JEDDAH — Showers are likely to bring some solace to the thousands of pilgrims in Makkah between Aug. 24 and 26 (Dhul Hijja 2-4), three days before they set out for the tent city of Mina in preparation for the standing on Arafat.
The highlands of Makkah, including the holy sites, and Madinah are expected to have rainy clouds, dust storm accompanied by lighting and poor visibility until Dhul Hijja 7, the Saudi Press Agency said quoting a report from the General Authority for Meteorology and Environment Protection.
The rainy weather conditions would gradually subside, paving the way for high temperatures. During the Haj days starting from Aug. 28 to Sept. 4 (Dhul Hijja 8 to 13) according to Umm Al-Qura calendar, the holy sites will experience minimum temperatures ranging between 30 and 33 degrees Celsius and maximum between 42 to 45 degrees Celsius. The humidity will range between 45 and 85 percent during the period.
The authority announced this during the inspection tour of Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadli to have first-hand information about the arrangements and preparations made by it at the holy sites for this year’s Haj. Dr. Khalil Al-Thaqafi, president of the authority, and other senior officials accompanied him. The minister listened to the briefing from Al-Thaqafi about the activities of the authority’s operation rooms at the holy sites.
We spend hundreds of hours ensuring you receive a quality service from this site. We do not fall into the advertisement schemes as all the ads contain elements of Haraam including Haraam Islamic links. Please consider setting up a £1 monthly donation. May Allah (swt) reward you.
Enormous umbrellas to be installed in the Grand Mosque
First phase begins next year
Wednesday August 23, 2017 / 1 Dhu al-hijjah 1438
MAKKAH — The design works of the umbrella project for the Grand Mosque courtyards have been completed, announced Maj. Gen. Muhammad Al-Ahmadi, Commander of Grand Mosque Security Forces during the Second Media Conference for Haj Security commanders held Monday in Makkah.
The area of an umbrella in the Prophet Mosque is 25*25 while in the Grand Mosque it is 53*53, which is double the area, he explained.
“These umbrellas are huge and there are no similar ones to them any place around the world. The first phase of the umbrella installation project will take place beginning of the next year and will cover all courtyards.
The Grand Mosque roof will have umbrellas as well,” he said.
The mataf expansion project, which was completed this year, will accommodate more pilgrims and provide them with more comfort and ease.
كشف قائد القوة الخاصة لأمن المسجد الحرام المكي "اللواء محمد الأحمدي"، لـ"سبق"، عن أنه تم تنفيذ مشروع المظلات داخل ساحات المسجد الحرام المكي وعلى سطحه، سيكون بدءاً من العام المقبل، مبيناً أن أمر تنفيذه قائم ومعتمد من قبل المقام السامي الكريم، وأن اللجنة الفنية انتهت من التصاميم وسيكون المشروع هو الأكبر في العالم؛ إذ تبلغ مساحته الإجمالية قرابة "٢٨٠٩"م٢.
Riyadh, Dhu-Al-Qa'dah 30, 1438 H., August 22, 2017, SPA
As many as 1,253,759 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom through airports, seaports and land crossings, by 22 August, 2017, an increase of 269,141 pilgrims compared to the toll of last year, or 27%, according to the statistics of the Passports Directorate.
In detail, the figures stood at 1,174,494 pilgrims arriving by air, 70,541 on land and only 8,724 came by sea.
JEDDAH: The National Information Center (NIC) and Public Security have jointly launched a mobile biometrics system for use with smart devices. The system provides many electronic services to security personnel in the field including checking Hajj permits and security scanning for wanted persons, either through fingerprinting, the national ID number or residence identity number, all in record time, not exceeding a few seconds.
The system will enhance and support the technical capacities of security personnel in the field through the provision of easy-to-carry smart devices during the current Hajj season, as these devices are equipped with fingerprint and ID readers, and cameras to take photos.
The system has many features such as the taking of non-registered biometrics and sending them to the fingerprint processing system at the NIC, and identification of persons through the national ID or residence identity numbers. The system provides register reports carried out by the operator of the system, on the validity of Hajj permit, violations, and their registration in the database of the NIC through an individual’s fingerprints.
The launching of the system comes in completion of technical and security work carried out by the NIC and Public Security in using technology in the field of security.
More than 2 million pilgrims gather in Makkah for Haj rituals starting tomorrow
Tuesday August 29, 2017 / 7 Dhu al-hijjah 1438
MAKKAH — More than two million pilgrims from abroad and inside have assembled in Makkah to start their Haj rituals from tomorrow (Wednesday) with the grand ascent to Mina where they will stay for five days during which they will throw pebbles at the three Jamarat (huge pillars symbolizing the devil), slaughter their sacrificial animals and proceed to the Grand Mosque to do Tawaf Al-Ifadah. The pilgrims will early Thursday proceed to Arafat, a valley which is about nine km away from Makkah. They will stay there from morning to sunset at the Haj climax.
From Arafat, the pilgrims will proceed to Muzdalifah where they will pray Maghreb and Isha together and leave for Mina after midnight or early morning Friday, which is the Eid Al-Adha day.
According to health authorities, there are no epidemics or contagious diseases among the guests of God so far.
The authorities said as many as 357 pilgrims from various nationalities have been admitted to hospitals in Makkah.
They said, on improvement and recovery, the pilgrims will be discharged to do their Haj rituals but those who are still sick will be taken by ambulances to the holy sites to complete their pilgrimage.
The Health Ministry said so far 318 heart catheter operations were conducted in addition to 19 open-heart surgeries, 402 various surgeries and 1,155 kidney dialysis.
The ministry has prepared 48 beds in Mina Al-Wadi Hospital for the sunstroke and heat exhaustion. Meanwhile, the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has provided about 15,000 electric cars and wheelchairs for the old and pilgrims with special needs to use free of charge in the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah.
The presidency said the cars could be obtained at the western and eastern plazas of the Grand Mosque. This is in addition to a number of other cars and wheelchairs offered for rent.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah announced that a total of 865,800 pilgrims have visited Madinah before the Haj to pay homage to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and pray in his mosque.
All the pilgrims have left Madinah for Makkah for the performance of the pilgrimage.
Many pilgrims prefer to visit Madinah before Haj especially those who arrive early in the Kingdom while others do this after the Haj is over.
According to a statistical report by the branch of the ministry until Sunday, there were 51,277 pilgrims still remaining in Madinah consisting of 16,478 pilgrims from Nigeria.
About 8,000 Saudi boy scouts are volunteering to serve the pilgrims providing them with direction and guidance. They are stationed in Makkah, Madinah, the holy sites, the Haj air terminals and the land and sea inlets.
Education Minister, Ahmed Al-Issa, who is the chairman of the society of the Saudi boy scouts, on Monday inspected their camps in the holy sites. He was accompanied by the chairman of the State Security Abdulaziz Al-Huwarini.
Anti-fire tents with innovative technology used for first time in Arafat
ARAFAT — Fire-proof tents with advanced technology have been installed in Arafat for the first time, according to Col. Saad Al-Rabi’ee, Civil Defense.
Preventive supervision officers, field inspection officers, and officers on motorbikes were dispatched to Arafat few months ago to supervise the process of installing the tents and ensure that the tents had met all safety requirements. Those officers were accompanied by Saudi Electricity Co. senior technicians who supervised the process.
In Arafat, there are 1,200 fire hydrants covering the area, which can be used to deal with any fire, God forbid, he said. There are 12 control towers equipped with advanced technology, which can detect any suspicious activity and any fire and dispatch special teams immediately to the site.
“Gas cylinders are prohibited in all tents and government facilities in the holy sites. Violations will be dealt with sternly as the use of gas can jeopardize the safety of all pilgrims,” he said.
Civil Defense has devised special plans to ensure maximum safety of pilgrims in Arafat. Security officers and Civil Defense teams will be on full alert and remain so until the pilgrims leave Arafat and head for Muzdalifah.
Civil Defense officers ran intensive inspection visits to all tents before the arrival of pilgrims and notified tawafah establishment of any minor violations.
“We gave the establishments short notices to fix all minor violations and they did,” he said.
Makkah women custom: Spending quality time at the mosque
A women supplicates before the Holy Kaaba in Makkah in this file photo. On Arafat day, Makkah women venture into the Grand Mosque to relive a custom.
Friday September 1, 2017 / 10 Dhu al-hijjah 1438
MAKKAH — On Eid Al-Adha day the streets of Makkah are empty because pilgrims and people volunteering for Haj are in Arafat. They move from Muzdalifah to Mina, and that's why this time of year is the most appropriate time to change the garment of the Kaaba. Many of the religious and social customs and traditions in Saudi Arabia are inherited from grandparents and parents who pass on the traditions baton to the children, especially those during special occasions, Al-Hayat reported.
Despite the non-observance and the fading of some customs and traditions due to social factors and urbanization and modernization of the society, there are customs and traditions that are still firmly established, especially those that are associated with religious events. On Arafat day, which is called "the day of the Khalef" the elderly return to celebrate this day in their own way and lead the women onto the streets in groups. Men and women go out in groups and have special traditional conversations carrying baskets of coffee and date pastries while heading to the house of God. This custom they have agreed to call "the day of the Khalef." They spend that day in the Grand Mosque and pray for the pilgrims.
Most of the neighborhoods of Makkah, such as: Masfla, Mansour, Jarul, Hajlah, and Ajyad, Rea Bakhsh, remain during this day completely free of pilgrims, because they are involved in the Haj rituals in the holy sites. And despite how old the custom is, the women of Makkah are still keen on teaching their daughters to practice them. The women of Makkah, who have lived in the neighborhoods of Al-Khalef, now go to gatherings to hold lectures and seminars, and may eat together after fasting on the day of Arafat, which represents the day of the greatest pilgrimage.
And the reason why the women focus on making dates pastries rather than other desserts or sweets, says Khaleda Al-Thaqafi, is that, "The Haj season is distinguished from other occasions by baking date pastries because the pilgrims on their way to Makkah would take food that helped them perform their rituals and fueled their energy with nutritional value. Dates and flour have provide that in addition these pastries are easy to store and don't go off easily. This ease of transporting this pastry made it popular among the pilgrims in that period."
MUZDALIFAH — A total of 2.352 million pilgrims are performing Haj this year, the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat) announced on Thursday. Of these, 1.752 million pilgrims came from outside the Kingdom while there were 600,108 domestic pilgrims, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
GaStat said male pilgrims are 1.334 million and female pilgrims total 1.018 million.
Number of pilgrims from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries reached 32,600 making 1.86 percent. The number of pilgrims from non-GCC Arab countries totaled 383,044 forming 21.86 percent. The number of pilgrims from non-Arab Asian countries reached 1.042 million forming 59.49 percent. Pilgrims from non-Arab African countries were 186,873 forming 10.67 percent.
Pilgrims from European countries are 84,894 forming 4.85 percent. The total number of pilgrims from North and South American countries and Australia reached 22,268 forming 1.27 percent.
MAKAKH — The Haj pilgrimage draws people from around the world to Saudi Arabia each year. The crowds, squeezed shoulder to shoulder in prayer five times a day, fill the city of Makkah and surrounding areas to perform a number of physically demanding and intricate rites.
The five-day-long Haj is required of all Muslims with the means to perform it once in a lifetime. Through intense worship and repentance, its goal is remission of past sins and drawing Muslims closer to Almighty Allah.
As Muslims around the world celebrate, here's a look at one of the world's largest pilgrimages in numbers:
* 2.35 million is the number of pilgrims from around the world performing Haj this year;
* 1.16 million sq. meters (12.5 million square feet) is the size of the Grand Mosque that houses Islam's holiest site;
* 7 is the number of times Muslims circle the cube-shaped Kaaba counterclockwise, their hearts titled toward it, during one of the rites of Haj;
* 104 is the age of the oldest pilgrim performing the Haj this year. Ibu Mariah Marghani Muhammad is from Indonesia;
* 3,500 is the number of charter buses used to transport pilgrims to the various sites for Haj;
* 1.75 million pilgrims are from outside Saudi Arabia;
* 600,000 is the number of pilgrims from Saudi Arabia, either residents or citizens;
* 1.33 million is the number of male pilgrims;
* 1.02 million is the number of female pilgrims;
* 59 percent are from non-Arab Asian countries;
* 24 percent are from Arab countries;
* 11 percent are from non-Arab African countries;
* 5 percent are from Europe;
* 1 percent are from North America;
* 100,000 is the number of Saudi security forces tasked with protecting and assisting pilgrims on the Haj;
* 5,000 is the number of cameras along Haj routes.
MINA — The pilgrims have, during the first of the three Tashriq days, which was Saturday, threw 49.39 million pebbles at the devil in the Jamarat area in Mina.
The pilgrims pebbled the Jamarat Al-Aqaba (big devil replica) on Friday, the Eid day after coming down from Muzdalifah each throwing seven stones.
On the first Tashriq day, each pilgrim will be carrying with them 21 stones to throw seven at each one of the three devil replicas.
The throwing of stones is an important ritual in the Haj. Some pilgrims, who may be extremely mad at the devil, will throw empty bottles, shoes, slippers and other hard material.
Thanks to the intricate security measures, the throwing of the stones went smooth with no incidents at all to mar the ritual.
According to the new arrangements at the Jamarat Bridge, the pilgrims will not have to go back to their tents via the same road that they had used to arrive at the Jamarat area. This has prevented stampede and the pilgrims running into each other.
The Jamarat area has been raised to four stories providing more space for the pilgrims to use.
The Ministry of Haj and Umrah has prevented throwing stones from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. which has helped relieve the over crowdedness.
MAKKAH — Some 45 pilgrims from various countries in Europe have died during the Haj and were buried in Makkah according to their wish, daily press reports said on Sunday quoting the Tuwafa Establishment for pilgrims from Turkey, Europe and America.
Chairman of the establishment, Tariq Ankawi said 27 of the dead pilgrims were from Turkey, three from Britain, two Russians, one each from France, the United States, Guyana and Kosovo and three each from Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
He said the deaths took place during the period from the arrival of the pilgrims in Makkah until the first Tashriq day, which was Saturday, Sept. 2.
Ankawi said before their arrival in Makkah, the pilgrims had recommended to be buried in Makkah if they died during the Haj.
"They wanted to be buried in the holiest of places at the holiest of times which is the Haj," he said.
He said two of the dead pilgrims were buried in Al-Maala cemetery while all the others were buried in Al-Sharia.
Ankawi said all the deaths were natural except one, which happened as a result of a traffic accident.
He said the death certificates given to their families contained the name of the cemetery and the grave number so that his/her loved ones could visit them anytime.
Many pilgrims come to the Haj with the purpose of dying during the pilgrimage so that they would be buried in Makkah.
For a guided tour of the Prophet's City, a tourism project has started with five buses in the first stage. The number of buses will increase to 15 later. The service runs for 14 hours daily.
29 August 2017
MADINAH – Guided tours are still being organized by unlicensed people in the Prophet's City violating the ban imposed by the authorities.
Some companies and individuals organize trips to archeological sites in Madinah City in flagrant violation of the pertinent regulations, Al-Madina newspaper said in a report.
Alarmed tourism experts have called for developing the historical, religious and tourist sites of the city in line with the Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to support and bolster the religious tourism sector. A large number of pilgrims and visitors in Madinah love to visit farms and Al-Bayda Wild Park, north of the city. Some unlicensed trip organizers take advantage of the situation and provide trips to the farms and the parks despite constant warnings.
Muhammad Al-Bijawi, undersecretary at the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, said the ministry is very keen to regulate guided tours in Madinah and issue more licenses to tourist guides.
“The ministry bans these unlicensed trips in order to protect pilgrims and visitors from falling victim to fraud or against being overcharged for such trips. Unfortunately, some citizens circumvent the regulations and use their own vehicles to transport the pilgrims to tourist and religious sites,” he said.
Col. Salah Al-Harbi, director of Madinah Traffic Department, said all buses not licensed by the General Vehicle Syndicate to organize such trips will be impounded.
“We adopt a strict position regarding such trips because the ban on them is clear. We have set up various checkpoints at different locations, especially on roads leading to the farms,” he said.
Al-Madina daily reportr visited the Al-Bayeda Wild Park and saw 13 unlicensed buses parkinged nearby. These buses transported pilgrims and visitors to the park although bus drivers knew they were violating the law.
Fuad Al-Maghamsi, a Madinah historian, criticized this negative practice and described it as unfair to licensed tourist guides.
“We have licensed tour guides who are professional and who have worked hard to get the license. It is not fair that some people who do not have such license get away with violation. Authorities should regulate this sector and restrict tourist guides services to licensed tourist agencies,” he said.
Abdullah Kaber, an expert on Madinah history, said a licensed tourist guide knows the Prophet’s biography very well and has accurate information about many of the events that took place in the Islamic history. Most of the unlicensed tourist guides know little about the history and the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which means that they might mislead pilgrims and visitors and make them form a wrong idea about something.
Sacrificial meat utilization program feeds 30 million in 27 countries
Saudi Arabia’s sacrificial meat utilization program not only aims to protect the environment of Makkah, Mina and its surrounding villages but also to feed more than 30 million poor people in 27 countries in Asia, Africa and other parts of the Islamic world.
September 6, 2017
MAKKAH – Saudi Arabia’s sacrificial meat utilization program, which was introduced in 1983, not only aims to protect the environment of Makkah, Mina and its surrounding villages but also to feed more than 30 million poor people in 27 countries in Asia, Africa and other parts of the Islamic world.
In the past Hajis used to dry excess sacrificial meat and took it with them when they returned to their home countries. Later they left the sacrificed animals in the streets of Mina and Makkah, causing environmental problems. The number of sacrificed animals during Haj has been rising year after year.
“When this ritual created a big environmental issue, Saudi Arabia launched its sacrificial meat utilization program in 1983,” said Dr. Saeed Al-Amoudi, a researcher interested in modernization of Makkah. The Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) was given the charge to implement the program.
The project has witnessed remarkable progress over the past years. In 1420H, about 18 years ago, an automatic abattoir was established in Muaisem for the purpose. It is considered the largest animal slaughterhouse in the world with more than 40,000 employees including butchers, cleaners and administrators.
The program handles more than a million heads of sacrificed sheep and thousands of cows and camels during the Haj season and their meat is shipped to 27 countries in Asia and Africa. A plant to treat the leftovers has been established as part of the project with a daily capacity of 500 tons. This plant transforms animal leftovers into fertilizers.
“This project is first of its kind in the world,” said an IDB official who requested anonymity. “This represents a good example for transforming a big problem into a successful venture,” he added. He underscored the Saudi government’s continuous support for the sacrificial meat utilization program since its inception.
“The act of sacrifice means doing something for someone else,” said an Islamic scholar while highlighting the significance of the sacrificial meat utilization program, which has benefited millions of the world’s poor and needy in the past years.
Pilgrims can perform the sacrifice on any of three days of Eid Al-Adha. But most choose the first day, when they are in Mina just after they have thrown 49 pebbles at the Jamarat pillars, symbolizing the stoning of the devil.
“During the times of sacrifice, the crush of pilgrims near the premises of the slaughterhouses creates conditions approaching chaos,” wrote the US geographer Clarke Brooke in 1987 in a study of the Haj sacrifice. “Everywhere around the slaughterhouses are pilgrims, traders, live animals, and the carcasses of animals.”
Nor could pilgrims’ appetites match the quantity of meat slaughtered. Bulldozers pushed remains of animals into ditches; other carcasses were burnt, Brooke wrote.
“For years, hundreds of thousands of sheep were slaughtered, and after families took what they could use, the rest was simply buried because of the lack of processing facilities for sheep sacrificed one day of the year”, the retired US State Department official David E Long said stressing the Saudi project’s significance.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
We apologise but you have been denied access to report posts in this thread. This could be due to excessively reporting posts and not understanding our forum rules. For assistance or information, please use the forum help thread to request more information. Jazakallah