Saudi Press Agency
Jamarat Bridge - Hajj 1431/2010
Saudi Press Agency
Jamarat Bridge - Hajj 1431/2010
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Red Crescent's Ramadan volunteers to get SR1,000 each
By ARAB NEWS
Published: Aug 13, 2011 23:09 Updated: Aug 13, 2011 23:09
JEDDAH: President of the Red Crescent Authority Prince Faisal bin Abdullah on Saturday announced his plan to giveSR1,000to each Red Crescent volunteer in Makkah and Madinah.
Khaled Al-Habshi,administrativedirectorof the organization in the Makkah province, said there are 419 men and women working as volunteers with the authority in the two holy cities during Ramadan.
Al-Habshi thanked the volunteers for dedicating their valuabletime to pilgrimswho visittheGrand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
“We value your contributions as it reflects good cooperation between citizens and the nation,” Al-Habshi said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency. He said the SR1,000 was given as an encouragement to volunteers.
Mumbai: More rich Muslims from city perform mini-haj
TIMES OF INDIA
16 August 2011
MUMBAI: Currently, if you are missing some of your Muslim friends in the city, chances are they may have gone to Mecca to perform umrah ( minihaj). Unlike haj, which is performed annually, umrah can be performed round the year. But umrah in the holy month of Ramzan is a big draw. And a lakh of Muslims in the city will have performed umrah by the end of Ramzan.
"It is believed theProphet said an umrah during Ramzan would mean as if a devotee performed haj with Mohammed," said Tabrez Rubberwala, a Mumbai Central resident who has done umrah during Ramzan for the last six years. Thisyear again hewill spend thelast halfof theholy month in Mecca,almost insulated from the world outside. "Once there, I will switch off my mobile phone, almost cut myself off from the world and try to concentrate on prayers," he says.
Builders, businessmen, tour operators-those who have surplus money-are braving Saudi Arabia's scorching summer heat (around 50 degree C) to soak themselves in the spiritualatmosphere.
It is like entering the sea of humanity and enduring obstacles during the pilgrimage rated second only to the haj in importance.
"My friends in Mecca tell me that the ACs installed in the mosque near Kaba are not working properly and the crowd is swelling as Ramzan enters the second half. The journey is arduous, but I will keep my date with umrah as I have done for the last 10 years," says Dongri-based hotelier M A Khalid.
Senior cleric MaulanaShoeb Koti says the reward for any good work done during Ramzan gets multiplied 70 times and prayers at the two mosques in Mecca and Medina during Ramzan brings in countless blessingsfor the faithful. Koti warns against turning a sacred ritual like umrah into a fad. "Rich Muslims should not use umrah as an occasion to spend holidays in Mecca and Medina. They should use surplus money on charity," says Koti.
Last year, 60,000-70,000 Muslims from Mumbai went for umrah during Ramzan, says Zakaullah Siddiqui, MD, General Sales Agent of Saudi Arabian Airlines.
The figure is likely to rise to around one lakh this year. Around 25-30 lakh Muslims from across the world perform umrah during Ramzan.
Haram expansion to accommodate 1.2m more worshippers
A general view of the Grand Mosque in Makkah
By P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR | ARAB NEWS
Published: Aug 16, 2011 23:10 Updated: Aug 16, 2011 23:18
JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah will lay the foundation stone for a new expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Friday, it was announced on Tuesday.
The new project, covering 400,000 squaremeters,will create prayer space for an additional 1.2 million worshippers.
“The new project, named the King Abdullah Expansion,will becarried out using the most advanced mechanical and electricalsystems,” said Muhammad Al-Khozaim, vicepresident of the Presidency for the Two Holy Mosques Affairs. “Once completed, the new facility will beableto accommodatenearly 1.2 million worshippers,” he said.
The new expansion will also havebasic facilitiesincluding modern garbage disposal systemsand security monitoring systems. Sunshades will also be established on thenorthern courtyards of the mosque. The new annex will be linked with the existing mosque and masaa with a series of bridges. It will also provided with air conditioning systemsand electric stairs.
Al-Khozaim disclosed plansto expand themataf (the circumambulation areas around the Holy Kaaba) and provide air-conditioning for all parts of the Grand Mosque, adding that the two projects would be carried out shortly along with the new Haram expansion project.
Speaking about other projects implemented at the directives of King Abdullah, he said the newly expanded masaa (the running course between Safa and Marwa) could now accommodate 118,000 pilgrims per hour instead of 44,000.
He described the King Abdul Aziz Endowment Towers as one of the largest real estate projects in Makkah. It comprises six residential towersand a five-star hotel. The frontal towers are 28 stories high while the rear ones are 35 stories. Side towers are 45 stories while the hotel tower is 60 stories. The entire complex with 11,000 rooms and suites can accommodate 35,000 pilgrims.
Al-Khozaim commended the king for taking the initiative to implement a number of vital projects for the welfare of pilgrims.They includetheMashairRailway connecting Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah,theHaramain Railway to link thetwo holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, the Jamrat bridge complex, the Central Zone Development project, the King Abdul Aziz Road, new ring roads in addition to flood drainage projects in the holy sites.
The Jamrat Bridge project, which was carried out at a cost of SR4.5 billion, was instrumental in preventing stampedes during the stoning ritual. It is designed to accommodate 5 million pilgrims.TheMashairRailway will becomefully operational before the upcoming Haj in November. The metro service will operate 17 trains with 12 coaches in each train. A train will carry 3,000 pilgrims.
Gilani, Malik to be named in Haj scam
By AZHAR MASOOD
Published: Aug 16, 2011 23:40 Updated: Aug 16, 2011 23:40
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan Tuesday moved to name Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilaniand Interior Minister Rehman Malik in connection with an alleged Haj scam.
The petition filled by AdvocateTariq Asad under Article 204 of thePakistani constitution accuses the prime minister and interior minister of contempt of court for not reinstating the main investigator into thecase, Hussain Asghar at the Federal Investigation Agency(FIA),asearlierdirected by thetop court.
Asghar was promoted and transferred to Gilgit-Baltistan as inspector general while spearheading investigations. The Supreme Court had ordered that his transfer orders be withdrawn and he resumes the investigation into the multi-million rupee corruption case.
The FIA informed the Supreme Court that he could not be contacted. Asghar had, however, assured the court that the investigation would be handed over to him once he reached Islamabad. Even after this reassurance, nothing happened.
Asad stated in the petition that Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq had informed the Supreme Court that the government refused to relieve Asghar until his successor's appointment. He has requested the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the prime minister and the interior minister for flouting court orders.
On July 29 this year the Supreme Court had given seven days' notice to the government to provide a report on the scam that allegedly entailed illegal charging of extra residential rent from pilgrims and alleged corruption that led to improper accommodation arrangements being put in place.
The Zardari-Gilani-led government allegedly made every effort to eliminate evidence that could have proven that Gilani's son Abdul Qadir had direct involvement in the corruption through his front man Zain Sukhera.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.