New scientific studies proved that al-Kaaba is the center of the world because its four corners point exactly towards the four cardinal directions of the compass, therefore, every corner is called after the direction it points to.
“The two main corners of al-Kaaba are the Eastern corner, the “Black Stone”, and the Yemeni corner because they are the two corners built according to al-Kaaba's Ibrahimic foundations, unlike the Iraqi and Levantine corners to which the Quraish tribe added the Hateem,” said Dr. Khalid Babteen, Director of the Research Centre in Islamic Studies at the Umm Al-Qura University, Saudi Arabi.
The Eastern corner carried different names but holds a sole sacred significance; it hosts the Black Stone and marks the starting and ending point of Tawaf (the circumambulation). It is believed that the Black Stone is one of the white rubies of the paradise and pilgrims try to touch the Black Stone or wave at it in case they couldn’t reach it.
Pilgrims meet at the northern corner after passing by the Black Stone. This corner was known by the Iraqi corner because Islamic conquests had recurrently triumphed in Iraq.
“Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, used to walk from the Yemeni corner to the Black Stone, touching the Yemeni corner with his right hand and reciting the famous supplication: ‘Our Lord, give us in this world what is good and in the hereafter what is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire.’ Then he used to touch the Black Stone and continue the round,” said Dr. Babteen.
After walking half of the Tawaf round, pilgrims arrive to the western corner. This corner is also known by “al-Shami corner” as Muslims were interested in their conquests and armies in the Levant and Maghreb region and because the corner’s sharp angle points as a compass to that land.
Before ending the Tawaf at the Black Stone corner, pilgrims pass by the Yemeni corner that points to the south and that still carries the name of Yemen, the land that gave Islam great wealth and riches.