First encounters with the Kaaba

First encounters with the Kaaba
The Grand Mosque is the largest in the world. It is home to the Holy Kaaba, which is the “Qibla,” toward which all Muslims face when praying. Shutterstock
Updated 17 June 2018

First encounters with the Kaaba

First encounters with the Kaaba

MAKKAH: “Awe at first sight” was the fitting title of a special event at Makkah Cultural Club in celebration of the Kaaba and its importance to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Tariqi, a Saudi academic specialized in historical studies, highlighted some of most important cultural trips to Makkah by intellectuals and other travelers, and the overwhelming feelings they described upon seeing the Kaaba for the first time.

Western travelers
1: Renowned French photographer Jules Gervais-Courtellemont was born near Paris in 1863 and moved with his stepfather to Algeria in 1874, where his passion for photography prompted him to open a small shop. He visited Makkah after converting to Islam and took exquisite photographs that he displayed in Paris.
First impressions of the Kaaba: “During this incredible journey in this mysterious city whose very name breathes mystery and enchantment, I find myself living a miracle. I conjure up events of the night, I see mists, hallucinations and bewilderment of the unknown as I come closer to the wall of the Kaaba. Sleep has abandoned me for three nights now, and with the temperature dropping, I find pleasure in going to the Kaaba, enjoying the sound of muezzins calling for prayer. There are no human tones more harmonious, more warm, more strong and fresher then the call for prayer, what a mesmerizing scene.”

2: Joseph Pitts, an Englishman born in 1663, was obsessed with the sea and travel. Captured by pirates in Algeria, he was sold as a slave. He accompanied his master on a pilgrimage to Makkah and later, when he wrote about his experiences, he became the first Englishman to give an account of the proceedings of Hajj.
First impressions of the Kaaba: “At the very first sight of the Kaaba, the pilgrims melt into tears; and I profess, I could not choose but to admire their devotion and affection, and the awe and trembling they were possessed in. In so much, that I could scarce forbear shedding of tears to see their zeal.”

3: German explorer Domingo Francisco Jorge Badía y Leblich, better known by his pseudonym Ali Bey el Abbassi, visited Makkah in the early 19th century to perform Hajj.
First impressions of the Kaaba: “It was an overwhelming experience. When I kissed the black stone, a sense of tranquility invaded me.”

4: British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton disguised himself as a Muslim pilgrim to visit the holy cities of Medina and Makkah in 1853, at a time when Europeans were banned under penalty of death. The following year he sneaked into the equally forbidden East African city of  Harar in Eritrea.
First impressions of the Kaaba: “The scene is one of the wildest excitement. Men prostrate themselves on the pavement, shedding floods of tears and pouring forth frenzied ejaculations. As for me, I felt a sense of satisfaction, a mystic lure.”

Contemporary writers
1: Egyptian author and intellectual Taha Hussein, born in 1889, was known as “The Dean of Arabic Literature” and is considered one of the most important writers from the Arab world.  Although he wrote many novels and essays, in the West he is best known for  his autobiography.
When Hussein arrived at the Hadiba Mosque on his way to perform Umrah, he stopped and took a bunch of dirt in his hand, smelled it and said, while shedding tears: “I smell the scent of the Prophet in this sacred soil.” This feeling accompanied him throughout the Umrah, and when he reached the Kaaba, he stood there crying.
First impressions of the Kaaba: “The French say that every educated person has two countries: His homeland and France, where he got his education. But I say today that every Muslim has two countries: His homeland and this sacred country which established his nation and shaped his heart, mind and taste.

2: Dr. Mohamed Hussein Haykal, born in 1888, was an Egyptian writer, journalist, intellectual and politician. He obtained a Ph.D. in Law from the Sorbonne University in Paris in 1912.
First impressions of the Kaaba: “I was so amazed by the scene of the Kaaba, standing tall in the middle of the Mosque, that I couldn’t take my eyes off it. A feeling of serenity rocked my body as I moved toward it with reverence and awe.”

Travelers from Andalusia and the Muslim West
1: Ibn Battuta, born in Tangier, Morocco, in 1304, was a traveler, historian and magistrate of Berber descent. Named the prince of Muslim travelers, he visited much of the Islamic world and many non-Muslim lands.
First impressions of the Kaaba: “Like a bride who is displayed upon the bridal-chair of majesty, and walks with proud steps in the mantles of beauty.”

2: Ibn Jubayr, an Arab geographer, traveler and poet from Al-Andalus (which at its peak occupied most what is now Spain and Portugal), was born in Valencia in 1145. He is renowned for his abilities in mathematics, science, linguistics and literature, as well as his travels.
First impressions of the Kaaba: “As we marched that night, the full moon had thrown its rays upon the earth, the night had lifted its veil, voices struck the ears with cries of, ‘Here I am O God, here I am,’ from all sides.”

 


Saudi Arabia announces 4 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 4 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 16 min 47 sec ago

Saudi Arabia announces 4 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 4 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 369,613
  • A total of 6,514 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

LONDON: Saudi Arabia announced four deaths from COVID-19 and 375 new infections on Thursday.
Of the new cases, 162 were recorded in Riyadh, 66 in Makkah, 61 in the Eastern Province, 24 in the Northern Borders region, 14 in Madinah, 11 in Asir, six in Hail, two in Najran and two in Jazan.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 369,613 after 336 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 6,514 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.


Arab coalition intercepts Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jazan

Arab coalition intercepts Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jazan
Updated 04 March 2021

Arab coalition intercepts Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jazan

Arab coalition intercepts Houthi ballistic missile targeting Jazan
  • The coalition is taking all precautions to protect civilians as the Houthi militia continue targeting them

Arab coalition intercepts Houthi ballistic missile targetting Saudi Jazan.

(developing)


Saudi aid agency continues projects in Yemen, Jordan

Saudi aid agency continues projects in Yemen, Jordan
Updated 04 March 2021

Saudi aid agency continues projects in Yemen, Jordan

Saudi aid agency continues projects in Yemen, Jordan

AL-MAHRA: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) launched the second phase of the winter clothes project in Yemen’s Al-Mahrah governorate on Wednesday. The aid, which included winter clothing, has benefited 700 people so far.
Local Council Secretary-General Abdullah Neimer praised the role of Saudi Arabia represented by KSrelief for its efforts and interventions in various sectors.
In Yemen also, KSrelief distributed more than 76,184 tons of foodstuffs for those in need in the rural areas of Hadibu, the capital of the Socotra archipelago province.
Meanwhile in Jordan, KSrelief clinics continued providing medical services in the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees. More than 400 patients with various conditions were provided with medical services and prescriptions at different clinics.


DiplomaticQuarter: British Embassy in Riyadh announces finalists for Study UK Alumni Awards

DiplomaticQuarter: British Embassy in Riyadh announces finalists for Study UK Alumni Awards
Updated 04 March 2021

DiplomaticQuarter: British Embassy in Riyadh announces finalists for Study UK Alumni Awards

DiplomaticQuarter: British Embassy in Riyadh announces finalists for Study UK Alumni Awards

The British Embassy and British Council in Saudi Arabia have announced the nine finalists for the “Study UK Alumni Awards 2021 in Saudi Arabia.”
The finalists were selected from about 1,300 applicants for their outstanding achievements as business professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders, and for their contributions to strengthening collaborative ties between the UK and Saudi Arabia, a statement by the embassy said.
The three award winners will be announced at a ceremony hosted by the British ambassador later this year.
The Study UK Alumni Awards were established in 2014 and celebrate the achievements of those who graduated from UK-based higher education institutions and went on to make outstanding contributions in various fields.
Neil Crompton, British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said: “I am delighted to announce the finalists for the Study UK Alumni Awards 2021. This award celebrates the achievements of outstanding Saudi women and men who studied in the UK and are using their education to make a positive impact. As strategic partners for Vision 2030, we are proud of their achievements and contribution to their country. My congratulations to all our finalists and I look forward to meeting them at the award ceremony.”
Eilidh Kennedy McLean, British Council country director said: “The Study UK Alumni Awards provide a platform for recognizing and celebrating the success of Saudi alumni of UK universities. Their achievements are wide-ranging and inspirational, and directly contribute to the Vision 2030 goals and aspirations. The prestigious international award celebrates UK higher education and the achievements of UK alumni all over the world. Now in its seventh year, international UK alumni applied from over 100 countries, representing almost 150 UK higher education institutions across the UK.”
The finalists of the “Professional Achievement Award,” which recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership in their professional field, are: Dr. Taghred Al-Ghaith, Dr. Roua Al-Subki, and Dr. Mohammed Al-Shammari.
The finalists of the “Social Impact Award,” which acknowledges alumni who have made an exceptional contribution to creating positive social change, are: Mashni Al-Saeed, Abdulmohsen Al-Dayel, and Dr. Bandar Al-Osaimi.
The finalists of the “Entrepreneurial Award,” which highlights alumni who have played a leading role in innovation, are: Dr. Wail Mousa, Arwa Al-Ammari, and Hattan Ahmed.
The Study UK Awards ceremonies are held in 13 countries including the US, China, Pakistan and Egypt.
 


Muslim World League chief thanks Sri Lankan government for ending cremation of COVID-19 victims

Muslim World League chief thanks Sri Lankan government for ending cremation of COVID-19 victims
Updated 04 March 2021

Muslim World League chief thanks Sri Lankan government for ending cremation of COVID-19 victims

Muslim World League chief thanks Sri Lankan government for ending cremation of COVID-19 victims

RIYADH: The Sri Lankan government has agreed to the request of the Muslim World League (MWL) — in accordance with Islamic procedures — to stop cremating the bodies of Muslims who have died of COVID-19.
The news came in a phone call to Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, MWL secretary-general, from Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardena.
During the call, Gunawardena told Al-Issa that the Sri Lankan government had agreed to the MWL’s request. Gunawardena said that this served to strengthen the close relationship between the MWL, which is a global reference for Muslim nations, and the Sri Lankan government.
Al-Issa thanked Sri Lanka for approving the MWL’s request to stop the cremation of the bodies of Muslims and instead allow their burial.
The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also welcomed the Sri Lankan government’s decision.
The OIC said that it had on several occasions during the pandemic called on Sri Lankan authorities to refrain from cremating Muslims and to give them an Islamic burial.
 

The Kingdom vs. COVID-19
How Saudi Arabia acted swiftly and coordinated a global response to fight the coronavirus, preventing a far worse crisis at home and around the world
Enter
keywords