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The expansion of the squares of the Prophet's Mosque
Remove the buildings west of the Prophet's Mosque
in favor of expansion
10 goals from the project and 3 stages to complete it
Umrah pilgrims unable to board PIA flight
January 15, 2019
RAWALPINDI: Eighty pilgrims were stopped from boarding a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight for Umrah because their seats had not been confirmed, but half of them were allowed to travel after their travel agent paid for their tickets.
PIA spokesperson Mashood Tajwar told Dawn that a travel agent from Lahore had booked the pilgrims’ seats but did not pay for their confirmation in time, leading to the cancellation of their bookings.
He added that the travel agency was a defaulter that owed the PIA Rs25 million, but had sought a temporary stay order from a senior civil judge.
The court had also ordered the agency to pay the PIA.
Mr Tajwar said the passengers’ tickets were only cancelled because the travel agent did not pay for them.
He said the travel agent had also involved a sub-agent who dealt with the pilgrims.
The pilgrims, who were from Lakki Marwat, were to travel from Islamabad to Jeddah on PIA flight PK-741, but were not permitted to board because their seats were not confirmed.
They were told by PIA staff that their bookings were cancelled because their travel agent did not pay for the tickets in time.
Mr Tajwar said 40 of the pilgrims were allowed to travel once the travel agent paid for their tickets.
He blamed the agent for inconveniencing the pilgrims, and claimed the PIA administration’s timely actions had saved the airline from fraud. PK-741 took off at 8:45am.
Separately, a passenger travelling to Ras Al Khaimah was injured from falling on the escalator while heading to the passenger lounge at Islamabad International Airport.
Sources said Sheikh Mohammad Hussain, 83, slipped and fell down the escalator, injuring his forehead. The passenger received first aid from a Civil Aviation Authorty doctor and was allowed to travel.
Madinah governor inspects
Prophet’s Mosque restoration work
Prince Faisal bin Salman checked the work to restore parts of the Prophet's Mosque.
January 22, 2019
JEDDAH: Since its founding, Saudi Arabia has always sought to preserve the heritage and history of the Prophet’s Mosque, Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman said during his inspection of restoration and maintenance work at the mosque’s southern wall.
He was accompanied by Sheikh Saleh bin Khalid Al-Muzaini, undersecretary of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques; Waheeb Al-Sahli, undersecretary for Madinah governorate; and Fahd Albuliheshi, CEO of the Madinah Regional Development Authority.
Prince Faisal said the ancient decorative formations of the mosque’s southern wall have become more distinct since the removal of the wooden doors that covered the wall.
The restoration work was a joint effort by the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, and the Madinah Regional Development Authority, he added.
The work was carried out according to the highest standards, with the help of foreign and Saudi experts.
30% of pilgrims to receive
precooked meals next Haj
Haj and Umrah Minister Dr. Mohammad Benten and other officials at the Safqah
forum organized by the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Makkah.
MAKKAH — About 30 percent of pilgrims will receive precooked meals during the upcoming Haj season, Dr. Hussein Al-Sahrif, undersecretary at the Ministry of Haj and Umrah. He said their number was expected to hit 40 percent by 2020. “The catering sector is a promising project with many investment opportunities that Saudi entrepreneurs can utilize, especially as the projected spending by 2020 will reach SR20 billion and SR47 billion by 2030,” Al-Sharif said.
He was speaking at the 2nd edition of “Safqah” (Deal) forum, which was organized by the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Jan. 21.
Al-Sharif pointed out that there were many challenges associated with the Haj catering sector, but there are promising opportunities for entrepreneurs. For example, the sector will be supported by specialized vehicles for transporting precooked meals and distributing them among pilgrims in a professional and hospitable manner, he said, adding that many other creative ideas were being implemented.
Haj and Umrah Minister Dr. Mohammad Benten stated that his ministry was about to launch the first Haj and Umrah business accelerator to redirect relevant projects toward micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) led by male and female entrepreneurs.
“We have completed technical procedures and signed agreements with specialized companies to develop the quality of services,” he added.
One of the “Safqah” objectives is to develop the entrepreneurship sector in the holy capital by reviewing opportunities and know-how, and developing the services of tourism, Haj and Umrah systems and support services.
Deputy Minister of Haj and Umrah Dr. Abdul Fattah highlighted the investment opportunities in complementary services in addition to the basic services. The sector is a fertile environment for business and entrepreneurship, which needs creative ideas and a keenness to prepare economic feasibility studies before starting the project, he added.
Haj and Umrah Guest Program Manager Ramy Kensara said there were many investment opportunities for male and female entrepreneurs in the field of gifts and souvenirs. The average spending of each Haj pilgrim or Umrah performer on gifts was SR1,000, he added.
The gift items sold in the holy cities were all imported, Kensara said, while calling for localizing the gifts manufacture in order to financially benefit from developing and selling innovative gift products.
3 private museums to join
the national heritage list in Makkah
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) is working to give licenses to three private museums in Makkah, which will join five others already existing in the city.
"The eight private museums together will constitute a tourist and a cultural wealth in the holy city," said the commission's director in Makkah, Hisham Bin Mohammed Madani.
He explained that the five licensed museums in Makkah are the Human Heritage, the Makkawi Tourist Home, the Islamic Dinar, Al-Amoudi and Khundanah Museum.
Madani said the Makkah museums vary in their contents showcasing old coins, heritage and crafts.
Rains cause havoc in Madinah
MADINAH — The 51-mm rain in Madinah on Monday flooded streets, swept away many vehicles and affected traffic flow on several main streets.
Several traffic signals went out of order causing some traffic accidents.
Light to moderate rain caused power outages in Jeddah and Rabigh.
The King Abdul Aziz International Airport administration in Jeddah said the inclement weather conditions caused flight delays. Three people were stranded in Khulais floods. Two were rescued by citizens and the third was by the Civil Defense.
The rainfall lashed Obhur, Al-Rehaili, and Dhahban and some districts of central, southern and eastern Jeddah.
Makkah Province Civil Defense Spokesman Col. Said Bin Sarhan said rain recorded in Jumoom, Al-Kamil and Khulais was light.
He appealed to the public to follow Civil Defense instructions.
The Riyadh Civil Defense warned the public to be cautious due to sandstorms and low visibility.
Moderate rain fell in Hail region also.
The General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection (GAMEP) warned the public of thundershowers triggering floods and winds.
Schools were closed, highways shut in Madinah and dozens of people rescued by @SaudiDCD
from flooding on Monday after heavy rain swept large areas of north and west Saudi Arabia.
12 killed in Madinah & Tabuk floods
Riyadh — Twelve people were killed in floods after heavy rain lashed northern parts of Saudi Arabia this week, the Civil Defense said on Wednesday.
Ten died in the northwestern city of Tabuk and one each in the holy city of Madinah and in northern border areas, the agency said in a statement cited by the official SPA news agency.
Between Sunday and Wednesday, the agency had rescued 271 people from flooded areas, more than half of them in Tabuk, the statement said.
Heavy downpours have hit several areas of Saudi Arabia this week, mainly in western and northwestern parts of the kingdom close to the border with Jordan.
A number of committees have been set up to assess the damage caused by the bad weather, the agency said.
Uhud Battle site - Sayed Al-Shuhadah mosque
Before rain - “Waadi E Aqeeq” of Madinah is empty
After rain - “Waadi E Aqeeq” of Madinah
is looking like a canal or a small river
Al-Sudais: Kingdom, Muslim nations target
of disparaging media campaign
MAKKAH/MADINAH – Muslim countries in general and the Kingdom in particular are witnessing a disparaging media campaign via satellite channels and websites these days, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, Imam and Khateeb of the Holy Mosque in Makkah, as saying in his Friday sermon here.
This necessitates that all must unify their ranks and stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of this wild media frenzy and repulse whoever tries to undermine the Muslim countries or the security of the Two Holy Mosques, Al-Sudais asserted.
Al-Sudais added: “The brilliant and prudent youth of the Muslim Ummah should not allow themselves to be deceived by these media campaigns and tendentious rumors, as their aim is nothing but to destroy society, cause its disintegration and undermine its security and stability.”
At the conclusion of the khutba, he supplicated to Allah Almighty to protect “the country of the Two Holy Mosques” (Bilad Al-Haramain), its creed (Aqeedah), leadership, security, and safety.
He also prayed that Allah Almighty may safeguard the Ummah in general from the machinations of the enemies lying in wait for it.
Sheikh Al-Sudais said: “A person who contemplates on the history of the Ummah will notice that most of the time Muslims are preoccupied by differences among themselves in good times when peace prevails, a state of relaxation and profuse intellectual creativity are replete.
“However, these differences dwindle when the Ummah is faced by a looming danger or an enemy lying in wait for them. They then resort to focusing on matters of top priority and are keen to maintain and protect their internal unity to counter the external enemy.”
“All the people cannot be the same due to the difference in their levels of understanding and will. The difference among human beings can be positive and leads to diversity. But what is undesirable is that diversity should not lead to discord, partisanship, sectarianism, and animosity due to difference in ideas or school of religious thought.
“There should be no war of words, being suspicious about one another or any bloodletting. Whatever the differences, their main goal should be to obey Allah Almighty and His Prophet (peace be upon him). They should treat one another with compassion and fraternity. Harmony and cohesion should prevail among them,” Sheikh Al-Sudais stressed.
Al-Sudais criticized the prevailing indulgence in materialism in this era.
Meanwhile, in his Friday sermon, Sheikh Abdulbari Al-Thubaiti, Imam and Khateeb of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, focused on the concept of “Emarat Al-Masajid” which encompasses building mosques and furnishing, maintaining, repairing, cleaning and keeping them neat and tidy.
Pilgrims may soon travel
to Madinah on camel backs
MAKKAH — The Ministry of Haj and Umrah is currently giving final touches to a fascinating project that will allow pilgrims and visitors as well as citizens and residents of the Kingdom to travel to Madinah on camels following the route that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had taken during his Hijrah (migration) to Madinah, according to a report in Makkah Arabic daily.
The ministry said it had agreed to launch the initiative in collaboration with the Royal Commission for Makkah and the Holy Sites.
The project includes the development of 27 points on the Hijra Road consisting of hotels, rest houses, museums and others.
Under the initiative, titled the Road to Thaniyat Al-Wada, a plateau near Madinah, the travelers will be able to tread the same route that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had taken during his migration from Makkah in 622 AD.
The caravan will start from Ghar Thor, the cave on Mount Thor in Makkah where the Prophet and his closest companion Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) had stayed hiding from the eyes of the enemy plotters for about three days before setting out on their journey to Yathrib, which would become famous as Al-Madinah Al-Munawwara, the enlightened city, after the Prophet settled there. The caravan will then stop at the location of the tent of Umm Maabad, who had hosted the Prophet on his way to Yathrib and where he had milked her sheep.
Umm Maabad’s place used to provide generous hospitality to travelers, but that was a year of scarcity with little rain. The drought had adversely affected people and cattle and Umm Maabad had no food to offer to her visitors. But when the Prophet rubbed the udders of Umm Maabad’s, milk came gushing and everyone drank to their fill. The incident has come to be known as a miracle of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
The caravan will then pass through the location where Suraqa Bin Malik met the Prophet. Suraqa had reached the location after following the Prophet’s footprints in the hope of winning the reward the Quraish had placed on his head.
It will also go through the site where the camel had tumbled down and then took a shortcut pointed out to the Prophet by the Bedouin guide Masoud Al-Aslami.
The caravan will stop at Thaniyat Al-Wada completing the journey to Madinah.
The ministry said there would be alternatives other than camels to reach Madinah taking the route, such as 4-wheel drive vehicles, fire balloons and motorbikes.
When the Prophet reached Quba on the outskirts of Yathrib on the 8th day of Rabiul Awwal, he had already traveled for eight days. The Hijra Road, which was known as the caravan road in olden times, is 380 kilometers long.
Haj Ministry giving final touches to project for revisiting Prophet’s Hijra route.
Camels at King Abdulaziz camel festival 2019 https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewstory.php...newsid=1882492
A photo of Mina in 1889, pilgrims camp in tents along with camels for transport and sacrificial animals for Udhiyyah.
Life-Size Camel Carvings Found in the Saudi Desert
Archaeologists estimate the reliefs are 2,000 years old but are unsure what culture made them
Hop-on buses take visitors
to 12 landmarks in Madinah
MADINAH — The hop-on and hop-off tourist buses, launched in the middle of 2017 to facilitate sightseeing in Madinah, are taking visitors to 12 historical locations in the Prophet's city.
The project came within the efforts of the Authority to Develop Madinah to promote tourism and enable pilgrims visit a number of historical and tourist sites.
In an hourlong trip, the bus will take visitors to the Prophet's Mosque, Al-Baqeea graveyard, Al-Manakha Square, Al-Salam Gate, the Uhud battleground, the Qiblatain Mosque, the location of the Battle of Al-Khandaq, the Quba Mosque and the Quba Road, in addition to other commercial and heritage sites.
The authority has provided a fleet of well-equipped double-decker buses for the project.
The tour service starts every day after the Fajr prayer from the Prophet's Mosque and will be available until after Isha prayer. The duration of each trip is one hour.
There will be tourist guidance in eight languages including the Arabic, English, French, Urdu, Turkish, Indonesian, Persian and Malay in the buses.
The tourists will be supplied with state-of-the-art earphones to listen to the guidance and descriptions about each location. The descriptions will include anecdotes related to the Prophet's life.
The authority will soon add four languages to the program so that more tourists can benefit from it.
The authority said the visitors and tourists could also benefit from various services along the route including malls, restaurants, coffee shops and others.
Saudi Arabia increases
India Hajj pilgrim quota
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the increase in quota for Indian Hajj
pilgrims to 200,000 at the request of PM Narendra Modi during his recent visit to the country
February 20, 2019
NEW DELHI: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the increase in quota for Indian Hajj pilgrims to 200,000 at the request of PM Narendra Modi during his recent visit to the country.
Also at the request of Modi, the crown prince ordered the release of 850 Indian prisoners held in Saudi Arabian jails.
In a joint press appearance after talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the crown prince said: “Extremism and terrorism are our common concerns. We would like to tell our friend India that we’ll cooperate on all fronts, be it intelligence sharing. We’ll work with everyone to ensure a brighter future for our upcoming generations.”
The two countries will start a security dialogue at the level of national security advisers and set up a working group on counter-terrorism, said T.S. Thirumurthy, who handles economic relations at India’s Foreign Ministry.
In a joint press statement, both countries agreed to cooperate in combating terrorism. “Last week, the attack on Pulwama reminds us of the danger terror attacks pose to humanity and we are unanimous in our decision that pressure should be applied to any country promoting terror,” said the statement.
It added: “We have agreed that terrorism should not be supported in any form, and we should put pressure on countries that back terror. To end terror infrastructure, ending support to terror groups and punishing them is essential, so that young people don’t take up arms.”
In an interaction with the media at the presidential palace earlier, the crown prince said: “The relationship between India and Saudi Arabia is in our DNA. Today, we want to be ensured that the relationship is maintained and improved for sake of both countries and with the leadership of Mr. President and the Prime Minister; we can create good things for both countries.”
He said: “I admire PM Modi. He is the elder brother and I am his younger brother.”
with Saudi Arabia augurs well for Hajj,
Umrah pilgrims from India
February 20, 2019
NEW DELHI: Prominent Muslims in India have told Arab News the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has redefined their relationship with Riyadh.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to use the country’s fast-growing economy to attract more investment from Islamic nations, particularly Saudi Arabia.
Muslims make up 14 percent of India’s population. Last year, a record 175,000 of them traveled to Makkah for Hajj.
Zafarul Islam Khan, the chairman of the Delhi Minority Commission, said he hoped stronger bilateral ties would be an advantage for Muslims.
“Muslims in India go to Saudi for Hajj and Umrah, and a good relationship between New Delhi and Riyadh assures we will be treated well and given respect,” he said.
He added that the crown prince had sparked a lot of curiosity with his reform measures — aimed at diversifying the economy and opening up the Kingdom culturally — and that people in India, particularly Muslims, were keen to see what deals and agreements would be signed during his visit.
“Muslims in India think very highly of the Saudi-Indian relationship,” said Khan. “The process of redefining the India and Saudi Arabia relationship started long ago. Now what is happening is the consolidation.”
Andalib Akhtar, a New Delhi-based journalist and editor of The Indian Awaz, described the crown prince’s visit as special.
“For any Muslim, it’s a dream to go to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj or Umrah,” she said.
“It is also a destination for many Indians who seek employment.”
According to Pew Research Center data, India is the world’s top recipient of migrant remittances. Almost $69 billion was sent back to the country in 2015 and $10.5 billion of this sum was from Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Tasleem Ahmed Rehmani, from the Muslim Political Council of India, said Saudi Arabia’s reputation for promoting a conservative form of Islam had changed in recent years.
“The crown prince’s reformist measures have been received positively in the country,” he told Arab News, adding that Saudi Arabia had previously been considered close to Pakistan but that it was now regarded as “a great ally and very dependable strategic partner.”
Shaukat Azam, a university student in the eastern Indian city of Patna, said Saudi Arabia should invest in modern schools in India rather than building more seminaries and mosques.
“The Saudis have been building madrasahs (seminaries) and mosques for a long time now. It is time that investment is made in constructing modern schools and colleges,” he told Arab News.
He also said Muslim families depended on earnings from their relatives working in the Kingdom, and that Saudi Arabia was a “savior” for many.
“I have heard a lot about the crown prince and I hope his visit will not only redefine his relations with the country but also with the Muslim population in general.”
Shabuddin Yaqub, a media professional, said Muslims in India owed a lot to Riyadh.
“Almost 200,000 people go for Hajj in Saudi Arabia every year, plus many go for Umrah,” he told Arab News. “Indian Muslims get good respect in Saudi Arabia.”
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.