• Kaaba Door

    The Kaaba door is situated on the northeastern side of the Kaaba, just over 2 metres above the ground. Made of gold and silver, it is typically kept locked and opened three times a year to wash its interior. It is adorned with Quranic inscriptions.

    Description

    The door of the Holy Kaaba is situated on its northeastern side, 2.22 metres above the ground. It measures 3.18 metres in length, 1.71 metres in width, and has a depth of around half a metre.

    History

    Originally, when Prophet Ibrahim S constructed the Kaabah, its entrances were at ground level. Pilgrims would enter through the eastern opening and exit through the western opening. There were no doors during this period.

    The exact time and the identity of the individual responsible for the first door installation are subject to differing accounts among narrators.

    One prevalent belief suggests that Tubba III (Abu Karib), a pre-Islamic king of the Himyarite Kingdom (modern-day Yemen), was among the first to construct a door for the Kaaba. Ibn Hisham, a 9th-century Muslim historian, cites Ibn Ishaq’s account, stating, “It is claimed Tubba is the first to cover the house, recommending its embellishment to his governors from Jurham, and ordering the construction of a door and key for it.” Similarly, al-Azraqi, in his work Akhbar Makkah, attributed to Ibn Jarir, mentioned Tubba as the first to fully close and cover the Kaaba, installing its inaugural door, which had not existed previously.

    Era of the Prophet ﷺ

    During the time of the Prophet ﷺ, when the Quraysh undertook the reconstruction of the Kaaba, they sealed off the western entrance and elevated the eastern entrance above ground level. This eastern entrance was equipped with a double door. The Prophet ﷺ explained the reasoning behind this:

    Your people did this so that they could control who enters and who is kept out. If your people were not recent converts to Islam, and if I didn’t fear it would cause unrest in their hearts, I would have certainly included this section of the wall within the House and lowered the door to ground level.
    [Narrated in Sahih Muslim]

    In another narration, the Prophet ﷺ told his wife Aisha J he would have built two doors had it been possible:

    O Aisha, if your people hadn’t recently abandoned Jahiliyyah, I would have ordered the demolition of the House and included what was left of it. I would have made its door level with the ground and added two doors, one in the east and one in the west. They built it too small. By doing this, it would have been built upon the foundation of Ibrahim, peace be upon him.
    [Narrated in Sunan al-Nas’ai]

    During the reign of Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr’s I, the Kaaba door measured eleven cubits (16.5 feet/5 metres) in length. However, under the rule of al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafi, its length was reduced to six cubits (9 feet/2.75 metres) and an additional arm’s length.

    Subsequent Years

    Throughout the centuries, the door of the Kaaba has undergone various transformations. These include:

    • A door crafted by Jamal al-Din Wazir in 550 AH (1155 CE) and installed in 551 AH (1156 CE). It bore inscriptions honouring Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtafi and featured elaborate ornamentation.
    • Sultan Al-Muzaffar of Yemen contributed to a door during his pilgrimage in 659 AH (1260 CE). It boasted silver plates weighing 60 pounds that belonged to the Bani Shayba.
    • A door was constructed by Mamluk Sultan Al-Nasir Hassan in 761 AH (1359 CE), crafted from teak wood. It was installed in the Kaaba after the removal of the previous door and adorned with 35,300 dirhams of silver. Its ornamentation was enhanced in 776 AH (1374 CE), featuring inscriptions honouring Sultan Al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qalawun, his grandson Al-Ashraf Sha’ban, and Sultan Al-Muayyad. Specialists adorned it further in 816 AH (1413 CE) with gold paint.

    Ottoman Era

    In 961 AH (1554 CE), Suleiman the Magnificent ordered the door to be plated with silver.

    Subsequently, in the year 964 AH (1556 CE), Sultan Suleiman commissioned the renovation of the Kaaba door. The door was renovated with panels of black myrtle wood and embellished with gold-plated silver. Inscribed with the Basmala and verses from the Quran, the new door was erected. Inscriptions of the Basmala and the following verse from the Quran were engraved upon it:

    وَقُل رَّبِّ أَدْخِلْنِى مُدْخَلَ صِدْقٍۢ وَأَخْرِجْنِى مُخْرَجَ صِدْقٍۢ وَٱجْعَل لِّى مِن لَّدُنكَ سُلْطَـٰنًۭا نَّصِيرًۭا
    Say, ‘My Lord, make me go in truthfully, and come out truthfully, and grant me supporting authority from You.’
    [Surah al Isra, 17:80]

    In the year 1045 AH (1635 CE), Ottoman Sultan Murad IV commissioned the replacement of the door, crafting it from silver adorned with 75 kilograms (166 pounds) of silver jewellery and plated with gold worth a thousand dinars. This door remained in place until 1356 AH (1937 CE).

    In 1119 AH (1707 CE), the Kaaba door was renovated. Upon examination, significant damage was discovered, prompting extensive repairs. The sides of the door were also painted with gold, and a message was inscribed upon it. This inscription attributed the renewal to Sultan Ahmed III.

    Saudi Era

    During the Saudi era, two doors were installed: the first during the reign of King Abdulaziz Al Saud in 1363 AH (1943 CE). and the second, currently in place, was commissioned by King Khalid bin Abdulaziz.

    The first door was crafted from aluminium, with a thickness of 2.5 centimetres and a height of 3.10 metres. Reinforced with iron bars for added support, the outer face of the door was adorned with panels of silver plated with gold. This masterpiece was meticulously crafted by a master goldsmith and intricately decorated with the Names of Allah.

    The second door was commissioned after King Khalid bin Abdulaziz prayed inside the Kaaba in the year 1397 AH (1977 CE) and observed signs of wear and tear on the existing door. Upon noticing scratches on its surface, he promptly issued directives for a new door to be crafted. This new door, known as al-Musharrifa (Arabic: المشرفة; “The Honoured”) and Bab al-Tawba (Arabic: باب التوبة; “The Door of Repentance”), is constructed from pure gold and serves as the entrance to the staircase leading to the roof of the Kaaba.

    The expenditure incurred for manufacturing both doors amounted to SAR 13.42 million, excluding the cost of gold. The latest door used approximately 280 kilograms of 999.9 karats of pure gold in its formation. The manufacturing process commenced on the first of Dhul Hijjah in 1398 AH (2 November 1978 CE) and lasted twelve months. A dedicated workshop was established to facilitate the craftsmanship required for this project.

    The Current Door

    The current door of the Holy Kaaba, commissioned by King Khalid and still in use today, has advanced technical features that ensure durability and functionality.

    Modern structural methods enhanced the door’s strength and quality, minimizing the need for maintenance. Specialized technicians designed the structural framework, considering decorative elements and environmental factors such as weather conditions and location, ensuring resilience against extreme heat and rain.

    Technical precautions were also implemented. A crossbar at the door’s base prevents rainwater from entering the Kaaba, while a specialized bar applies pressure to the door’s edge, ensuring a tight seal when closed.

    Unique decorative touches adorn the upper two corners of the door, with circles that frame the names of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. These verses from the Quran then follow:

    ٱدْخُلُوهَا بِسَلَـٰمٍ ءَامِنِينَ
    “Enter them in peace and safety!”
    [Surah al-Hijr; 15:46]

    وَقُل رَّبِّ أَدْخِلْنِى مُدْخَلَ صِدْقٍۢ وَأَخْرِجْنِى مُخْرَجَ صِدْقٍۢ وَٱجْعَل لِّى مِن لَّدُنكَ سُلْطَـٰنًۭا نَّصِيرًۭا
    Say, ‘My Lord, make me go in truthfully, and come out truthfully, and grant me supporting authority from You.’
    [Surah al-Isra, 17:80]

    كَتَبَ رَبُّكُمْ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ ٱلرَّحْمَةَ
    Your Lord has taken it on Himself to be merciful.
    [Surah al-An’am, 6:54]

    وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ٱدْعُونِىٓ أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ
    Your Lord says, ‘Call on Me and I will answer you.’
    [Surah Ghafir, 40:60]

    Following are two circular designs resembling shining suns. At their centre, within a circular frame, is inscribed the declaration of faith: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.” Beneath are two door handle rings, positioned above the lock.

    A space is left between the two rings and the lock, within which the following verse from the Quran is inscribed:

    قُلْ يَـٰعِبَادِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا۟ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا۟ مِن رَّحْمَةِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلْغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ
    Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”
    [Surah al-Zumar; 39:53]

    Underneath the lock are two circular elements prominently featured, in which Surah al-Fatiha is inscribed.

    Beneath these elements, the history of the door is chronicled. The following is written:

    صنع الباب السابق في عهد خادم الحرمين الشريفين الملك عبد العزيز بن عبد الرحمن آل سعود سنة 1363هـ
    The previous door was made during the reign of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud in the year 1363 AH.

    The following is then inscribed:

    صنع هذا الباب في عهد خادم الحرمين الشريفين الملك خالد بن عبد العزيز آل سعود سنة 1399هـ
    This door was made in the era of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in the year 1399 AH.

    These messages are also inscribed:

    تشرف بافتتاحه بعون الله تعالى الملك خالد بن عبد العزيز آل سعود في الثاني والعشرين من شهر ذي القعدة سنة 1399هـ
    With the help of God Almighty, King Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was honoured to inaugurate it on the twenty-second of the month of Dhul Qadah in the year 1399 AH

    صنعه أحمد إبراهيم بدر بمكة المكرمة، صممه منير الجندي، واضع الخط عبد الرحمن أمين
    Made by Ahmed Ibrahim Badr in Makkah. Designed by Munir Al-Jundi. Calligrapher Abdel-Rahman Amin.

    The sides of the door are artistically designed, incorporating prominent circular panels bearing the beautiful names of Allah, totalling fifteen in number. The following names of Allah are inscribed:

    يا واسع، يا مانع، يا نافع
    O All-Encompassing, O Preventer, O Benefactor.

    On the right side of the door, these names are present:

    يا عالم، يا عليم، يا حليم، يا عظيم، يا حكيم، يا رحيم
    O All-Knowing, O Most Knowing, O Forbearing, O Magnificent, O Wise, O Merciful.

    To the left side, the following names are written:

    يا غني، يا مغني، يا حميد، يا مجيد، يا سبحان، يا مستعان
    O Generous, O Enricher, O Most Praiseworthy, O Noble, O Helper.

    The wooden base, constructed from pure teak wood, is ten centimetres thick and adorned with pure gold plates intricately engraved and embossed. Special adhesive ensures the gold remains securely attached to the wood.

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