Al-Bukhārī reports that ʿUmar – Allāh be pleased with him – came to the Black Stone (performing ṭawāf, circumambulation), kissed it, and said, “I know that you are a stone, you do not cause benefit or harm; and if it were not that I had seen Allāh’s Messenger – peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him – kiss you, I would never have kissed you.”

Al-Bukhārī, Al-Ṣaḥīḥ, Chapter on what has been said about the Black Stone.

Points to note

· The illustrious Companion and Caliph ʿUmar reminded us in this narration of the pure belief that benefit and harm are not caused by created objects and thus should not be sought from them. Only Allāh has control over these things.

· We are reminded that acts of worship are taken from Allāh’s Messenger, and a person is not supposed to make up his own way of worship, he must follow the manner of worship that the Prophet taught and practiced.

· We also learn that once an action is confirmed in the Sunnah, the believer submits and complies and practices it because it is confirmed that Allāh’s Messenger did it, even if we don’t know the wisdom behind it.

· This narration is also an example of how a responsible person tries to clarify and do away with any misunderstandings that people may have about matters of faith. The people had recently left their unbelief and polytheism, so ʿUmar wanted to make it clear that kissing the Black Stone is by no means done as an act of devotion to it, as people used to do with their stone idols.

Adapted from Ibn Ḥajr, Fatḥ Al-Bārī, and other ḥadīth commentaries.