Saudi artist draws on Grand Mosque’s closure for painting inspiration
Saudi artist Nabila Abuljadayel who produced the artwork called ‘Isjod wa Iqtareb’ (Prostrate and Draw Near) says the idea for the painting came from reality.
Painting pays tribute to workers at Grand Mosque, reflects KSA’s decision to close it for prayers to prevent spread of virus
April 17, 2020
RIYADH: A cleaner kneels in the courtyard of Makkah’s Grand Mosque, the only worshipper in the normally bustling holy site. The moment of emptiness, stillness and contemplation is captured in a painting that has moved Muslims during the global health emergency.
The painting reflects the historic decision taken by Saudi Arabia’s authorities to close the Grand Mosque for prayers to prevent the spread of coronavirus and protect people from infection.
Saudi artist Nabila Abuljadayel produced the artwork — called “Isjod wa Iqtareb” (Prostrate and Draw Near) — during the Kingdom’s coronavirus lockdown.
Abuljadayel, who is a Goodwill Ambassador for the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, said the idea for the painting came from reality.
“My inspiration for this piece was based on the unprecedented and unparalleled moment it dawned on me that, for the first time in my life, I would not be able to visit Al-Haram (Grand Mosque),” she told Arab News. “It made me realize what an honor, privilege and blessing it was to be able to do that.”
She realized that the only ones who maintained such an elevated status — to visit the Grand Mosque — were those who had dedicated their lives to serve the holy site by tending to it.
“Those same nameless, faceless anonymous workers, whom we tend to take for granted, had the best opportunity in the world,” she added.
The Kingdom suspended all Umrah pilgrimages last month over coronavirus fears, and authorities cleared out the Grand Mosque in preparation for disinfection and sterilization measures.
“These men, who serve Allah night and day, were the ones who now worshipped there alone,” she said.
“This event embodies our faith. It reaffirms the importance of humility. It demonstrates how we are all equal in the sight of God.”
The artist drew inspiration from the UK’s Queen Elizabeth by saying she hoped that people would be able to take pride in how they responded to the challenge, as well as the words of King Salman to talk about the coronavirus crisis and how society was addressing it.
“This crisis will turn into a piece of history that proves man’s defiance in the face of this hardship humankind is experiencing.”
Muslims expressed their appreciation for the painting and the sentiments behind it.
Areej Al-Rowaily tweeted: “The anonymous soldiers are the only ones left. Created by Nabila Abuljadayel.”
Mohammed Al-Qadi said that everyone was absent and “those who served this pure house” remained praying in front of the Kaaba, while Fahda Bint Saud said she was touched by the artwork and described it as “one of the most beautiful paintings.”
Taraweeh, Eid prayers to be performed at home if coronavirus continues: Grand Mufti
Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — People can offer Taraweeh and Eid prayers in their homes in case if it is impossible to hold them in mosques in view of the precautionary measures taken by the authorities to combat coronavirus, opined Sheikh Abdulaziz Bin Abdullah Al Al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and President of the Council of Senior Scholars, Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.
Al-Sheikh expressed his opinion in response to a query by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance which is receiving a number of inquiries and questions with regard to Taraweeh prayers in the holy month of Ramadan in light of the prevailing coronavirus situation.
Speaking particularly about Taraweeh prayers, the Grand Mufti said that since it is not possible to offer them in mosques this year with the coronavirus prevention measures in place, people can very well pray in their homes to make the most of the blessed nights during the holy month. He added that it is proven that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) offered Qiyam Al-Layl prayers at his home and at it’s no secret that Taraweeh prayer is Sunnah not obligatory.
And with regard to Eid prayer, Al-Sheikh opined that if the prevailing situation continues and it’s not possible to hold it in open prayer areas and special mosques, the prayer can be offered at home not to be followed by sermon. He cited a previous fatwa issued by Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Iftaa stating that if a person misses it and wants to make it up, it is desirable that he does it and should pray it in the proper manner but without a sermon following it.
Responding to a third supplementary question as to what is the last time to pay zakat and commencement of takbeer for Eid in case if prayers are not conducted in cities except the Two Holy Mosques, he said that takbeer can begin with the sunset on the last day of Ramadan and zakat can be paid till the morning on the day of Eid and the prayer should be held after the sunset.
Spanish flu: How the deadly pandemic
affected the Arab world
RIYADH: Throughout history, the Arabian Peninsula has suffered from several pandemics due to its strategic location, bringing traders and pilgrims from around the world.
The Spanish influenza of 1918 emerged as the world was recovering from the First World War, leaving extensive, unexpected effects.
According to recent studies on the devastating pandemic, nearly 500 million people around the world were infected. Between 50 and 100 million people perished.
1918 was known in the Arabian Peninsula as the “Year of Mercy” and “Year of Fever” — a reference to the disease’s high fever, according to Guido Steinberg, a German Arabist, who has written two articles on the impact and collective memory of the flu in Syria and the peninsula.
It took the flu a few months to wipe out towns and villages and dramatically decrease the populations in the Arabian Peninsula. People checked homes only to find the entire household dead.
Running out of coffins, people started to take out their doors and use blankets to transfer dead bodies to the mosque for burial.
With infected people not lasting more than two days, many volunteered to wash the dead, dig graves and bury them as gravediggers were exhausted. Some people dug all day except during prayer times, which was considered their break.
In Abdul Rahman Al-Suwayda’s book “Najd in the Recent Past,” he said that the fight against the pandemic was mainly based on isolating patients in homes and places outside the town or the walls of the city.
He said that healthy people may have been given emergency vaccinations.
“They take pus from patients and vaccinate the rest of the people in primitive ways, thereby limiting the spread of the disease. Herbs and medicinal formulations were some of the methods used by the grandparents in fighting diseases,” Al-Suwayda said.
“In the patient’s 40-day recovery from an epidemic disease, and with the beginning of recovery, women collect parts of all the food available in the town and cook it in one pot called ‘Al-Qiru,’ where the patient eats and drinks the cooked broth as a kind of precaution.”
According to Al-Suwayda, people believed that if the patient ate food not cooked in Al-Qiru, they would experience complications and relapse. The pot contained a collection of camel, lamb and goat meat.
In Paul L. Armerding’s book “Doctors for the Kingdom: The Work of the American Mission Hospitals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the founding King Abdul Aziz had a prominent role in the fight against this pa ndemic, where he called doctors to treat the infected.
“Dr. Paul Harrison’s second invitation to visit Riyadh arrived with urgency. In the winter of 1919, the influenza epidemic spread around the world, claiming many lives, and the vast expanse of the Arabian desert did not stop the epidemic from reaching Riyadh,” said Armerding.
When Dr. Harrison arrived in the capital, King Abdul Aziz had lost his eldest son Turki and his wife Jawhara bint Musaad. Despite this, Harrison was able to bring comfort and assistance to many infected people, most of whom were cured.
“Ibn Saud was standing in a small, modest room, and he met Paul with a warm handshake,” said Armerding.
“When King Abdul Aziz greeted him, Ibn Saud … explained that he had requested a doctor not to take care of his health or that of his family, but for the need of his people, and that he had allocated a house nearby to be a hospital, and he wanted his people to be treated for free.”
The epidemic spread from Makkah to the south of Najd, then reached the north and east of the Arabian Peninsula.
Saudi Arabia drawing on quarantine experience to combat coronavirus
JEDDAH: As the number of COVID-19 infections in Saudi Arabia rises, the Kingdom is taking all necessary measures to protect citizens and residents.
It is drawing on its considerable experience with quarantines, a practice whereby people with dangerous diseases are isolated for a limited period to prevent contagion and ensure public safety.
In 1865, Makkah was hit by an outbreak of cholera, a highly infectious and potentially deadly disease, during the Hajj season.
Pilgrims heading to Makkah or Madinah would have had to pass through Jeddah’s port, where they underwent a series of tests to ensure that they were disease-free.
Anyone with any symptoms was put under quarantine, or what was known then as “karantina.”
The former manager of development of Jeddah’s historic downtown, Prof. Adnan Adas, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that karantina contributed greatly to containing contagious diseases.
“The practice of quarantine began on Abu Saad and Al-Wasita islands near Jeddah,” he said.
Infected pilgrims arriving by sea were required to stay under quarantine to receive medical attention, he added.
In 1918-1919, ‘Spanish flu,’ known today as H1N1, spread across the central region of the Arabian Peninsula.
“Saudi Arabia made sure to provide the needed health care and attention for pilgrims, isolate the infected and deploy medical cadres to take care of them,” Adas said.
In 1918-1919, “Spanish flu,” known today as H1N1, spread across the central region of the Arabian Peninsula.
Thousands of people died during what many called “the year of mercy,” as mourners prayed for mercy for their loved ones.
Saudi Arabia’s founding father lost his wife Princess Al-Jawhara and his eldest son Prince Turki due to the flu that year.
Sick patients were taken to shelters outside city limits, where they were quarantined for 40 days. According to historians, the flu disappeared from the region within three to six months.
A 1955 plaque bearing the name of King Saud lay the foundations of Al-Mahjar hospital in Jeddah.
It is still standing today, and is known as the King Abdul Aziz Hospital and Oncology Center. It is one of Jeddah’s main hospitals where patients with contagious diseases are quarantined
Anyone got a details video or article about how the black rock is stuck onto the kabah. Is it glued on? How wss it stuck on durin Ibrahim (As) and prophets time. Also stone is broken into 7 pieces, are they too glued back? When you see it and kiss it there t seems like there is a substance covering entire stone, bit like pebbled paved alleyways were pebbles are stuck. So when we kiss it we are kissing that not the stone.
One question about the mataaf area.
Is there any reason why it isn't shaded?
I reckon the heat gets pretty intense during mid day. There could be some sort of cloth-type shade over the entire area that could be folded on/off like how they have in Madina? There would still be ample light coming through.
Makkah emir issues directives to refurbish Hira, Thor caves
April 19, 2020
Saudi Gazette report
MAKKAH – Projects to refurbish historic Hira and Thor caves in the holy city of Makkah will be carried out urgently taking advantage of the lockdown period.
Directives to this effect have been issued by Emir of Makkah Province Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said Saturday.
Prince Badr Bin Sultan, deputy emir of Makkah Province, has been assigned the task of monitoring the projects.
Hira lies about two miles from the Grand Mosque. The cave is a little less than 4 meters in length and a little more than one and a half meters in width. It was here that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received the first revelations of the Holy Qur'an during the month of Ramadan in 610 CE.
In the Thur cave, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his companion Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) hid for three days from the Quraish tribe. To protect the two men, Allah Almighty had a spider spin a web at the cave’s entrance, preventing their enemies from seeing within and finding them.
The two development projects are being supervised by a team comprising the Emirate of Makkah Province, the Royal Commission for Makkah and the Holy Sites, the Commission for Development of Makkah Province, Makkah Mayoralty and Makkah Police.
The aim is to remove all the changes introduced at the two sites visually disfiguring the sites throughout the past years.
The refurbishing of the two caves seemed a difficult task in normal times when these places would have been crowded by pilgrims from across the world. The sites will now be restored to their original status through several stages.
During the first 30-day stage, rocks will be cleaned of all inscriptions and drawings. The writing on the walls of the two caves will completely be cleaned. Also along the two roads leading to the two caves, the same cleaning process will be carried out, using the latest scientific methods.
In addition, concrete structures, zinc canopies and wooden structures will be demolished.
During the remaining stages, the environs surrounding the two caves and the roads leading to them will be developed. A number of utilities and facilities will be constructed to serve visitors to the two sites.
Saudi flag shines from far on the Matterhorn, the iconic Swiss mountain
The Saudi flag is projected onto the Matterhorn, the iconic mountain of Switzerland.
GENEVA — Since the emergence of the coronavirus crisis, different symbols have been projected every night onto the Matterhorn, the iconic mountain of Switzerland.
With this fantastic and unique illumination, Zermatt intends to monument a symbol of hope. The village is sharing solidarity with the ones currently suffering and intends to show huge gratitude towards everyone helping day for day to overcome this crisis.
Saturday night, Zermatt dedicated the projection to the people of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with the following message: We stand with Saudi Arabia, who are currently affected by the coronavirus. We stand together and give hope and strength to the people living in the GCC countries: The Matterhorn shines for you tonight. Together we will overcome the crisis and move forward to a better future.
Therefore, Zermatt projected in the most spectacular way the flag of KSA onto the Matterhorn, displaying it with a size of more than 1,000 meters, reaching many hearts during these challenging times. — SG
Pray at home in Ramadan, avoid gatherings: Scholars
April 19, 2020:
Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — The Secretariat General of the Council of Senior Scholars has urged Muslims around the world, residing in countries that have imposed lockdowns or curfew to curb the coronavirus outbreak, to pray at home during Ramadan, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Sunday.
In a statement, the Council of Senior Scholars said: “Muslims should set an example by performing their religious duties while adhering to the preventive and precautionary measures issued by relevant authorities in the countries they live in.”
The council advised Muslims to partake in their religious practices, such as praying but refrain from causing harm to others.
The council asked Muslims to avoid all types of gatherings for iftar and suhoor.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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