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First time ever, Saudi Arabia releases pictures of ‘al-Hajar al-Aswad’ in Mecca

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The Saudi government for the very first time has released several high-resolution photos of an ancient religious stone, al-Hajar al-Aswad or famously known as ‘black stone’ in holy Mecca.

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These pictures of Black Stone are up to 49,000 megapixels in size and took more than 50 hours to photograph and develop, told General Presidency for the Affairs of the Saudi Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque as saying.

Using the technique of focus stacking, 1,050 photos of the stone were clicked each up to 160 gigabytes. The General Presidency worked with the Two Holy Mosques’ engineering agency while the stone was photographed for seven hours, as per the report.

“It’s significant because in a sense this is unprecedented,” Afifi al-Akiti, a fellow in Islamic studies at the University of Oxford told media.

Afifi al-Akiti, who was not involved in the project, said, “One sees that it’s not actually black, for example… As I understand it, it’s the first time there is a magnified digital photo of the stone and one can see the stone up close and personal.”

“In the Muslim tradition, this is considered to be a holy relic, but reason plays a major role in the Muslim tradition… So while it is unprecedented to see a picture of the stone, I think Muslims are down to Earth and science plays a major role in the religion,” he further added.

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