Spiritually thrilled after Umrah, Dilip Kumar extends Makkah stay

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Updated 12 January 2013
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Spiritually thrilled after Umrah, Dilip Kumar extends Makkah stay

Legendary Indian actor Muhammad Yousuf Khan — who attained world fame with his screen name Dilip Kumar — and his actress wife Saira Bano have been so touched and spiritually exhilarated by their journey to Makkah that they have extended their stay in the holy city by a couple of more days.
“Dilip Kumar performed Umrah along with a 21-member entourage three days ago … He was absolutely thrilled and spiritually charged,” said Faisal I. Farooqui, a close family friend and CEO of mouthshut.com.
Farooqui tweeted about the thespian’s visit to Makkah and Madinah and posted interesting pictures on Twitter account (@faisalMouthshut).
Talking to Arab News yesterday, Farooqui said one of the most poignant moments during the journey was when Dilip Kumar was performing the circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba.
“He was full of energy and was reading aloud verses from the Holy Qur’an while performing the ‘tawaf.’ When we all heard him speak aloud, we started repeating the prayers after him,” said a very excited Farooqui. “Those were very touching moments, especially because Sahib is a man of few words.”
During the circumambulation, Dilip Kumar was in total awe. “He was involved in all aspects of the religious rituals ... whether it was the donning of the ihram in Madinah, or performing the ‘tawaf’ or saee in Makkah, he was a picture of total submission to Almighty Allah. He was fully engrossed,” said Farooqui. “I have not seen him in a more composed and serene manner in such a long time.”
Farooqui said two people should find special mention while writing about Dilip Kumar’s journey to the holy land. “They are Saira Bano and her brother Sultan Ahmad. Without Saira Baji’s extraordinary energy and Sultan Bhai and his family’s support, the whole trip would not have been possible,” he said.
He said “Sahib and Saira Baji” were touched by the generosity extended by everyone during their stay in Madinah and Makkah. “All of them were gracious and polite. They understood the family’s concern for Sahib’s well-being and were very supportive. The people in Madinah ... the people in Makkah ... they were all very, very helpful.” Farooqui, whose family has been friendly with Dilip Kumar for the last 30 years, said the legendary actor and his entourage were to leave for Mumbai last evening. “But such has been the impact of the journey on them that they decided to extend their stay in the holy city,” he said. “No one feels like leaving Makkah.”
Indian Consul General Faiz Ahmad Kidwai met them at the Makkah Hilton on Thursday evening and said one could clearly see happiness on Dilip Kumar’s face. “He speaks very little, but one could easily read his radiant face; he seemed contented.”
During their conversation with the consul general, they expressed their interest of coming back to the Kingdom soon. “Dilip Kumar and Saira Bano intend to perform Haj this year. This is their intention and we all should pray for their dream to come true,” said Kidwai. “Saira Bano said they don’t feel like leaving Makkah and that is the reason why they have extended their stay.”
Kidwai kept his men in Makkah on standby for any possible help. “This is their private visit, but it was our duty to extend all help to this great symbol of our country,” he said.
Farooqui echoed the consul general’s sentiments. “Let us all pray that they come back to the holy land. We all are truly blessed to accompany them to Makkah and Madinah.” The entourage included eight of Dilip Kumar’s longtime support staff, including his personal doctor and a cook.
Born on Dec. 11, 1922, in Peshawar, Yousuf Khan joined the film industry in 1944. He is rightly considered as the Subcontinent’s first method actor and an inspiration for generations of filmstars.
Yousuf Khan has been an inspiration behind many generations of actors. His dialogue delivery, flawless Urdu and acting abilities have all endeared him to his fellow actors and fans. In his days, he was the king of Indian film industry and his dialogues in the film “Mughal-e-Azam” — a true love epic — was on the lips of every moviegoer and literature lover. In one of his famous observations, noted film director Mahesh Bhatt said: “Where would Indian cinema be without Dilip Kumar’s heart-wrenching performances in Mughal-e-Azam? The wells from where we drink water were dug by this giant called Dilip Kumar.”


Middle East's love affair with the moon and space

Updated 27 min 29 sec ago
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Middle East's love affair with the moon and space

  • The UAE and Saudi Arabia are inaugurating a new era of Arab space exploration
  • Saudi Prince Sultan entered the history books when he journeyed into space on Discovery in 1985

RIYADH: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before schools were due to start after summer vacation. 

Fifty years ago today, Saudis joined the world in gathering around TV sets to watch a live broadcast of what was once thought impossible: American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took man’s first steps on the moon. 

Armstrong famously said: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” True to his words, advancement in space has skyrocketed since the Apollo 11 mission, opening up doors for space scientists to reach for the stars.

It was only 16 years later that Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman became the first Arab, Muslim — and royal — astronaut to travel into space. Before traveling to Houston for the Apollo mission anniversary, he sat down with Arab News in an exclusive interview to talk about his NASA mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery in June 1985.

Prince Sultan, recently appointed chairman of the Saudi Space Commission, was only 13 when he watched the historic moon landing on TV. The picture quality might have been poor and the sound garbled, but footage of the landing captured his imagination.

“Humans made airplanes and made advances in industry, but for humans to leave their own planet, that’s really something else,” Prince Sultan told Arab News. 

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.”

It has been more than 30 years since space last had an Arab visitor (Syria’s Muhammed Faris became the second Arab in space on board USSR’s Soyuz spacecraft in 1987). But this September, the first Emirati will become the latest Arab visitor when he joins a team of astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS).

Hazza Al-Mansoori will travel to space on board a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft that is due to take off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 25.