Tradition of Changing the Kiswah (Ghilaf-e- Kaaba)
The Holy Kaaba, located in Makkah, holds immense religious significance for Muslims around the world. One of the annual traditions associated with the Kaaba is the changing of the Kiswah, the elaborate covering that adorns the sacred structure. This ceremonial event takes place on the first day of Muharram, marking the beginning of the Islamic New Year. In this article, we will delve into the history, significance, and the intricate process involved in changing the Kiswah.
The Holy Kaaba, the focal point of the Masjid al-Haram, is a symbol of unity and devotion for Muslims worldwide. Each year, the Kiswah, the black cloth covering the Kaaba, is replaced with a new one as part of a time-honored tradition. This ceremonial act holds immense spiritual significance and attracts the attention of millions of Muslims globally.
The Significance of Changing the Kiswah
The changing of the Kiswah signifies the start of the new Islamic year. It symbolizes the continuity of faith, the passing of time, and the renewal of devotion to Allah. The process reflects the reverence and importance attached to the Holy Kaaba as the focal point of Islamic worship.
The tradition of changing the Kiswah dates back centuries and has its roots in the early days of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions were known to renew the Kiswah periodically. Over time, this practice became an integral part of Islamic culture and tradition.
Shifting of the Timing
In recent years, there has been a significant change in the timing of the Kiswah change. Previously, it used to coincide with the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah, known as the Day of Arafat when pilgrims gather in the plain of Arafat as part of the Hajj pilgrimage. However, since last year, the management of the Kiswah factory made the decision to shift the change to the 1st of Muharram.
The primary reason behind this shift was to ensure that the process of changing the Kiswah did not disrupt the activities of the pilgrims during the Hajj season. By moving the date to the beginning of the Islamic year, the number of visitors to the Masjid al-Haram is relatively lower, providing a more convenient and efficient environment for the task.
The Process of Changing the Kiswah
Changing the Kiswah is a meticulous process that involves various steps and requires skilled artisans. The existing Kiswah is carefully removed, and the Kaaba is cleansed before the new Kiswah is draped. The new cloth, made from high-quality black silk, is intricately embroidered with golden and silver threads, creating exquisite patterns and calligraphic inscriptions.
A team of skilled craftsmen works tirelessly to ensure the Kiswah reflects the grandeur and reverence befitting the Holy Kaaba. The process is carried out with great precision, attention to detail, and adherence to traditional techniques, ensuring the preservation of the historical and cultural significance of the Kiswah.
The Kiswah Factory: Creating the Kaaba Cover
The production of the Kiswah is meticulously executed at the Kiswah factory, a renowned institution responsible for crafting the Kaaba cover. The factory employs a team of skilled artisans, weavers, and calligraphers who dedicate their expertise to create the magnificent Kiswah.
The production of the Kaaba cover requires approximately 670 kg of silk, which forms the base material of the Kiswah. In addition to silk, around 120 kg of gold and 100 kg of silver are utilized for the intricate embellishments, including ornate Quranic verses and geometric patterns that adorn the Kiswah.
Training for Kiswah Change
To ensure the continuity of this esteemed tradition, the Kiswah factory provides technical training to a select group of individuals. These individuals undergo a comprehensive program to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge required to handle the delicate process of changing the Kiswah. By training new artisans, the factory ensures the preservation of this time-honored practice for generations to come.
The annual changing of the Kiswah is a significant event in the Islamic calendar and a testament to the devotion and reverence Muslims hold for the Holy Kaaba. This tradition, steeped in history and cultural significance, symbolizes the renewal of faith and the start of a new Islamic year. The meticulous process of creating and changing the Kiswah reflects the dedication and craftsmanship involved in preserving the sanctity of this sacred site.