By Neelam Rahim
Setting a replacement tradition, the new cover of the Holy Kaaba in Makkah was installed today with the dawn of the new Islamic year of 1444.
Earlier, the Kiswa was replaced once a year during Hajj, specifically on the morning of Dhul Hijjah 9 after the pilgrims head to Mount Arafat. This was done for receiving worshipers the following morning, which coincides with Eid Al-Adha.
In June this year, Saudi Arabia’s General Presidency for the 2 Holy Mosques, Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, announced the traditional change so that the annual event would prevail on the eve of Muharram 1, the first day within the Hijri calendar.
President of the 2 Holy Mosques said the change supported a royal decision.
The changing of the Kiswa this morning was administrated by a team of 200 Saudi technicians from the King Abdulaziz Complex for Manufacturing the Kaaba’s Kiswa under Sheikh Sudais.
The SPA described the method: “The new Kiswa consisted of 4 separate sides, and also the door curtain was installed. Each of the four sides of the Kaaba was raised separately to the highest of the Kaaba in preparation for it’s unfolding on the old side and fixing the side from above by tying it down and dropping the opposite end after the ropes of the senior side were loosened.”
“By moving the new side up and down during a permanent movement, then the old side fell from below and also the new side remained, and also the process was repeated fourfold for every side until the dress was completed, then the belt was weighed in a line to the four sides by stitching it.”
The fabric is sewn into five distinct parts and stuck to the bottom with copper rings. About 670 kilograms of raw silk is dyed black within the complex. The Kiswah is decorated with Quranic verses embroidered onto cloth with 120 kilograms of 21-carat gold thread and 100 kilograms of silver thread. The value of creating the new 850-kilogram Kiswa is estimated at SR25 million, or more than $6.5 million. That produces the most expensive cover in the world.