Muslims welcome holy month of Ramadan

A large number of pilgrims travel to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah for Umrah during the holy month of Ramadan.
Updated 26 May 2017
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Muslims welcome holy month of Ramadan

RIYADH: Millions of Muslims worldwide will mark the start of Ramadan, a month of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts, most probably from Saturday.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity and performing the Haj pilgrimage.
In Saudi Arabia the holy month has its own significance, during which many pilgrims from around the world travel to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah for Umrah.
Expatriates of different nationalities, whose number exceeds 10 million in the Kingdom, celebrate Ramadan in their own traditions and styles.
“It is interesting to see the charity work done by Saudis during Ramadan,” said Nabil Al-Bakr, a worker at the local Islamic Propagation Center in Riyadh. The center and other charities distributed about 1 million iftar packs during Ramadan last year, he added.
Muslims who fast during Ramadan abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk for the entire month. A single sip of water or a puff of a cigarette is enough to invalidate the fast.
Ramadan is an exercise in self-restraint, self-control and self-discipline. Muslims are encouraged to avoid gossip, arguments and fighting.
Just before the fast, Muslims have a pre-dawn meal called suhoor to get them through the day.
Families and friends often come together for iftar, breaking the fast at dusk, typically with dates.
The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, right after the month of Shaban, marks the start of Ramadan, the time when the doors of hell are firmly sealed and the doors to heaven are wide open, as mentioned in the Qur’an.
It is a time of intense prayer and profound devotion to God. The Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during Ramadan, according to the holy book. Those who are ill, traveling, elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic or menstruating are exempt from Ramadan obligations.
During the month, office and school hours are reduced in Saudi Arabia. Most shopping malls, restaurants and markets are open until 3 or 4 a.m. It is said that days literally turn into nights during this time.
Encouraged by the Qur’an, people become more merciful, helpful and kind to each other, partaking in practices such making donations and helping and feeding the less fortunate.
Across the Muslim world, mosques and charities set up tents and tables for the public, and distribute food during iftar.
At the end of Ramadan, family and friends celebrate with parties.
It is said that even the poor become rich during this month due to the kindness shown by the more fortunate.


Saudi border guards rescue French passenger from Red Sea cruise ship

Updated 19 April 2019
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Saudi border guards rescue French passenger from Red Sea cruise ship

JEDDAH: Saudi border guards rescued a French female tourist on Friday after she broke her leg on board a cruise ship in the Red Sea.
The 85-year-old was aboard the Costa Luminosa off the coast of south-west Saudi Arabia when the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Jeddah received an emergency call from the King Abdulaziz International Airport’s search and rescue center, saying the women needed emergency medical attention.The details of the message was passed to the Saudi Arabia Border Guards.
The border guard’s vessel Al-Lith was sent to meet the cruise ship near Al-Qahma, in the Kingdom’s south-western Asir region.
Lt Col. Misfer Bin Ghanam Al-Qarni, border guards spokesman, said the patient was transferred to Jazan, where she was then taken to Prince Mohammed Bin Nasser Hospital by ambulance.
The Costa Luminosa, which was traveling from Salalah in Oman toward Aqaba in Jordan, continued on its voyage.