Applicants need to provide valid certificate of A.C.W.Y. MENINGITIS vaccination along with their application. Infants and children between the age group of 1 to 15 years, on the other hand, are required to provide a polio and meningitis vaccination certificate. Children, who are over 15 years of age, should provide meningitis certificate, alike adults.
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30,000 green carpets in Grand Mosque maintained thru sequenced stages
Thursday, 4 January 2018
Believe it or not, around 30,000 green carpets cover the area around Makkah and the Holy Mosque with a total length of almost 100 kilometers.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman pays special attention to the carpets that should smell of fine roses so that pilgrims can perform their religious duties in a pleasant environment.
Dust removal and sanitization
A complete department is solely in charge of the carpets, where five cleaning stages are completed every day in a warehouse.
In the first stage, dust and dirt is removed using a high-tech machine. The carpets are then washed with detergent and disinfectants in the second stage with a machine that does not need human labor to operate.
The carpets are then rinsed and placed on a moving bridge where they are ready for the third stage.
They are then dried automatically at a rate of three carpets every minute and a half.
Workers then spread the carpets under the sun for a full day in summer, and two days if it is winter.
Cleaning, maintenance and rose spray
In the last stage, the carpets are carefully cleaned with brooms to make sure there is no dust remaining, and finally they are sprayed with a rose solution completing the washing and disinfection process.
The supervisor of the carpet washing process and the warehouse, Mohammed Al-Otaibi, said that the warehouse receives 200 carpets daily. They are sorted, processed and maintained periodically by trained workers.
Imam inaugurates move back to the Prophet’s Mihrab
Monday 8 January 2018
MADINAH: The imam of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, Sheikh Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al-Baijan, today led worshippers in Salat Al Zuhr inside Prophet Muhammad’s Mihrab in the sacred chamber (Al-Rawda Al-Sharifa).
This step came after announcing the decision to perform the daily prayers as well as Friday prayers in Al-Rawda Al-Sharifa to allow worshippers to visit the tombs of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his two companions after they’re done with prayers.
The move was decided last month after 25 years of conducting prayers from the new mihrab.
The Prophet’s tomb can be visited by entering Al-Salam Door, passing by the tomb’s facade, and leaving through the Door of Baqi.
New post-Umrah tourist visas to be issued this quarter
Sunday 7 January 2018
JEDDAH: The director of the Tourism and Heritage Authority in the Makkah region, Mohammed Al-Omari, told Arab News on Saturday that, “citizens from all the countries who have access to the Kingdom can obtain tourist visas.”
Al-Omari continued: “All Muslims from countries around the world can obtain a post-Umrah tourist visa, so when Umrah is finished they can become a tourist.” This is called the extended Umrah visa for post-Umrah tourism.
“Everyone will benefit from these visas as long as the conditions apply to them,” he added.
Umrah is a shorter version of Hajj and can be performed all year round.
The maximum period of visa validity is 30 days.
Asked when these tourism visas would be issued, Al-Omari answered: “Prince Sultan bin Salman, the chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) said that the start of tourism visa issuance will be announced during the first quarter of 2018.”
Sixty-five countries will be allowed tourism visas in the first phase of the project, and the number will increase in the second phase.
Saudi Arabia is aiming to solidify its place as a tourist destination with mega projects such as the Red Sea island resorts and the Neom project on the Gulf of Aqaba.
Mumbai-Jeddah ship service to resume for Haj pilgrimage
India’s Minister of State for Minority Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi:Sending Haj pilgrims through
ships will help cut down travel expenses significantly. It will be a "revolutionary, pro-poor, pilgrim-friendly" decision.
The practice of ferrying Haj pilgrims between Mumbai & Jeddah by waterways was stopped from 1995.
January 8, 2018
JEDDAH – After a gap of 23 years, the government of India is seriously making efforts to resume pilgrimage by sea route for the upcoming Haj. Minister of Haj and Umrah Muhammad Saleh Benten has agreed in principle to resume ship service for this year’s pilgrimage, according to India’s Minister of State for Minority Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. “The pilgrimage by ship has been a topic of discussion since several months and the modalities for ferrying pilgrims will be finalized between the Saudi and Indian authorities. This is a very good news that I can provide you as it would be helpful in cutting down the Haj cost significantly,” he said while addressing a press conference at Jeddah Consulate premises on Sunday after signing the bilateral Haj agreement with Minister Benten.
Naqvi, who is in charge of India’s Haj affairs, added that in the first phase the ship service will be between Mumbai and Jeddah. The Indian government’s move is part of its new five-year Haj policy, which focuses on cutting and minimizing the cost for Haj with the phasing out of subsidy by the year 2022. The ship service was a major highlight of the new Haj policy following the recommendation of the High Power Committee to Review India’s Haj Policy, headed by Afzal Amanullah, who had served as consul general in Jeddah in late1990s.
Dispatching pilgrims through ships will help cut down travel expenses by nearly half as compared to airfares and thus compensating them for the absence of subsidy. The practice of ferrying Haj pilgrims between Mumbai and Jeddah by waterways was stopped in 1995 and MV Akbari was the last ship used to transport the pilgrims. At that time, it took nearly a week for the pilgrims to reach Jeddah. But now, the modern and well-equipped ships can ferry 4,000-5,000 pilgrims between the two port cities within just two-three days, according to well-informed sources.
Naqvi told reporters that his meeting with Minister Benten was very fruitful. “We discussed several issues related to Haj facilities and services and we are happy that the Saudi authorities are very cooperative and they have appreciated Indian pilgrims for their peaceful conduct and law abiding nature,” he said.
The minister announced that the process is on to introduce e-immigration from India for the first time this year. “The Saudi government’s response was very positive to our request for an increase in the pilgrims’ quota from the existing 170,000, and there will be no increase in quota for private tour operators and it would be same as last year. This time our Haj process is 100 percent digital and we have received several applications through online and mobile apps,” he said adding more than 360,000 applications have been received so far.
Naqvi said all the 21 embarkation points (EP) of last year would stay for this year’s Haj also. “For the first time, we give pilgrims option to choose any other EP that is cheaper than their designated one. Women pilgrims above 45 years of age will be sent in groups of women without a mahram (blood relative) by taking advantage of the Saudi concession in this regard.
The press conference was also attended by Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser M.P, chairman of Indian Haj Committee, Jan-e-Alam, joint secretary of Ministry of Minority Affairs, Sunil Gautam, private secretary of the minister, and Nijamuddin, deputy secretary for Haj, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Ahmad Javed, ambassador of India, Mohammed Noor Rahman Sheikh, consul general, and Mohammed Shahid Alam, deputy consul general and Haj consul.
Makkah vendors banned from selling Holy Mosque souvenirs
Thursday 11 January 2018
MAKKAH: The Ministry of Commerce and Investment continues its campaign in Makkah against selling souvenirs of the Kaaba, Maqam Ibrahim and Al-Haram Al-Makki because of what it called “preserving its sanctity” after shops were notified through inspection tours.
According to a source at the branch of the Ministry of Commerce and Investment in Makkah, souvenirs and antiques of Al-Haram were confiscated and the violating shops were notified of the consequences of the act to preserve the sanctity of these places.
Many of these central-based commercial establishments have cooperated with international factories to sell souvenirs of the Kaaba and Maqam Ibrahim because it is profitable.
Economists believe that an antiques and gifts sector in Makkah and Madinah would create employment opportunities for both men and women and that there are large-scale manufacturing opportunities.
Ali Al-Twaim, a professor of Islamic jurisprudence, told Arab News that selling souvenirs containing images of the Kaaba and the holy mosque is an insult to its sanctity and is a wrongful practice.
He stressed that “these souvenirs must take into account the holiness and honor granted by God to these places, in addition to the fact that they could be put in inappropriate places.”
“Many of these souvenirs do not reflect the extent of attachment and affection. There are some Umrah and Hajj pilgrims, and visitors who are passionately fond of whatever is for sale in Makkah, not to mention if it was like the Kaaba, Maqam Ibrahim or Al-Haram Al-Makki,” Al-Twaim said.
Economically, Abdel Moneim Bukhari, the owner of the Al-Meawiah Establishment for Antiques and Gifts, believes that these replicas are a souvenir that many visitors keep and remain a link that connects them to the place that they revere.
Bukhari said that “Umrah and Hajj pilgrims, like all tourists around the world, like to take any souvenirs or gifts with them that remind them of Makkah.”
He said that these goods have positive economic effects on the GDP. “Many of these industrial products are imported from several countries such as China, India, Taiwan and Pakistan, which are far from being specialized factories in Makkah. They should be of high quality and standards of respect,” Bukhari said.
He said that anything from Makkah should be made in Makkah and support the economics of Hajj and Umrah. “One of the pillars of Vision 2030 includes increasing the numbers of Umrah and Hajj pilgrims to 30 million by 2030.”
He added that many economic sectors will adapt to the challenges of this stage, which means that the requirements of Hajj and Umrah and their needs are essential in terms of housing, hotels, living, transport, industries, antiques and gifts.
MADINAH, Saudi Arabia: The Holy City of Madinah experienced a 2.5 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday, engineer Hani Zahran of the Saudi Geological Society told Arab News.
City officials confirmed that there were no reports of damage from the earthquake.
The center of the earthquake was 14km north-west of Madinah at a depth of 7 kilometers below the surface.
Col. Khaled Al-Johani, spokesman of the Civil Defense in the city, said they had received a call around 3pm with residents in the townships west of Madinah having felt a tremor.
Tariq Aba Al-Khail, a spokesman for the General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection, said that the tremor was "weak and not dangerous", noting that small tremors occur often in the Kingdom.
Brig. Gen. Abdulrahman Al-Harbi, director of civil fed defense department ordered specialists from civil defense and the Saudi Geological Survey to issue the necessary reports.
Age limits set for wheelchair assistants in Makkah's Grand Mosque
Wednesday 17 January 2018
MAKKAH: Only people aged between 25 and 60 years will be allowed to push the wheelchairs of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, said the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques.
The age limit is to ensure the health of pilgrims and visitors, and because people outside the age group may have difficulty reaching the elevations of Safa and Marwa while pushing a wheelchair, said the director of mobility services at the presidency, Saleh Hossawee.
“Many Umrah and Hajj pilgrims complained about the inability of some wheelchair pushers to reach the end of the tracks between the mountains of Safa and Marwa,” he told Arab News.
“When these complaints were repeated, the presidency issued a decision to prevent those over 60 years of age from doing the job.”
Pushing wheelchairs is one of the most common jobs undertaken to serve pilgrims and improve the living conditions of those who are unemployed.
Resumption of the Prophet's Mosque expansion project with the excavation of the «Western» side
استئناف مشروع توسعة الحرم النبوي بردم الحفريات «الغربية»
23 January 2018
Preparations are under way to resume work on the expansion project of the Prophet's Mosque, by excavating the excavation of the project from the western side and paving it with the aim of preparing it as visitors' squares in preparation for the resumption of work in the first phase in the eastern direction, with the postponement of the second and third stages.
Sources for Al Madina revealed a circular from the operating company directed to the management of the project to prepare for work in the western area of the Prophet's Mosque to fill what was previously dug during the peak of the project in the previous period and to create the area mentioned as tiled areas.
The last month witnessed the issuance of directives to complete the expansion of the third Saudi state of the Prophet's Mosque in accordance with a program prepared in 3 stages, the completion of the expansion work from the east by completing the construction and construction and rehabilitation of the surrounding areas to accommodate about 290 thousand worshipers and delay work in the second and third stages, For approved time limits starting with the guidance of the western side and the rehabilitation of the yards to serve the worshipers to accommodate approximately 230 thousand worshipers.
A circular issued by the company operating in the last quarter of 2017 on the return of work in the construction of the two mosques after the last pilgrimage without a precise time limit to resume work. While the subcontractors and suppliers are still waiting to spend the financial summaries of the project for the past period, and the termination of the crisis of salaries of workers over the past period by payment in three installments.
Pilgrims, scholars welcome Mihrab shift at Prophet's Mosque
The shifting of the Prophet's Mihrab reduces the time taken by an individual to visit the Prophet’s grave and pay him homage from 15 minutes to 20 seconds.
Tuesday January 30, 2018 / 13 Jumada al-ula 1439
MADINAH – The recent move by Saudi authorities to shift the Mihrab (prayer niche showing direction of qibla) at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah to the Prophet’s Mihrab, located behind the present one, has facilitated movement of faithful who want to pay homage to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Abdul Wahid Ali Al-Hattab, adviser at the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, said Islamic scholars and prominent personalities as well as pilgrims from around the world have welcomed the idea to ease difficulties of pilgrims and worshipers who intend to greet the Prophet (pbuh).
“The shifting process was carried out in phases,” the adviser told Iqra Islamic channel while attending its program named “From the vicinity of Taiba” conducted by Wael Rafeek. The Prophet’s Mihrab was used first on a Friday last month.
The Mihrab was also used for Maghreb and Isha prayers on several days. “When we found that the idea was good and effective we decided to use this mihrab for all prayers,” he explained.
Al-Hattab said the number of visitors at the Prophet’s grave inside the mosque rose from 50,000 to more than 80,000 daily as a result of shifting the Mihrab. The previous Mihrab was in the Ruwaq area which was congested as a result of the presence of a large number of worshipers and visitors who wanted to visit the Prophet’s grave.
Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, head of the presidency and imam and khateeb of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, had previously announced the plan to shift the Mihrab.
The move reduced the time taken by an individual to visit the Prophet’s grave and pay him homage from 15 minutes to 20 seconds. The faithful can now enter Al-Ruwaq area to reach the graves of the Prophet and his two companions and get out through Baqie Gate within no time.
Al-Hattab commended the Saudi leadership for approving the measure that was taken for the benefit of visitors of the Prophet’s Mosque and help them perform their religious duties with comfort.
“Saudi Arabia has been doing a great job over the past several decades to ensure the security and safety of pilgrims who come to perform Haj and Umrah,” the adviser said.
Long robes not necessary attire for Saudi women — senior cleric
Sheikh Abdullah Al-Mutlaq, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars.
Saturday 10 February 2018
DUBAI: Saudi women need not wear the abaya — the loose-fitting, full-length robes symbolic of religious faith — a senior member of the top Muslim clerical body said, another indication of the Kingdom’s efforts toward modernization.
On his radio show named Friday Studio aired on Neda Al-Islam radio station on Friday Feb. 9, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Mutlaq, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said Muslim women should dress modestly, but this did not necessitate wearing the abaya.
Friday Studio is a weekly Islamic show that discusses Islamic teachings, answers questions from the audience and issues fatwas by the show’s permanent guest Al-Mutlaq.
“More than 90 percent of pious Muslim women in the Muslim world do not wear abayas,” Sheikh Mutlaq said on Friday. “So we should not force people to wear abayas.”
While not necessarily signalling a change in the law, the statement is the first of its kind from a senior religious figure. It follows the recent pattern of freedoms the Kingdom has been witnessing with the ascent of young Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to power.
Only the government-appointed clerics associated with the Council of Senior Scholars are allowed to issue fatwas, or Islamic legal opinions. Their interpretations of Islamic law form the basis of Saudi Arabia’s legal system.
Saudi women have started wearing more colorful abayas in recent years, the light blues and pinks in stark contrast with the traditional black. Open abayas over long skirts or jeans are also becoming more common in some parts of the country.
The trend marks a major change in the last couple of years. In 2016, a Saudi woman was detained for removing her abaya on a main street in the capital of Riyadh. Local media reported that she was detained after a complaint was filed with the religious police.
The Kingdom has seen an expansion in women’s rights recently, such as the decision passed to allow women to attend mixed public sporting events and the announcement that Saudi Arabia would grant them the right to drive.
These are some of the many changes the country has undergone in recent months, hailed as proof of a new progressive trend in the deeply conservative Muslim Kingdom.
But despite these changes, the gender-segregated nation is criticized for its continued constraints on women. Activists have blasted the country’s guardianship system which requires a male family member to grant permission for a woman to study abroad, travel and other activities.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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