May 7, 2021: In a historic development, Saudi Arabia government has released several high-resolution pictures of Black Stone or al-Hajar al-Aswad in Mecca. The Black Stone, also known as al-Hajar-al-Aswad is a rock set into the eastern corner of the Kaaba, the ancient building situated in the centre of the Grand Mosque.
It is considered an Islamic relic and said to date back to the time of Adam and Eve.
Picture of Black Stone
These pictures of al-Hajar al-Aswad, or the ‘Black Stone’, are up to 49,000 megapixels in size and took more than 50 hours to photograph and develop, CNN quoted General Presidency for the Affairs of the Saudi Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque as saying.
Using the technique of focus stacking, 1,050 photos of the stone were clicked each up to 160 gigabytes. The General Presidency worked with the Two Holy Mosques’ engineering agency while the stone was photographed for seven hours, as per the report.
Statements on the picture of Black Stone
“It’s significant because in a sense this is unprecedented,” Afifi al-Akiti, a fellow in Islamic studies at the University of Oxford told CNN.
Afifi al-Akiti, who was not involved in the project, said, “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.
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“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,” he stated.
Muslim pilgrims circle around the Kaaba as a part of the tawaf ritual during the Hajj.
Many try to stop and kiss the relic, emulating the kiss that Islamic tradition records that it received from Muhammad. Muslims, do not worship the Black Stone.