FaceOf: Saud Al-Shouraim, imam and khateeb at the Grand Mosque in Makkah

Imam Saud Al-Shouraim is also a renowned Qari, or a person who recites the Holy Qur'an.
Updated 17 August 2018

FaceOf: Saud Al-Shouraim, imam and khateeb at the Grand Mosque in Makkah

Saud Al-Shouraim is one of the imams and khateeb at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He was born on Jan. 19, 1966, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Al-Shouraim is a well-renowned Qari — a person who recites the Holy Qur’an — and Hafiz — a person who has memorized the Holy Qur’an. His recitations of the Holy Qur’an have been recorded and distributed internationally.

He is well-known as a researcher of Fiqh, Islamic law, and a prominent Islamic scholar in Saudi Arabia. In addition, he currently serves as a judge, and has written many books on Aqidah, Fiqh, as well as Arabic poetry.

Al-Shouraim obtained a bachelor’s degree from Imam Mohammed ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh in 1988, a master’s degree from the Supreme Jurisdiction Institute of the same university in 1992, and a Ph.D. in Shariah from Umm Al-Qura University of Makkah in 1995.

He was appointed as the imam and khateeb of the Grand Mosque by decree of the late King Fahd in 1991. Since 1991 he has led the Taraweeh prayers during Ramadan in Makkah.

He began work as a professor at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah in 1995, becoming the dean of the faculty of Shariah and Islamic Studies and a specialist professor in Fiqh recently.

Umm Al-Qura University is a large public Islamic university that was the only college of Shariah when it was first established in 1949, but has since been joined by other new colleges. It was renamed Umm Al-Qura University in 1981 by royal decree.

At first it was primarily offering studies in Islamic law and the Arabic language, but has since diversified and now also offers options such as marketing, technology and management.

During his Friday sermon, Al-Shouraim discussed the benefits of Hajj and the wisdom behind it.


Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience

Updated 25 November 2020

Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience

  • Use of drones by cameraman brings history to life in one of KSA’s most famous archaeological sites

MAKKAH: A Saudi aerial photographer’s passion for history has won him global acclaim for images revealing the secrets of AlUla Old Town.

Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement.

AlUla Old Town, located in the north of the Kingdom about 20 km from the archaeological site of Mada’in Salih, is seven centuries old and filled with mosques and markets that reflect its beauty and heritage.

Rich in history, the region was an ancient trade station linking the north and south of the peninsula and one of the main stopping-off points for pilgrims traveling between Syria and Makkah.

Al-Suhaimi told Arab News that his inspiration to photograph the area from the air came from his deep-rooted desire to find out more about the country’s ancient civilizations.

“The idea from the onset revolved around simulating the history of AlUla region, which has become one of the most important heritage attractions on a local and international level.

“The location includes stone landmarks and high mountains which set a breathtaking rocky harmony depicted by the drones of aerial photographers.

“It was the place of people who set the link with us on architectural and human levels. 

The region is one of the great forgotten treasures of antiquity. (Social media)

They built a town which bears witness to the magnificence and cultural depth and momentum of its human legacy,” he said. Studies of AlUla’s castles have proved that the site was once a thriving community, Al-Suhaimi added. “Photographing these places in all their detail only adds to my enthusiasm for transmitting images to a world craving for the secrets of these places of old times to be unveiled.”

The high-flying lensman has snapped all of AlUla Old Town’s castles and villages, as well as the castle of Musa bin Nusayr, and the Aja and Salma mountains which rise to 1,000 meters.

By using drones, Al-Suhaimi has been able to get close-up pictures of the houses and buildings that occupy the site. “There are monolithic houses that reflect the depth of relationships that linked those people who fused with each other as if they were one family.”

HIGHLIGHT

AlUla Old Town, located in the north of the Kingdom about 20 km from the archaeological site of Mada’in Salih, is seven centuries old and filled with mosques and markets that reflect its beauty and heritage.

He pointed out that although the houses seemed to be randomly clustered together, they were actually “architectural enigmas” which had been cleverly designed to ensure a smooth flow of air in and around them.

Aerial photographs of the town had also raised questions about how its people had been able to move around from building to building in such a close-knit environment.

Al-Suhaimi said he had gained all the necessary licenses to operate drones in the area. “We were keen on taking pictures and transmitting them to the whole world, as internationally it is one of the most outstanding Islamic cities. Its mud houses are living witnesses that resisted time.”

He added that he had been astonished by the positive global feedback from his photographs of the region. One notable feature of AlUla Old Town is the Tantora sundial. The shadow that it cast was used to mark the beginning of the winter planting season.

“They set stones atop one another so that the shadow would be projected on the tip of the stone once per year, which is evidence of the astronomy legacy of the people of the region,” said Al-Suhaimi.