Kaaba’s Cover Kiswa (Ghilaf-e-Kaaba) Gets Replaced

These moments, authorities at Grand Mosque at Mecca, Saudi Arabia, are changing the cover of the Holy Kaaba, an annual tradition that is carried a day before Muslims mark Eid Al Adha.

Every year, the gatekeepers of the Kaaba carry out this task to change the silky black cloth embroidered with gold draped over the holy structure.

Close-up pictures, currently aired, show members of the team stand on a mobile escalator to place the fabric as they weave parts of it to fit on the structure.

The old Kiswa is then placed in a government warehouse providing the adequate technical conservation to prevent any chemical reactions or infiltration of bacteria in damaging the fabric. Then if requested by the higher authorities, it is distributed in parts for museums or gifts.

The Kiswa is made from about 670 kg of raw silk, which is dyed black, 120 kg of gold threads and 100 kg of silver threads. The Kiswa is covered with cotton-lined silk, while the Quran verses are sewed with the gold and silver threads.

Earlier, Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal on Wednesday handed over the Kaaba Kiswa to the senior caretaker of the Kaaba, Saleh bin Zain Al-Abidin Al-Shaibi.
On his part, the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques lifted the lower part of the Kiswa by about 3 meters and covered the raised area with white cotton fabric (approximately two meters in width from the four sides). The move came as a precaution to maintain the cleanliness and safety of the Kiswa and prevent tampering with it.

According to historians, the Prophet Muhammad covered it with white-and-red striped Yemeni cloth, and Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq, Umar ibn Al-Khattab, and Uthman ibn Affan covered it with white. Ibn Al-Zubayr covered it with red brocade.

During the Abbasid era, it was draped once with white and once in red, while the Seljuk Sultan covered it with yellow brocade. The Abbasid Caliph Al-Nassir changed the Kiswa’s color to green and later to black brocade, and this has remained its color to the present day.

Historians confirm in an account that the Prophet was the first in Islam to cover the Kaaba with “qubati”, which is a thin white cloth made in Egypt and named after the Copts.

The accounts mention that in the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet kept the old Kiswa used in the era of the polytheists and did not replace it until a woman burned it while trying to scent it with incense. It was then covered with a Yemeni cloth.