for me. I like them, sure. They seem a little more vibrant than I normally work with though.

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I’m a little limited on these crosses – the batch I have only comes in green, and it is a bright green at that. No hiding it! But in a way I like that too. Green is a color of growth, and this vibrant green is a good reminder to be alive in my faith.