Ambassadors leave Riyadh for Kaaba washing
A number of Muslim ambassadors based in the capital left for Makkah on Friday to take part in the ceremonial washing of the Kaaba on Saturday morning. Aside from the Muslim members of the diplomatic group, top Saudi officials including several ministers, Islamic scholars, Muslim diplomats, as well as citizens and visitors to the Grand Mosque are expected to attend the washing ceremony.
The scheduled washing ceremony will be led by Makkah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah, on behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. The Kaaba is given a new Kiswa (covering) on the 9th of Dul Hijjah when pilgrims proceed to Arafat for the main event of the Haj.
The ceremonial washing of Kaaba is held following the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who washed it after entering it at the time of the conquest of Makkah. The sacred event takes place twice a year on the 15th of Shabaan (the month preceding the fasting month of Ramadan) and in mid-Muharram (the month after Dul Hijjah when Muslims perform Haj).
South African Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq Jaafar said he deemed it a great honor to participate in the washing of the Kaaba. “This is the fifth time I am fortunate enough to get this honor,” the envoy added.
Sri Lankan Senior Minister for Urban Affairs Abdul Hameed Mohamed Fowzie, who has come to Makkah on invitation from Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar, said it is a wonderful opportunity to take part in the ceremony. He thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and his government for rendering a yeoman’s service to the Islamic Ummah through his magnanimity. Fowzie is also the chairman of the island’s Haj committee in Colombo.
Bangladesh Ambassador Mohammed Shahidul Islam said that he is going to participate in the ceremony for the ninth time consecutively. “I am really proud and happy that the Haj Ministry has given me this opportunity once more,” he added.
The washing ritual begins with the performance of two raka’hs of Nafl prayer inside the Kaaba. The interior walls are then cleaned with rose, oud and musk perfumes using white cloth. Zamzam water mixed with rose perfume is then splashed on the floor and wiped with bare hands and palm leaves.
Before entering the Kaaba to do the washing, the governor is slated to circle the Kaaba seven times (Tawaf) during which he will touch the Black Stone.