The black cloth (Kiswa) draping the Kaaba in the Mecca Grand Mosque has been changed, to commemorate the Day of Arafat on the eve on Eid Al-Adha which will fall tomorrow (August 11).
A total of 160 technicians and artisans have been deployed to change the Kiswa of the Kaaba, in a ritual which started after Fajr (Dawn) prayers, early today (Saturday) morning, which coincides with the 9th day of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah.
The process of changing the Kiswa occurs annually on the second day of Hajj under the supervision of the President of the Holy Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque Sheikh Dr. Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz Al-Sudais.
The Kiswa is made from about 670 kilograms of raw silk dyed black, 120 kilograms of gold thread, and 100 kilograms of silver thread. Quranic verses are sewn onto the black cloth with gold-plated threads.
Every year, the gatekeepers of the Kaaba carry out the task of changing the black cloth draped over the holy structure.
The artisans and technicians lifted the cloth and delivered it to the King Abdulaziz Complex for the Manufacturing of the Kiswa in Mecca, where the gold and silver threads are removed from the old cloth.
The old Kiswa is then placed in a government warehouse where it undergoes a process to prevent any chemical reactions or bacteria from infiltrating and damaging the fabric. Pieces of the cloth are then distributed to museums or are gifted.
The Kiswa was first used when the 4th century Yemeni King of Tubba “instructed the leaders of (the) Jurhum tribe to maintain its purgation and make a door and a key for it,” according to ninth-century historian Muhammad ibn ’Abd Allah al-Azraqi. Since then it has become the Kaaba’s most distinguishable feature.