Islamic luminary Al-Sumait’s death ‘a big loss for Ummah’

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Updated 18 August 2013
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Islamic luminary Al-Sumait’s death ‘a big loss for Ummah’

Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sumait, who helped thousands of Africans understand and embrace Islam, constructed 5,700 mosques and four universities in Africa, passed away on Thursday. He was 66. He was awarded the King Faisal International Prize in 1996 in recognition of his Islamic and humanitarian services.
Announcing Al-Sumait’s demise, his son Suhaib said his father would be buried in Selaikhat cemetery at 8.30 a.m. on Friday. Condolence messages poured in from all over the world through the social media and news websites, expressing shock and sorrow over his death. “Al-Sumait’s death is a big loss for the Arab and Islamic Ummah,” said Mohammed Badahdah, assistant secretary-general of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth.
“We can find only a few individuals like Al-Sumait among the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world,” Badahdah said, and urged Muslims to spend more of their time, money and energy in humanitarian activities. He said Muslims in the past had made a lot of efforts to spread of the message among people in the East and West, overcoming a lot of difficulties.
“We should follow the good example of our forefathers and exert all possible efforts to spread the message of this great religion. We should not show any negligence in informing expatriate workers about the teachings of our religion. Our students who pursue their higher studies in foreign countries should also keep this mission in their minds,” he said.
Badahdah described Al-Sumait as an encyclopedia on Africa as the late scholar had conducted detailed studies on the continent’s political, social and economic matters and published several books.
“Arab media has ignored this great man and did not give much publicity for his humanitarian activities in Africa. He is a model of a good Muslim who applied Islam to spread goodness, love and harmony in the world,” said Mahmoud, an Egyptian commentator.
“It is quite unfortunate that people like Al-Sumait is not well-known in society. He was a great personality. As a result of his activities millions of Africans embraced Islam. He had sponsored 15,000 orphans and constructed 9,500 artesian wells in Africa. His history should be written in golden letters,” said another close associate of Al-Sumait.
Born in Kuwait in 1947, Al-Sumait studied medicine in Baghdad University, obtained a diploma in tropical medicine from Liverpool University, and specialized in internal medicine and gastroenterology in Montreal General Hospital in Canada. He conducted research on hepatic malignancies in King’s College, London. He worked briefly as a consultant gastroenterologist at Sabah Hospital in Kuwait before dedicating his full-time to humanitarian activities.
As a young student, Al-Sumait witnessed a scene outside his school that sparked his interest in helping the less fortunate, and this changed his life forever. He observed poor workers waiting for their means of transportation in the heat on a daily basis. He purchased a car with the support of some friends and drove these workers for free.
His interest in Africa was ignited when he felt and saw that the continent was being neglected. Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Angola, among many other nations in the area that were suffering from famine, hunger and disease, were the focus of Al-Sumait’s operations. The Africa Muslims Agency, where he had served as chairman from 1981 to 2008, operates in more than 40 countries, providing various social, educational, health and humanitarian services.


Sakani program to add 11,000 homes in Jeddah

The Housing Ministry has deals with two real-estate companies. (Reuters/File)
Updated 18 October 2018
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Sakani program to add 11,000 homes in Jeddah

  • The first project, Rawabi Hijaz, is on private-sector land and will includes 9,502 units
  • The Ministry stressed its keenness to work with qualified developers to add to housing stock

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Housing has signed agreements with two real-estate development companies to add more than 11,000 homes in Jeddah for the Sakani program. The deals were signed on October 15 during an event announcing the program’s 10th batch of beneficiaries.
The first project, Rawabi Hijaz, is on private-sector land and will includes 9,502 units, while the second, Jeddah airport housing, is on land owned by the Ministry and will includes 2,203 units.
The agreements were signed in the presence of Minister of Housing Majid bin Abdullah Al-Hugail, National Housing Company CEO Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Bati, and officials from the ministry and the Real Estate Development Fund. They follow previous agreements signed by the Ministry of Housing with a number of developers to build housing in various regions of the Kingdom. Sixty projects providing more than 90,000 diverse homes, with prices ranging from SR250,000 to SR750,000 have already been launched.
The Ministry stressed its keenness to work with qualified developers to add to housing stock and support supply in the sector, to encourage competition between companies to meet the needs of citizens in a way that suits local markets and ensures the provision of continued maintenance services for the residential units.
“The real-estate developers with whom we signed contribute along with the Ministry to the service of citizens in order to provide a suitable residential environment on the levels of prices and specifications, while presenting the beneficiaries with the guarantees needed,” the Ministry said.
“These projects will be completed and handed over to the beneficiaries within a period not exceeding three years. These housing projects are integrated in terms of services and public facilities. They include mosques, public parks and green areas as well as government buildings.”