Kaaba’s place in the Holy Mosque is unique and the structure is covered with honorable, revered verses from the Quran which are engraved on its black cover, the kiswa.
Ever since the two prophets, Ibrahim and Ismail, built the Kaaba, it has become a center of attention, and its kiswa throughout ages has been made from the most luxurious quality of material available.
The covering cloth of the Kaaba has always been the center of attention, for this cloth is part of the sanctity and uniqueness of this holy site.
The cloth, known in Arabic as “kiswah,” has gone through many stages and each time it has been manufactured from the best and most elegant of fabrics available at the time.
“The first to have given the Kaaba a complete kiswa was King Tubbaa. When the people wanted to get rid of that king, they advised him to demolish the Kaaba. So he prepared the army and decided to head to Mecca to demolish the Kaaba, but he fell gravely sick. When he was cured from his illness, he decided to reward Mecca and its people.”
Prophet Mohammed and his Caliphs, as well as all Muslim rulers, gave a lot of care to the kiswah which became one of the most distinguishing characteristics of the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba at its center.
The importance of the kiswah can be seen in the way it was brought from places far away from Mecca and the way the procession carrying it was venerated. It was also clear how keen Muslims were to serve the Two Holy Mosques.
In 1927, Saudi King Abdul Aziz ordered the establishment of a factory dedicated to manufacturing the kiswah in Mecca. This factory has witnessed a series of upgrades in order for the kiswah to be of the best quality and shape.
“The accessories are made of gold-plated silver wires. Modern sewing machines have been imported for the purpose. Probably they are unprecedented in the world. These machines are now found in the kiswa factory. The total annual cost of one kiswa is estimated at 20 to 22 million Saudi riyals.”
The kiswah weighs approximately 670 kilograms and is made of pure silk dyed in black and padded with white cotton fabric.
The kiswah is embroidered in Quranic verses, all made with threads of pure gold.
Translated into English by: Sonia Farid
Voice: Nadia Mayen