Since Abraham built al-Ka’ba and called for Hajj 5,000 years ago, its doors have been of interest to kings and rulers throughout the history of Mecca.
Historians say that when it was first built, the Kaaba had no door or roof and was simply made of walls. The first person to build a door for al-Kaaba was King Tubba, long before Prophet Mohammed, according to historians and what Ibn Hisham said in his biography.
What confirms this is what al-Arzaqi mentioned in Kitab Akhbar Makka (Book of Reports about Makka) about Ibn Jarir al-Tabari saying: “It was claimed that Tubba was the first to cover al-Kaaba, and that he instructed the leaders of Jurhum tribe to maintain its purgation and make a door and a key for it.”
The door made by Tubba, which was made of wood, remained in place throughout the pre-Islamic era and the early Islamic era. It was not changed till Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr made an 11-arms-long door.
The door’s changes
Historians say that after changing the door in the year 64 AH, and as it corroded throughout the time and during the era of Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, the door was remade into its original height of six arms.
In 1045 AH, the door was changed again. Silver ornaments that weigh up to 200 pounds were added and the door was painted with gold. This was done in the era of Murad IV. It was the first door to have silver and gold in it and it remained that way until the year 1356 AH.
Tours around the world
The oldest Ka’ba door is one of the Kingdom’s masterpieces that tours the world as historical and archaeological pieces, as the Saudi General Authority for Tourism and National Heritage works on introducing Saudi Arabia’s history and civilization to the world.
The door is now in the Louvre Museum, Abu Dhabi, as one of the rare pieces. The door dates back to 1045 AH, and it is the fourth door for al-Kaaba after the doors of Tubba, Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, and Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf.
The door was divided into two parts with geometrical decorations on it. Special type of metal plates of high quality and resistance to climates were used in manufacturing the door; which is the reason of the durability for more than 300 years on al-Kaaba’s Eastern wall.
Doors in the Saudi era
Three centuries later, founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz al-Saud, got a new door made in 1363 AH, from his own money, after he was informed that the door had started to shake. This is mentioned in one of the historical documents of King Abdulaziz publishing house.
It took three years to build this door, which had a metal base, with two wooden shutters fixed on its surface. It was decorated with silver and copper and plated with gold.
The last door
The current door was ordered by King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz to be made of gold by jeweler Ahmed bin Ibrahim Badr.
The amount of gold used in the doors is about 280 kg with quality of 99.99. Its total cost was 13 million 420 thousand Saudi riyals, excluding the gold.
Its manufacturing started in 1398 AH and took 12 months.