Kaaba holds a great significance for Muslims from all over the world who come to Mecca to perform their religious duties in the form of Hajj and Umrah. Since the construction of holy Kaaba by Prophet Ibrahim (AS) when he called all Muslims for Hajj over 5,000 years ago, the sacred house of Allah (SWT) has been of significant interest to kings and rulers of Saudi Arabia throughout the history of Mecca.
History of the Doors of Kaaba over 5000 Years
According to historians, the Holy Kaaba had no door or roof when it was first built and consisted of just simple walls. Long before the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), King Tubba was the first person to build a door for Kaaba. This is what Ibn Hisham reported in his biography of the Prophet (PBUH). It was confirmed by al-Arzaqi, who mentioned in Kitab Akhbar Makka (Book of Reports about Makkah) about Ibn Jarir al-Tabari saying: “It was claimed that Tubba was the first to cover Kaaba and that he instructed the leaders of Jurhum tribe to maintain its purgation and make a door and a key for it.”
The wooden door made by King Tubba remained in place before the beginning of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) era. The door of Kaaba was later changed by Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr who built the 11-arms-long door in 64 AH. According to historians, the door rusted with time and it was then remade into its original height of 6-arms. The door was changed again in 1045 AH during the time of Murad IV who added silver ornaments weighing up to 200 pounds to it and painted it with gold. It was the first Kaaba door to have gold and silver embellishments and it remained that way till 1356 AH.
The oldest Kaaba door is one of the most precious archaeological masterpieces of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and it tours around the world to promote Saudi Arabia’s history and civilization. Dating back to 1045 AH, it is the fourth door of Kaaba after the doors of Tubba, Abd Allah Ibn Al Zubayr and Al Hajjaj Bin Yusuf and now being exhibited at the Louvre Museum, Abu Dhabi. The door was divided into two parts with gold and silver decorations. It consists of special metal plates that are climate-resistant which is the reason for its 300 years of durability.
The new door of Kaaba was constructed by the founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz al Saud in 1363 AH by his own money after he learned that the door had started to shake. The current gold door that we see today was ordered by King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz and was made by the jeweller Ahmed bin Ibrahim Badr. About 280 kg of gold with quality of 99.99 was used in constructing the current Kaaba door, leading to a total cost of 13 million 420 thousand Saudi riyals. It is considered to be one of the largest gold masses in the world. Another door was added inside the holy Kaaba leading to its roof which is called the “Repentance Door”. The door of Kaaba that was installed during the time of King Abdul Aziz can be seen at the Exhibition of the Two Holy Mosques Architecture in Mecca.
The inscriptions written on top of each door says:
“Allah Jal Jalaalah Muhammad Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam”
Beneath the above inscription is written:
“In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. Enter with peace and safety” [Surah Hijr, verse 46]
“Allah has made the Ka’bah, the Sacred House, standing for the people and [has sanctified] the sacred months and the sacrificial animals and the garlands [by which they are identified]. That is so you may know that Allah knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth and that Allah is Knowing of all things.”[Surah Maa’idah, verse 97]
Say, “O my Rabb! Allow me to enter a pleasant place, allow me to leave pleasantly and grant me such authority from Yourself that is coupled with (Your) assistance.”[Surah Israa, verse 80]
“Your Rabb has made mercy (towards you) compulsory upon himself.”
“ Your Rabb says, “Supplicate to Me and I shall respond.”
Beneath all of this is inscribed:
Say, “O My bondsmen who have wronged their souls (by committing kufr or other sins)! Never lose hope of Allah’s mercy.” [Surah Zumar, verse 53]
The words “Allahu Akbar” is engraved on the two rings and Surah Fatihah has been inscribed beneath the lock. The Bani Shaiba (sons of Shaiba) of Arab still holds the keys of Kaaba, a tradition started by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) after the conquest of Makkah in 8AH. The members of the tribe greet officials and other visitors into the Kaaba. They also clean the interiors of Kaaba during the cleaning ceremony.