Muslims all over the world watched the annual custom of changing the Kiswa on Wednesday morning. The changing of the kiswa, the black cloth with golden embroidery covering the Kaaba, took place after Fajr (dawn) prayer by 86 technicians and embroiders, .
Officials from the Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques and Kiswa Factory was present during the event, which dates back to the pre-Islamic era. Changing the Kiswa is regarded as one of the aspects of showing utmost glory and holiness to the House of Allah.
Dr. Muhammad Al-Khuzaim, deputy chief of the presidency, said the old Kiswa was replaced with the new one made of pure silk. The entire event was broadcast live on www.gph.gov.sa.
Dr. Muhammad Bajoda, director of the factory, said the new Kiswa will be handed over to the Keeper of the Kaaba Key in a ceremony reflecting the significance of the event.
“The event will start after Fajr prayer and continue until after Al-Asr (late evening) prayer. The old one will be kept at the factory,” Bajoda said.
The factory is run by more than 240 personnel and has different departments equipped with state-of-the-art machinery used for dying, embroidering, adorning, and sewing the Kiswa. It also has the largest sewing machine, which is 16 meters long.
The manufacturing of the Kiswa costs SR22 million every year. It takes 700 kg of pure silk, which is dyed black inside the factory, and 120 kg of silver and gold threads to make the Kiswa.
The Kiswa is 14 meters (42 feet) high, to match the height of the Kaaba, and 47 meters (141 feet) wide, enough to cover the four sides of Islam’s holiest site, which are not identical in dimension.
Its upper half is decorated with a 95-cm (three-foot) wide strip featuring verses from the Holy Qur’an, inscribed in gold plated silver thread, which weighs 120 kg (264 pounds). The Kiswa is made of five pieces. The fifth piece is the curtain of its door.
In the past, the Kiswa used to be sent by different Muslim countries. Every year, pieces of the old Kiswa are presented as gifts to Muslim countries and senior Muslim personalities.
Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, head of the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, said recently that the cover is completely manufactured in Saudi Arabia after it had previously been manufactured and transferred from Egypt or other countries. SAUDI GAZETTE