Read all about it: 13 centuries of Islamic heritage under one roof

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The library contains a rare copy of ‘Al-Mustatab’ which was printed in Al-Tibaea Al-Amira printing house in Constantinople in 1239 AH. ( Social media photo)
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The library contains a rare copy of ‘Al-Mustatab’ which was printed in Al-Tibaea Al-Amira printing house in Constantinople in 1239 AH. ( Social media photo)
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The library contains a rare copy of ‘Al-Mustatab’ which was printed in Al-Tibaea Al-Amira printing house in Constantinople in 1239 AH. ( Social media photo)
Updated 05 May 2019

Read all about it: 13 centuries of Islamic heritage under one roof

  • The library was established during the reign of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mahdi in 160 AH (776 CE)

MAKKAH: The library of the Grand Mosque is one of the oldest in the Islamic world. It is a prominent landmark in the city, the birthplace of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), and contains more than 350,000 rare books and manuscripts.

The library was established during the reign of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mahdi in 160 AH (776 CE) and is located in the neighborhood of Batha Quraish.

Dr. Abdulrahman bin Saad Al-Shehri, director of the library, told Arab News that it was about 13 centuries old, and was founded on the principle of enriching knowledge and providing sources of research and information, to spread the message of the Two Holy Mosques.

“Our goal is to create, and transfer, all kinds and forms of knowledge and develop them, enrich our ‘intellectual production’ in all disciplines, organize, control, document and introduce the latest technology to assist us and keep abreast of modern developments to facilitate research and access information,” he said.

Al-Shehri added that the library contributed to the local community by hosting training courses for human development, knowledge and information technology awareness. The building consists of 13 floors covering an area of more than 2,000 square meters, with five reading rooms for men, one reading room for women, a meeting and training room, a center for scientific research and revival of Islamic heritage, and a department for audio and visual production.

The library also has a large collection of rare manuscripts. There are 6,842 original manuscripts, 2,634 Arab and foreign copies of manuscripts, 200,000 volumes and 8,000 rare books. In addition, it includes 40 private waqf libraries, 4,443 newspaper volumes in the old newspapers’ section, as well as a section for the restoration of ancient manuscripts and decaying books.

Al-Shehri noted the existence of a “gifts and exchange section,” which aims to enrich the library through the exchange of information resources with individuals and scientific institutions. There is also a supplies area by the library’s main gate, to cater for those using the building and its resources but who may be short of reading and writing equipment. And on top of that, there is a special section for the digital reproduction of rare manuscripts and books, to save them from damage or loss and widen access to them by preserving them online.

The library also contains a rare copy of “Al-Mustatab” which was printed in Al-Tibaea Al-Amira printing house in Constantinople in 1239 AH, “Majmae Al-Anhur fi Sharah Multaqaa Al-Abhar,” which was printed in Al-Khalifa Al-Aliya printing house in 1258 AH, and “Al-Ashbah wal Nazayir,” which was printed in 1260 AH.


Startup of the Week: Revolutionary solutions for Saudi Arabia’s clean energy sector

Updated 6 min 38 sec ago

Startup of the Week: Revolutionary solutions for Saudi Arabia’s clean energy sector

  • The NOMADD robots are equipped with specially designed brushes with drive motors and sophisticated control systems

JEDDAH: NOMADD is a King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) startup that aspires to contribute to the growing clean energy sector with its leading photovoltaics cleaning system based in Saudi Arabia.
According to Georg Eitelhuber, chief technical officer and cofounder of NOMADD, the company will enable more widespread use of solar photovoltaics in the country while conserving water resources and utilizing the full potential of solar energy.
NOMADD is a system designed, developed and tested in the Kingdom to suit local and regional conditions. “Wherever there is sun and wherever there is a desert, that is where NOMADD is and wills to be,” Eitelhuber told Arab News.
In desert climates, solar panels are often exposed to harsh weather conditions that may affect their function and require constant maintenance.
According to Eitelhuber, dust can prevent sunlight from reaching solar cells. Consequently, the panel may lose up to 60 percent of its capability to produce power during and after sandstorms.
Therefore, panels should be cleaned daily because if the dust is left for more than a day, dust particles from organics, dew, and sulfur adhere to the panels and damage them.
After extensive research, NOMADD founders concluded whatever they created to clean solar panels needed to be a waterless, automatic mechanical device. From those characteristics, they came up with the name NOMADD, which stands for: NO water, Mechanical Automated Dusting Device.
The name is also a tribute to nomadic peoples living in the desert. “In this part of the world, the very harsh environment makes moving through the desert constantly and regularly not easy, and the people who were able to do that for thousands of years are extremely tough. We believe that our product is part of that spirit of toughness in the desert,” said Eitelhuber.
The first idea of NOMADD goes back to 2010. “I was out in the field where they had a small solar area back then, and there was an official inauguration for this solar field … the panels were so dirty so we called the housekeeping department to come and clean them.”
Solar energy was still new in the region at that time. Eitelhuber found that no accurate solution had ever been thought about before. “I had the vision that there will be a large scale of solar panels in the Middle East, and it would be great to have a solution ready for it,” he said.
The NOMADD robots are equipped with specially designed brushes with drive motors and sophisticated control systems. The robots communicate wirelessly with a central hub that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, via any mobile device, which allows the client to monitor the robots and collect and analyze data.
NOMADD has six founders, and 15 people working full time for them worldwide, eight based at KAUST. The team is growing fast, and they hope to have 20 to 25 people by the end of the year.
Reliability of the product is everything for NOMADD’s team. Constant evaluation of the quality and expansion of the service is key to their success. Their biggest goal is to be recognized as the world’s leader in desert solar cleaning solutions.