229-year-old mosque shines in heart of downtown Jeddah

Updated 31 July 2013

229-year-old mosque shines in heart of downtown Jeddah

Mosques have a special place in the hearts of Muslims, especially in the holy month of Ramadan. They spend more time in them than at any other time during the year.
Ukash Mosque is well known not only in Saudi Arabia, but also in the Muslim world. It was built in 1784. It is the second oldest mosque in Jeddah’s modern history. The oldest is the Uthman bin Affan mosque.
It is located downtown surrounded by two marketplaces.
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Shanqeeti is the 60-year-old imam of the mosque and has fulfilled the duties of this post for 35 years.
He told Arab News that the mosque was built during Ottoman rule, with the official deed issued two years after construction. It was also registered at the Turkish Ministry of Awqaf (endowments) and Muslim Affairs.
The mosque was built by Ukash Abazah, a Turkish citizen who was born and lived in Jeddah. Now the Hazazi family is in charge of running the mosque and providing all the necessary services. They are well known in Jeddah and are considered the heirs of the mosque’s estate. The mosque is officially regulated by the Saudi Ministry of Muslim Affairs and Awqaf.
In the old days, it used to be the sea gate of Jeddah because it is near the entry to the port. Visitors and official guests of the state arriving at the port would pray at the mosque.
He said that the mosque was completely renovated six years ago, using state-of-the-art designs based on Islamic architectural patterns.
It can accommodate more than 1,200 worshippers. There is a special section for women. It also has an extensive library of Muslim books.
Many members of the Saudi royal family prayed in the mosque at various times. The scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi prayed there too. The popular Qur’an reciter, the late Sheikh Abdul Basit Abdus Samad, spent many nights reciting the Qur’an publicly at the mosque.
The mosque has a special place in the hearts of many citizens of Jeddah. Muhammad Al-Jad'ani, who lives in Jeddah, says that when he prays in the mosque, he feels filled with spiritual feelings and peace, especially in the holy month of Ramadan. “I make it a point to always come here in Ramadan to do the evening prayers,” he said.

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 28 min 45 sec ago

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.