The First to Cover the Kaaba
The Kaaba Kiswa is a way of sanctifying and respecting the Kaaba, and the first to cover it was the Yemeni King of Himyar, as he dreamt that he was covering the Kaaba and decided to do so in real life. Afterwards, people began offering the Kaaba different covers as gifts, so they would sew them together and divide the extra fabric. Anybody could cover the Kaaba without assignment. The Prophet PBUH covered it with Yemeni fabric, and it was also covered in Al-Kabati by Omar and Othman.
The Saudi Kiswa
Work on the Kaaba Kiswa continued in the Umayyad, Abbasid, Mamluk, and Ottoman periods. During the Saudi period, the Kiswa was Egyptian-made until the late King Abdulaziz issued orders to manufacture the Kiswa in Makkah in the beginning of 1346 AH. The Kingdom found the necessary components for making the Kiswa by bringing in craftsmen and importing the highest quality silk, which is dyed black due to its luxurious nature and durability.
The King Abdulaziz Complex for Kaaba Kiswa
The Kiswa factory was established in 1397 AH, and it includes several divisions specializing in dyeing, weaving, embroidery, and assembly. The Kiswa passes through several stages, starting with testing the quality of the silk in a lab prior to the dyeing process. It is then weaved manually and automatically, then printed and embroidered before finally being assembled. This factory employs nearly 200 craftsmen as well as the management, and staff are offered private housing, which is one of the several facilities available in the complex.
Visiting the Kaaba Kiswa Factory
If you’ve ever dreamt of kissing the Kaaba, then it’s time to touch its Kiswa and learn about how it’s made by booking a visit to the Kaaba Kiswa Factory. Individual visits are not allowed, so you can ask the Mostachar at Shaza Makkah for assistance in joining a tour of the factory so you can see next year’s Kiswa while it’s being made by experienced Saudi professionals during the official visiting hours, which are Saturdays, Mondays, and Wednesdays from 9 am until 12 pm.