MAKKAH/JEDDAH: The head gatekeeper of the Ka’ba, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Shaibi, died Sunday morning and was buried in the afternoon, hours before he was to be handed the new Ka’ba cover from the President of the Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque Affairs. He was 82.
Every year the Kiswa is replaced with a new one on the day of Arafat Standing, which this year is on Nov. 15. Al-Shaibi had been the key-bearer for 18 years, after succeeding Sheikh Asem Al-Shaibi. The family has had this job for 15 centuries. Al-Shaibi died in a private hospital. He had been in a wheelchair for years.
Before his retirement, he held the position of Director General of Religious Affairs and Mosques in Makkah at the Ministry of Haj. He had four sons: Talal, Hashem, Marwan and Nizar. Brother of the deceased, Abdul Qader Al-Shaibi, who is now the key-bearer of the Ka’ba, said his brother’s death was painful for him, and “the pain gets harder when I open the Ka’ba’s door and memories come to me, but it is Allah’s will”. A number of Makkah residents expressed their sorrow at losing Al-Shaibi. Among the comments made was that Makkah has lost a “good son” and a “pious sheikh” and “our hearts are full of pain and our souls sad”.
– Okaz/Saudi Gazette