New Sri Lankan envoy vows to take ties with KSA to greater heights

Sri Lanka’s new Consul General Faizer Mackeen.
Updated 03 August 2016
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New Sri Lankan envoy vows to take ties with KSA to greater heights

RIYADH: The incoming consul general of Sri Lanka has pledged to take the Saudi Arabia-Sri Lanka relations to greater heights and is upbeat about taking charge at a time when the Haj season is around the corner.
Faizer Mackeen performed the umrah with his family as soon as he arrived in the Kingdom on Sunday, before taking over office in Jeddah the following day.
Mackeen succeeds former diplomat Adam Bawa Uthumalebbe, who left the Kingdom a year ago on completion of his tenure .
Speaking to Arab News, the diplomat said he considers it a great opportunity to serve his motherland from the holy land.
Mackeen said his main mission is to lift the image of his country in the Kingdom and explore new areas of cooperation in trade and investment.
“I have come at the right time when the Haj season is about to begin. This year, a quota of 2,240 pilgrims has been allowed from Colombo. We have made a special request to Saudi Arabia to increase the Haj quota,” he said.
There are some 97 Haj operators in the country, he said, pointing out that some 60,000 Umrah pilgrims come here through a network of 140 Umrah operators.
The diplomat also highlighted that Sri Lanka is fast becoming a tourist destination for tourists from the Middle East, with the highest number from the Kingdom.
He said that a good number of Lankan Muslims are currently studying in various universities in the Kingdom, which has been providing soft loans as and when required by the country.
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah offers scholarships to outstanding students to pursue higher studies in engineering, medicine, dentistry, agriculture and ITC in the universities in Sri Lanka.
Addressing his staff members at the consulate, Mackeen called for their cooperation to carry out his tasks successfully. He told them that as public servants, each one of them is duty bound to serve their countrymen working in the western province.


Zamzam that transformed Makkah’s arid landscape

The old rails and bucket of the Zamzam well preserved in a museum.
Updated 30 min 36 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.