The Kaaba, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is the holiest place in Islam. It is a large masonry structure, roughly in the shape of a cube. The Cornerstone, in Freemasonry, has “some secret influence” attributed to it, according to Albert G. Mackey (deceased), a 33rd degree Mason. Does the Masonic Cornerstone signify the Kaaba?
It was Zerubbabel, meaning “offspring of Babylon,” together with Joshua the High Priest, who was responsible for rebuilding Solomon’s Temple, after the Jews returned from exile. It is assumed, according to HRH Prince Michael of Albany, a controversial claimant to the Scottish throne, that the second Temple must have been located at the same site as Solomon’s Temple had been. But Knights Templar, digging beneath the Temple site early in the 12th Century, discovered “there were no foundations to be found for the first temple.” Foundations for Zerubbabel’s temple were unearthed, but beneath that nothing else proved this was indeed the site of Solomon’s Temple. This is “the real secret that the Templars had found,” that Solomon’s Temple had been built someplace else. 
What is suggested by Prince Michael is that the second Temple, built after a 50 year exile by persons not having a good memory of (or any memory of) Solomon’s Temple, is similar to situations such as “New York” (named after York, England) and “New Orleans” (named after Orleans, France). Zerubbabel’s Temple was, in effect, “New Temple”.
Solomon’s Temple had been built after the Hebrews had wandered for 40 years in the desert. But what desert would that be? An Exodus from Egypt presumably would have followed the Mediterranean coastline until reaching Israel, a journey of months, not years. Instead, a difficult path went from Egypt to western Arabia. The Templar Knights, while traveling down the Red Sea by boat, “found remnants of ancient cities bearing near identical names to Jewish cities in the Old Testament. These were found in western Arabia, between the coastal areas stretching from the port of Jiddah to that of Jizzan.”  The original Promised Land being in western Arabia also helps explain the existence of Ethiopian Jews: Ethiopia is on the other side of the Red Sea from western Arabia.
A map of Saudi Arabia shows not far from Jiddah is Mecca (Makkah), location of the Kaaba. Only Muslims are allowed into this city – with one exception: The history of Makkah claims access was permitted to the “Sons of the Old Woman” (“Sons of the Widow”). But even more intriguing is the Sacred Stone, kept within the temple in Makkah: According to tradition this stone is “the keystone or cornerstone of legend, the Lapsit Exillis of the alchemists. This tradition equates the Ka’bah [Kaaba] with the temple of Solomon…” 
Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon, in 1922, had unearthed papyri documents in Tutankhamun’s tomb. Both had at first publicly acknowledged the find. Later, however, mention of the papers vanished. Why would Howard Carter, stymied by bureaucrats, have later made a furious threat to the British Consulate? “Get those bureaucrats off my back, or I will publish the papyri documents, giving the true account of the Exodus!” 
Both the Kaaba and the Masonic Cornerstone are basically cubes. Harold Bayley, in volume two of “The Lost Language Of Symbolism”, linguistically connects “cube” to “ac ube”, meaning “great orb.” His summary of primitive roots, given in the appendix to volume two, leads the way to a past, worldwide civilization, now vanished from mainstream history. “The sacred stone at Mecca is termed the kaabeh,” writes Bayley, “at Kabah in South America are the ruins of a prehistoric city…” A footnote on the page informs the reader that natives of the West Indies “termed the centre of Cuba, Cubakan.”
The Zohar represents the main source for the contemplative Kabbalah. The origin of the actual term “Kabbalah” is disputed. Some say “Kabbalah” originates with 13th century Spanish Kabbalist Bahya ben Asher. Others connect Spanish rabbi Moses de Leon with the Zohar.  (And, is “Kabbalah” in other words “Kaaba la”?)
What is not disputed is 13th Century Spain’s connection with the Kabbalah. According to Prince Michael (op. cit.), in 774 A.D. a showdown between two Muslim dynasties, the Umayyads and the Abbasides, occurred. Invited to a dinner, unsuspecting Umayyad princes were assassinated en masse. “Out of an entire royal family numbering into the hundreds, only one young member who had not attended the banquet was able to escape and make it to the safety of Spain. Abd-ar-Rahman I, the last of the Umayyad princes of Damascus, was proclaimed Emir of Cordoba in AD 756.” 
While most of Europe experienced the Dark Ages, a cultured civilization arose in Spain which rivaled past civilizations. One library in Cordoba contained “no less than four hundred thousand books… As such, it could then be equated with the library of Alexandria in Egypt.”  Tolerance of other religions was shown, and a ferment of ideas was exchanged between Christians, Muslims, and Jews. One result of the interchange appears to be the Kabbalah.
In the Middle East at the time of the original Crusades, the “Old Man of the Mountain” ruled over the Ishmaelite Order of the Assassins. A Spanish “old man in the mountains” is described in an early-19th century novel. (Spoiler warning: If you plan to read Jan Potocki’s “The Manuscript Found In Saragossa” anytime soon, then read no further.)
Count Jan Potocki (1761-1815), an Egyptologist, linguist, nobleman, and probable Freemason, also had a strong interest in the occult.  “Occult” is a loaded term, but it basically means “the hidden.” Potocki may have revealed too much in his fascinating novel, “The Manuscript Found In Saragossa”. He is said to have shot himself in the head with a silver bullet, but who knows? Potocki had “flirted with secret societies.” He may have paid the ultimate price for violating a Masonic oath of secrecy.
Penguin Classics describes “The Manuscript Found In Saragossa” as follows: “Alphonse, a young Walloon officer, is travelling to join his regiment in Madrid in 1739. But he soon finds himself mysteriously detained at a highway inn in the strange and varied company of thieves, brigands, cabbalists, noblemen, coquettes and gypsies, whose stories he records over sixty-six days.” On Day 61, Alphonse encounters the Great Sheikh of the Gomelez. “Young Nazarene,” says the Sheikh to Alphonse, “you have recognized in me the hermit who gave you shelter in the valley of the Guadalquivir and you have guessed that I am the Great Sheikh of the Gomelez.” The Sheikh heads an underground empire in Spain, which continued even long after the Spanish Reconquista.
The underground empire of the Gomelez family, besides being figuratively “underground”, is also literally underground. On Day 62, the Sheikh explains he is “the fifty-second successor of Massoud ben Taher [Abd-ar-Rahman I?], the first Sheikh of the Gomelez.” Tellingly, the Sheikh goes on to detail how “the Abbasids exterminated nearly all the Ommayads, but the descendants of Ali gained no advantage from this. On the contrary, one of the Ommayads even came to Spain and became the Caliph of Córdoba.” Although Potocki’s work is “fiction”, it nonetheless corroborates Prince Michael’s claim that a showdown between two Muslim dynasties, the Umayyads and the Abbasides, occurred, and that “Abd-ar-Rahman I, the last of the Umayyad princes of Damascus, was proclaimed Emir of Cordoba in AD 756.”
At Albicín, on the outskirts of Granada, “the population lives in caves on the mountainside,” relates the Sheikh of the Gomelez on Day 63. “Some of these strange dwellings were connected to certain caves which extended as far as our own underground domains.” (Potocki, op. cit.) The rise of the Abencerrages, a rival Muslim family, hostile to the Gomelez, caused a progressive moral decline, in the Sheikh’s version. The Abencerrages were gentle and courteous towards women. Prince Michael covers the rise of chivalry in The Knights Templar Of The Middle East, tracing it to a new status given to women in Moorish Spain. Women “were perceived as different beings from men and were described as remote and mysterious creatures. The mystery of woman would engender a cult of selfless devotion to the feminine”, in other words, chivalry. But the Gomelez disagreed with the trend, in Potocki’s account. The Gomelez allied with another powerful family, the Zegris, and together they slaughtered the Abencerrages in the Alhambra, in 1485. “This disastrous event deprived Granada of a considerable number of its defenders and precipitated its fall.” (Day 62, Potocki, op. cit.). Some of the Moors did not flee Spain. A portion pretended to convert to Christianity. Others hid in the mountains, in caves and underground.
The roots of Templarism, argues Prince Michael, besides being linked to Freemasonry and Christianity, are deeply connected with Islam. The Celtic Church also is included in the background. James, one of Jesus’s brothers, held the title “Joseph, the Rama Theo,” mistranslated as “Joseph of Arimathea,” and originated Celtic Christianity. Myriam, grand-daughter of Simon, another of Jesus’s brothers, married Mudar ibn Nizar, high priest of the Temple of Makkah (Mecca) in western Arabia. From her is descended Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam.
The Phoenicians, writes Herodotus (7.89), “lived of old, so they say, about the Red Sea, but they then came out of there and settled in that part of Syria that is next the sea. That piece of Syria, and all as far as Egypt, is called Palestine.” The “present tradition in Palestine,” writes Prince Michael (op. cit.), “must have been transposed from western Arabia to Palestine via Babylon.” Moses (Akhenaten) is buried, along with Aaron, in western Arabia. Phoenicians? Hebrews? Egyptians? A combination? Whoever, they went into exile in Babylon. They did not return later to western Arabia, but to Palestine.
A sacred stone is kept in the temple in Mecca. That stone, so the story goes, was smuggled by Adam out of the Garden of Eden. The same stone is associated with Jacob’s vision of the ladder, or staircase. (Genesis 28: 11-12). Allegories were given in Masonic rituals. Gradually, Freemasonry lost touch with the deeper meaning and it is doubted whether Masonry now truly understands its rituals. One ritual, held in a square chamber, involves a square table covered with a white cloth. Few if any Freemasons today understand that what is symbolized is the Kaaba: the temple of Makkah and the shroud which covers it. The Cornerstone signifies the Kaaba, the Kaaba houses the sacred stone, and the sacred stone is the Lapsit Exillis of the alchemists. Or at least Prince Michael is persuaded this is so.
(A version of the above first appeared at my old Conspiracy Nation web site on December 9, 2007.)
——- Sources ——-
 The Knights Templar of the Middle East, by HRH Prince Michael of Albany. San Francisco: Weiser Books, 2006. ISBN-10: 1-57863-346-X; ISBN-13: 978-1-57863-346-3
 Tutankhamun: The Exodus Conspiracy by Andrew Collins & Chris Ogilvie-Herald. London: Virgin Books, 2002. ISBN: 1-85227-972-9
 “Kabbalah” and “Moses de Leon”, both Wikipedia, Dec. 5, 2007
 “Jan Potocki”, Wikipedia, Dec. 1, 2007