Man tries to sell fake piece of Kaaba cloth

Authorities deny authenticity of the ad claiming the cloth belonged to the prominent Al Sheebi family

Manama: A broker is asking for SR 8 million to sell a piece of cloth he claims comes from the Kiswah—the embroidered black and gold cloth covering the Kaaba.

The broker did not say who was selling the piece of cloth, but added that it was old and belonged to Al Sheebi, the family looking after the Kaaba since pre-Islam times.

He insisted that the rare item was authentic and that he had an official licence from the Emirate of Makkah Province to sell it.

However, Abdul Malik Al Sheebi, a senior caretaker of the Kaaba, denied the claim and said that his family did not own a piece of the Kiswah, the silk and cotton cloth, Saudi daily Makkah reported on Sunday.

“Many people claim they have an authentic piece of the Kiswah and use my family’s name to gain the trust and confidence of those willing to buy it,” he said. “However, the pieces they put out for sale are often imitations made in India or Egypt. The original Kiswah belongs to the state and is preserved in special stores.”

Sultan Al Dossari, a spokesperson for the Emirate of Makkah, said they did not grant licences or permits to sell any part of the Kiswah.

The daily said that the ad posted by the broker was deleted after reporters contacted him.

Mohammad Bajuda, the manager of the Kiswah factory in Makkah, said their task was to produce the new cloth draping the Kaaba and that they hand over the old Kiswah to the competent committee for safeguarding.

“Unfortunately, there is a surge in the number of ads offering pieces of cloth that are imitations of the Kiswah,” he said.

Imitations of the Kiswah could be found mainly in Egypt, Turkey, Britain and France, the daily added.

According to Bajuda, 210 people worked in the factory for eight months to produce the Kiswah annually.

Before the factory was opened in 1927, the Kiswah was made in Egypt and materials were bought from Sudan, India, Egypt and Iraq.

Today the 658-square-meter covering is made of 670 kg of high-quality silk imported from Italy and Switzerland and 120 kg of pure gold and silver.

The role of Al Sheebi family in looking after the Kaaba was confirmed by Prophet Mohammad, Peace Be Upon Him, who left the key to the Kaaba with the family and stressed that no-one had the right to take it away from them.

According to the family rules, the eldest member is in charge of keeping and safeguarding the key.

The Kaaba is locate din the Grand Mosque of Makkah—the holiest site in Islam.

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