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Saudi Arabia

Black Stone guard feels passion among pilgrims

The guards of Al Hajar Al Aswad (the black stone in the Ka’aba) regulate the flow of tens of thousands of pilgrims circling the Ka’aba to enable Muslims to touch this most wanted corner.
Sgt. Hamad Al-Sharif, a guard at the Black Stone, who has been in this profession for 30 years, said he has no desire to leave the Ka’aba because he enjoys his job.
Al-Sharif appreciates pilgrims who strive to reach the Black Stone. He is well aware of their passion and feelings for this site. He monitors pilgrims’ behavior in competing to touch the Black Stone. “I see a lot of passion, which I attribute to the worshippers’ happiness and desire to reach the Black Stone after praying in the Grand Mosque,” Al-Sharif said. “Their tears flow when they kiss the Black Stone.”
He added: “I hope to earn God’s rewards and the prayer of a pilgrim whom I helped him to kiss or touch the Black Stone. My job is not restricted to organizing tens of thousands of pilgrims who want to come close to the Black Stone, my job is to help them to approach it and touch it.”
“The military honor of guarding the Black Stone was bestowed upon me 30 years ago,” he said. “I ascend the pedestal next to the Black Stone, hoping to get rewards from Allah, and the prayers of an elderly man or woman who was able to touch or kiss the Stone.”
Yahya bin Musaed Al-Zahrani, major general and commander of the Grand Mosque security forces, said the duties of the Black Stone security guards are to help organize worshippers who wish to kiss the Black Stone. They watch for anyone who repeats approaching the Stone to ease the congestion and human stampede in that corner.
“Security guards assigned to the Grand Mosque take turns in ascending to the pedestal of the Black Stone,” he said. “We teach them to carry out their duties with patience and benevolence.”

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