Facts on this aspect of the Ka’bah
The curtain drape of the Ka’bah is called Kiswah.
The 1st to adorn use a Kiswah could have been Ismail alaihis salaam, Adnaan (one of the forefathers of the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) or Asad Himyari (a governor of Yemen).
One historian says that Asad Himyari covered the Ka’bah with leather when shown this in a dream. He was then shown that he should cover it with a red-striped Yamaani cloth.
Before Islam, many people covered the Ka’bah with thick cloth, thin cloth from Ma’afir, fine cloth and cloth interwoven with gold thread. The cloths would be placed one on top of the other until they became too heavy or wore out. Then they would be removed and shared or buried.
The first Arab woman to cover the Ka’bah with silk and brocade was Nubailah, mother of Abbaas radhiallahu anhu, uncle of the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.
Prior to Islam, people would slaughter animals and place the skins on the Ka’bah walls.
The Prophet sallallahu alaihiu wa sallam didn’t change the Kiswah after the Conquest of Makkah until a lady burnt it when perfuming it with incence. He had it covered with Yamaani cloth and the first 3 Khalifas used Qibaati (thin white cloth from Egypt).
Black cloth was favoured by the Abbaasi rulers and is used till today.
In 777 CE the layers of cloth were removed and only one was used, a tradition till today.
The external Kiswah is changed on 9th Zul Hijjah and the internal one every 3-5 years.
The Kiswah used to be made in Egypt, Yemen or Istanbul. Since 1977 it has been made at a factory in Makkah with the internal Kiswah and the curtain used to cover the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam’s grave. It takes a year to make and since 1999 5 German machines make it. Before this it was hand-woven.Z
From: Umm al-Qura, Bilal bin Ahmad

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