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Makkah News and Updates

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#706 [Permalink] Posted on 24th March 2012 21:49
Graves in Riyadh cemeteries to be specified electronically

By ARAB NEWS Published: Mar 23, 2012 23:19 Updated: Mar 24, 2012 00:43

RIYADH: Relatives will not have difficulties identifying the graves of their loved ones buried in Riyadh after local authorities approved a project to mark each grave using electronic devices, local Arabic daily Al-Watan reported on Friday quoting the director general of environmental health in the Riyadh municipality.

Sulaiman Al-Bathi said the tender to execute the three-year project was offered to a consultancy office to survey the graves and number them. "This will put an end to the old methods used by families, relatives and friends to identify the graves of their loved ones," he added.

He said the first phase of the project will cover eight graveyards in the city and added the numbering would start after three months.

Al-Bathi explained that there would not be any tombstones carrying the number of every grave because climatic conditions might destroy or conceal them, but there will be an electronic program showing the burial area, the number of rows and the columns under which the graves are found.

He said in its first phase the survey will cover Al-Oud, Southern Riyadh, Al-Naseem, Umm Al-Hamam, Araka 1, Umm Al-Hasa, Hijrat Heit and Laban cemeteries.

Al-Bathi said before leaving the cemetery, the relatives will be briefed on the electronic program showing the exact place of the grave together with the burial certificate. "This program will also make the job of employees a lot easier when visitors want to go back to any of the graves," he added.

Al-Bathi said old graves would not be included in the program except those that are still visited by relatives.

"The municipality, which was responsible for digging graves and maintaining cemeteries, responded to the requests of a number of families to know the exact locations of the graves of their dead relatives and came up with this new initiative," he said.
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#707 [Permalink] Posted on 26th March 2012 09:34
Cable cars to visit caves of Hira, Al-Thawr


 
By ARAB NEWS

Published: Mar 25, 2012 22:57 Updated: Mar 25, 2012 22:58

MAKKAH: The Haj and Umrah Research Institute at Umm Al-Qura University has completed studies to introduce a cable car system to transport people to the historic caves of Hira and Al-Thawr in Makkah.

Abdul Aziz Saroji, dean of the institute, said the plan aims to facilitate safe trips for Haj and Umrah pilgrims as well as visitors to the holy city who want to visit the caves situated on top of Al-Nour and Al-Thawr mountains. There will be 12 cable car lines linking the mountain valleys with the caves situated on mountaintops.

Adnan Qutb, director of the Research Excellence Center at the university, said the planned project is expected to be implemented within two years. Towers and huge pillars as high as the mountaintop will be erected for the project, Al-Madinah newspaper reported yesterday.

Saroji said the institute carried out the studies following demands from the concerned departments and agencies who felt existing trips to the caves were too risky, as well as to make travel safe and comfortable.

Thousands of Haj and Umrah pilgrims, including the elderly and women, used to visit these caves when they came to perform the pilgrimage every year. They had a laborious task climbing up the mountains. There were also isolated incidents when some pilgrims fell to their death from these mountaintops in the past.

Saroji noted that the Research Excellence Center organized a workshop to review the outcome of studies. Senior officials of the concerned departments and agencies, including the Ministry of Haj, Ministry of Transport, General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, Umm Al-Qura University as well as top officials from the Civil Defense and Makkah police attended the workshop.

The Cave of Hira is situated on Jabl Al-Nour, 3.2 km from the Grand Mosque, where the Holy Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Cave of Al-Thawr is four kilometers south of the Grand Mosque where the Prophet and his closest companion Abu Bakr lay hidden while they were on their way to Madinah during Hijrah (migration). Both caves have become major attractions for Haj and Umrah pilgrims as well as visitors to the holy city.

There were also plans to establish cable car systems linking parking areas to the Grand Mosque in Makkah in a bid to ease the transport of pilgrims. According to the plans, a dozen cable car routes will pick up pilgrims in Kudai, Rusaifa and Taneem. The project, a joint effort between the Research Excellence Center and the Transport and Crowd Management Center at Toronto University, is still awaiting the go-ahead from the higher authorities.

The project involves the construction of 12 cable car systems linking the parking areas in Kudai, Rusaifa and Taneem with the Grand Mosque. There will be two cable car lines from Kudai, four from Rusaifa and six from Taneem.

http://arabnews.com/lifestyle/offbeat/article596028.ece



A file picture of tourist cable car in the Kingdom.
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#708 [Permalink] Posted on 27th March 2012 10:23
Pilgrims keen to visit historical sites in Madinah


Pilgrims offer prayers in a number of historical mosques during their visit to Madinah

By MADINAH: YOUSUF MUHAMMAD ARAB NEWS STAFF

Published: Mar 27, 2012 01:44 Updated: Mar 27, 2012 01:44

Pilgrims who come to Madinah to pray at Prophet's Mosque also make it a point to visit old mosques and historic sites in the holy city. Since the start of the Umrah season in February, the number of pilgrims has been particularly large this week, due to the school spring vacation.

The sites that attract visitors include the ancient mosques of Quba and Al-Qiblatain in addition to the seven mosques. The visitors are also keen to visit the graves of the Uhud martyrs and the Jabal Al-Rumat (mountain of arrow throwers).

The visitors go to these places early morning in organized trips and are eager to take memorial photographs and video films.

"I was keen to visit the ancient mosques and the historic places so as to acquaint myself with the Madinah monuments," Abdul Ghafour Shihabuddin, a Pakistani pilgrim, told Arab News.

He said Madinah had a special place in the hearts of Muslims all over the world.

Ahmed Samih, an Egyptian, said he visited Saudi Arabia several times to perform Umrah, and every time he was in Madinah he would make it a point not to miss going to Quba and Al-Qiblatain mosques and to the graves of the Uhud martyrs. "I am also keen to visit all the historic sites in Madinah, which are considered a real wealth and an outstanding legacy for Muslims everywhere," he said.

Samih said every time he came to the Kingdom he would spend much time in Madinah.

Hussam Omar, another Egyptian, said he was exulted to be in Madinah and to visit all the historic mosques and sites. "I felt great happiness standing on Jabal Al-Rumat, which witnessed the famous battle between the Muslims and the disbelievers," he said.

The visitors are also keen to spend some time shopping in the central area around the Prophet's Mosque and visit the public parks in the city. "The trade activities in the central area have greatly flourished," a merchant who sells dates said.

arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article597600.ece
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#709 [Permalink] Posted on 27th March 2012 10:32
Police nab gang stealing tires from parked trucks


By RIYADH: MD RASOOLDEEN

Published: Mar 25, 2012 00:07 Updated: Mar 26, 2012 17:15

Five Asians who allegedly removed tires from parked vehicles were apprehended by security authorities in the Muzzamiyah area on the Riyadh-Makkah highway.


According to Riyadh police, the thieves used to steal the tires of big trucks parked in resting stations, while the drivers were resting in the parking area.

The truck drivers who ferry goods to distant places make it a point to take a break at a common meeting point on the highway.

After parking their vehicles in such stations, the police said the truck drivers take a long nap of more than four to five hours.

The gang of thieves had been operating in this place for several months. On complaints received from victims, police successfully nabbed the entire gang of thieves in a raid.

On investigations, the police found some of the stolen tires were being sold in a shop close to the resting point. Desperate victims used to buy back these tires to avoid wasting time finding the thieves.

The police said the men had resisted arrest and tried to flee from the scene.

However, security authorities were successful in apprehending the criminals.

The suspects have confessed to their offense and showed the place where they had hidden the stolen goods. The thieves are under police custody in the Muzzamiyah police station.

In a similar incident recently, Riyadh police captured a gang of five people, four Arabs and one Saudi, who dismantled stolen cars and resold the spare parts in such areas such as Riyadh, Jeddah and Hail.

The gang had been running a workshop on the outskirts of Riyadh to dismantle the stolen cars
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#710 [Permalink] Posted on 28th March 2012 00:50
Govt to review Makkah construction plans

By MAKKAH: ANWAR MUHAMMAD, ARABNEWS STAFF

Published: Mar 28, 2012 01:45 Updated: Mar 28, 2012 01:45

Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Prince Mansour bin Miteb yesterday hinted that the government would review the decision that bans construction of additional floors on existing buildings in Makkah.

Speaking to reporters after an inspection tour of municipal facilities in the holy city, he said: "The decision is not final. We' review it without affecting the residents of these buildings."

Prince Mansour said the decision does not apply to new residential districts in south Makkah. However, he pointed out that real estate owners should make sure the availability of utility services before constructing extra floors.

"Consent should also be obtained from neighbors before building additional floors as they may raise objections," the minister said. He promised that the ministry would study the issue and take an appropriate decision without harming the rights or interests of citizens.

Prince Mansour said his ministry has allocated more than 115 locations to the Housing Ministry to build low-cost housing units in various parts of the country. "We have also developed a number of plots for distribution among citizens," he added.

The ministeremphasized thegrowing privatesectorrolein implementing municipal projects. Speaking about compensation for lands appropriated for government projects, he said it would be calculated by a committee considering the legitimate right of owners. Citizens will havetheright to appeal againstlow pricing.

Prince Mansour highlighted the important position of Makkah. "Although we have carried out so many projects in Makkah we still feel that they are not enough. Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has announced recently that billions of riyals have been allocated for new projects in the holy city," he pointed out.

arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article599397.ece
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#711 [Permalink] Posted on 28th March 2012 23:08
Govt to review Makkah construction plans

By MAKKAH: ANWAR MUHAMMAD, ARAB NEWS STAFF

Published: Mar 28, 2012 01:45

Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Prince Mansour bin Miteb yesterday hinted that the government would review the decision that bans construction of additional floors on existing buildings in Makkah.

Speaking to reporters after an inspection tour of municipal facilities in the holy city, he said: "The decision is not final. We'll review it without affecting the residents of these buildings."

Prince Mansour said the decision does not apply to new residential districts in south Makkah. However, he pointed out that real estate owners should make sure the availability of utility services before constructing extra floors.

"Consent should also be obtained from neighbors before building additional floors as they may raise objections," the minister said. He promised that the ministry would study the issue and take an appropriate decision without harming the rights or interests of citizens.

Prince Mansour said his ministry has allocated more than 115 locations to the Housing Ministry to build low-cost housing units in various parts of the country. "We have also developed a number of plots for distribution among citizens," he added.

The minister emphasized the growing private sector role in implementing municipal projects. Speaking about compensation for lands appropriated for government projects, he said it would be calculated by a committee considering the legitimate right of owners. Citizens will have the right to appeal against low pricing.

Prince Mansour highlighted the important position of Makkah. "Although we have carried out so many projects in Makkah we still feel that they are not enough. Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has announced recently that billions of riyals have been allocated for new projects in the holy city," he pointed out.
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#712 [Permalink] Posted on 28th March 2012 23:09
Haj minister to hold meeting with research center officials

By MAKKAH: ANWAR MUHAMMAD

Published: Mar 28, 2012 01:45

Haj Minister Bandar Al-Hajjar will Sunday visit Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques' Haj and Umrah Research Center at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah to further deepen partnership between the two sides, aimed at upgrading the level services being extended to pilgrims.

University rector Bakri Assas said the meeting between the minister and the officials in the center would discuss the latest research works in the field of Haj services with a view to enabling Umrah and Haj pilgrims to perform their rituals in ease and comfort.

He said the center is the sole research reference in the entire world for Haj and Umrah services provided by all the concerned government and private establishments.

The rector said the center effectively contributed to the conduction of studies and research aimed at promoting the level of services to pilgrims.

He said the center was manned by highly qualified personnel in all types of knowledge. "The center is steadily developing its performance and is being greatly supported by Crown Prince Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior, who is also the chairman of the supreme Haj committee," he said.
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#713 [Permalink] Posted on 30th March 2012 09:37
Mataf to accommodate more pilgrims following expansion


.
By MAKKAH: ANWAR AL-SAYED

Published: Mar 30, 2012 00:11 Updated: Mar 30, 2012 00:11

The Mataf, the open area surrounding the Grand Mosque where pilgrims do their circumambulation, will be expended from its present capacity of 50,000 pilgrims an hour to more than 130,000 pilgrims, dean of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Haj and Umrah Researches announced.

“This will be an unprecedented expansion, which will resolve the problem of overcrowding of Umrah and Haj pilgrims in this limited area,” said Abdul Aziz bin Rashid Sirouji.

He said new techniques would be used in the project, including smart transport and special passes for the disabled and the old.

The dean said according to the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, the project should be implemented in a maximum time of three years. “There will be hectic and intensified work at the Grand Mosque so as to execute the project on time,” he added.

Sirouji explained that studies related to matters concerning the Grand Mosque would be presented to the Saudi Authority of Senior Scholars under the chairmanship of the Grand Mufti to solicit the authority’s opinion on them. “The government will not do any work concerning the Grand Mosque without making sure that it is in line with Shariah and does not contract it in any way,” he said.

The dean said an example of this was when a number of researchers and scholars called for the expansion of the Masa (where pilgrims walk between Safa and Marwa). “The technical studies prepared by the institute were presented to the authority for final approval before starting the work. The project has been successfully executed and the Masa has been expanded to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims,” he recalled.

He said the project to expand the Mataf was approved by the authority and submitted to the king for consideration and final approval.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article601655.ece

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#714 [Permalink] Posted on 30th March 2012 09:37
Miqat in Taif to be expanded
 

 


By MAKKAH: ANWAR MUHAMMAD

Published: Mar 30, 2012 00:12 Updated: Mar 30, 2012 00:12

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance has started to implement a project aimed at expanding That Erk (Dhat Irq) Miqat (where pilgrims enter into Ihram announcing their intention to perform Haj or Umrah).

That Erk (Dhat Irq) Miqat is being used by pilgrims going to Makkah from Taif region via Asheera Road. After expansion, which will cost about SR99 million, the Miqat will have an area of 65,000 square meters.

The new, expanded Miqat will facilitate the flow of pilgrims coming from the eastern parts of the Kingdom. It is located in the north of Taif region 90 km away from the southern city. On completion of the project, the region will have three Miqats, the other two being Qarn Al-Manazil and Wadi Muharram. This makes the city of Taif a main crossroad towards Makkah.

Director of the ministry’s department for endowments and mosques Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Mudaraa said the implementation period of the project would be three years and would consist of a mosque, housing utilities, toilets, car parks and other facilities.

He said the ground floor of the building would include a mosque to be built on an area of 2,775 square meters, which will accommodate 3,500 male worshippers and will have a special area for women accommodating 200 worshippers.

Al-Mudaraa said the mezzanine floor would have an area of 750 sq m, which can be used simultaneously by 900 pilgrims.

He said the basement would be used as a car park that will easily accommodate more than 200 vehicles.

According to him, the project will also have an area of 2,500 sq m to include 350 toilets for men and 100 for women. He said there would be special toilets for the disabled men and women.

Al-Mudaraa said the project would also have 25 shops occupying an area of 1,650 sq m. “The first floor, with an area of 1,500 sq m, will have housing units for single men, while the ground floor will include houses for families,” he said.

The director said there would be offices for the administration and houses for the mosque’s imam and muezzin. He also said there would be car repair workshops, a house for the security guard, and a water tank with a capacity of about 250 cubic meters of water.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article601658.ece

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#715 [Permalink] Posted on 30th March 2012 09:39
Location of Miqats

 



There are five places some distance from the Holy City of Makkah which pilgrims must not cross before they are in a state of Ihram if they intend to enter al Masjid al Haram for Umrah or Hajj. These points or stations are called Miqats. For map, see Location of Miqats

Dhu'l-Hulayfah: This miqat is about 9 kilometers from Madinah and about 450 kilometers from Makkah. Dhu'l-Hulayfah is the miqat for those who live in Madinah and for those who approach Makkah from that direction.

Juhfah: This miqat is about 190 kilometers to the northwest of Makkah. This is the miqat for the people who come from the direction of Syria.

Qarn al-Manazil: This miqat is a hilly place about 90 kilometers to the east of Makkah. This is the miqat for the people of Nejd or for those coming from that direction.

Dhat Irq: This miqat is about 85 kilometers towards the northeast side of Makkah. This is the miqat for the people of Iran, Iraq and for those coming from that direction.

Yalamlam: This miqat is a hilly area about 50 kilometers to the southeast of Makkah. This is the miqat for the people of Yemen and others coming from that direction. It is the miqat for many of the pilgrims from China, Japan, India, Pakistan who come by ship.

The area outside the Haram, the holy land on which the City of Makkah stands, is called al-Hill. Muslims who enter the Haram area on business or for other purposes need not do the ihram before entering the Holy City of Makkah unless they have the intention to perform Umrah or Hajj. Muslims coming to Makkah with the intention of performing Umrah or Hajj must not cross a Miqat without first entering into the state of Ihram, unless they live within the area between Miqat and the Haram. In this case they do Ihram either at home or just before entering the Haram area.

http://www.hajinformation.com/main/e101.htm

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#716 [Permalink] Posted on 30th March 2012 09:55

…the central pillars at each of the main entrances are wrapped in this protective covering…

…it was a mystery as to what new work was being done until I (almiskeenah) passed this fenced off entrance…

…it seems new ramps are being installed for wheelchair accessibility, Alhumdulillah…

 

http://almiskeenah.com/?p=13700

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#717 [Permalink] Posted on 1st April 2012 01:07
Meeting to focus on progress of Makkah

By MD AL-SULAMI

Published: Mar 30, 2012 23:55 Updated: Mar 30, 2012 23:55

JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal will today chair the 12th meeting of the executive committee of the project to promote the undeveloped districts in the region.

The meeting will be held at the Jeddah Governorate, the department of studies and public relations of the Makkah Governorate announced yesterday in a press release.

It said the meeting would discuss the minutes of the 11th meeting of the committee as well as the outcome of the social, security, technical and Shariah committees.

The department said undersecretary of the Makkah Governorate Abdul Aziz Al-Khodairy will present the report of the social committee while Jeddah Mayor Hani Abu Ras will present the report of the technical committee.

The department also said Maj. Gen. Salim Al-Bilaiheed will present the report of the security committee while Muhammad Al-Faeem, of the Justice Ministry, will brief the executive committee about the work of the Shariah committee.

The department said Prince Khaled would hold a press conference at the end of the meeting to brief pressmen about the progress of the project to develop the random district and the phases of its implementation.

arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article602146.ece
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#718 [Permalink] Posted on 1st April 2012 01:08
End of road for illegal motorbikes and ramshackle cars in holy city

By ANWAR MUHAMMAD | ARAB NEWS

Published: Mar 30, 2012 23:55 Updated: Mar 30, 2012 23:56

MAKKAH: The traffic police in Makkah have intensified their campaign against unlicensed motorbikes and wrecked vehicles that are on the streets.

Director of traffic Col. Mishaal bin Massad Al-Maghrabi said since the campaign was launched early this year, more than 5,000 motorbikes that had no license plates were confiscated. "The owners are to be fined and the motorbikes sold in a public auction," he said.

Al-Maghrabi said a committee representing the department of traffic and the municipality would start this week counting the damaged cars dumped along the streets and near workshops and industrial complexes.

"These wrecked cars will be towed away to special enclosures. They will be sold in public auctions if they are not claimed by the owners within 90 days," he warned.

Al-Maghrabi said the campaign against damaged cars was aimed at cleaning the Holy City and preserving its cultured look for the pilgrims and visitors especially with the advent of the Umrah season, which would witness large numbers of pilgrims. He said the wrecked cars were also occupying large spaces that could be used as parking lots

arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article602151.ece
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#719 [Permalink] Posted on 1st April 2012 01:10
On the Walls of the Prophet's Mosque















 
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#720 [Permalink] Posted on 1st April 2012 01:13
'The priority is to build the man and then the place'

Makkah Gov. Khaled Al-Faisal at the press conference in Jeddah on Saturday.
By JEDDAH: MD AL-SULAMI

Published: Apr 1, 2012 00:40 Updated: Apr 1, 2012 00:40

Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has re-emphasized that the project to develop unplanned districts in the Makkah Province aims at achieving all-round development of these regions. "We focus on development and not on commercial investment, and our priority is to achieve building the man before developing the place through improving his living standard and ensuring him a decent living. We are racing against time to develop Makkah into one of the world class cities," he said.

Prince Khaled, who is also chairman of the executive committee for the development of unplanned districts in Makkah, was addressing a press conference after chairing the committee's 12th meeting here yesterday.

The governor voiced his regret over the incorrect reports being published by the media about the projects to develop unplanned districts in the region. "I have the pleasure to meet you to correct some false reports being circulated about the project. It is unfortunate that some writers and columnists are commenting on such reports as if they were true ones," he said.

Prince Khaled drew attention to the malicious campaign being unleashed in the global media aimed at marginalizing everything that the Saudi government is doing for the benefit of citizens. "In this scenario, you, the media persons, must have a great responsibility to highlight the reality about the project. We do not want to do any blowing up (of the issue) but be fair to yourself and to your country," he said while warning against distorting true pictures and fish in troubled waters.

The governor said Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and Crown Prince Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior, are keen to see the development of unplanned districts in Makkah region a great success. "The project aims at improving the living conditions of all people, including Saudis and foreigners, living in unplanned districts. The project is not restricted to construction of buildings but to improving all realms of public life including social, cultural, economic, health, humanitarian, security and education," he said.

Prince Khaled reiterated that people in these regions have three choices - either choose alternate housing facility or accept compensation and buy a residence of their own choice or join as a partner in the company, which is developing their region. The governor also disproved media reports indicating that developers of these regions would be owners of housing facilities, and that there is every possibility that these companies would sell the housing units to the residents at unreasonable prices. "These companies, which have 40 percent stake in these projects, are only developers of the projects, while the parent company is fully owned by the government. The infrastructure facilities, which make up 25 percent of the total value of the projects, are being developed by the government," he said. The governor noted that the funds that are financing the projects are fully owned by the government, and hence the private developers are not in a position to own not more than 30 percent of the value of the projects.

Prince Khaled also highlighted that the committee is taking advantage of all the global experiments in developing unplanned districts. He said yesterday's meeting was briefed on the progress of the ongoing development projects in three unplanned districts each in Makkah and Jeddah. They are Al-Nokasa, Jabl Al-Sharashif and King Abdul Aziz Road in Makkah and Petromin, Ghulail and Ruwais in Jeddah.

arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article602708.ece
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