Sheikh Abdul Qadir Bin Taha Al-Shaibi, the current keeper of the House of Allah, with Okaz/Saudi Gazette reporter Manal Al-Sharif. — Okaz photos
JEDDAH – The Shaibi family continues to honor the tradition of the Prophet (peace be upon him), by handing down the position of gatekeeper of the Ka’ba to its oldest member.
Okaz/Saudi Gazette recently met with Sheikh Abdul Qadir Bin Taha Bin Abdullah Al-Shaibi, the current keeper of the House of Allah who is responsible for opening and closing the Ka’ba gate and washing it.
When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) entered the Ka’ba after conquering Makkah, he smashed all the idols inside it, washed it, closed its gate and then called Othman Bin Talha and Shaibah, Othman’s cousin, and gave them the keys saying, “These keys will remain with you until the Day of Judgment.”
Who should hold the
“The keys should be held by the oldest family member,” Al-Shaibi said. “The keys are not passed down by inheritance. They might go to my cousin. Only age determines who will hold the keys. Since I’m the oldest member in the family, I have the keys.”
“The Ka’ba gatekeeper is the only one responsible for its affairs. It is a huge honor that no one can take from us because it was bestowed upon us by the order of Allah the Almighty.”
The Ka’ba is washed two times a year, first on Muharram 15 and the second time at the start of Sha’aban, Al-Shaibi said. “The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques or Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah, with senior guests, attend the ceremony.”
Ka’ba from the inside
Al-Shaibi said the Ka’ba has “a floor of white marble and half of its walls are in marble too. Inside, there is a green covering, gold, jewelry, and the Taubah door, which is made of gold and which leads to the roof of the Ka’ba. There is also a dark tile which shows the spot where Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used to put his head when prostrating. There are lamps made of copper and silver and glass on which Qur’anic verses are engraved dating back to the Ottoman era.”
History of the covering (Kiswa)
Al-Shaibi said that the Ka’ba’s covering was initially made in Egypt but when King Abdul Aziz unified the Kingdom, he built a factory to make the Kiswa based on a suggestion from Abdul Rahman Al-Ansari.
House of gatekeeper
The Ka’ba gatekeeper used to stay in a house on Al-Safa Mountain near the Grand Mosque. But this house was demolished during the expansion of the Grand Mosque and a new house built in Al-Aziziyah, which is far from the Ka’ba, Al-Shaibi added.
“This year I rented a room in a hotel near the Grand Mosque to be close to the Ka’ba and to oversee the washing process. I hope that the Ka’ba gatekeeper will be given a place near the Ka’ba, as previously done. We are used to staying near the Ka’ba and don’t want to be too far from it.”