InshaAllah I will be posting NEWS on Hajj services as and when they become available.
I will also be posting old news that is good to know.
Most Posts are from Sister Roukaya, May Allah Reward her greatly for all the effort she has put in to get us all the news. Jazakallahu Khair Sister Roukaya of Montréal
(UPDATE: I would like to thank Sister Roukaya from Canada who has been my inspiration for this thread. 99% of the news we all get is from this sister. And the reason why I'm making mention of this is because I just found out that she is a Revert to Islam, Alhumdulillah.
May Allah reward her for all her efforts and make it easy for her in this life and in the hearafter.
She is aware of this thread as she pays us a visit often, but is unable to post due to time restraints.
May Allah give her Barakah in her time just as we all need it.
May I request all those who regularly visit this thread to remember her in your Dua's too.
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MAKKAH - Muslims around the world can now set their watches to Makkah Mean Time in Ramadan when all four faces of the world's largest clock atop a soaring skyscraper in the Holy City becomes operational.
The clock, more than six times larger in diameter than London's famed Big Ben, will establish Makkah as an alternate time standard to the Greenwich meridian. At a conference in Doha in 2008, Muslim clerics and scholars presented "scientific" arguments that Makkah time is the true global meridian. They said that Makkah is the center of the world and that the Greenwich standard was imposed by the West in 1884.
JEDDAH - King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah has launched a special service aimed at speeding up travel procedures for passengers.
"Fast Services" will also be introduced at King Khaled Intentional Airport in Riyadh in the next few days, said Ibrahim Yahyia, the officer in charge of these services.
He said the service has been designed to process procedures in record time. A highly trained team will do the work at the northern and southern terminals.
He said the service is available round-the-clock and will be provided in stages. The team will receive passengers at the terminals and will issue boarding cards, ship luggage, stamp passports and accompany them to the departure gate. He said the procedures will take place in one to two minutes.
Yahyia said the service will also be available at the Haj terminals at Jeddah's airport. Passengers will have an "unforgettable" experience at the airport, he added.
He said the team will also provide similar services for arriving passengers, who will be transported in VIP buses.
The Jeddah airport is forecast to see a four-fold surge in annual passenger capacity to 80 million by 2035 and has put in place an expansion plan to cater to the increased demand.
At present, King Abdul Aziz International Airport has three terminals and three runways.
The development of the airport will be in three phases. After the first phase is completed and the maximum capacity of 30 million annual passengers has been reached, the second phase, with a capacity of 43 million passengers, will start. Finally, the third will commence, leading to the ultimate capacity of 80 million annual passengers.
The first phase of development was started in January 2011.
MUslims praying at the Grand Mosque in the Saudi western town of Makkah were able to see the sun straight above them on Saturday, the second and last such phenomenon this year, according to Saudi astronomers.
The sun set vertically above the holy city on Saturday at 12.27 pm Saudi time (13.27 UAE time) and the phenomenon helped Muslims around the world to determine the exact direction of Makkah in their prayers, said Majid Abu Zahira, head of the Jeddah Astronomy Association.
"This is the second event of its kind this year after the sun set directly above Makkah in May...it will also be the last this year," he told local newspapers.
"The phenomenon will help Moslems worldwide to locate the exact direction lf Makkah, Islam's holiest shrine, including those in Europe, Africa, Russia, China and other areas....the best time for this is around sunset by looking at the sun."
He said Makkah's direction can be set by placing a stick or any other object vertically on the ground at that time.
"Its shadow will point accurately towards Makkah...this applies to distant areas not in areas close to Makkah like Jeddah," he said.
Published: Jun 24, 2011 23:16 Updated: Jun 24, 2011 23:16
JEDDAH: The Haj Ministry has said that between Jan. 19, the start of the Umrah season, and last week the number of pilgrims was 34 percent higher than the same period last year.
About 2.84 million pilgrims have come for the lesser pilgrimage so far this year, said a report issued by the ministry. It said Saudi missions abroad have reported issuing 3.6 million Umrah visas during the period.
According to the report, Iranians make up nearly 21 percent of Umrah visa recipients. Egyptians, with 14.53 percent, occupied second place and Turks third with 9.99 percent.
The report said, 246,754 pilgrims from a number of nationalities were still in the Kingdom to complete their Umrah rituals and visit Madinah to pray at the Prophet's Mosque.
Officials of Umrah service companies have been skeptical about the success of current season as many would-be pilgrims were not able to travel due to political unrest in some Arab countries. They are, however, optimistic now that the number may cross the figure of four million pilgrims last year. The number of Umrah pilgrims is expected to swell further during Ramadan as many Muslims are keen to perform the pilgrimage during the holy month.
Plan to set up new Zamzam water distribution center in Madinah
By BADEA ABU AL-NAJA | ARAB NEWS
Published: Jun 27, 2011 00:05 Updated: Jun 27, 2011 00:05
JEDDAH: Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al-Hussayen on Sunday disclosed his ministry's plans to establish a Zamzam water distribution project near the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah.
"Tenders to implement the project will be opened within two weeks," he said after opening the automatic Zamzam water distribution system and the central warehouse here on Sunday.
The distribution system is part of an SR700 million King Abdullah Zamzam Water Project.
Speaking to reporters after the inaugural ceremony, the minister said 42 outlets have been set up for the distribution of the holy water daily, adding that it would meet the requirements of pilgrims who come for both Haj and Umrah.
"The Zamzam water bottles are taken directly from the bottling factory to the main warehouse that can accommodate 1.5 million bottles. Later they are supplied automatically to the distribution centers," Al-Hussayen said.
He said revenues from the endowment project would be used for the development of the service. "We'll make sure that all Zamzam water bottles are filled and closed in a hygienic manner." The distribution outlets will work 24 hours daily and seven days a week.
"We have set up a special area for wrapping Zamzam water cans and bottles for pilgrims to carry them safely while traveling to their home countries by plane," the minister said.
Prince Muhammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport Expansion project
10 July 2011
RIYADH – Work is under way to construct a completely new airport in Madina with a capacity to deal with eight million passengers.
The new airport will also develop the air-transport sector in the region, a high-ranking source in the General Authority for Civil Aviation told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.
“Madina Airport is one of the most important Saudi and regional airports, and among those with the highest traffic,” Dr. Faisal Al-Suqair, chairman of the GACA told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.
Prince Muhammad Bin Abdul Aziz Airport in Madina is gaining special importance in the GACA’s strategy, due to its function as a major gateway to Madina and an arrival and departure point for Haj and Umrah pilgrims, Dr. Al-Suqair said.
The importance of the airport is increasing every year due to the increasing number of pilgrims and visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque, he added.
The GACA has approved a package of modern strategies to develop the air-transport sector and industry in the Kingdom, encourage investment in the field, create investment opportunities, develop the basic apparatus to serve air transport according to the latest advanced systems and develop professional standards and criteria for operation and maintenance, Dr. Al-Suqair said.
International and local consortiums had submitted bids to win the project to construct Prince Muhammad Bin Abdul Aziz International Airport Project and the winning company will manage the complex for 25 years, he added.
The new airport, which will be the Kingdom’s fourth-largest in terms of passengers and cargo, is the first in the Kingdom that will be executed and operated through a public-private partnership, Dr. Al-Suqair said.
That arrangement is part of the General Authority for Civil Aviation’s new strategy to forge those partnerships, he added.
The private-sector company will be responsible for managing the investments and airport operations according to competitive criteria and systematic standards aimed at upgrading the aviation industry and developing the air-transport sector in the Kingdom to keep pace with the country’s comprehensive development, Dr. Al-Suqair said.
36 health centers in Grand Mosque for Ramadan pilgrims
11 July 2011
MAKKAH - There will be 36 health and first aid centers at the Grand Mosque for Umrah pilgrims and visitors this Ramadan, said Dr. Khaled Obaid Zafar, Director General of Health Affairs in Makkah Region.
"Five health centers surrounding the Grand Mosque will work around-the-clock," said Zafar in a press statement issued by the Health Affairs of Makkah Region yesterday. The centers are Ajyad Al-Sufli Gate, Ajyad Al-Alwi Gate, Gate 94, Gate 64 and Nadwa Gate.
The directorate plans to operate three new first aid centers at the Grand Mosque plazas in addition to 29 permanent first aid centers, the official said.
The rest of the Makkah hospitals will operate as usual except for the intensive care units of King Abdul Aziz Hospital and Hera General Hospital which will operate at full capacity, he explained. The emergency departments of these hospitals will be modernized, he added.
Ibn Sina Hospital in Hada will run at full capacity and receive chronic cases, reducing pressure on Makkah hospitals, he said.
The directorate's health plan focuses on air, sea and land ports of entry and stresses the importance of preventive care.
"We will focus on people coming from countries where epidemics and quarantine diseases are rampant," he said, adding that more visitors are expected this year because Ramadan coincides with the period of summer vacation.
Published: Jun 18, 2011 00:20 Updated: Jun 18, 2011 12:02
JEDDAH: Work is under way to establish the first global Islamic historical encyclopedia of its kind on the Haj, Makkah, the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah.
Involved in the preparation of the encyclopedia are Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Haj Research and King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archive (Al-Darah).
Nasser Baqmi of the Institute of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for Haj Research, said: "The circuit will be documenting everything related to the Haj, Makkah, as well as the Two Holy Mosques in addition to organizing seminars and forums related to the objectives. The Institute of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for Haj Research currently has a data-bank and a historical record going back a quarter century. We are working on the establishment and the building of a data bank for the Islamic world about the Haj and Makkah and the holy sites and will be available for the circuit to work on a dictionary, pointing out that the agreement enables researchers from the institute to take advantage of the historical sources for Makkah."
For his part, Abdullah bin Saleh of the King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archive and the project manager said: "The project includes three tracks: the writing and documentation about the themes and elements of the Haj over different historical periods; the documentation and writing about the activities of government sectors and nongovernment sectors related to the Haj; and documenting the movement of pilgrims in the Islamic world."
The second track of the encyclopedia is to build a database of Haj, which includes the works and manuscripts, travel and literature of pilgrimage in Islamic countries traditional and modern in all languages, various statistics and research data.