Saudi ministry offers Hajj hotline and ‘Fatwa Robot’ service

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The robot will provide pilgrims under the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ guests program with fatwas and other religious advice. (SPA)
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The robot will provide pilgrims under the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ guests program with fatwas and other religious advice. (SPA)
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The robot will provide pilgrims under the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ guests program with fatwas and other religious advice. (SPA)
Updated 11 August 2019

Saudi ministry offers Hajj hotline and ‘Fatwa Robot’ service

  • There is a version of the remote-controlled Fatwa robot designed for people with special needs

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs is offering a free hotline to answer all questions related to pilgrimage rituals on the contact number 8002451000.
The service covers eight languages, including Arabic, English, French, Urdu, Turkish and Indonesian. 
Pilgrims can choose to listen to electronic messages about the rites of Hajj and Umrah, general messages from the ministry and rulings from the permanent committee of religious researchers.  
Moreover, they can speak directly to one of the ministry’s Islamic guidance representatives, who are available 24 hours a day. 
The team is made up of dozens of religious preachers who will provide information on Hajj procedures and answer all queries. 
The ministry has offered this service for six years in a row. When it first started, the hotline only provided 8 hours of contact time. 
The average number of calls per day exceeded 1,030 during last year’s Hajj.

1,030

Average number of calls per day exceeded during last year’s Hajj.

The ministry has also launched the “Fatwa Robot” service.
The robot will provide pilgrims under the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ guests program with fatwas and other religious advice.
Users will be able to connect through video calls with a group of Muftis in the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to access fatwas and advice in a number of languages.
There is a version of the remote-controlled Fatwa robot designed for people with special needs.


Two new academies to boost Saudi arts, heritage and music

Updated 19 August 2019

Two new academies to boost Saudi arts, heritage and music

  • One academy specializing in heritage and traditional arts and crafts will start receiving applications in autumn 2020
  • A second academy dedicated to music will receive 1,000 students and trainees from 2021

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is to set up arts academies, including two in the next two years, offering a step toward academic qualification and enlarging the Kingdom’s footprint in heritage, arts and crafts, and music.

The initiative is part of the Ministry of Culture’s Quality of Life program. 

The minister, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan, said investment in “capacity building” was one of the most important elements in encouraging the cultural sector, which enjoyed unlimited support from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Kingdom was rich in diverse arts, talents and artistic production, Prince Badr said, and the academies would be a first step toward academic qualification in the arts within the Kingdom.

One academy specializing in heritage and traditional arts and crafts will start receiving applications in autumn 2020, targeting 1,000 students and trainees in long- and short-term programs. 

A second academy dedicated to music will receive 1,000 students and trainees from 2021.

The music academy in particular will be “the core of music production and talent development in Saudi Arabia,” Saudi musician, composer and producer Mamdouh Saif told Arab News.

The music industry was a large and diverse field, Saif said, and education was crucial. 

“The academy is the right place to launch the music industry in Saudi Arabia, and it will have a significant impact on Saudi youth, and young people in surrounding countries,” he said.

He expects “a very high turnout” for the academy among young Saudis. 

“Due to my expertise in this area, I receive many questions from people who want to learn music, but through private lessons,” he said.

“But the availability of an academy for this purpose, that teaches music in a methodological way, will be the right start for those interested in music.”