High resolution photographs of the ancient Black Stone at the heart of Mecca’s holy Kabba have been revealed for the first time by Saudi Arabia.
Astonishing images of the al-Hajar al-Aswad, said to date back to the time of Adam and Eve, were unveiled by the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Saudi Grand Mosque on Monday.
They took more than 50 hours to capture and develop, with the General Presidency working with the Two Holy Mosques’ agency to take some 1,050 photographs in a seven-hour session.
Astonishing images of the al-Hajar al-Aswad (above) were unveiled by the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Saudi Grand Mosque on Monday
The revered Islamic relic, thought to be a meteorite, is set in the eastern corner of the Kabba at the centre of the Grand Mosque in Mecca.
Stone said to date back to Adam and Eve may have fallen from space
The Black Stone has often be described as a meteorite, and Islamic tradition holds that it fell from heaven as a guide for Adam and Eve to build an altar, which became the first temple.
It is widely believed that it was originally pure white, but has since changed colour because of the sins of the people who touch it.
The Islamic relic has long been associated with the Kaaba. According to tradition, it was set intact into the Kaaba’s wall by the prophet Muhammad in 605 CE.
It plays a central role in the ritual of istilam, where pilgrims kiss the Black Stone or touch it with their hands.
According to tradition, the stone was set into the building’s wall by the Islamic prophet Mohammed in 605 CE.
The Black Stone has since been broken into fragments which are cemented into a silver frame in the side of the Kabba.
New images of the ancient stone were taken using a technique called focus stacking, which combines several images with different focus points, according to
The relic appears a reddish brown colour despite its name, with scattered grey.
Afifi al-Akiti, a fellow in Islamic studies at the University of Oxford, said the photographs are significant because ‘in a sense this is unprecedented.’
He added: ‘One sees that it’s not actually black, for example… As I understand it, it’s the first time there is a magnified digital photo of the stone and one can see the stone up close and personal.
‘In the Muslim tradition, this is considered to be a holy relic, but reason plays a major role in the Muslim tradition.
‘So while it is unprecedented to see a picture of the stone, I think Muslims are down to Earth and science plays a major role in the religion’.
Mohammed is said to have received his first revelations in Mecca in the early 7th century, not long after it is claimed he placed the Black Stone in the Kabba.
They took more than 50 hours to capture and develop, with the General Presidency working with the Two Holy Mosques’ agency to take some 1,050 photographs in a seven-hour session
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