Coronavirus: Mecca authorities lift lower part of Kaaba’s kiswa cover ahead of Hajj

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Mecca authorities have lifted the lower part of the Kaaba’s Kiswa covering as the Muslim world marks the new Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage being held this year in a limited capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The process of lifting the lower part of the kiswa covering was done during the first minutes of the Dhu al-Hajjah month marked on Wednesday. The process is usually done days ahead of the Hajj before pilgrims make their way to the Holy sites to begin their pilgrimage.

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More than fifty men from the King Abdul Aziz Complex for the Kaaba were accompanied by the General President for the Holy Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, on Wednesday to change the lower part of the covering of the Kaaba.

Every year, the gatekeepers of the Kaaba carry a delicate and precise task to change the silky black cloth embroidered with gold draped that makes up the Kiswa over the holy structure.

The process of changing the Kiswa will take place 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.

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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.

Authorities in Mecca have set several health and safety guidelines in preparation for the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage being held in a limited capacity this year given the coronavirus pandemic, according to Al Arabiya sources.

Saudi Arabia will allow limited Hajj pilgrimage this year due to the continued risk of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Authorities confirmed they have limited the number of pilgrims on this year’s Hajj to 10,000 in line with safety concerns over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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