Islamic tradition holds that the Stone fell from Heaven to show Adam and Eve where to build an altar, which became the first temple on Earth.

Muslims believe that the stone was originally pure and dazzling white, but has since turned black because of the sins of the people.

Adam's altar and the stone were said to have been lost during Noah's Flood and forgotten.

Ibrahim was said to have later found the Black Stone at the original site of Adam's altar when the angel Jibrail revealed it to him. Ibrahim ordered his son Ismael - who was an ancestor of Muhammad - to build a new temple, the Kaaba, in which to embed the Stone.

Muhammad is credited with setting the Black Stone in place in the wall of the Kaaba.

A story found in Ibn Ishaq's Sirah Rasul Allah tells how the clans of Mecca renovated the Kaaba following a major fire which had partly destroyed the structure.

The Black Stone had been temporarily removed to facilitate the rebuilding work.

The clans could not agree on which one of them should have the honor of setting the Black Stone back in its place.

They decided to wait for the next man to come through the gate and ask him to make the decision. That individual happened to be the 35-year-old Muhammad, five years before his prophethood.

He asked the elders of the clans to bring him a cloth and put the Black Stone in its center.

Each of the clan leaders held the corners of the cloth and carried the Black Stone to the right spot. Then Muhammad set the stone in place, satisfying the honor of all of the clans.