Door of the Kabah

The door of the Kabah (باب الكعبة), also known as the Bait ul-Allah is located in the eastern wall. The Kabah, according to tradition, is believed to have been built by prophet Ibrahim. It is said that back then Ka'bah didn't have any door, only a portal in the eastern wall to enter and exit the Bait ul-Allah. It is believed that first time a door was installed was in circa 350 CE and the first person to build a door for al-Kaaba was King Tubba (d. 430 CE), long before Prophet Mohammed, according to historians and what Ibn Hisham said in his biography.

What confirms this is an account by al-Arzaqi (d. 837 CE) mentioned in Kitab Akhbar Makkah (Book of Reports about Mecca) 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, circa 684 CE (64 Hj.).

circa 1630 CE

The oldest known and datable door of Kabah was installed during the reign of Sultan Murad IV. The work on this door of the Kaaba began in October 1629 CE and was completed in March 1630 CE (1040 Hj.). The same door survived in the eastern wall (inspect) for more than 300 hundred years, until 1947 when King Abdul Aziz ordered the manufacturing of a new door. Manufatured by the master Egyptian craftsmen, it was decorated with geometric shapes plated with 166 pound of silver and the rest was coated with Benedict gold, which is suitable for creative designs. It is now part of the Roads of Arabia exhibition (loaned by the National Museum in Riyadh) at Louvre Museum, Abu Dhabi.

circa 1950 CE

The first door was installed during the reign of King Abdul Aziz, which was made of aluminum supported with bars of iron and covered with plates of silver plated with gold, however, the lock used dated back to 1891. It is noteworthy that during the Saudi era, the Kaaba door was changed twice, once during the first Saudi expansion and once during the Second Saudi expansion of Masjid al-Haram. This particular door of Bait ul-Allah, served for about thiry years only, and is now housed in the Exhibition of the Haramain's Architecture.

circa 1978 CE

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. This door was intalled on October 13, 1979 and still exists to date. The door, introduced by late King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, is considered one of the world’s largest gold masses as it contains 280 kilograms of pure gold.

circa 2019 CE

A richly decorated curtain (ستارة الكعبة) covers the door of the Ka'bah, it is the part of the Kiswa (كسوة الكعبة, overall covering of Bait ul-Allah). It is changed each year in a drapping ceremony on the 9th day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, the day pilgrims leave for the plains of Mount Arafat during the Hajj. The Sitar al-Kabah is adorned with a large number of Quranic verses and dedicatory inscriptions. Recently, one such curtain was gifted to the United Nations, and was subsequently hung in the Indonesian Hall.

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