Is It True That the Black Stone Was Originally an Angel?

Question: Is it true that the black stone was originally an angel?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

No, it doesn’t seem to be the case that the black stone was originally an angel since nothing sound has reached us stating that.

Even if it was originally an angel, or is still an angel for that matter, kissing or touching it would not constitute worshipping gods besides Allah.

The source of the hadith

As far as this imperfect researcher can tell, the only source stating that the black stone was originally an angel is the Shiite hadith collection of hadith, al Kafi by Kulini (d. 329 AH). Now that by no means makes it automatically weak, but at the end of the day, the hadith does not cite the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) or any of the Prophetic Companions as a source (Bihar al Anwar, Majlisi).

Had there been anything even passably authentic, Ibn Hajar would have mentioned it in his commentary on Bukhari on the discussion of why Sayyidna Umar did not want to kiss the black stone (Fath al Bari, Ibn Hajar al Asqalani).

As for whether or not the black stone has or will have a tongue, this is established in Sahih Ibn Khuzayma and other reliable works.

Shiite hadith sources

One of the beautiful things about the Islamic tradition in general, and the Sunni tradition in specific, is that it is very objective and non-partisan.

A hadith is narrated and its narrators are judged based on the likelihood of them lying, and the likelihood of there being errors in their reports. Lying about the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is quite a big thing in any Muslim’s eyes, for which reason only the worst of certain extreme sects of Islam deemed it permissible to intentionally fabricate hadiths.

Consequently, we frequently find hadiths in reliable Sunni books in whose chains Shiite and Kharijite hadith narrators are found. In contradiction to Shiites, for Sunnis, you don’t have to be in our camp, or of our persuasion, for your hadith to be sound. You just have to be a solid and accurate preserver and narrator of hadiths.

Even when it comes to critiquing hadith, we rely on Shiite scholars like Ibn Khirash (d. 283 AH).

Gray areas of shirk

Shirk is a very clear cut thing: you either worship a god besides Allah, or you don’t. Showing veneration to a created thing, such as a parent, scholar, angel, book (e.g. mushaf), or a building (e.g. Kaaba or a grave) is not shirk in and of itself. Rather, when one believes that such a thing has the power to benefit or harm independent of Allah, this is when it becomes shirk. (Imdad e Fatawa, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi)

Thus, if it turned out that the black stone was actually a living being, it would not constitute worshipping a god besides Allah.

Conclusion

In all likelihood, the black stone was not originally an angel, and even if we were to say that is was kissing or touching it would not constitute worshipping gods besides Allah.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language