In the pre-Islamic period the Arabs used to cover the Ka’bah with a cloth covering. When Islam prevailed it retained this tradition. Al-Waqidi has stated that Isma’il bin Ibrahim bin Abu Habibah reported from his father that in the Days of Ignorance the Ka’bah was covered with rugs made of red skin. Later on the Prophet (peace be upon him) covered it with Yemeni cloth, while ‘Umar and ‘Uthman covered it with an Egyptian white cloth, Qabati. Hajjaj covered it with silk brocade. The first one to cover it was a man from Tubba’ of Yemen called As’ad al-Himairi.
Ibn ‘Umar used to choose the best and most expensive Qabati, Egyptian cloth, and send it as covering for the Ka’bah. This is reported by Malik.
Al-Waqidi has also reported from Ishaq bin Abu Abd bin Abu Ja’far Mohammad bin Ali that he said, “The people used to send cloth coverings for the Ka’bah, and likewise they sent to it sacrificial camels loaded with Yemeni cloth.”
Yazid bin Mu’awiyah covered it in silk brocade, and so did Ibn Az-Zubair afterwards. He used to delegate Mus’ab bin Az-Zubair to send a covering for the Ka’bah which was changed on ‘Ashura (the 10th of Muharram).
Sa’id bin Mansur has reported that “Umar bin Al-Khattab used to take down the old cover of Ka’bah, every year, cut it into pieces, and distribute them among the pilgrims who used them as shelter from the heat of Makkah.