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Kaba, Kaaba, or Kabah

 

Pronunciation: [kaba]

 

The most sacred site in Islam, situated within the precincts of the Great Mosque at Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is a small cube-shaped building, unadorned except for the sacred Black Stone, a meteorite, set into the E corner of its walls. Earlier shrines on this spot were important centres of pilgrimage even in pre-Islamic times, but in AD 630 Mohammed stripped the Kaba of its pagan decorations and it became the spiritual centre of Islam. The stone, or qibla, is the focus-point to which Muslims turn when they pray.