Exploring the intricate details that make Islam’s Holy Kaaba

It is historically known that Islamic caliphs and kings have contested to hand-out various extravaganza gifts to decorate the Kaaba

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It is historically known that Islamic caliphs and kings have contested to hand-out various extravaganza gifts to decorate the Kaaba – the House of God – such as the doors, the black covering known as “kiswah”, the frame surrounding the black stone, to name but a few that decorates Muslims’ most sacred place.

Muhyiddin al-Hashemi, a researcher specialized in the affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, explained the details behind these ornaments which also includes more than 100 hanging lanterns beside a piece of marble stored inside the Kaaba with the name of Caliphate “Abu Jaafar al Mansour” engraved on it.

The holy shrine was modified and rebuilt during his reign.

Muslim pilgrims touch the golden door of the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Millions of pilgrims have arrived to Mecca ahead of the Hajj annual pilgrimage which begins Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (AP)
Muslim pilgrims touch the golden door of the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Millions of pilgrims have arrived to Mecca ahead of the Hajj annual pilgrimage which begins Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (AP)

Since the Prophet Abraham built the Kaaba, it used to have only two entrances. The shrine today has only one door that has been modified on regular basis ever since. King Tuba was the first to drape a cloth cover over the shrine, introducing what will later be renowned as the “Kiswah”, in addition to building more doors and introducing locks.

The doors have been altered occasionally; the latest was during the reign of the late Saudi King Khalid.

THUMBNAIL75x50_Hajj police help man with special needs kiss Kaaba’s black stone
THUMBNAIL75x50_Hajj police help man with special needs kiss Kaaba’s black stone



Sultan Abdul Majid crafted a frame from pure gold, the first in the history of the holy shrine. The collar decorated the Black Stone for 13 years but was then replaced by a silver made during the era of Sultan Abdul Aziz Khan. The last frame was personally fitted by the late King Saud, then renovated by the late King Fahad.

ميزاب الكعبة
ميزاب الكعبة

One of the most beautiful of the Kaaba’s features is the gold-made gutter – a sewage system to discharge rain water from the attic. It was initially assembled by the Quraish tribe when they rebuilt the shrine after being flattened by floods and fire.

The recent gutter was handcrafted from pure gold at the behest of the late King Fahd.

kaaba al arabiya
kaaba al arabiya



Known as “shazrawan”, the marble columns surrounding the shrine from three directions was first built by Abdullah bin al Zubair as a shield from flooding and to safeguard the “Kiswah.”

كسوة الكعبة المشرفة
كسوة الكعبة المشرفة



Muslim leaders and kings have contested to contribute to the yearly “Kiswah” following the prophet’s steps who covered the holy shrine by Yemeni cloth after he entered Mecca.

The Abbasid Caliphs established the practice of writing names of the Caliphs, the dates, and the producing country of the Kiswah, which is made from silk and gold plated thread.

Since the Othman Empire, the “Kiswah” was manufactured in Egypt, this tradition continued until 1345 AH, when its production was moved to Saudi Arabia.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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