Last Hajj ritual heralds Eid Al-Adha

A frail, elderly pilgrim found himself in the safe hands of a Saudi soldier after he spotted him in Mina struggling to complete Hajj rites. (Saud Almosihij / @O03oK)
Updated 12 August 2019

Last Hajj ritual heralds Eid Al-Adha

  • 2.5m pilgrims in symbolic stoning of devil
  • King Salman, crown prince receive well-wishers

MINA: They began walking before dawn, hundreds of thousands of men and women, clad in white robes to signify a state of purity.

Their destination was Jamarat Al-Aqaba, and a three-story bridge from where they each threw seven pebbles at a pillar to symbolize the stoning of the devil — the last major ritual of the Hajj pilgrimage, heralding the start of Eid Al-Adha.

Large fans sprayed water over the crowds as temperatures soared. “It is hot, I drink a lot of water,” said Jaker Akjar, 48, a pilgrim from India on his first Hajj.

Over the next two days nearly 2.5 million pilgrims will complete the stoning ritual — 1.85 million from more than 160 countries, and a further 634,000 from inside Saudi Arabia. They will then return to Makkah, where they will pray at the Grand Mosque and circle the Kaaba seven times anti-clockwise.

Among them will be Islam Ali, a student, who traveled from Sudan. “I am really looking forward to seeing the Kaaba again,” she told Arab News. “It is, of course, the most amazing experience. I’m impressed by how organized it is in Makkah, despite the number of people — the officials have done a great job.”

Hassan Mustapha Ali, a pharmacist from Jordan, said: “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.”

Throughout Hajj, members of Saudi Arabia’s security forces and civil defense volunteers have been working to ensure the safety of the pilgrims throughout the holy 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 crowded spaces, many of which are narrow pedestrian roads.

“It’s been great, Civil Defense volunteer Essam Al-Moalami told Arab News. “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.”

King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received well-wishers on Sunday afternoon at a palace gathering attended by royals, clerics, military leaders, ministers and distinguished guests to mark the first day of Eid Al-Adha, the feast of the sacrifice.

Saudi Arabia had “fulfilled its duty for the sake of Allah and welcomed the guests of Allah without exception, and provided them with all the services needed to perform their Hajj rituals with ease, comfort, security and tranquillity,” the king said in a televised speech.


Concerns rise over fake gold in Saudi Arabia

Local gold markets have seen stagnation in recent times, because of the increasing price of gold on international stock markets. (Photo/Shutterstock)
Updated 22 February 2020

Concerns rise over fake gold in Saudi Arabia

  • Accusations fly as pilgrims targeted by sellers of counterfeit precious metal

JEDDAH: A video posted on Twitter by a member of the Precious Metals Committee explaining the ways some gold manufacturers manipulate weight of gold and diamonds has attracted significant attention in Saudi Arabia, raising the question of the authenticity of gold in the Kingdom.

In the video, Mohammed Azooz said cover-ups have made many Saudi gold sellers lose power over the market, and that industry was being controlled by non-Saudis.
In the video, he explained how some people circumvented customs and sneak gold into the country, especially during the Hajj season to target pilgrims.
The Arabic translation of #cheating_in_jewelry has been trending in Twitter for a few days, and several people posted about the issue, blaming those who were selling fake gold to pilgrims as pure gold.
This is not the first time the fake gold issue has been raised. The World Gold Council previously suspended its activities in the Kingdom following claims that some jewelry manufacturers mixed glass with gold. Former Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Zainal rejected the accusations at the time, described them as “grave and dangerous.”
Local gold markets have seen stagnation in recent times, because of the increasing price of gold on international stock markets.

FASTFACTS

• Types of gold depend on the percentage of gold per kilogram. For example, 24k gold, which is considered the best in quality, is 99 percent gold mixed with 1 percent of precious metal such as silver or copper. This type of gold is considered pure, and not used for adornment.

• For a kilogram of 22k gold, 125 grams of precious metals are added to 875 grams of pure gold; 150 grams of precious metals are added to 850 grams to make a kilogram of 21k gold, and 18k gold has 250 grams of precious metals per kilogram.

The price of one kilogram of 24 karat (k) gold in the Kingdom can reach SR185,000 ($46,700).
Gold and economic experts say that the movement in gold prices depends on numerous factors such as political and economic events around the world, the price of the US dollar in banks, black markets, as well as the supply and demand trends in global stock markets.

Types of gold depend on the percentage of gold per kilogram. For example, 24k gold, which is considered the best in quality, is 99 percent gold mixed with 1 percent of precious metal such as silver or copper. This type of gold is considered pure, and not used for adornment.
For a kilogram of 22k gold, 125 grams of precious metals are added to 875 grams of pure gold; 150 grams of precious metals are added to 850 grams to make a kilogram of 21k gold, and 18k gold has 250 grams of precious metals per kilogram.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

The Kingdom has launched an initiative, the first of its kind, authorizing authorities to launch a Shariah-based gold investment fund to enrich investment products through the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul).
Moath Alkhasawneh, CEO and board member of FALCOM Financial Services, said the FALCOM Gold Fund was officially licensed by the Capital Market Authority. The fund aims to add value to Tadawul through a Shariah-based investment fund, as gold trading transactions are considered a good investment and a high-quality commodity with low risks in investment portfolios.
“Gold retains its value compared to banknotes — their value decreases because of inflation. The high demand on gold in light of the shortage of supply can drive the prices of gold higher in the long run,” said Alkhasawneh.
“The gold investment fund focuses on investment in pure and precious gold, and the investment transactions will take place at the Switzerland Gold Market under the supervision of the higher authorities in Switzerland. This will make it safer and more flexible.”