MAKKAH: Sheikh Ahmad bin Ibrahim Badr, the chief artist who recast the golden door of the Kaaba, has died at the age of 89 in Makkah on Friday. The Grand Mosque held funeral prayers at dawn on Saturday.
Ahmad made the Kaaba’s door using 300 kg of pure gold at the orders of King Khaled in October 1979. The work was carried out at a workshop prepared exclusively for the project. He also refurbished the meezab (the spout at the top of Kaaba) and the Black Stone’s silver frame. He learned his art from his father Sheikh Ibrahim Badr who originally designed and built the door when King Abdul Aziz ordered him to in 1942.
Ibrahim and two relatives, Mahmoud and Ibrahim Badr, cast the door in pure gold, taking a full year to complete the work. The interior pillars and the meezab, made with 25 kg of 24-carat gold, were also completed during that time. The prayer “Ya Hayy Ya Qayyum” (Oh the Living Oh the Lasting), verses of the Holy Qur’an and the words “Allah” and “Muhammad” were inscribed on the door. Their work also included a silver frame for the Black Stone.
Ahmad was born at his ancestral home in the Qashashiya quarter of Makkah in 1920. After studying at the local Falah school he joined his father at his gold and silver workshop at the age of 15. Ahmad had been working at his father’s shop “Sheikh Ibrahim Badr” in the Goldsmiths’ street all his life. He belonged to a family of artists known for exquisite gold works.