The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Saudi Arabia announced the disclosure of first time high-resolution images of the Black Stone in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. According to a press release on Monday, the government agency said that the images of the Black Stone had a resolution of 49,000 megapixels and took more than 50 working hours to be processed.
The Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs worked with the Engineering of the Two Holy Mosques Agency to capture 1050 photos of the Black Stone, each 160 GB, indicating that the filming took 7 hours.
According to the School of Digital Photography, the documentation process used a technique known as confocal stacking, which combines multiple images with different focus points to preserve the final result with the most incredible accuracy.
Afifi Aqiti, a fellow in Islamic studies at the University of Oxford who was not involved in the project, told CNN that this documentation is crucial because it is somewhat unprecedented. He explained that the first-time enlarged digital image shows the Black Stone is not black:
“The Black Stone was originally white in colour, apparently not black, and it is believed that touching the stone and asking God for forgiveness is the reason why the stone is black reflects the sins of humanity.”
While performing the Hajj, pilgrims roam counterclockwise around the Kaaba. They usually touch, kiss, or wave towards the Black Stone when circumambulating. “The Islamic faith states that the stone belongs to the Prophet Adam, the first of humanity,” Al-Aqiti explained.
According to the Oxford Islamic Studies website, angel Gabriel gave the stone to the Prophet Abraham while he was building the Kaaba. However, Al-Aqiti pointed out that scientists believe the Black Stone may be a meteor that fell from the sky.
“Muslims accept the stone today because the second rightly-guided caliph of Muslims, Umar ibn al-Khattab, told the followers that he saw the Prophet Muhammad do this himself,” he rationally finalized.