I stood this Sunday morning in London’s V&A Museum before three magnificent pieces of silk in the Islamic Arts section. The most wonderful in design and color was a red band from the Honored Kaaba, dating from the 1800s, because for hundreds of years the Kaaba’s covering was green- not black- in color, with a red band instead of the gold of today.
The two others were green pieces of the silk that once covered the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam). The first from 1517-1600, and the second from 1600 to 1700. For a hundred years each, these pieces of silk were exposed to all the blessings and mercies that were sent down from Allah upon the Noble Messenger, and to the majestic lights that rose up, emanating from the Light of the Worlds himself, Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
Ever since Abbasid times, the coverings of the Honored Kaaba and the Noble Chamber were made in Egypt; at one point in history the latter was being changed every five years. But after the reign of the Ottomans in the lands, the coverings of the inside of the Kaaba and of the Prophetic Chamber were made in Turkey, while the outer covering of the Kaaba remained the work of Egypt.
But the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Abd al-Aziz bin Abd al-Rahman Aal Saud, ordered that a factory be created in Mecca to manufacture these coverings from his day forward. Journalist Omar al-Midwahy, whose writings focus on the two Holy Sanctuaries and other important Islamic sights, was able to interview in Mecca two of the men who worked on the last covering of the Prophetic Chamber and its installation.
On the occasion of this servant’s viewing of the blessed coverings, and hoping for forgiveness and acceptance from His Lord, he will attempt to translate this interview that reveals some of the secrets of the majestic chamber of Allah’s Beloved, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, hoping to gain the favor of Allah and to one day be counted among the servants (khuddam) of His Messenger, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam.