The Ka’bah is the black cubical stone structure in the courtyard of the Great Mosque at Makkah. It was built by Adam and rebuilt by Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Ismail (Ishmael) as the first place on earth wholly dedicated to the worship of God Almighty, the One True Creator of all. It has been given the honorary name, Beit-Allah-alharam, meaning ‘the sacred house of God.’
The interior of the Ka’bah is empty and it is not entered except on special occasions and for a ritual cleaning each year. A new black cloth covering, called the Qiswah, embroidered in gold with Qur’anic calligraphy, is made for it each year.
When Muslims pray, wherever in the world they are, they face toward the Ka’bah.
During the Hajj, a spiritual pilgrimage that every Muslim aspires to enact at least once in his or her life, pilgrims circle the Ka’bah seven times in a ritual called the ‘tawaf,’ or circumambulation, literally a walking anti-clockwise of the circumference. The tawaf is also performed throughout the rest of the year.