In a historic first, Saudi Arabia releases pictures of Black Stone in Mecca

New Delhi: In a historic first, several high-resolution photos of an ancient religious stone in Mecca have been released by the Saudi government. 

These pictures of al-Hajar al-Aswad, or the ‘Black Stone’, are up to 49,000 megapixels in size and took more than 50 hours to photograph and develop, CNN quoted 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 CNN.

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 stated. 

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