Holy Kaaba to be adorned with new kiswa on Muharram 1

MAKKAH — The Holy Kaaba will be adorned with a new kiswa (cover) on Muharram 1, 1446. As many as 159 technicians and craftsmen will take part in the annual customary tradition of changing the kiswa on the first day of the new year in the Islamic calendar.

The old kiswa will be removed and replaced by a new one, which consists of four separate sides and a door curtain. Each of the four sides will be raised separately to the top of the Kaaba in preparation for its unfolding over the old side. The new kiswa will be fixed from above by tying it down, and the ropes of the old side will then be loosened.

By moving the new side up and down in a permanent movement, then the old side fell from below and the new side remained, and the process was repeated four times for each side until the cover was completed, then the belt was weighed in a straight line to the four sides by stitching it.

Over 200 qualified and specialized Saudi craftsmen and administrators worked to manufacture the new kiswa at the King Abdulaziz Complex for Holy Kaaba Kiswa, located in Umm Al-Jud neighborhood of Makkah. These employees exerted tireless efforts to complete the numerous stages of manufacturing of the kiswa.

These stages mainly include: the embroidery of the Kaaba’s belt, weaving the fabric by hand and machine, printing, draping, and coloring. The complex has departments for dyeing and automatic weaving, hand-weaving, printing, belts, gold-plating, and sewing and assembling.

The sewing and assembling department includes the largest sewing machine in the world, which is 16 meters long and runs on a computer system. Supporting departments include the laboratory, administrative services, quality control, public relations, and health and safety for workers.

The kiswa requires about 1,000 kilograms of raw silk, dyed black at the complex, 120 kilograms of gold wire, and 100 kilograms of silver wire. The kiswa consists of four pieces of cloth, each piece covering one side of the Kaaba, and the 5th piece is the curtain that is placed on the door of the Holy Kaaba.

Prior to the annual customary changing of kiswa, the handing over ceremony was held last month. On behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Deputy Emir of Makkah and Deputy Chairman of the Central Hajj Committee Prince Saud bin Mishal handed over the kiswa of to its deputy senior keeper Abdul Malik Al-Shaibi on June 18.

The height of kiswa is 14 meters, and in the upper third of it there is a belt with 95 centimeters wide and 47 meters long, consisting of 16 pieces surrounded by a square of Islamic decoration.