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.


Visit to Pakistan, India and China proves strategic for Saudi Arabia

Updated 24 February 2019
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Visit to Pakistan, India and China proves strategic for Saudi Arabia

  • Benefits of three-country tour include billions in economic deals as well as security initiatives

JEDDAH: The three-country tour of Asia by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that came to a close this weekend was an economic and strategic success, experts say.

“Saudi Arabia might be seen by some as moving to the East,” Salman Al-Ansari, founder of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC), told Arab News. “The correct way to put it is that it’s spreading its wings East and West.

“Economic diversification requires strategic diversification. This should not be seen in any way as Saudi Arabia giving the cold shoulder to its most trusted allies, specifically the US,” he said. “And as Joseph Parry said: ‘Make new friends but keep the old; those are silver, these are gold.’”

The tour, which saw Saudi Arabia’s crown prince warmly welcomed by the leaders of Pakistan, India and China, is in line with the crown prince’s Vision 2030, which plans to transform Saudi Arabia’s economy that relies on crude oil exports into a vibrant, diversified economy. The tour resulted in billions of dollars in economic deals as well as initiatives to increase security and combat terrorism.

“Saudi Arabia is the one and only country that can take the leadership position on the global efforts of combating terrorism, specifically in the ideological front,” Al-Ansari said.

Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations scholar, said that China and Saudi Arabia have the same goals of security and stability. “China shares the Kingdom’s concerns and it knows that our continent has suffered from terrorism issues and international interventions and also troubles in the region.”

The two countries also improved on their mutually beneficial economic ties. As Al-Shehri pointed out: “China needs a huge energy source, and Saudi Arabia is one of these sources that can provide China with energy.”

One significant deal is the $10 billion refining and petrochemical complex, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Norinco, to be developed in the Chinese city of Panjin.

Also of great geopolitical significance is the $10-billion oil-refinery in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, as it is one of the most important parts of China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative, Al-Shehri said. “Global players are willing to invest in this project. The Kingdom’s investment in this field will serve Pakistan and will benefit the Kingdom as well as the (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor).”

And despite its historical relationship with Pakistan, Al-Shehri said that the Kingdom also found common ground with India. For instance, the two countries agreed to set up a working group on counter-terrorism. 

“India shares the Kingdom’s concern about instability in the seas, such as the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. These are all places of global trade,” Al-Shehri said, adding that he hopes the Kingdom will play a role in resolving border points of contention between Pakistan and India as it did between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

It wasn’t all just business. The crown prince’s tour included some other announcements, including that 2,100 Pakistani and 850 Indian prisoners will be released from the Kingdom’s jails, that the Chinese language will be introduced in the Saudi school curriculum and that Saudi Arabia will soon host several concerts featuring major Bollywood performers.

The crown prince also called for the creation of a health center in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province dedicated to the memory of a Pakistani hero who saved 14 lives in Jeddah’s 2009 floods.