I need your opinion on two aspects of some of the general muslim beliefs:
1. It is a widely held Muslim belief that Hajr-e-Aswad (the black stone) is a stone from paradise and bears some white marks at its face. It is further believed that these white marks or spots will turn black as the judgment draws near.
2. I had the opportunity of visiting Masjid-e-Nabvi in Madinah. I found out that adjacent to prophet (sws)'s Roza inside the mosque, an area has been identified separately as a piece of land believed to be from paradise. It is referred to as Riaz-al-jannat. Before making the visit many of my friends and relatives advised me to offer Nafals in that area, with the belief that this area specifically holds a very special significance for acceptance of prayers.
Do these beliefs hold any significance and acceptability as per your understanding of the Islamic history.
1. For an explanation of the significance of the Black Stone, please refer to one of earlier responses to a related question, titled: "The Significance of the Black Stone Inside the Ka`bah".
Even though there are some traditions, which say that the black stone came from Jannah and that it was initially white but turned black due to the sins (especially polytheistic practices) of the people, yet the significance of the black-stone in Islamic practices is not because of its source, but is purely because of its symbolic value. This point is clearly substantiated by the following saying of Omar (ra), which he is reported to have said while he kissed the Stone (apparently during a Tawaf):
2. The Holy Prophet [sws] is reported to have said that between his house and the pulpit there is a garden from amongst the gardens of paradise.
I know that you are only a stone, which can neither benefit nor harm and had I not seen the Prophet (sws) kissing you, I would not have kissed you.
This saying does not mean that the place was brought from the paradise rather it is a common expression meaning that the place, as the Prophet (sws) spiritually felt, was as a garden of paradise. This refers to the spiritual importance of the path for the Prophet (sws) as he would cherish worshiping the Almighty and would tread this path to the way of the liking of the Almighty. This is precisely how learned Muslims have interpreted this saying of the Prophet (sws) and this interpretation is also in accordance with the true spirit of the linguistic usage. Ibn-e-Hajar Al-`asqalani wrote in his commentary of the this narrative reported in Bukhari:
قوله روضة من رياض الجنة أي كروضة من رياض الجنة
Obviously, the reported significance of the path is related to a spiritual experience of the Prophet (sws), which cannot be shared by others.
The Prophet's saying 'a garden from the gardens of the paradize' means 'like a garden from the gardens of the paradise'.