Experts question authenticity of kiswa piece being sold at SR8 million


Saudi Gazette report

MAKKAH — Experts have questioned the authenticity of a piece of the kiswa, the black cloth covering that adorns the holy Kaaba, that was offered for sale as an artifact.

The broker who offered the piece for sale valued it at SR8 million, claiming that it belonged to the famous Al-Shaibi family, the traditional keepers of the Holy Kaaba.

The broker claimed that he had an official permit from Makkah Municipality to sell the piece.

However, Abdulmalik Al-Shaibi, an elder of the Al-Shaibi family, said the kiswa piece in question did not belong to the family.

“Many people produce counterfeit pieces of the kiswa in India and Egypt and offer them for sale while claiming they belonged to us to gain the buyers’ trust. The original kiswa belongs to the government and is stored in special warehouses,” said Al-Shaibi.

Mohammad Bajouda, general manager of the Kiswa Factory in Makkah, said the factory’s job was to manufacture the new kiswa.

“Every year, the Kaaba is adorned with a new kiswa. The factory is responsible for manufacturing the new kiswa. When the kiswa is changed, the old covering is handed to specialized committees for safe storage. Every time the Kaaba cover is changed, many ads appear offering the pieces of the old kiswa for sale to artifact collectors,” said Bajouda.

The ad offering a piece of the kiswa for SR8 million was posted on a website, but the website pulled it down after Makkah newspaper called the contact number given in the ad. The man who responded to the call claimed that he was hired as a broker by an important person to sell multiple artifacts.