HAJJ LIVE: Pilgrims mark first day of Eid with stoning at Jamarat Al-Aqaba

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Pilgrims take part in the Jamrat Al-Aqabah ceremony, part of the Hajj pilgrimage at Islam's holiest sites, in a routine that symbolizes stoning the devil. (AN Photo/Essam Al-Ghalib)
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The stoning ritual represents Ibrahim's stoning of the devil. (AFP)
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It will take place over the next two days. (AFP)
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The stoning ritual represents Ibrahim's stoning of the devil. (AFP)
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It will take place over the next two days. (AFP)
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The stoning ritual represents Ibrahim's stoning of the devil. (AFP)
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It will take place over the next two days. (AFP)
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The stoning ritual represents Ibrahim's stoning of the devil. (AFP)
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It will take place over the next two days. (AFP)
Updated 11 August 2019

HAJJ LIVE: Pilgrims mark first day of Eid with stoning at Jamarat Al-Aqaba

  • Security at the site are managing the flow of the more than 2 million pilgrims
  • The throwing of pebbles symbolizes the stoning of the devil

MINA: On the first day of Eid al-Adha – the third day of Hajj - hundreds of thousands of Hajj pilgrims walked together to Jamarat Al-Aqaba in Mina.

It is at this site that the pilgrims will throw seven pebbles at a wall in a ritual that symbolizes the stoning of the devil.

The pilgrimage is attended by Muslims from all countries, irrespective of political views, age or occupation – the belief being that all are equal under God.

Student, Islam Ali, traveled from Sudan to carry out the Hajj pilgrimage. She said she had walked a lot.

“I am really looking forward to seeing the Kaaba, that will be, of course, the most amazing experience during Hajj… I’m surprised by how organized it is in Makkah. Despite the number of people – the officials have done a great job.”

Security at the site are managing the flow of the more than 2 million pilgrims, to ensure that congestion is kept to a minimum.

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GALLERY: Hajj pilgrims arriving for Jamrat Al-Aqabah

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It was in 2015 when hundreds of pilgrims died in a stampede at Mina – it was the deadliest incident to occur in the last 25 years of the pilgrimage.

Since then the authorities have taken measures to ensure the safe flow through Jamarat Al-Aqaba and onto the Jamarat Bridge where the ritual takes place.

Throughout Hajj, members of Saudi Arabia’s security forces and civil defense volunteers have been working to ensure the safety of the more than 2 million pilgrims at all sites.

They hand out water, act as quick response teams helping those who struggle with the walking and heat and they guide pilgrims, ensuring the safe flow of people through the various crowded spaces, some of which involve narrow roads.

Civil defense volunteer, Essam Al-Moalami said: “It's been great, I feel so proud to help these people and to serve my country. It's the second year in row that I have done this and I hope to do it next year too.”




Members of Saudi Arabia's security forces get ready for the millions pilgrims passing through Jamarat Al-Aqaba in Mina. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)

“It’s so well organized, Hajj has been great,” said Lana Haroun from Jordan.

“But unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to see Mount Arafat because it was too crowded, so they told us to stay in our camp. I definitely want to come again to see Mount Arafat, it means a lot to me.” 




HUndreds of thousands of pilgrims spill out onto the tent-lined streets of the massive tent city in the Mina valley. (AN Photo/Essam Al-Ghalib)

All the pilgrims had spent the previous night resting in a sprawling city of tents that filled the Mina valley – at day break as the pilgrims woke, hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets.

Pharmacist, Hassan Mustapha Ali, from Jordan had previously only ever watched the pilgrimage on television.

“It’s my first time and it's been amazing we used to watch Hajj on TV so it's an incredible feeling to have the opportunity to fulfil this Islamic obligation.”On day two of Hajj the pilgrims had gone to Mount Arafat, but some people were turned away because it was so busy.

There are three pillars at the site – only one was open on Sunday – the other two will be opened for the ceremony over the following two days.


Saudi Arabia’s Alkhobar becomes international role model for business continuity

Sultan Al-Zaidi (L) and Fahad Al-Jubeir.
Updated 21 September 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Alkhobar becomes international role model for business continuity

  • Alkhobar has pushed for a paperless municipality and emphasized the introduction of online services for residents

JEDDAH: Alkhobar municipality, along with Europe’s largest industrial manufacturing company Siemens, has been hailed as a role model for management excellence and business continuity.
The municipality has been awarded international certification for its excellence in managing crises and risks under difficult circumstances, in recognition of its administrative achievements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quality Austria (QA) awarded Alkhobar Municipality and Siemens with ISO 22301 and ISO 9001 certificates, which are concerned with business continuity management, especially during the pandemic.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an independent and nongovernmental body. Its standards are internationally agreed by experts and are seen as the best way of doing something.
Alkhobar has pushed for a paperless municipality and emphasized the introduction of online services for residents.
Its mayor, Sultan bin Hamid Al-Zaidi, said that the municipality’s ISO achievement was in line with achieving the goals of the Eastern Province municipality. He added that the aim was to make Alkhobar a distinguished city, like other places in the province.
The Mayor of the Eastern Province, Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Jubeir, said that municipalities were keen to implement the most advanced administrative systems and provide the best services to beneficiaries.
“This comes in line with the objectives of municipal transformation, part of the National Transformation Program 2020 of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan which states that the Kingdom, with its outputs and services, should provide an international role model of quality and mastery, and raise the level of services provided by services and economic development agencies and enterprises,” Al-Jubeir told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHT

Business continuity was primarily done through strategic planning and taking into account the different local factors and needs of provinces and municipalities.

He added that the municipality had launched initiatives and programs seeking to make the Eastern Province and its governorates pioneers in administrative and service qualities, as well as improving public services.
According to QA’s regional manager, Dr. Mohamed Hassan, business continuity was primarily done through strategic planning and taking into account the different local factors and needs of provinces and municipalities.
“These instructions are then transformed into applicable programs and strategies at the amana (provincial government) level,” he wrote in an article. “Since the Eastern Province is, in this respect, the leading province in the Kingdom, the guidelines are finalized in consultation with the EP’s mayor, Fahad Al-Jubeir.”
The article gave examples of Alkhobar’s strategic emergency plans and said it had made arrangements with companies such as Al-Yamama for the prevention of damage from flash floods or storms.
It added that other public contractors, such as Nabatat, ensured that green spaces and parks in the city remained relaxing destinations for people, even on exceptionally hot summer days.
“A successful example of service digitization is the Balady software, which makes all municipality services available to citizens online. Moreover, the Balagat software offers a service in which complaints and suggestions from citizens can be reported and followed up online,” the article said. “If a complaint is not solved within 24 hours, it is automatically forwarded to the mayor of the Eastern Province, Al-Jubeir.”
The ministry’s foresight in initiating plans and preparations, the online software systems used and the high-quality standards in the municipality all helped in increasing the effectiveness of the business continuity management system.