Kaaba kiswa raised indicating beginning of Hajj season

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Kaaba Kiswa is seen lifted 3 meters from the ground in preparation for Hajj season. (AN photo by Ahmed Hashad)
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Kaaba Kiswa is seen lifted 3 meters from the ground in preparation for Hajj season. (AN photo by Ahmed Hashad)
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Kaaba Kiswa is seen lifted 3 meters from the ground in preparation for Hajj season. (AN photo by Ahmed Hashad)
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Kaaba Kiswa is seen lifted 3 meters from the ground in preparation for Hajj season. (AN photo by Ahmed Hashad)
Updated 10 August 2017
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Kaaba kiswa raised indicating beginning of Hajj season

MAKKAH: Following the annual custom, the lower part of Kaaba garment (kiswa) was raised and tailors covered the exposed part with a white cotton cloth of about two meters across the four sides.
This procedure is carried out every year as a precautionary measure to prevent people from damaging the kiswa, as they tend to touch the cover during their circumambulations, said Dr. Muhammad Bajouda, director of the King Abdul Aziz Complex for the Kaaba.
The covering of the Kaaba is raised each year as a sign of the beginning of the month of the Hajj.
The kiswa was previously raised on the first day of Dhu Al-Hijjah as an announcement of the advent of the rite and an indication of the beginning of the holy days.
According to Bajouda: “With a decrease in the number of pilgrims, the date of raising the kiswa was put forward, as the numbers were very few and it was difficult for many pilgrims to come in those years.” But with the improvement of economic conditions and means of transport, the date was changed to the middle of Dhu’l-Qi’dah.
He pointed out that the number of pilgrims, which exceeds 2 million, is one of the reasons for raising the kiswa — to preserve it.
“The kiswa is raised from the mataf the equivalent of three meters out of the 14-meter height of the Kaaba. Eleven meters remain covered until the 12th of the month of Muharram.” Bajouda said.
This period passes by changing this cover once a year, during the Hajj season, on the morning of the day of Arafah, the ninth of Dhu Al-Hijjah, to return the covering of the Kaaba until the 12th of Muharram.
“On the eighth day of the month of Dhu Al-Hijjah every year, the 52 gilded parts are removed,” he said.


Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

Updated 54 min 19 sec ago
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Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

  • The TV images beamed from 320,000km away in space left viewers astounded but happy
  • The TV coverage influenced thinking and attitudes in the Kingdom just like everywhere else

DUBAI: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before the end of the school vacation, and Saudis had their eyes glued to their TV sets as they waited for live coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Before July 20, 1969, the idea of a human walking on the moon was the stuff of science fiction. However, almost overnight, sci-fi had turned into reality with a live broadcast showing American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s dramatic descent onto the empty lunar landscape.

Between science fiction and science fact, the live coverage of the lunar landing amounted to an unusual fusion of news and entertainment.

Saudi TV technicians bring the first live images of Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing to
viewers around the Kingdom. (Supplied photo)

The historic images — beamed back to Earth more than 320,000 km away — left Saudi viewers astounded and confused, but mostly elated to be witnessing such an epoch-making event.

The event was covered live on television and radio stations in Saudi Arabia. Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old.

“It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

While most people were aware that going to the moon was risky, many Saudis believed that such a journey was impossible and all but unthinkable.


EVENTS WATCH

1. NASA’s Apollo 11 mission control room in Houston has been restored to its 1969 condition and regular tours
will be conducted by the Johnson Space Center.

2. NASA ‘Science Live’ will have a special edition on July 23 on board the aircraft carrier that recovered the Apollo 11 capsule.

3. A summer moon festival and family street fair will be held in Wapakoneta, Ohio, from July 17-20.

4. Downtown Houston’s Discovery green will host a free public screening of the ‘Apollo 11’ documentary, with an appearance by NASA astronaut Steve Bowen.

5. Amateur radio operators will host a series of events on July 20-21.

6. The US Space and Rocket Center is staging a special ‘Rockets on Parade’ exhibition.


The Apollo 11 mission prompted discussions across the Middle East over the reality of what people saw on their TV screens. Some Saudi scholars found it hard to believe their eyes.

“I watched it, and I clearly remember each and every detail of the coverage,” Hayat Al-Bokhari, 68, a retired school principal in Jeddah, said.

“My father, Abdul, was 56 at the time. He said the landing was faked. He couldn’t believe or accept that a human could go to the moon.”

Khaled Almasud, 70, a retired university lecturer, was a student in the US state of Oregon at the time of the mission. “Americans were stunned and over the moon, happy with their national achievement. But many Saudis like me were either in denial or insisting on more proof.”

Since the beginning of the 1960s, King Faisal had been rapidly transforming Saudi Arabia, inviting foreign-trained experts to help build a modern country with world-class infrastructure.

Billie Tanner, now 90, lived in the Kingdom for many years with her husband, Larry, and their two children, Laurie and Scott, aged six and four. The family had just arrived in Saudi Arabia and headed to the Aramco compound in Ras Tanura in the Eastern Province.

A screengrab of video of the first lunar landing beamed toward Earth and shown on television worldwide. 

“We were going through a culture shock,” she told Arab News. “I wasn’t thinking of the moon landing, but we heard about it on the news from Dhahran.

“My kids tried to see the astronauts on the moon with their binoculars and said they could see them walking around.”

The Apollo 11 spaceflight has become a milestone in the annals of human history and science. Since 1969 space exploration has greatly expanded man’s knowledge of the universe, far beyond Earth’s limits.

The captivating live coverage of the moon landing inspired millions of people around the world, profoundly influencing their thinking and attitudes.

The people of Saudi Arabia were no exception.