MAKKAH: Beginning of Hajj season 2017 was formally announced in the Holy City following the annual custom of raising of Kiswa-e-Ka’aba. In an annual ritual, lower part of the Ka’aba garment (Kiswa) was raised and the lower exposed part of ka’aba was covered with a white cotton cloth on all four sides.
Saudi media and officials said that the Kiswa or Ghilaf e Ka’aba is raised every year, as a precautionary measure, just before the Hajj season begins. According to Dr.Mohammed Bajouda, Director, King Abdul Aziz Complex of Ka’ba, ”Most of the pilgrims try to touch the Kiswa during their circumbulation and when lakhs of pilgrims do so, the Kiswa gets damaged. Therefore as a precautionary measure the cover is raised.”
Although such custom is just a precautionary measure, it also signals the beginning of Hajj season every year. Previously, Kiswa was raised on every 1st Dhu-Al Hijjah, but now as the sufficient number of pilgrims arrive quite early, this ceremony is performed in Dhu Al Qidah.
Dr.Bajouda said that financial conditions of Muslims all over the world has improved as against the past. Moreover, faster means of transport are also available today. This has increased the number of Hajj pilgrims. He also said that now, more than 2.5 million Hajis perform Hajj every year. This has necessitated the raising of Kiswa earlier.
Sources said that the height of Ka’ba is 14 meters. ‘Kiswa’ is raised up to 3 meters from the ground or Mat’aaf. The remaining 11 meters of upper side of Ka’aba remains covered by Kiswa for the entire Hajj season. The ‘Kiswa’ remains raised upto 12th Moharrum, when official Hajj season comes to an end. Thus when the Kiswa is lowered, this also signals the end of the Hajj season.
It is pointed out that Kiswa is changed every year. The annual changing ceremony of ‘Kiswa’ or ‘Ghelaf e Ka’ba’ is performed on every 9th of Dhu Al Hijjah, the day of Arafah during the Hajj season.