First batch of Saudi women receive driving licenses 

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Esraa Albuti, an executive director at Ernst & Young, shows her driving license issued by the General Department of Traffic in Riyadh on Monday. (Saudi Information Ministry photo via AP)
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Tahani Aldosemani, an assistant professor at Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University in Al-Kharj, Riyadh region, displays her driving license that she received from the General Department of Traffic in Riyadh on Monday, June 4, 2018. She was one of the first 10 women to get a Saudi driving license since the Kingdom lifted the world's only ban on women driving. (Saudi Information Ministry photo via AP)
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A Saudi woman speaks to an officer before her driving exam at the General Department of Traffic in Riyadh on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Saudi Information Ministry photo via AP)
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A Saudi woman buckles her seat belt before doing a driving test at the General Department of Traffic in Riyadh on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Saudi Information Ministry photo via AP)
Updated 05 June 2018
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First batch of Saudi women receive driving licenses 

  • Saudi Arabia is all set to allow women driving in three weeks, about ten months after a royal decree was issued announcing the end of a decades-long ban on women driving.
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seen as the force behind the lifting of the ban.

JEDDAH: History is in the making in Saudi Arabia as the General Directorate of Traffic issued first driver’s licenses to 10 women on Monday.

The Kingdom is all set to allow women driving in three weeks. An official statement said the 10 women who were issued licenses already held international licenses. They took a brief driving test and eye exam before being issued the licenses at the General Directorate of Traffic in Riyadh.

Following the issuance of licenses, a video showing a woman receiving here Saudi driving license went viral online. The social media was also abuzz with the news and excited Saudis took to Twitter to express their feelings on this historic day.

“Thousands of congratulations to the daughters of the homeland, being issued the first license in Saudi Arabia,” a tweet by @saudalzmanan read.

Congratulations poured in as other tweeps expressed their happiness for the woman who appeared in the video. “Congratulations. I want to befriend her so that she can pass by and give me a ride and maybe show me around Riyadh city with her,” said Maryam (@m36010216).



“Thanks to the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques (King Salman), we finally saw the license being handed over to our Saudi sister by a Saudi authority. Now, not only you can drive abroad (but in Saudi Arabia as well),” said Louie Alfassi (@Louie_alfassi).

“This is one happy lady. Good luck,” See Brown (@sebbrown86) commented on the viral video.

This will allow women across the Kingdom drive their cars from June 24. After confirming the validity of foreign licenses submitted via an online portal (http://www.sdlp.sa), and assessing applicants’ ability to drive by conducting a practical test, the first group of women received their Saudi licenses on Monday.

This measure is part of the traffic department’s preparations to implement a royal decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia. 

In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a decades-long ban on women driving.

Five Saudi universities have launched driving schools for women: Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Tabuk University, Taif University and Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University.

The Saudi Driving School, at Princess Nourah University, the first for women in the capital, was launched in partnership with the Emirates Driving Institute in Dubai, an established driving school in the region.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, is seen as the force behind the lifting of the ban. His Vision 2030 reform plan for a post-oil era seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the work force, up from about 22 percent now.


Zamzam that transformed Makkah’s arid landscape

The old rails and bucket of the Zamzam well preserved in a museum.
Updated 1 min 32 sec ago
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Zamzam that transformed Makkah’s arid landscape

  • Zamzam is stationed throughout the holy mosques, including cold and hot water dispensing containers
  • Every week water samples are collected from the Zamzam well and various dispensers

JEDDAH: The use of holy water is seen in many religions and ethnicities. Christians and Sikhs often use their versions of holy water to bring luck to the household or protect it against evil.
Muslims, too, have their own very special holy water called “Zamzam.” This is found in a 30-meter-deep well in the basement of the Holy Mosque about 20 meters east of the Kaaba. The water is believed to possess healing qualities and is treated with respect by all Muslims.
The well originated when Hagar, the mother of Ismail, son of Prophet Abraham, desperately searched for water in the lonely dunes of Makkah, under the scorching son. She ran between the two hillocks of Safa and Marwa before the infant Ismail scraped the earth, and from his feet burst out a flow of water.
The name originates from “Zome zome,” which means “Stop flowing,” a phrase Hagar used repeatedly to stop the water.
The scraping of Ismail’s feet not only produced the water, it also restored life on the land of Makkah. As Zamzam was discovered, many wells were dug around the area, but most of them either became dry or were buried under the sand because of tribal wars.
One of the most recognized wells around the Kaaba was the Al-Ajoul well Qusai bin Kilab in the pre-Islamic era. When the prophet came to Makkah he performed the purification ritual with the water from this well.
Zamzam today
Zamzam is stationed throughout the holy mosques, including cold and hot water dispensing containers and fountains for the visitors. A bottling plant and public distribution center has also been established right outside the mosque for those who wish to carry it home.
Zamzam well, except for a few periods when it became dry or buried in sand, has been in use for about 400 years. The Zamzam well pumps 11-19 liters of water every second.
The Saudi Geological Survey has set up a Zamzam studies and research center which is responsible for keeping the water clean and suitable for consumption.
Electric pumps are used to draw water from the well. Every week water samples are collected from the Zamzam well and various dispensers. In addition, Zamzam water is filtered through a series of sand filters and cartridge filters and then sterilized by ultraviolet radiation at these treatment plants.