Thieves have a field day in Arafat, Muzdalifah post-Haj
A toilet in the holy site from where taps and doors have been stolen.
Feb 28, 2017
MAKKAH — As soon as the Haj is over, the pilgrims return to their respective homes and the concerned government departments go back to their main offices in Makkah, Jeddah and other places, the thieves start stealing public properties in the holy sites especially Arafat and Muzdalifah, informed sources told Okaz/Saudi Gazette on Monday.
They said the thieves usually steal sewage covers, doors of toilets, electricity cables and many other things.
“As soon as the Haj season is over, the thieves start stealing whatever they could put their hands on particularly in Arafat and Muzdalifah,” said Mohammed Ali, a Pakistani worker.
He said the robberies, which begin at the end of the Haj season, continue throughout the year.
“The thieves concentrate on Arafat and Muzdalifah because they are open areas which are easily accessible,” he said.
Ali said the security guards could not guard the entire holy sites all the year around.
He said robberies take place during the night time because the places are quite and the traffic is very light on the streets.
The worker noted that there were no major thefts in Mina due to its terrain and its few or no entries and exits.
Salim Al-Harbe, a Saudi resident, asked the concerned security departments to intensify their operations in the holy sites to put an end to the robberies.
“Whenever you walk in the holy sites after the Haj, you will see that most of the toilets are without doors and you will find most of the electricity cables missing,” Al-Harbe said.
Muhammad Mahmoud Al-Qadi, an official at the National Water Company (NWC), said they have to install new taps and sewage covers continuously because of the thefts.
“We have a maintenance program which we conduct throughout the year. The program starts with the beginning of the year and concludes just before the Haj season. Under this program we change the taps and the other devices at the more than 3,000 toilets,” he said.
Spokesman of Makkah Municipality, Osama Zaitouni, also confirmed the theft operations and said maintenance teams from the municipality make continuous inspection tours of the holy sites.
He said they are liaising with the concerned security departments to put an end to the repeated thefts in the holy sites.
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Shoura turns down proposal to cut time between prayer calls
Mar 8, 2017
RIYADH — The Shoura (Consultative) Council's committee on Islamic and judicial affairs has turned down a proposal to fix a maximum time of five minutes between the first and second call to prayer in mosques and prayer areas in markets and shopping centers.
The reduction in time between calls was proposed by deputy chairman of the council›s security affairs committee, Ata Al-Subaiti, and was forwarded to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance.
Al-Subaiti said reduction of time between the first and second call to prayer has multiple considerations. First, in Islam, there is no specific period of time between the two calls to prayer. However, praying on time is better. He stressed that each country determines the time based on its people’s interests. Second, it enables workers in malls and commercial complexes to pray in congregation, taking into account the interests of shoppers and investors.
Govt moves to curb multiple Hajj to facilitate new pilgrims
March 10, 2017
ISLAMABAD: The government has announced that applicants, who have performed Hajj in the last seven years, will not be eligible to apply for the religious pilgrimage under the government scheme in 2017. Hajj-e-Badal will be allowed only through private Hajj scheme.
The decision was taken during a meeting held at the PM House on Thursday regarding arrangements for Hajj 2017. Session was presided by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and he was given a detailed briefing by the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
The premier directed the religious ministry to take initiatives, and ensure better facilities for pilgrims at the minimum possible cost.
He was informed that the annual Hajj agreement for the year 2017 had been signed with Saudi Arabia, and the quota, which was reduced due to expansion of Haram Sharif in 2013, was restored from 143,368 to 179,210.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Hajj ministry has been requested to enhance the country’s quota by at least 15,000 on the basis of current population of Pakistan.
The PM directed that special attention must be given to make arrangements at the airports; provision of three daily meals in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalfa, and general facilitation for Hujjaj in lodging and travelling.
He said the government would provide all possible support to the Ministry for facilitating the guests of Allah in performing Hajj comfortably and securely.
Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yusaf said applications for the government Hajj scheme increased from 86,919 in 2013 to 280,617 in 2016. “Over 300% increase in applications in three years is a testament of public confidence and trust in the government,” he was quoted as saying.
JEDDAH — The fasting month of Ramadan will start this year on Saturday, May 27, and will last for 29 days, local daily Al-Madina reported on Tuesday, quoting a statement by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Sulaiman Al-Manie, member of the Council of Senior Scholars.
Al-Manie said the month of Shaaban, which precedes Ramadan in the Islamic calendar, would have 30 days.
The Eid Al-Fitr will fall on Sunday, June 25, with the fasting month ending on Saturday, June 24, he said.
The scholar’s statement was based on astronomical calculations for the beginning and end of Islamic months for Makkah.
According to Al-Manie, the month of Haj this year will be of 29 days and will begin on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
“Accordingly, the Arafat Day, marking the climax of the pilgrimage, will be on Thursday, Aug. 31, and the Eid Al-Adha will be on Friday, Sept. 1,” he said.
46 terrorists involved in attack on Prophet’s Mosque arrested
May 1, 2017
RIYADH — The Ministry of Interior on Sunday announced that it has so far arrested 46 members of a terrorist cell responsible for a deadly suicide attack on the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah and some other terrorist acts.
The arrested terrorists include 32 Saudis, and 14 foreigners belonging to Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan and Jordan, said Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, security spokesman at the ministry.
In February this year, the ministry announced the busting of two hideouts of a terrorist cell in Jeddah.
In a raid on a residential apartment in Al-Nasim district, Hossam Saleh Al-Johani, a terrorist was arrested.
The second raid was on a rest house in Al-Harazat District on Jan. 21. Two Saudi suicide bombers — Khalid Ghazi Hussain Al-Sarwani and Nadi Marzooq Khalaf Al-Mudhyani Enizi — blew themselves up after security forces laid siege to the rest house where they were staying and planning terror activities.
The spokesman said that the terrorist cell were involved in the attack targeting the Prophet’s Mosque on July 4 last year.
Members of this cell supplied explosive belt used by the suicide bomber Naer Musallem Hammad Al-Nujaidi who blew himself up when he was prevented by security forces from entering the Prophet’s Mosque. Four security men were martyred and five others were injured in the blast in the holy month of Ramadan.
Al-Turki said the cell was also associated with the terror blast at the parking lot of Soliman Fakeeh Hospital in Jeddah on July 3 last year. Abdullah Qalzar Khan, a Pakistani national, blew himself up as he detonated his suicide vest when security guards approached him.
The cell members in Al-Harazat district were also found to be involved in the killing of one of the terrorists after suspecting that he was going to surrender to the security authorities. The terrorists slaughtered Mutie Salem Al-Saiari, in a barbaric way. Al-Saiari, who was a wanted terrorist, was an expert in making suicide vests.
Non-obligatory prayers not allowed in mataf till Ramadan
May 23, 2017
MAKKAH — Worshipers will not be allowed to offer non-obligatory prayers in the mataf (circumambulation) area till the end of Ramadan, according to instructions issued by Emir of Makkah Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who is the chairman of the Central Haj Committee.
No Iftar meals will be allowed inside the mataf.
The Emir ordered to clear the mataaf area in order to allow pilgrims performing circumambulation to complete their Umrah without hindrance.
Worshipers and pilgrims will be allowed to pray the five obligatory prayers inside the mataaf.
The Emir’s instructions came after he looked into reports that worshipers praying inside the mataaf obstruct pilgrims and visitors performing circumambulation.
Meanwhile, cars will not be allowed to enter the central area around the Grand Mosque in Makkah in Ramadan, Makkah Arabic daily reported on Monday quoting Director of Traffic Police in the holy city Col. Bassim Al-Badri. “The move is aimed at reducing congestion in the areas near the Haram and also for the safety of pedestrians,” he said.
Al-Badri said the traffic department has specified nine parking areas where local vehicles will drop passengers who will be transported to the Grand Mosque by shuttle buses.
Al-Badri said five parking lots have been specified for pilgrims and visitors coming from outside Makkah.
He urged citizens, expatriates, Umrah pilgrims and visitors to cooperate with traffic policemen so as to organize traffic movement and ensure a speedy access to the Grand Mosque.
The local parking lots are: Al-Shuhada, Kudai, Al-Rusaifah, Rabwat Mina, Prince Miteb Street, the Jamrat, Daqam Al-Wabar, Al-Zahir.
The parking areas for vehicles coming from outside Makkah are Al-Sharaie, Taif road, Madinah road, A-Laith road and Al-Shumaisi police checkpoint.
Al-Badri asked all motorists to park their cars in parking lots specified for them and to take buses to go to the Grand Mosque.
There is no proof of seeing the crescent of Ramadan this evening
Riyadh, Sha'ban 29, 1438, May 25, 2017, SPA
The Supreme Court issued this evening the following: Praise be to Allah alone. The court held a hearing today, 29th of Sha'ban, 1438 AH, according to the calendar of Umm Al-Qura, and the seeing of crescent of Ramadan has not been confirmed.
The court will hold a hearing tomorrow evening to issue a decision about seeing of the crescent of Ramadan, and will announce it according to the followed procedures.
Saudi Arabia: Ramadan moon sighting continues on Friday
Lebanon, Turkey, Yemen and Iraq declare Saturday as the first day of Ramadan while Saudi Arabia postpones confirmation.
Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq confirmed that Saturday, May 27, will be the first day of Ramadan 2017.
Turkey - along with Muslim communities in Europe, the US, Canada and Australia - previously declared that Saturday will be the first day of Ramadan, based on astronomical calculations of the new moon birth.
Saudi Arabia's High Judicial Court announced that the moon was not sighted on Thursday evening, and that it will convene on Friday evening for moon sighting again.
Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE made similar announcements, and will make the call on Friday evening.
This is unprecedented, as a lunar month can only be 29 or 30 days, and according to the Saudi Umm al-Qura calendar cited by the court, Thursday was the 29th of Shaban, the last lunar month before Ramadan.
ِAs per the Umm al-Qura calendar, and Turkey, Shaban started on April 27, but as the Saudi court explains moon sighting then was not confirmed, and so there is uncertainty over Shaban's actual start.
Egypt, Malaysia and other countries started Shaban on April 28, and will be sighting Ramadan's moon on Friday evening. For them, Friday, not Thursday, is the 29th of Shaban.
According to astronomers, the new Ramadan moon will be visible on Friday around the world, either directly with the naked eye or with a telescope.
In Yemen, rival parties have both announced Saturday as Ramadan's first day.
JEDDAH: Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, deputy governor of the Makkah region, on Monday toured the Unified Security Operations Center. He was briefed on the workflow mechanism during Ramadan, and how the center handles incoming reports and communications, then sorts them out and assigns appropriate entities to deal with situations.
The center is equipped with the latest technology, and all services are linked on one platform to provide the best services for visitors, Umrah pilgrims and Makkah residents.
Prince Abdullah toured each department and listened to a detailed presentation on the services each provides, the mechanisms of receiving and analyzing reports, and then referring them for action.
Supportive bodies include the Health Ministry, the Saudi Red Crescent, the Water and Electricity Co. and the Makkah Secretariat.
He toured the CCTV control room, which broadcasts holy rituals directly from Makkah to cities across the Kingdom. He also inspected the crisis-management center and was briefed on its role.
The director of the Unified Security Operations Center, Col. Ali bin Attiya Al-Ghamdi, presented information on its vision, its mission, its human and security services, and its plan during Ramadan to achieve the highest response standards around the clock.
Al-Ghamdi expressed his pleasure and honor at the visit, on behalf of himself and all personnel at the center.
He said the visit confirms the attention and care paid by the Saudi leadership to maintain peace and security across the Kingdom.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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