Mataf bridge removed

EASE OF PRAYER: The mataf around the Kaaba is now completely free of the temporary bridge, providing more space for worshippers to perform tawaf (circumambulate around the House of God) and say their prayers. (SPA)
Updated 14 May 2016
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Mataf bridge removed

MAKKAH: The temporary mataf has been completely dismantled and removed, providing much more space for worshippers to perform the congregational prayers near the Kaaba on Friday.

“A total of 10,489 pieces of the mataf and connecting bridges were removed within 35 days,” Wael Al-Halabi, a member of the technical committee for projects of the Two Holy Mosques, was quoted as saying by local media.
More than 580 individuals from the group participated in the removal of the bridge in addition to 80 engineers from the technical committee, he said.
He appreciated the efforts of the committee’s employees in removing the temporary mataf quickly, and also thanked the Ministry of Finance, Special Command Force of the Grand Mosque,
Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, Makkah Civil Defense and the Binladen Group.
Al-Halabi said work was stopped during Fridays so as not to disturb worshippers and provide more space. He said that work hours exceeded 200,000 with no registered injuries, “thanks to God and those committed to implementing safety requirements and professional health.”
He said the Special Command Force of the Grand Mosque exerted remarkable efforts in controlling overcrowding in the mataf. The General Presidency provided awareness services to worshipers and the Civil Defense kept a watch on the weather that might affect the workflow. It also kept an emergency plan ready for rain or strong winds.
Al-Halabi said the removal of the temporary bridge was done according to a scheduled plan by the Binladin Group over eight stages.
“It was also amended according to the workflow in order to provide the utmost comfort and more space for the visitors to the Grand Mosque.”


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.