Hajj 2013: Ka’aba cover handed over to Holy Mosque gatekeeper

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Every year during the hajj season, the Kiswa, or cover, of the Holy Ka’aba, is presented to the senior gatekeeper.

On Monday, Sheikh Abdulrahman al-Sudais, the imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, handed over the Kiswa to Abdul Qader al-Shaibi, the head key-bearer of the Ka’aba, as per the yearly traditions.

The Kiswa covers the Ka’aba for the duration of the pilgrimage season, which has begun this month.

The Shaibi family has been honored with gatekeeping the Holy Ka’aba for generations, and entrusted with the keys to its gates.

In 1927, Saudi King Abdul Aziz ordered the establishment of a factory dedicated to manufacturing the Kiswa in Makkah. This factory has witnessed a series of upgrades in order for the Kiswa to be of the best quality and shape.

The Kiswa weighs approximately 670 kilograms and is made of pure silk dyed in black and padded with white cotton fabric.

The Kiswa is embroidered in Quranic verses, all made with threads of pure gold.

As part of the hajj pilgrimage, pilgrims circle the Ka’aba, at the center of the Holy Mosque. Muslims venerate the Ka’aba as they believe it was first built to worship Allah, the One God.