MAKKAH: It has been six years since the cannon that stands atop Mount Abu Al-Madafaa in the north of Makkah has been fired to mark the holy month of Ramadan.
But its sound still reverberates in the memories of many Makkans, for whom it was a means to tell the times of fasting, morning prayers, and the beginning and end of Ramadan.
For many years, those who lived near the mountain would climb to its peak to see the cannon being fired once Ramadan was announced. Throughout the holy month, shots would be fired to mark the start of iftar, sahoor, and the start of fasting.
In an interview with Arab News when the cannon was still active, Maj. Abdul Mohsin Al-Maimani — a spokesman for Makkah Police, which was responsible for guarding, maintaining and firing the cannon — noted how popular the cannon was with the public.
“When Makkah Police was founded 75 years ago, it was entrusted with the maintenance and care of this cannon. After Eid, the cannon is returned to a special department.
A few days before Ramadan, it is sent back to the mountain. The powder is handled by a special team so that no one gets hurt,” he added.
HIGHLIGHTS • For many years, those who lived near the mountain would climb to its peak to fire the cannon once Ramadan was announced. Throughout the holy month, shots would be fired to mark the start of iftar, suhoor, and the start of fasting.
• Cannon firing during Ramadan has been traced back as far as the 15th century and the era of the Mamluks.
Fahad Al-Harbi, mayor of Ray Zakhir near Mount Abu Al-Madafaa, told Arab News: “The Ramadan cannon withstood technical changes for long decades until its recent retirement. It represents ancient Makkan history. The blast of the cannon, with all its importance and beauty, became the sound of the call to prayer for the residents of Makkah.”
The cannon has stood on Mount Abu Al-Madafaa for at least a century, and ‘the people of Makkah connected their love for the holy month’ to both the cannon and the mountain.
For many years, he noted, the cannon was “the only means to alert people that it was time to break fast” and “added a distinct character to the holy month” that is still “treasured in people’s memory.”
According to Dr. Fawaz Al-Dahas, director of the Center of Makkah History, the cannon has stood on Mount Abu Al-Madafaa for at least a century, and “the people of Makkah connected their love for the holy month” to both the cannon and the mountain.
“In the past, it was impossible to hear the voice of the Grand Mosque’s muezzins, so the cannon performed the task on their behalf. It remained a tradition held dearly,” said Al-Dahas. But modern technology — most notably the speakers affixed to the minarets of Makkah’s Grand Mosque — eventually made the cannon obsolete.
Cannon firing during Ramadan has been traced back as far as the 15th century and the era of the Mamluks.
Details of the Black Stone were captured with a new technique that uses stacked panoramic focus
The images were taken over seven hours and required a week to edit
RIYADH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia have released new specially processed images of the most important Islamic and archaeological sites in the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosque took 1,050 photographs of the Black Stone and the shrine of Ibrahim using Fox Stack Panorama technology, which combines images with varying degrees of clarity to produce a single accurate high-resolution picture of the Black Stone, known as Hajar Aswad in Arabic.
The 49,000-megapixel images were taken over seven hours and required a week to edit. It is the first time the authority has been able to show the Black Stone in such detail.
The authority was interested in using the latest imaging techniques because of the Black Stone’s importance to Muslims, said Sultan bin Ati Al-Qurashi, undersecretary-general for the Projects and Engineering Studies Agency at the presidency.
The reddish-black, oval-shaped stone is 30 cm in diameter and is located in the southeast corner of the Kaaba.
The stone is positioned 1.5 meters above the ground and placed inside a frame made of pure silver for protection. It is the starting and finishing point of the circumambulation.
Al-Qurashi said the authority was keen to document the Black Stone and the shrine of Ibrahim to show its technical details and engineering dimensions.
The images were printed using a 3D printer.
“It is an advanced technique used for the first time in building a model that greatly simulates the shape and size of the shrine of our Prophet Ibrahim,” Al-Qurashi added.
The Projects and Engineering Studies Agency is building a virtual exhibition to display all these works in a 3D model that is considered an exact replica of the archaeological collection, and will include 123 different pieces from the Two Holy Mosques Architecture Museum.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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