According to Islamic traditions, the black stone is supposed to be Allah’s right hand which he permits his followers to touch and kiss:
“… When we reached Rukn Aswad (the Black Stone) he said, “O Abu Muhammad, “What (command) has reached you regarding this Black Stone?’ Ata’ said: Abu Huraira related to me that he heard Allah’s Messenger saying, “He who touches it, in fact touches THE HAND OF THE MERCIFUL (Allah).’…”
Grade: Da’if (Darussalam) (Sunan Ibn-I-Majah (Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Yazid Ibn-I-Maja Al-Qazwini), English version by Muhammad Tufail Ansari [Kazi Publications, Lahore (Pakistan), 1st edition 1995], Volume IV, Chapter NO. XXXII: Excellence of Tawaf (Circumambulation), Hadith Number 2957, p. 252: https://sunnah.com/ibnmajah:2957; capital emphasis mine)
Sufi scholar Gibril F. Haddad notes:
“The Black Stone is the right hand of Allah Most High.” Ibn Qutayba in Ta’ wil Mukhtalif al-Hadith (1972 ed. p. 215=1995 ed. p. 198, 262) said that it was a saying of Ibn ‘Abbas and relates a saying of ‘A’isha that the Black Stone is the depository of the covenant of human souls with Allah on the Day of Promise (alastu bi rabbikum). He interprets the Black Stone as representing the place where one declares one’s pledge of fidelity to the Sovereign. Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 3:463 #1520) cites al-Khattabi’s and al-Muhibb al-Tabari’s similar interpretations. Al-Qurtubi said in al-Asna fi Sharh Asma’ Allah al-Husna (2:90-91): “It means that the Black Stone has the standing (manzila) of the Right Hand of Allah. metaphorically speaking.” (Problematic hadiths and various questions: source)
“… Ibn Furak said that he embarked on the study of kalam because of the hadith reported from the Prophet: ‘The Black Stone is Allah’s right hand’48 which a mutakallim explained to his satisfaction in contrast to the fuqaha’.”
48 Narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas, Jabir, Anas, and others by Ibn Abi ‘Umar al-Ma’dani in his Musnad, al-Tabarani, al-Suyuti in his Jami’ al-Saghir (1:516 #3804-3805), Ibn ‘Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq (15:90-92), and others. It is considered da’if (weak) by Ibn al-Jawzi, Ibn ‘Adi, and Albani, while others considered it forged. Cf. Al-Ahdab, Zawa’id Tarikh Baghdad (5:321-323 #949). However, al-‘Ajluni in his Kashf al-Khafa’ stated that it is sahih as a halted report from ‘Ibn Abbas as narrated by al-Quda’i in the wording: “The Corner [of the Black Stone] (al-rukn) is Allah’s right Hand on earth…,” and declared it hasan as a hadith of the Prophet. Its mention in the Reliance of the Traveller (p. 835b) as “narrated by al-Hakim, who declared it sahih, from ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Amr,” is incorrect. (Islamic Doctrines & Beliefs: Allah’s Names and Attributes (Al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat), Excerpts, Al-Bayhaqi [As-Sunna Foundation of America, Damascus 1998], translation and notes by Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad, Volume 4, p. 27; bold emphasis mine)
“As for the saying reported from the Prophet: ‘The Black Stone is Allah’s right hand,’202 if established as true, then it is interpreted figuratively according to the doctrinal necessity that Allah is neither spatially confined anywhere nor divisible, and the fact that the senses witness that the Black Stone is not really the right hand of Allah. Therefore, the hadith is taken variously to mean prosperity, blessing, acceptance, and the context of the Muslims pledge of loyalty to their Creator. Yet Ibn Rajah relates that Ibn al-Fa’us al-Hanbali (d. 521) would say: “The Black Stone is Allah’s Right Hand in reality (haqiqatan),’ for which he was nicknamed ‘The Stony’ (al-Hajari).203 Ibn Furak writes that he embarked on a study of kalam because of this hadith.204 Ibn Qutayba said that it was actually a saying of Ibn ‘Abbas, and he relates a saying of ‘A’isha that the Black Stone is the depository of the covenant of human souls with Allah on the Day of Promise (alastu bi rabbikum).205 Ibn Hajar cites al-Khattabi’s and al-Muhibb al-Tabari’s interpretations of the Black Stone as representing the place where one declares one’s pledge of fidelity to the Sovereign.206
202 Narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas, Jabir, Anas, and others by Ibn Abi ‘Umar al-Ma’dani in his Musnad, al-Tabarani, al-Suyuti in his Jami’ al-Saghir (1:516 #3804-3805), Ibn ‘Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq (15:90-92), and others. It is considered da’if (weak) by Ibn al-Jawzi, Ibn ‘Adi, and Albani, while others considered it forged. Cf. Al-Ahdab, Zawa’id Tarikh Baghdad (5:321-323 #949). However, al-‘Ajluni stated that it is sahih as a halted report from ‘Ibn Abbas as narrated by al-Quda’i in the wording: “The Corner [of the Black Stone] (al-rukn) is Allah’s right Hand on earth…,” and declared it hasan as a hadith of the Prophet. Its mention in the Reliance of the Traveller (p. 835b) as “narrated by al-Hakim, who declared it sahih, from ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Amr,” is incorrect. (Ibid., p. 83; bold emphasis mine)
Seeing that Allah’s very own hand can materialize in creation as an actual physical stone this silences any claim on the part of Muslims that God could not or would not become a man. After all, if Allah’s limb can become a stone without this diminishing his deity then there is no logical objection to the true God becoming a physical human being while still retaining all of his essential divine attributes.(1)
As God’s only inspired Scriptures testifies in regards to the Lord Jesus:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn[ab] over all creation,[ac] for all things in heaven and on earth were created in him—all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions,[ad] whether principalities or powers—all things were created through him and for him. He himself is before all things and all things are held together[ae] in him. He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn[af] from the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things.[ag] For God[ah] was pleased to have all his[ai] fullness dwell[aj] in the Son[ak] and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross—through him,[al] whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:15-20
aj. Colossians 1:19 tn The aorist verb κατοικῆσαι (katoikēsai) could be taken as an ingressive, in which case it refers to the incarnation and may be translated as “begin to dwell, to take up residence.” It is perhaps better, though, to take it as a constative aorist and simply a reference to the fact that the fullness of God dwells in Jesus Christ. This is a permanent dwelling, though, not a temporary one, as the present tense in 2:9 makes clear. New English Translation (NET http://netbible.org/bible/Colossians+1)
“For in him all the fullness of deity lives[t] in bodily form,” Colossians 2:9
t. Colossians 2:9 sn In him all the fullness of deity lives. The present tense in this verse (“lives”) is significant. Again, as was stated in the note on 1:19, this is not a temporary dwelling, but a permanent one. Paul’s point is polemical against the idea that the fullness of God dwells anywhere else, as the Gnostics believed, except in Christ alone. At the incarnation, the second person of the Trinity assumed humanity, and is forever the God-man. (NET http://netbible.org/bible/Colossians+2)
To make matters worse, besides being Allah’s right hand on the earth the black stone is in reality the one true savior of Muslims since it both atones for their sins by absorbing them, and shall come to life on the day of judgment in order to intercede for everyone that use to kiss and touch it!
The Black Stone is the right hand of Allah on Earth
Among the virtues of the Black Stone, is that it is the right hand of Allah Most High on Earth, as Ibn ʿAbbās said(51): This corner is the right hand of Allah on Earth(52) with which he greets His servants(53) , a greeting of a man for his brother.(54)
Words of scholars regarding the meaning of this ḥadīth:
1. Al-Khaţţābī said: The meaning of this, is that whoever greeted the stone on Earth, has done a pact with Allah, like the pact the kings used with whom wanted special attribution or alliance, by greetings or by clapping hands for swearing allegiance, or like the kissing of the hand of a servant to his master; or with elders, by analogy.(55)
2. Al-Muḥibb aţ-Ţabarī said: All the kings used to give their right hand to any newcomer for them to kiss; it is the same for a pilgrim, when he enters the Sanctuary, it is a tradition for him that the first thing he has to do is to kiss the right hand of his King, which descended especially for that, and for Allah is the highest attribute.(56)…
Touching the Black Stone expiates sins
Touching and stroking the Black Stone expiates sins, only minor ones. Concerning the major ones, true repentance is necessary as the following ḥadīths explain:
1. ʿAbd Allah Ibn Ubayd Ibn ʿUmayr narrated he heard his father telling Ibn ʿUmar: Why is it I see you touching only these two corners: the Black Stone and the Yemeni Corner? Ibn ʿUmar answered: I do so because I heard Allah’s Messenger saying: Touching both of them removes sins (60).(61)
2. In another version: Passing one’s hand over them removes(62) mistakes.(63)
3. Ibn ʿUbayd Ibn ʿUmayr narrated from his father: Ibn ʿUmar used to compete with others to touch both corners (i.e. the corner of the Black Stone and the Yemeni Corner) in a way the like of which I have never seen any one of the companions of the Prophet do. I said to him: O Abū ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān! You compete with others to touch both corners in a way the like of which I have never seen any one of the companions of the Prophet do. He said: Yes, I do. I heard Allah’s Messenger say: Passing the hand over them expiates sins.(64)
4. Ibn ʿUmar narrated: the Prophet said: Passing one’s hand over the Yemeni Corner and the Black Corner truly removes sins(65).(66)
Testimony of the Black Stone in favour of those who touch it righteously
Among the virtues of the Black Stone is that Allah Most High will raise it up on the Day of Resurrection, it will have two eyes with which it will see, and a tongue with which it will talk, and it will give witness in favour of everyone who touched it righteously in this world; among the ḥadīths concerned by this matter:
1. Ibn ʿAbbās narrated: Allah’s Messenger said: This Stone has a tongue and two lips and it will bear witness on the Day of Resurrection to those who touched it righteously (67). (68)
2. Ibn ʿAbbās narrated: Allah’s Messenger said: This (Black) Stone would come(69) on the Day of Resurrection, having two eyes to see therewith, and a tongue to speak therewith, to bear witness(70) to those who touched it righteously.(71)
3. Ibn ʿAbbās narrated: Allah’s Messenger said about the Stone: By Allah! Allah will raise(72) it on the Day of Resurrection, having two eyes to see therewith(73), and a tongue to speak therewith, to bear witness to those who touched it righteously.(74)
4. ʿAbd Allah Ibn ʿAmrū Ibn al-ʿĀş narrated: Allah’s Messenger said: The Black Stone will come on the Day of Judgment larger than Abū Qubays(75), having a tongue and two lips.(76)
The ḥadīths are clear:
Such ḥadīths are to be taken as they are: Allah almighty is certainly able to give sight and the ability to speak to inanimate objects. The bodies are alike; the phenomena accepted by some can actually be accepted by others. Indeed, Allah is able to do all things.
The people who have in their heart the sickness of philosophy – may Allah protect us – say this is a symbol of the reward of the person who touched the Stone, and that his effort is not wasted. Al-Bayḍāwī surprisingly said: “The most probable meaning is this one! Even if we can accept the apparent meaning.” This is not surprising for someone prone to philosophizing about interpreting the Qur’ān and explaining the ḥadīths, may Allah forgive him.(77) (Mahmud Ibn Ahmad al Dosary, Virtues of the Ka’ba [http://en.alukah.net/Library/0/8099/1/virtues%20of%20the%20ka’ba/], pp. 39-40, 43-47)
(51) This ḥadīth is weak (ḍaʿīf) and elevated, şaḥīḥ mawqūf (sound and stopped), if it is confirmed by Ibn ʿAbbās, it is elevated and attributed to the Prophet, so no opinion or interpretation will be accepted.
(52) This ḥadīth is not a ḥadīth about the characteristics of Allah, please read carefully Ibn Taymiya.
(m) in his comment on the word of Ibn ʿAbbās in Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā (397-398/6); already quoted.
(53) Ibn Ḥajar al-Haythamī said in az-Zawājir (399/1): “Those who touch them are blessed.”
(54) Reported by al-Azraqī in Akhbār makka, (323/1), and al-Fākihī in Akhbār makka (89/1), n°20, Ibn Ḥajar said in al-maţālib al-ʿāliya (432/6) it was a mawqūf (stopped) şaḥīḥ (sound).
(55) Maʿālim as-sunan, al-Khaţţābī (446/1). See: sharḥ as-sunna, al-Baghawī (114/7).
(56) Fatḥ al-Bāri’, Ibn Ḥajar (255/2)…
(60) The sins: minor ones. It is permitted to touch both of them. Fayḍ al-qadīr (521/2).
(61) Reported by Aḥmad in al-musnad (3/2), H. 4462. Al-Albānī authenticated it due to corroborating narrations in Şaḥīḥ at-targhīb wa at-tarhīb (26/2) H. 1139.
(62) Expiates: i.e. reduces, cancels. See: Fayḍ al-qadīr (95/2).
(63) Reported by an-Nasā’ī (221/5), H. 2919. Authenticated by al-Albānī in Şaḥīḥ sunan an-Nasā’ī (319/2), H. 2919.
(64) Reported by at-Tirmidhī (292/3), H. 959. Authenticated by al-Albānī in Şaḥīḥ at-Tirmidhī (491/1), H. 959.
(65) In this version the Prophet insisted (truly). See: Fayḍ al-qadīr (95/2).
(66) Reported by Aḥmad in al-musnad (89/2), H.5621. Authenticated by al-Albānī in Şaḥīḥ at-targhīb wa at-tarhīb (27/2), H. 1139.
(67) Touched it rightfully: in obedience to Allah, following the Sunna, it is not praising the stone itself. See: Mirqāt al-mafātīḥ sharḥ mishkāt al-maşābīḥ (229-230/9).
(68) Reported by Aḥmad in al-musnad (266/1), H. 2398. Authenticated by al-Albānī in Şaḥīḥ aljāmiʿ (436/1) H. 2184.
(69) It will come easily, See: Fayḍ al-qadīr (345/5).
(70) It will testify in their favour. See: Mirqāt al-mafātīḥ sharḥ mishqāt al-maşābīḥ, (229-230/9) ʿUmdat al-Qāri (341/9), Tuḥfa al-’uḥūdhī (31/4).
(71) Reported by ad-Dārimī in his sunan (63/2), H. 1839, and Ibn Māja (982/2), H. 2944. Authenticated by al-Albānī in Şaḥīḥ Ibn Māja (24/3) H. 2400.
(72) Allah will raise it or revive it: yabʿathannahou with the meaning of making it appear. Albaʿth, resurrection, concerns dead people. The Prophet informed us that Allah is capable of giving life to the stone in order to speak; He will provide it with organs for bearing witness; as dead people are dust and bones and will be resurrected, the two stones will receive life. See: Mirqāt al-mafātīḥ sharḥ mishkāt al-maşābīḥ (229/9), Tuḥfa al-’uḥūdhī (31/4).
(73) Two eyes to see therewith: it will know who touched it. See: Tuḥfa al-’uḥūdhī (31/4).
(74) Reported by at-Tirmidhī (294/3), H. 961, who made it good (ḥassan). Authenticated by al-Albānī in Şaḥīḥ sunan at-Tirmidhī (493/1), H. 961.
(75) Abū Qubays is a mount; it overlooks the Great Mosque at Mecca. Its foothill is aş-Şafā’. The name was given after a man from Madhḥija known as ḥaddād Yukanna Abū Qubays, who is said to have been the first to build on it. The mount was named al-amīn before, as the Stone was stored in it. See: al-ʿabbāb az-zākhir (162/1).
(76) Reported by Aḥmad in his musnad (211/2), H. 6978 and Ibn Khuzayma in his Şaḥīḥ (221/4), H. 2737. Al-Albānī said about it ḥassan (good) due to corroborating narrations in Şaḥīḥ at-targhīb wa at-tarhīb (29/2), H. 1145.
(77) Tuḥfa al-’uḥūdhī, al-Mubārkfawrī (31/4), Mirqāt al-mafātīḥ sharḥ mishkāt al-maşābīḥ (229230/9). (Ibid., pp. 134-136)
Isn’t it ironic that Muslims find it objectionable that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, could be the Savior of the world by bearing the punishment of our sins on the cross and making intercession for all those who believe in him, while having no problem believing something similar in regards to an inanimate stone?
If smothering a black stone for the forgiveness of sins isn’t a blatant case of idolatry then nothing can ever be considered idolatrous.
(1) There even are narrations where Muhammad is reported to have said that he actually saw his lord, i.e. Allah, appear in visible shape:
Narrator: AbdurRahman ibn A’ish
Allah’s Messenger said: I saw my Lord, the Exalted and Glorious in the most beautiful form. He said: What do the Angels in the presence of Allah contend about? I said: Thou art the most aware of it. He then placed his palm between my shoulders and I felt its coldness in my chest and I came to know what was in the Heavens and the Earth. He recited: `Thus did we show Ibrahim the kingdom of the Heavens and the Earth and it was so that he might have certainty.’ (6:75)
Darimi reported it in a mursal form and Tirmidhi also reported. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 237 https://www.alim.org/hadith/tirmidi/237/; bold emphasis mine)
47 Chapters on Tafsir
Narrated Mu’adh bin Jabal: “One morning, the Messenger of Allah was prevented from coming to us for Salat As-Subh, until we were just about to look for the eye of the sun (meaning sunrise). Then he came out quickly, had the Salat prepared for. The Messenger of Allah performed the Salat, and he performed his Salat in a relatively quick manner. When he said the Salam, he called aloud with his voice saying to us: ‘Stay in your rows as you are.’ Then he turned coming near to us, then he said: ‘I am going to narrate to you what kept me from you this morning: I got up during the night, I performed Wudu and prayed as much as I was able to, and I dozed off during my Salat, and fell deep asleep. Then I saw my Lord, Blessed and Most High, in the best of appearances. He said: ‘O Muhammad!’ I said: ‘My Lord here I am my Lord!‘ He said: ‘What is it that the most exalted group busy themselves with?’ I said: ‘I do not know Lord.’ And He said it three times.” He said: “So I saw Him place His Palm between my shoulders, and I sensed the coolness of His Fingertips between my breast. Then everything was disclosed for me, and I became aware. So He said: ‘O Muhammad!’ I said: ‘Here I am my Lord!’…”
Grade: Hasan (Darussalam)
English translation: Vol. 5, Book 44, Hadith 3235
Arabic reference: Book 47, Hadith 3543 (sunnah.com https://sunnah.com/urn/742690; emphasis mine)
(8b) Chapter: Mosques and places of Prayer – Section 2
‘Abd ar-Rahman b. ‘A’ish reported God’s Messenger as saying: I saw my Lord in the most beautiful form, and He said, “What do the angels near My presence dispute about?” I replied,” Thou knowest best.” Then He placed the palm of His hand between my shoulder-blades and I felt the coolness of it between my nipples! Then I knew what was in the heavens and the earth. And he recited, “Thus did We show Abraham the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and it was so that he might have certainty (Al-Qur’an; 6:75).”
Darimi transmitted it in mursal form.
Reference: Mishkat al-Masabih 725
In-book reference: Book 4, Hadith 154 (sunnah.com https://sunnah.com/mishkat:725; emphasis mine)
(8c) Chapter: Mosques and places of Prayer – Section 3
Mu’adh b. Jabal said: God’s Messenger was detained one morning from observing the prayer with us till the sun had almost appeared over the horizon. He then came cut quickly, and when the iqama had been uttered he conducted the prayer in a shortened form; then when he had given the salutation he called out to us saying, “Keep to your rows as you were.” Then turning to us he said, “I shall tell you what detained me from you this morning. I got up during the night, performed ablution, and prayed what I could; but during my prayer I dozed and was overcome, and there and then I saw my Lord in the most beautiful form. He addressed me by name, and when I replied, ‘At Thy service, my Lord,’ He asked, ‘What do the angels near My presence dispute about?’ and I replied that I did not know. He asked it three times. Then I saw Him put the palm of His hand between my shoulder-blades, so that I experienced the coolness of His fingers between my nipples so everything became clear to me and I attained knowledge. He then addressed me by name, and when I replied, ‘At Thy service, my Lord.’…”
Ahmad and Tirmidhi transmitted it, and Tirmidhi said, “This is a HASAN SAHIH tradition. I asked Muhammad b. Isma’il (Al-Bukhari) about this tradition, AND HE SAID IT IS A SAHIH TRADITION.”
Reference: Mishkat al-Masabih 748
In-book reference: Book 4, Hadith 176 (sunnah.com https://sunnah.com/mishkat:748; emphasis mine)
If Allah can therefore appear in a visible body then there is no logical reason why Muslims cannot accept the possibility of the true God becoming a man without ceasing to be God.
For more on Allah existing as a corporeal material being we recommend the following article: