Saudi mosques ready to receive worshippers: Minister

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Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh. (SPA)
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Mosques in Makkah will remain closed in accordance with orders from the Minister of Islamic Affairs. (SPA)
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Updated 31 May 2020

Saudi mosques ready to receive worshippers: Minister

  • Saudi Arabia records 1,581 new coronavirus cases, 2,460 recoveries, 17 deaths
  • They will also have to perform ablution at home and maintain a 2-meter distance between each other

JEDDAH: The Saudi minister of Islamic affairs announced on Friday the readiness of the Kingdom’s mosques to welcome worshippers after he completed field trips to check on necessary preparations.

“Throughout our inspection trips, we found our mosques to have completed preparations and are in the best condition,” said Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh.
“Whatever remains falls upon citizens. I hope that citizens and residents follow healthy precautionary measures as instructed by professionals. I hope that they’re careful with their own lives and the lives of others.”
Meanwhile, the Kingdom recorded 17 new COVID-19-related deaths on Friday, raising the total to 458. There were 1,581 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning 81,766 people have now contracted the disease. There are 24,295 active cases.

FASTFACT

The total number of coronavirus cases in the Kingdom reached 81,766.

The Health Ministry announced that 2,460 more patients have recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 57,013.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 787,465 tests for COVID-19. The Health Ministry said anyone can set up an appointment on the Sehaty app to get tested. The initiative is part of the ministry’s efforts to combat the virus and promote mass testing. The ministry reminded Saudis and expats to be mindful of the elderly as they have a higher risk of contracting the virus.
Saudi authorities launched a detailed timetable on Monday for a three-stage easing of coronavirus restrictions, designed to introduce a return to normal life in the Kingdom in less than a month.


Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. The 86-year-old is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. (Supplied)
Updated 15 August 2020

Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

  • The Syrian Qur’an writer, regarded as one of the world’s finest calligraphers, is on the road to recovery following his recent hospital admission

MAKKAH: Syrian calligrapher Uthman Taha is in good health and recovering at home after a 13-day stay in a hospital where he was treated for what he and his wife initially suspected to be the novel coronavirus COVID-19, although he ultimately tested negative for the virus.

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. His wife, Fatimah Umm Al-Nour, said Taha had a chest infection during his stay at the hospital and stressed that he had been “careful and took all the precautionary measures” and that he had not left the house for five months before his hospital visit.
The 86-year-old calligrapher is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. She praised his doctors, who have consistently checked in with the couple since Taha returned home, and added that she has tested negative for COVID-19 too.
Taha is regarded as one of the most skilled calligraphers in the Arab world. Al-Nour told Arab News that he continues to practice calligraphy daily.
Taha, who has written the Qur’an 12 times at the King Fahd Complex, was born in 1934 and attended school in Aleppo. His father was also a skilled calligrapher, who used the Ruq’ah script, and Taha studied with several of Syria’s finest calligraphers including Mohammed Al-Mawlawi, Mohammed Al-Khatib, Hussein Al-Turki, and Ibrahim Al-Rifai.
When he moved to Damascus for university, Taha began to learn other scripts, including Thuluth, Naskh (in which he is now considered a master), and Farsi. He received his calligraphy certificate from master calligrapher Hamed Al-Amadi in 1973.
He arrived in Saudi Arabia in 1988, and began work as a calligrapher at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. He writes the Qur’an in the Ottoman script, and copies of his work have been distributed throughout the Islamic world.
What makes Taha’s work unique is that each page of the Qur’an that he writes concludes at the end of a verse. The secret, he explains, is to simplify the words — which is the origin of the Kufic script in which the Qur’an has been written since the days of Prophet Muhammad’s companions — keeping the letters close to one another.
Taha spent years perfecting his technique of evenly distributing the words in every line so that the space between the lettering is consistent throughout every page of every book, which means eliminating many of the script combinations that make such consistency difficult.
He explained to Arab News that when he is working on his Qur’an calligraphy he is transported: “When I begin writing the Holy Qur’an, I resort to solitude to allow myself to be invested in the verses and their interpretation, forgetting about the world around me,” he said. “I wish the verses about Jannah (heaven) would never end, and my hand trembles when I write the verses about Jahannam (hell).”