History of Sadana

Chief Sadana (protector) of the Kaba Shiekh Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Allah Al-Shibi is the current holder of the Kaba key. Sadana history goes as far back in time as to the date the Kaba was built, in the days of Ibrahim and Ismael. Sadana's responsibilities include opening and closing the door of the Kaba, cleaning, covering the structure with cloth, and miscellaneous repairs.

Prophet Ismael used to be a sadana, and his descendants took over this responsibility. At some point, Khizaha tribe took over sadana by force from Ismael's descendants after the tribe's migration from Yemen when Marib damn was destroyed. Later on, Qusay bin Kilab took sadana from Khizah tribe.

Qusay begat Abdul Al Dar, Abdul Munaf, Abdul Uzza, and Abdul Qusay, after Qusay's death sadana was transferred to his eldest son, Abdul Al Dar and his sons, as per traditions. Sadana ends in that period to Shaibah bin Othman bin Abi Talha, who reverted to Islam the year Mecca was peacefully conquered. All of Shaibah’s descendants exist to this day and carry on sadana.

Transfer of the key

Nizar Al-Shibi, a living sadana, states, “We took sadana since the days of our great grandfather (Qusay), and sadana was rotating between Abdul Al Dar's 5 sons. Abdul Dar did not go on the winter and summer trades, so his brothers ridiculed him for not trading. Qusay heard this, and said, "By Allah, Abdul Dar is the most noble among you." Consequently Qusay increased Abdul Dar sadana responsibilities."

The Kaba is opened two times a year for cleaning, chief guests of the Saudi state, and chief scholars are allowed in. Inside the Kaba are relics from the past, including gifts that were offered to it over the centuries, and some items are at least 1200 years old, after Hajaj bin Yosuf Al-Thaqafi destroyed the Kaba and what was in it with a catapult.

Inside the Kaba

Tradition has it that the Kaba is earth's spiritual umbilical cord, connected to a house of worship in the 7th heaven. Mecca was the first house of worship, and it predates Jerusalem. The Kaba was never worshiped in its history, even in polytheist times Arabs used to worship idols as intermediaries to God, numbered some 360 around the Kaba, but never worshiped the Kaba.

Around the Kaba from the outside are three important spots, the black stone, the spot where Ibrahim prayed (maqam Ibrahim), and Zamzam well. When entering the Kaba, prayers are performed, as per the traditions of Muhammad. One cycle of normal prayers of 2 bows each to each side, totaling 8 bows. On the outside, around the world Muslims orientate to the Kaba, but on the inside the orientation reverses.

Inside the Kaba, on the left hand side from the door is a spot called sin destroyer. On the right side from the door, a box made from marble, in it tools for the sadana, such as various perfumes and cotton cloths to wash the Kaba. In the center of the Kaba, 3 wooden columns are seen to hold the roof of the Kaba, built by Abdul Allah bin Zubair, out of fear the roof might collapse when he renovated the Kaba.

In the northern side of the Kaba, to the right of the entrance, a normal sized door known as forgiveness door can be seen, which is approximately 1/8th the size of the gigantic entrance. Forgiveness door is made out of wood and is decorated with gold and silver plates, opening the door reveal a spiral staircase made out of thick glass, which leads to the roof of the Kaba.

In the western side of the Kaba, to the front of the entrance, are 9 marble stones written on it the names of Caliphs, their achievements in renovations, all written around the 6th century Hijri. In the eastern side of the Kaba, between the enterance and forgiveness door, a document can be seen outlining King Fahd's renovations to the Kaba and the Mosque. The last major renovation took place in 1040 Hijri, by Sultan Murad the 4th, from the Ottoman dynasty, 4 centuries ago.

Changing the cover

Every year, on Hajj, on Eid Al Adha, a ceremony takes place by chief sadana to change the covering of the Kaba. After the afternoon prayers, around 3 PM, the new cloth will veil over the old cloth. And then the old cloth will be left to drop after the new cloth covers the old. The reason for this practice is due to abhorrence of leaving the structure without a cover.

Each cover weights 670 kilos of natural silk, 150 kilos of silver and gold threads, the cloth covers 658 square meters. The threaded golden texts contain 47,000 loops, 14 meters in length and 95 centimeters in height. Total cost for producing the cover is 17 million Riyals, or 4.5 million dollars in today's exchange rate.



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