The Holy Kaaba is of simple construction, but is majestic in status. Over the centuries, Muslim rulers have approached the Kaaba with reverence and devotion. From the earliest times until the present era, adorning the Kaaba with the kiswa is an honored tradition.
The Kaaba was glorified by the Arabs in the period before the revelation of the Holy Qur’an. They built markets, held celebrations, and decorated the structure with leather wrappings and two golden deer statues. In more recent centuries, Muslim rulers have maintained their care of the Kaaba by allocating the proceeds of Islamic endowments to drape it with the most luxurious fabrics and textiles.
The Kaaba’s grandeur and splendor is enhanced by the kiswa, which is today made of silk and decorated with gold and silver. The first kiswa of the Kaaba was made of Egyptian white linen, then red, green and finally black fine silk brocade. The Kaaba is also adorned by an engraved spout, which channels rainwater from the roof. Inside the Kaaba are collections of antiques that have been given as gifts, such as jugs and candlesticks made of gold, pure silver, copper and glass. Musk, incense and amber are used to perfume the kiswa.