Zamzam water, prayer mats form bulk of souvenir items being bought by pilgrims

Updated 28 July 2014

Zamzam water, prayer mats form bulk of souvenir items being bought by pilgrims

Pilgrims like to take souvenirs when they go back to their countries. Stores surrounding the Grand Mosque are filled with pilgrims who look for gifts even before they complete the rituals.
The value of the gift is not of much consideration, the important thing is to take back something from the holy city of Makkah.
A local vendor, Ali Al-Omari, says each pilgrim has the freedom to choose gifts for his relatives, friends and neighbors, and he usually classifies them into categories; some are for children, like toys and nuts, some are for women, such as silver and gold rings, incense, copies of the Qur’an and prayer mats, and some are for the elderly and young men, such as rosaries, caps, umbrellas and models of the holy sites. “Pilgrims always bring back bottles of Zamzam water.”
Ali Al-Asmari says stores and sale sites on the Internet start advertising for pilgrims’ gifts, which can be prepared according to demand. Some of these gifts are bought from Makkah, Madinah and Jeddah, while others buy the gifts from their own countries, and some others order their gifts online. The value of the gift doesn’t exceed SR2, but its moral value is priceless.
According to Abdullah Hussein, gifts have a great effect on people, because they have a great moral value. People feel good because they have been remembered by the pilgrim. In spite of the load becoming heavy, pilgrims carry their suitcases gladly to show their love for the loved ones and neighbors.
Gifts vary according to the person they are intended for; the wife could receive a gold gift, while the daughters silk textiles, the sons watches, and the mother and father usually get prayer mats, musk and rosaries. “I made a deal with one of my friends who sells his goods on the Internet to reserve almost 200 gifts, which included caps, oud perfume, sliver rings and lockets with images of the Kaaba and rosaries to distribute them to my friends and relatives.”
Samira, a Palestinian, said she and her husband had allocated a special budget for Haj gifts. “We prepared a list of our purchases, which we intended to buy from Makkah. The list includes head scarves, incense, perfume, nuts, toys and pictures,” she said.
She added that buying gifts is done after Eid, and continues for a few days after that. She confirmed that pilgrims should feel the value of the gift because it shows care about the people he left back home and gives them some joy.
Haj Sulieman Al-Mahdi from Egypt said the trip to Makkah had spiritual memories that could never be forgotten, “so we document this pilgrimage by buying souvenirs from these holy places.” Souvenirs vary between books, clothes, prayer mats and dates.
He brings pictures of the two holy mosques, dates, honey, perfumes, Zamzam water and prayer mats that have images of Makkah and Madinah, because these can be used as ornamental pieces with a spiritual value.
Fareeda Abdulatif Al-Mughani, a Sudanese, said: “Congestions caused during the pilgrimage and the performance of our rites in the proper manner prevent us from buying gifts. So, I ask my daughters to buy gifts and wrap them up until my return.”
Saeed Al-Khazin said gifts are considered valuable if they come from the holy land, so he always buys musk from Makkah. “Shopping from the holy land has a special flavor, because after pilgrims complete their rites they have an abundant amount of energy and so much joy that they forget their fatigue and pay little attention to congestion,” he said.
Al-Khazin buys henna, prayer mats, incense and rosaries from Makkah and Madinah.
These gifts are not only bought by pilgrims, but those who accompany pilgrims and provide service from various parts of the Kingdom buy gifts as well.
Trad Al-Ramli stated that he buys miswak, rosaries and Zamzam water after completing his work at the holy sites. “Those who come from the holy sites should bring gifts to their friends and relatives, especially since they stay away from home for longer periods than pilgrims,” he added.


King Salman to chair 40th Gulf summit in Riyadh

Updated 37 sec ago

King Salman to chair 40th Gulf summit in Riyadh

RIYADH: A meeting of GCC leaders met today in Riyadh for a summit that will focus on improving integration between Gulf countries.

The 40th Supreme Council meeting will be chaired by King Salman.

GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani said Gulf leaders will discuss a number of important issues to enhance the process of cooperation and integration among member states in various political, defense, security, economic and social fields.

They will also review regional and international political developments, security conditions in the region, and their implications for the security and stability of the GCC countries.

Among the topics on the agenda is the war in Yemen and Iran’s interference in regional affairs.