Rumi’s Garden, founded as an online Islamic store, has been blessed to carry the Kiswah from the Holy Kaaba and the Holy Chamber of the Prophet ﷺ (Kiswah al-Saadat). It has been our aim, with the support of various Islamic scholars and collectors, to make the Kiswah available to as many potential caretakers as possible for safekeeping and in order to spread the barakah of these beautiful relics to communities all around the world.
For us, what is most important, is that people remember God - whether it be through these blessed relics or in any other way. For one person to mention the salawat upon looking at one of the blessed Kiswahs we offer, makes all our efforts worthwhile.
That said, we have found that there are many misconceptions about the blessed Kiswah. While many recognise the inherent barakah in it - bestowed by God - many questions arise concerning the history, its powers, its symbolism, how it is made and how to verify its authenticity.
Rumi's Garden partially donates Kiswahs and qandeels to The Virtues Tour in the UK.
Before delving into the above mentioned issues, let us define the term ‘Kiswah’. In Arabic kiswah means ‘a cloth made for covering’. The term now mainly applies to the silk textiles which cover the four walls of the Holy Ka’aba from top to bottom, although it can be commonly used to describe the Kiswah al-Saadat, which is the curtain inside the Holy Chamber of the Prophet in the Masjid an-Nabawi and the covering inside the Holy Ka’aba itself.
In a series of articles we will aim to cover various issues concerning the blessed Kiswah. Our starting point will be about the fascinating, and sometimes obscure, history of the Blessed Ka’aba kiswah.
16 Facts You Never Knew About the Holy Ka’aba Kiswah
- The covering of the Holy Ka’aba with a Kiswah predates Islam. It began with a ruler from Yemen, named Karb Ibn Asad, who while passing by Mecca with his army, brought along a huge woven textile which he presented to the caretakers of the Holy Ka’aba. During these early days, different tribes of Mecca would take turns to bring forth the larger covering of the Holy Kaaba. Various tribal leaders would also contribute to the Kiswah by using small cloth pieces to cover the walls of the sanctuary.
- During the reign of Umar ibn al-Khattab, once the Hajj pilgrimage was over, the blessed Kiswah was cut and distributed to pilgrims. The reason for this was threefold: 1. The pilgrims used the blessed Kiswah as shelter against the scorching heat of Mecca 2. It was given as a keepsake to remember their pilgrimage 3. It was given for its blessings (barakah); a barakah transferred by God, upon the cloth covering, because of its placement on one of the first sanctuary in the world initially built by Prophet Adam and then Prophet Ibrahim. For Adam, God had ordered him to build a holy site in the shape of a House in Heaven called Baitul Ma’amur; This is the heavenly house that contains the divine throne in which the angels circumambulate. This ritual, of the angels, is reenacted by pilgrims during the Hajj and symbolizes the pilgrims entry into the divine presence. As Muslims, we believe that Adam's Kaaba was destroyed by the neglect of believers and the flood, and according to the Quran (2:127) Abraham and his son, Ismail, rebuilt the holy house.
1 x 1 meter unwashed Holy Ka'aba Kiswah sold at Rumi's Garden. A 0% interest installment plan is available if you use 'Put It On Lay-Buy' on checkout.
- The grandmother of Prophet Mohammed ﷺ had once offered a white Kiswah to cover the Holy Ka’aba. Prophet Mohammed ﷺ used Kiswah made of Yemeni cloth and the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ and Caliphs, Umar ibn al-Khattab and Uthman ibn Affan would cover the Holy Ka’aba with an Egyptian white cloth called Qubati. Haroon Al-Rasheed used a white blessed Kiswah as well.
- Throughout history, the blessed Kiswah of the Holy Ka’aba was changed during different dates depending on the reigns of different Caliphs and Sultans.Originally, it was replaced on the10th of Muharram, but this was shifted to 10th of Dhul Hijjah. Muawiyah I, the companion of the Prophet ﷺ and fifth caliph, replaced the covering of the Holy Ka’aba both on 10th Muharram and on on Eid ul-Fitr.
- There were seven historical occasions in which the structure of the Holy Ka’aba was about to collapse because of the exaggerated weight of the blessed Kiswah piled upon it.
Holy Ka'aba Kiswah pendant available at Rumi's Garden
- The Holy Ka’aba covers came in different colors during different periods of Islam. The 34th Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad, Caliph Al-Nasir li-Din Allah (reign from 1180-1225), first had the Holy Ka’aba covered with a green Kiswah, but later changed the it to a black covering starting in 1224. This is the starting date of the long tradition of the black blessed Kiswah.
- In the Ottoman period, black covers were created with inscriptions, whereas the inner walls of the Holy Ka’aba had red curtains.
- When Ottoman Sultan Selim I (reigned from 1512 to 1520) became responsible for the Haramayn, the covers of the Holy Ka’aba were woven in Egypt and many well funded foundations were established. This tradition continued until the reign of Sultan Ahmet I.
- To show respect towards the Holy Ka’aba, Sultan Ahmet I (reigned from 1603-1617) ordered that the covers be woven in Istanbul. He was so enamoured by the Holy Ka’aba that we wanted to rebuild it out of gold and silver bricks! However, the Grand Mufti of the time spoke up and said that God would have made the Ka’aba out of Beryl (an extremely rare stone), if He so willed. This stopped the Sultan from implementing his idea.
Holy Ka'aba Belt available for purchase at Rumi's Garden. A 0% interest installment plan is available if you use 'Put It On Lay-Buy' on checkout.
- Historically, the Kiswah of the Holy Ka’aba would come from Baghdad, Cairo, Istanbul and Yemen depending on whose political influence was greater in Mecca. The making of the Kiswah was one of the greatest honors bestowed on any leader and region. Creating and beautifying the Kiswah was not only done out of religious piety but also had beneficial political repercussions for the region making it. For the most part, even in the early days, Egypt most often had the honor of making the blessed Kiswah.
- After Egypt left the Ottoman Empire, in the time of Mohammed Ali Pasha (reined from 1805 – 1848), he made the making of the blessed Ka’aba Kiswah a state responsibility. The Kiswa was brought by annual caravan from Cairo to Mecca and was received with an elaborate festival.
- With Turkey’s involvement in World War I, there was uncertainty that it would be possible to bring the Kiswa from Egypt to Mecca. Turkey, therefore organised the making of grand Kiswa from Istanbul and via the Hijaz Railway it was sent to Medina. However, the Kiswah from Egypt reached Mecca on time, and the Istanbul Kiswa was left in Medina.
A 15 x 15 cm or 7.5 x 7.5 cm Holy Ka'aba Kiswah is available for purchase at an affordable price at Rumi's Garden. A 0% interest installment plan is available if you use 'Put It On Lay-Buy' on checkout.
- In 1923, the relationship between the Sheriff of Mecca and Egypt was fractured and Egypt called back the Kiswah that was made for the Holy Ka’aba although it had reached Jeddah at the time. In haste, the Istanbul Kiswa lying that was left in Medina previously was used. This incident and other from following year, had Ibn Saud use Kiswahs made in Iraq for the Holy Ka’aba.
- In 1926, a factory was set up in Mecca by King Abdul Aziz to make Kiswah in Mecca. One hundred craftsmen were contracted from India and it took a whole year to weave the cloth on wooden handlooms and to make the beautiful golden calligraphy. In 1937 the factory was closed.
- In 1962, the factory was reopened and continued to develop into ‘The Kiswah Factory’ that we know today. The Kiswah Factory uses the best of silks and the most advanced machinery to create the blessed Kiswah and its craftsmen and embroiderers are second to none.
Samadiyya from the Holy Ka'aba available at Rumi's Garden. A 0% interest installment plan is available if you use 'Put It On Lay-Buy' on checkout.
The history of the Holy Ka'aba is a fascinating one. However, more importantly, the symbolism and meaning behind the veiled Ka'aba is what each of us as seekers aim to understand. It is the key to our whole spiritual life. As Nifari writes:
'Once you have seen me, unveiling and the veil will be equal. You will not stand in vision until you see my veil as vision and my vision as veil. There is a veil that is not unveiled, and an unveiling that is not veiled. The veil that is not unveiled is knowledge through me, and the unveiling that is not veiled is knowledge through me. No veil remains: Then I saw all the eyes gazing at his face, staring. They see him in everything through which he veils himself. He said to me: They see me, and I veil them through their vision of me from me.’