Key to the Kaʿba

The Story of Little Zayd

Key to the Kaʿba

Mawlana Ihsan Yusuf Madani (Property Department)

After many days, little Zayd went to Uncle Nasir’s house with his mother and father. “وَ بَرَکَاتُہٗ اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَیْـکُمُ وَ رَحْمَۃُ اللّٰہِ,” they greeted everyone in the living room before heading to the dining room. Uncle Nasir and his friend were busy hanging up a beautiful, large picture. Little Zayd stared at it as its golden details shimmered in the sunlight.

Uncle also noticed that little Zayd was looking attentively at the frame. After dinner, Uncle called little Zayd very affectionately, who then immediately came and sat near him. Uncle said, “Son! Your eyes were stuck on the frame!” Little Zayd laughed and said, “Uncle! I have seen many frames before, but I really like this one. I was wondering what picture it was inside it, actually”

Uncle replied, “This time around, some new things were added to the dining room to make it look nicer. One thing we added was this picture frame too, which has an image of the Kaʿba door.” Little Zayd asked eagerly, “Uncle! Does the Kaʿba really have a lock on it as shown in this picture?” “Yes, son! The Kaʿba has a lock on it, so not everyone can enter it.” After thinking for a moment, little Zayd asked, “Who has the key to the lock?” Uncle said, "Let me just go and freshen up, then I will tell you a story about it.” Little Zayd’s eyes widened. He had always loved hearing a good story. He gathered all the children in the house. “Uncle is going to tell us a story,” he urged them.

Uncle returned to find all the children sitting in a circle, their faces scintillating with excitement. As soon as uncle sat, little Zayd announced, “Today, we are going to hear a story about the key to the lock on the Kaʿba. Uncle then began:

Dear children! When the last Prophet of Allah, our master Muhammad صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, once came to the city of Makkah and reached the Kaʿba, he saw that it had a lock. It was said that the key was with Sayyiduna Uthmān b. ala رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ. Our beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم asked him for it. The door of the Kaʿba was then opened, and our beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم entered and offered salah.

Ahmad, little Zayd’s cousin, asked in astonishment, “Is salah read inside the Kaʿba too? Uncle Nasir replied, Our beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم did indeed pray inside the Kaʿba.”[1] Little Zayd could not hold back, so he asked, Uncle! Who has the key to the door of the Kaʿba now?”

Uncle Nasir affectionately stroked the head of little Zayd and smiled, “Son, the story hasn’t finished yet.” Uncle then began relating the rest of the story:

When our beloved Prophet came out of the Kaʿba, his uncle Sayyiduna ʿAbbās رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ said: ‘O Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم! You know me and my family are responsible for providing drinking water to the pilgrims, so please give us the key and make us the custodians of the Kaʿba.’ The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم then recited this verse, which was revealed in the Kaʿba itself:

اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یَاۡمُرُکُمۡ اَنۡ تُؤَدُّوا الۡاَمٰنٰتِ اِلٰۤی اَہۡلِہَا ۙ       وَ اِذَا حَکَمۡتُمۡ بَیۡنَ النَّاسِ اَنۡ تَحۡکُمُوۡا بِالۡعَدۡلِ ؕ       اِنَّ اللّٰہَ نِعِمَّا یَعِظُکُمۡ بِہٖ ؕ           اِنَّ اللّٰہَ کَانَ سَمِیۡعًۢا بَصِیۡرًا (۵۸)

Indeed, Allah commands you to hand over whatever you hold in trust to their owners, and this; that whenever you judge between people, so judge with justice. Undoubtedly, what excellent advice Allah gives you. Indeed, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.”[2]

The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم returned the key to Sayyiduna Uthmān b. ala رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ, and announced, “O people of the Banī ala! Keep this key with you. This key to the Kaʿba will now remain with you, and none shall take it from you except an oppressor.[3]

That key to the door of the Kaʿba stayed with Sayyidunā Uthmān b. ala رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ throughout his life. After he passed away, it passed on to his family who remain the protectors of it.

Mufti Amad Yār Khān Naīʿmi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه added:

Until now, the key to the Kaʿba is with his offspring, and اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه it will remain so until the Day of Judgement. Neither will his offspring finish and nor will an oppressive ruler be able to seize it. Even tyrant rulers like Yazid and Hajjaj did not touch this key.[4]

The children cheered, “سُـبْحٰـنَ اللّٰــهـ!”

[1] Seerat al-Nabawiyyah li-Ibn Hisham, p. 473; Tafsīr al-Baghawi, vol. 1, p. 353

[2] Al-Quran,  4 : 58

[3] Dur Manthūr, vol. 2, pp. 570 - 571

[4] Mirāt al-Manājī, vol. 1, p. 429




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