Kabah's Key Keeper Dies at 82

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Remembering Last Year,
Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Sheibi
Returned to Allah at Age 82

Inna lilahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon - Quran
(from Allah we came and to Allah is our return)


Mourning the loss of a good servant of Allah and the Kaaba.
Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheibi. His family are known as
The keepers of the Key to the Kabah.

Al Sheibi receives kiswa

It has already been a year since the beloved Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheibi, keeper of the Holy Ka’aba’s door key, passed away. He was 82 years old. That was November 11, 2010 at about 3 AM Sunday morning in Makkah 2 Dhul-Hijja 1431 Hijri.

Sheikh had suffered a heart attack. He had been suffering from some illness and pains in his chest when he was taken to the Jeddah International Hospital. His illness had kept him confined to a wheel chair for many years.

Pictured here two years ago (2009) he is seen receiving the new Kiswa from Sheikh Saleh Al-Husseyan, of the office of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

Al-Sheibi passed away just hours before he was to officially transfer the new kiswa or black cover to the Ka’aba at the beginning of the Hajj month this year. The total cost of the cloth over the Ka’aba was more than 20 million riyals (£3.3 mn, USD5.3mn). The cover is 658 sq. metres long, and is made of 670 kilograms of pure silk. For embroidery, 15 kg of gold thread was used. It consists of 47 pieces of cloth, and each piece is 14 metres long and 101 cm broad. The black cover (kiswa), replaced anew annually, is draped on the Ka’aba and fixed to the ground with copper rings.

Earlier this year (March 2011) the sons of Al-Sheibi invited me and my troup from Guide US TV to visit their home. At that time his son honored us and Guide US TV with the most treasured of the pieces of kiswa Sheikh Abdul Aziz Asheibi had possessed. His son presented the piece of kiswa to us while our cameraman filmed it all. The size is at least double those pictured (above) in this article,  and although it is larger in size ,the true value is in what these represent. To remember Allah, the Almighty One God and His Names is the ultimate and only true value. The piece of kiswa they presented us with has the word in Arabic: "Ar-Rahman" (The Most Merciful)

He was buried at Mua’la Cemetery in the sacred enclosure next to Sayyida Khadija, Prophet Muhammad’s wife, after funeral prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
The Bani Shaiba is an Islamic tribe that hold the key to the Ka’aba. Prophet Muhammad (May Peace and Blessings be upon him) handed the key to Bani Shaiba in the year of the conquest of Makkah, and said, “Take it, O Bani Talha, eternally up to the Day of Resurrection, and it will not be taken from you unless by an unjust, oppressive tyrant.” The family has held the key for the past 15 centuries.
The King of Saudi Arabia has to seek the permission from the senior member of the Al-Sheibi family before he can enter the Ka’aba.

Janaza of sheikh Al-Sheibi -- King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz telephoned the family and the sons of Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Sheibi to offer his condolences and sympathy to the Al-Sheibi family.

The 70 cm, gold-and-platinum Ka’aba key is painted in Islamic green with a glazed gold head. Verses from Qur’an are engraved on either side. The key leaves its locked cabinet twice a year, when the Saudi king opens the Ka’aba’s door for cleaning of the interior and change of its black cover, as well as when he takes Muslim heads of states on a visit to the Ka’aba.
Al-Sheibi had kept the key for the past 18 years, before his retirement; he held the position of Director General of Religious Affairs and Mosques in Makkah at the Ministry of Hajj.

He has four sons: Talal, Hashem, Marwan and Nizar. The brother of the deceased, Abdul Qader Al-Sheibi, who is now the key-bearer of the Ka’aba, said his brother’s death was painful for him, and “the pain gets harder when I open the Ka’aba’s door and memories come to me, but it is Allah’s will.” A number of Makkah’s residents expressed their sorrow at losing Al-Sheibi. Among the comments made was that Mecca has lost a “good son” and a “pious sheikh” and “our hearts are full of pain and our souls sad”.

Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheibi was a very dear friend to many. He once had said, "I hold the key to the holy Ka’aba, what better honor can a Muslim crave in this world."

He was the last of his generation and a very modest and humble servant of the Ka’aba. He lived a simple life at his small house. The family has a book with their linage or family tree going back to Usman Bin Talha, who was given the key by the Prophet, peace be upon him, and a signed book by Al-Sheibi. As the years go by we will all definitely miss him.