Construction of Kaaba
At this place both father and son constructed that center of Islamic movement which is renowned today as Kaaba in the whole world. Allah Himself selected this center and suggested its site. This building was not meant merely for the purpose of worshiping, as masjids are, but from the very first day it was made the propagation and preaching center of the universal movement of Islam, and its purpose was that believers in Allah, drawn from all places, should assemble here, perform the Ibaadat of Allah collectively and go back to their respective countries carrying with them the message of Islam. This was the assembly which was named Hadj.
The full details of how this centre was constructed, with what sentiments and prayers both father and son raised its wall and how Hadj was iniitiated are given thus in the Qur’an:
Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that a Makkah – blessed and a guidance for the worlds. In it there are clear signs and the station of Abraham; whoever enters it becomes secure. [3: 96-97]
Have they not seen that We made [Makkah] a safe sanctuary, while people are being taken away all around them? Then in falsehood do they believe, and in the favour of Allah they disbelieve? [29:67]
That is, there was always peace in Kaaba, when all around were rampant plunder, murder, and devastation and conflict and warfare, so much so that even the wild Beduin, on detecting the murderer of even their father in its precincts, did not dare to touch him.
Supplications of Ibrahim and Isma’il (peace be on them)
And when We made the House a place of return for the people and [a place of] security. And take, from the standing place of Ibrahim a place of prayer. And We charged Ibrahim and Isma’il, [saying] “Purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer].” [2:125]
And when Ibrahim said, “My Lord, make this a secure city and provide its people with fruits – whoever of them believes in Allah and the Last Day.” [ Allah ] said. “And whoever disbelieves – I will grant him enjoyment for a little; then I will force him to the punishment of the Fire, and wretched is the destination.” [2:126]
And when Ibrahim was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Isma’il, [saying], “Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing. [2:127]
Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. [2:128]
Our Lord, and send among them a messenger from themselves who will recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and wisdom and purify them. Indeed, You are the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” [2:129]
And [mention, O Muhammad], when Ibrahim said, “My Lord, make this city [Makkah] secure and keep me and my sons away from worshiping idols. [14:35]
My Lord, indeed they have led astray many among the people. So whoever follows me – then he is of me; and whoever disobeys me – indeed, You are [yet] Forgiving and Merciful. [14:36]
Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House, our Lord, that they may establish prayer. So make hearts among the people incline toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful. [14:37]
This is the story of the beginning of that Hadj which has been acclaimed as the fifth pillar of Islam. You would know from it that Makkah was the headquarter of the mission if that Prophet who was appointed for the first time in the world to propagate the message of Islam. Kaaba was that focal point from where this preaching was conveyed to different parts of the world, and the system of Hadj was introduced for this reason that all those who affirm servitude to God and enter into submission to Him, no matter to which nation or country they belong, should get attached to one center and assembling here circumambulate it once every year. It would be as if outwardly they set the design of their inward feeling that their life resembles the wheel which always revolves round its axle.