Why do Muslims bow down to a rock and circulate it? Do Muslims worship a rock/ Kabaah?
Muslims do not worship a rock or the building which houses the rock, the Ka’baah. This is a common misconception and is mostly due to the misunderstanding of the purpose of the Ka’baah, primarily by Christians. To give a similitude, the function of the Temple/ Wailing Wall in Jerusalem for Jews during prayer, is similar to the purpose and function of the Ka’baah in Islam.
The Qiblah (قِبَلَ) is the “direction of prayer“, as is illustrated in Qur’aan 2:142. In the same way that the Jewish, “direction of prayer/ way of the prayer“, is known as, Derek (דֶּ֤רֶךְ), as is illustrated in 1 Kings 8:48. Muslims and Jews both have a “Qiblah/ Derek”, which they face as a “direction in prayer“. Neither Muslims nor Jews worship the Qiblah/ Derek which would be the Ka’baah and the Temple respectively. These structures are merely a point of reference from which Muslims and Jews use as their basis for convening their prayers. It should be noted that there is no Qur’aanic verse or Hadeeth which commands Muslims to worship the Ka’baah, therefore the worshiping of the Ka’baah is not included in Islamic belief.
The notion that Muslims worship the Ka’baah stems from a polemical attack against Islam by early Christians. Therefore for all intents and purposes, the belief that Muslims worship a stone structure is derived from Christians and not from the Islamic faith! In the event that Christians find it odd that both Muslims and Jews have a “direction of prayer“, and insist that it is paganism, they should be introduced to the following verses of the Old Testament:
“And he set up an altar there and called it “God, the God of Israel.” – Genesis 33:20.
“Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner.” – Exodus 17:15.
In these examples, a physical object is actually being referred to as a God. This is at complete odds with Islamic monotheism, which does not consider the Ka’baah to be a God, or to be referred to as a God. Therefore the belief of Christians that Muslims worship the Ka’baah or refer to the Ka’baah as God, is really an attempt to mask that belief which is found in their own Bible! The very charge they falsely accuse Islam of, is found in their own scriptures.
and Allaah knows best.