Pilgrim reconnects spiritually with loved one as she performs Hajj

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Danyah Bennett, pictured with her husband, Muhammad Siddiq, says she has thought about her mother during every moment of her Hajj pilgrimage. (AN Photo/ Huda Bashatah)
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Hudifah Abdul Rahim, father of Danyah Bennett, was a talk-show host of a Saudi TV program called ‘The Rap Session’ in the early 1990s. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 11 August 2019

Pilgrim reconnects spiritually with loved one as she performs Hajj

  • “I feel my mother is with me on Hajj every step of the way,” says Danyah Bennett
  • Her American father was a talk-show host of a Saudi TV program in the early 1990s

MAKKAH: The Hajj pilgrimage is an obligatory spiritual journey for Muslims around the world, but for many it also a time to connect with loved ones.
“I feel my mother is with me on Hajj every step of the way,” Danyah Bennett told Arab News.
The 25-year-old’s mother died four years ago, just a week after her daughter’s wedding.
“I think about her a lot during Hajj. I wish she was here with me,” Bennett said.
Bennett — an American national born and raised in Saudi Arabia — said that her father had performed Hajj for her mother after she died.
Her father, Hudifah Abdul Rahim, was a talk-show host of a Saudi TV program called “The Rap Session” in the early 1990s. Bennet explained that he had converted to Islam after he moved from America to Saudi Arabia. He met her mother after moving to Makkah to study Arabic.
While Bennett remembers her mother during her pilgrimage with a heavy heart, she says she feels a mix of emotions during Hajj.
“I feel sad because I miss her, but I also feel happy and blessed,” she said.
Bennett left her two-year-old son with her sisters in Jeddah to perform Hajj with her husband, Muhammad Siddiq.
“I felt it’s something I have to do to complete my faith to God,” Bennett said.
She explained that she felt her son was too young to endure Hajj as it is physically demanding and his immune system is not strong enough.
For Muslims, performing Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is the annual pilgrimage to Makkah — the holiest city for Muslims. It is mandatory for Muslims and must be carried out at least once in their lifetimes.
However, with more than 2 million people making the journey, the spread of diseases is considered a risk. The Saudi government states that it is mandatory for pilgrims to take vaccinations for meningitis and influenza before arriving in Makkah.
Aside from the spread of illness, scorching temperatures that reach 42 degrees in August also put pilgrims at risk of heatstroke — which if left untreated can be deadly.
Despite the physical challenges of Hajj, Bennett said that it has been an “amazing” experience for her.
“My favorite part of Hajj is the holy feeling,” she said, explaining how she enjoyed walking to Mount Arafat.
Mount Arafat is a hill that reaches a height of 230ft. On the ninth day of the Dhu Al-Hijjah Islamic month, pilgrims go to Arafat from Mina for what is considered the most important part of Hajj. Pilgrims spend the whole day on the hill, praying.
“The view was beautiful and there were so many nationalities. It was amazing,” she said.


‘Made in Saudi’ design bootcamp opened

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef, left, said that launching the design camp aimed at creating a unified brand identity for the national industry through local expertise. (Supplied)
Updated 28 November 2020

‘Made in Saudi’ design bootcamp opened

  • Minister Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef stresses need for program to reflect Kingdom’s global and regional position

JEDDAH: A design bootcamp to create the visual brand identity for the “Made in Saudi” program has been inaugurated by the Kingdom’s Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef.

Nine Saudi designers are taking part in the bootcamp, after being selected by a panel from more than 400 applicants.
The minister, who is also chairman of the Saudi Export Development Authority (SAUDI EXPORTS), said there was a need for the program to reflect the Kingdom’s global and regional position and for it to “serve the Kingdom’s cultural identity and its substantial industrial capacities.”
He said the national industry capitalized on a heritage that spanned more than four decades and was widely acclaimed across all export markets.
The program was a national project for all Saudis and its identity should be designed by nationals in order to indicate that it was fully homegrown, the minister added.
“Launching the ‘Made in Saudi’ brand identity design camp aims at creating a unified brand identity for the national industry through local expertise, which will contribute to repositioning the Saudi product and advancing it toward new standards of reliability and excellence at all levels.”
He highlighted the role of the nation’s youth in promoting the distinctive position of the national industry domestically and globally, saying that the Kingdom firmly believed in the potential of its renewable resources, represented by its youth, and relied on them to take it to a new stage of innovation and creativity for a better future.

Nine Saudi designers, after being selected  from more than 400 applicants, are taking part in the bootcamp. (Supplied)

“Our young talents are the real wealth, and their efforts and innovations will contribute to the fulfillment of our leadership’s goals in terms of driving the national economy, and enhancing the Kingdom’s position as a global industrial power that contributes to empowering global production capabilities for a more sustainable future.”
Saleh Al-Solami, secretary-general of SAUDI EXPORTS, said that substantial efforts and initiatives had been announced by the Saudi leadership to empower the national industry since the implementation of the Vision 2030 reform plan.
“At the forefront of these endeavors is the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP), in addition to several other initiatives that have been launched to raise local content elements in the national product, under the supervision of the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority (LCGPA).
“In this context, the LCGPA issued the price preference policy for local content and the mandatory list for national products aiming to increase the public sector’s demand for local products in all industries.”


He said that the most prominent results of such initiatives were their contribution to the uninterrupted growth of non-oil gross domestic product and the volume of non-oil exports, which reached about SR318 billion ($84.8 billion) at end 2019.
He said that, despite the decline in the volume of non-oil exports during the first and second quarters of this year as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak, this indicator had reclaimed its upward trend in June.
Non-oil exports, driven by the industry and mining sector, recorded their highest rise since Jan. 2020 to reach SR16.6 billion in June, a monthly increase of 32 percent compared to May 2020.
“This sends a strong message on the ability of industrial production to be the safety valve for the national economy and a buffer ready to absorb future shocks and challenges,” he said.
The director of marketing and corporate communications at SAUDI EXPORTS and the head of the “Made in Saudi” program, Mazen Al-Jasser, said the design bootcamp was welcomed by the country’s young creatives and had attracted more applicants than expected.
He hailed the creative capabilities and skills of Saudi youth who, he said, had made achievements in many fields.
“These talents will have the honor to participate in designing an innovative brand identity for the national industry, which will be the unified emblem of the national product and a trusted verification of the excellence of Saudi products worldwide,” he added.
Al-Jasser said that companies wishing to join the program must meet the conditions and standards specified for each sector.
Member companies would benefit from competitive advantages including the promotional benefits of using the unified brand, which would provide their goods and services with easier access into local, regional, and global markets.
SAUDI EXPORTS is set to launch the “Made in Saudi” program during the first quarter of 2021.
The nine Saudi designers have been divided into three teams to create three different designs.
The designs will be put forward for an online public vote, but the final identity design has to be endorsed by the minister of industry and mineral resources and also the minister of culture.