Kiswah- The Cover of the Holy Ka’bah

The cloth that covers the Ka’bah is known as the Kiswah. It is changed every year on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah, the day Hajj pilgrims depart for the land of Arafat. Kiswah is a word that means “robe” and is also regarded as the “Ghilaf.” The fabric is made of silk and cotton and is decorated with Quranic verses. The black cloth is most often prepared two months prior to the start of the Hajj. The Bani Shayba family is the keeper of the Kaaba and officially takes charge of it. The old Kiswah gets cut up and given as a blessing to Islamic nations and dignitaries.

Facts About Kiswah

It is produced from approximately 650kg of natural silk imported from Italy.

The embroidery procedure takes about 8-10 months.

Annually, around 200 people strive to create the Kiswah.

It employs 120kg of gold and silver threads sourced from Germany.

It costs about $4.5 million (£3.4 million) to produce.

What Exactly Is Printed On the Cover of Holy Kaaba?

The majority of the gold embroidery written on it depicts Quranic verses. An explanation can be taken as that on the side between both the Hajar al-Aswad and the Rukn Yamani there is a verse written from Surah Al-Hajj that is:

In the name of God, most Gracious, most Compassionate. That is so. And whoever honors the symbols of Allah, it is certainly out of the piety of the heart.” (Surah Al-Hajj, 22:32)

Just like this, many other Quranic verses are written on it. A section on the Sitara’s side commemorates the current ruler’s service on the Kiswah.

Kiswah Before Islam

The Prophet Ismail (A.S) is said to have been the first to set up a slight covering on the Ka’bah. As per history, Yemeni King Tubba (Abu Karib) was the first one to fully cover the Ka’bah. It is said that he has hanged it with red-striped Ma’afir fabric, a unique cloth crafted in Yemen’s Ta’izz region. Just after King Tubba, the Ka’bah was protected by a large number of people who perceived it as a sacred obligation. Anyone who tried to cover the Ka’bah can do so anytime they would want with whatever cloth they chose. The Ka’bah was also on the verge of crumbling from the pressure of the clothing material placed on it at times. Sources indicate that influential Quraysh members used fur, woven palm leaves, and textiles to cover the Ka’bah prior to the advent of Islam. Natilah bint Jinab, Abdul-wife Muttalib’s and Abbas’ mother, was the very first Arab woman who covered the Ka’bah in silk and brocade. As a six-year-old boy, the Prophet (S.A.W) observed the ritual of covering the Ka’bah.

The Kiswah During the Prophet (S.A.W) And Caliphs’ Reigns

The Prophet (S.A.W) and the Sahabah didn’t even cover the Ka’bah until the conquer of Makkah because the Makkan nonbelievers just wouldn’t let them do so. Since Makkah was conquered, the Kiswah was not modified till its original one was burned by a woman who tried to scent it with incense. A red and white-colored Yemeni fabric was used to replace and cover the Kiswah. In their reign, the Caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman (R.A) draped the Ka’bah with ‘qibati’ (a thin white Egyptian cloth). It is said that Mu’awiyyah bin Abi Sufyan (R.A) managed to cover the Ka’bah twice a year, once with brocade on the Day of Ashura and once with qibati at the end of Ramadhan. Abdullah bin Zubair (May Allah be pleased with him) also followed this practice.

Some of The Historical Modifications of Kiswah

  • The emperor who asserted suzerainty throughout Makkah gained the right of producing the cloth for the Ka’bah.
  • Under Caliph Al-Mamun’s reign, the Ka’bah was adorned with three separate covers: red brocade on the 8th of Dhul Hijjah, qibati on the day the Rajab when the new moon was observed, and white brocade on the 27th of Ramadhan.
  • The green Kiswah was first placed over the Ka’bah by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Nasir. It was later restored to black and it has managed to stay so since 1224.
  • Cloths for the Ka’bah have also been donated by private entities. Ramisht from Siraf, a rich twelfth-century medieval trader, is said to have wrapped the Ka’bah in Chinese textiles.

Manufacturing of Kiswah in Saudi Arabia

Following the conquest of the Hijaz region, King Abdul Aziz built a Kiswah factory in Makkah’s Ajyad neighborhood. The Kiswah was crafted here beginning in 1927. Its production shifted to Egypt in 1961 before relocating to Saudi Arabia.

The aforementioned information shows the significance of Kiswah and its construction over time and how different rulers have managed to maintain it. Muslim pilgrims can touch Kiswah when they embark on the journey of Umrah. Muslims believe that Kiswah is a blessed cloth that’s why holds great importance for them. If you are eager to touch and feel this precious and sacred piece of cloth, then you must perform Umrah by attaining October Umrah packages. Because there would be fewer people with more chances of getting closer to the Kaaba.