Muslims’ culturally rooted love for Prophet manifests in his birthday commemorations

Muslims’ culturally rooted love for Prophet manifests in his birthday commemorations
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The faithful pay their respects at the tomb of Prophet Muhammad at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. The culture of love toward the symbol of Islam is found in almost all aspects of its followers’ lives. (SPA)
Muslims’ culturally rooted love for Prophet manifests in his birthday commemorations
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Updated 08 November 2020

Muslims’ culturally rooted love for Prophet manifests in his birthday commemorations

Muslims’ culturally rooted love for Prophet manifests in his birthday commemorations
  • Mawlid — special occasion adopted two and a half centuries after his death — is celebrated in a spiritual atmosphere

JEDDAH: More than 2 billion Muslims in the world, regardless of sect or group, believe that loving the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is a fundamental Islamic tenet, an innate feeling of closeness celebrated annually in his birth month.

With Saudi Arabia recently lifting the ban on visiting the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, coinciding with the Prophet’s birth month, a sense of calm has been restored to the millions who want to come to pray in one of Islam’s holiest mosques.
For Muslims everywhere, the prophet is the most influential man in the world, a man possessing the highest moral excellence even before he became prophet. Different sources show that he was well-respected even by those who rejected his message.
The most obvious manifestations of Muslims’ love for the Prophet are the Mawlid celebrations, where Muslims commemorate the Prophet’s birth in a spiritual atmosphere. It is the expression of their love for the Prophet, a very special occasion that was adopted by Muslims two-and-a-half centuries after his death.
The Prophet’s birthday is fixed by tradition as the 12th day of the month of Rabi Al-Awwal—the third month of the Islamic calendar. It is said that he was born in 570 in Makkah and died in 632 in Madinah, where he had been forced go with his adherents in 622.
In the Hijaz region of western Saudi Arabia, many people consider Rabi Al-Awwal a month of celebration, so they take part in various charitable activities throughout the month, distributing food to the poor and donating money to local organizations. However, special attention is dedicated to the 12th night, the Mawlid.

It is a simple celebration where we gather to hear of his Sira (Life) and listen to Madh (Praise) that has been written for him, which has many sources in poetry and prose.

Usama Al-Kubaisi

It is written in Ibn Kathir: “The Night of the Prophet’s birth is a magnificent, noble, blessed and holy night, a night of bliss for the believers, pure, radiant with lights and of immeasurable price.”
“It is a simple celebration where we gather to hear of his Sira (Life) and listen to Madh (Praise) that has been written for him, which has many sources in poetry and prose,” Usama Al-Kubaisi told Arab News. “Since it is boring to read a prose text in a group of people, we collectively read poetry, recite prayers to the Prophet and remember his moral characteristics and the blessing of his message.”
There is no one way or one text used in these celebrations. Mawlid authorship is diverse and gathers different schools of thoughts, including Sufi, Shaf’i, Hanafi and even Hanbali. Texts usually tell his story of his life in detail, from his birth through all events in his life until his death, mentioning his looks, morals and noble deeds to remember him and follow his example.
Some of the best known texts read during Mawlids in Saudi Arabia are those by Al-Sakhawi, Al-Barzanji, and Al-Qawuqji, which describe the Prophet’s characteristics and features.

FASTFACT

Some well-known families in Hijaz celebrate it and hold annual gatherings such as in the house of the scholar Muhammad Alawi Al-Maliki, in Makkah.

“In Islam, we have the philosophy of dhikr or remembrance, it is a remedy to human’s deep-rooted forgetfulness. Therefore, we always need something to make us remember, draw attention back to ourselves, wonder about our truth, and look at what actually occupies our hearts and minds, our hopes and our goals. Occasions such as Mawlid play a similar role in a Muslim’s life,” Al-Kubaisi said.
Dhikr is at the heart of Islam and is practiced to build divine connection at different levels. Al-Kubaisi compares the Mawlid’s value for a Muslim’s life to the obligatory five daily prayers. However, the Mawlid is an annual reminder.
Although some people question the religious validity of such celebrations, Ibn Taymiyya, one of the most well-respected Islamic scholars, said the celebration of Mawlid “is good and in it there is a great reward,” as it motivates people to follow the Prophet’s perfect example.
“In Saudi Arabia, Mawlid is celebrated mostly by Sufis or admirers of the Sufi practice in the Kingdom but is not limited to them. However, it is not accepted by the Salafis.” Fadhel, from Jeddah, said.
“Some well-known families in Hijaz celebrate it and hold annual gatherings such as in the house of the scholar Muhammad Alawi Al-Maliki, in Makkah.”

The Night of the Prophet’s birth is a magnificent, noble, blessed and holy night.

Ibn Kathir

Fadhel who grew up as a Salafi, went on a long journey studying the different Islamic schools before he finally believed in the permissibility of Mawlid celebrations as it promotes love, kindness, and compassion. He now invites his friends to join these meetings every year.
He said that Mawlid is a better experience in a large gathering. However, it is possible for a person to celebrate it on their own or with the family by practicing any form of worship or expression of joy on that day, such as reading the Prophet’s life, popular poems about him, saying prayers to him and making donations or distributing sweets.
“It is not limited to men — women also celebrate it doing the same activities,” said Fadhel, “Families can set up their own celebrations, where both men and women gather to read and recite together,” as a display of happiness and lawful merriment.  
Yaman Fattouh, from Madinah, belongs to a family with a Sufi heritage. He grew up with Mawlid gatherings from a young age, “I was lucky to have such a childhood growing up with the Prophet’s stories and serving people who gathered to remember his noble character, which has surely influenced my life beautifully.”
He explained that although the word Mawlid refers to the day when the Prophet was born, it also refers to the celebration which used to take place several times a year in Madinah, especially during Hajj and Umrah seasons, in which pilgrims also took part.
“There were various places and mosques that used to carry out such activities, and pilgrims from different Arab and Muslim countries would also join in — groups from Egypt, Morocco, and Syria would also share their Mawlid style and singing,” Fattouh said.
This rich heritage of genuine love for Prophet Muhammad takes the form of many types of celebration, whether they are religious events or even social occasions around Arab countries.
Some Muslims even developed an etiquette of gestures that has no religious foundation but is a sign of respect and love. For instance, some would stand when the name of the Prophet is mentioned, while others will place their hand on their hearts and lower their heads.
This culture of love toward the symbol of Islam is found in almost all aspects of its followers’ lives. It revolves around him, his names exists in all of their rituals, prayers, traditions and supplication, and the more they remember him and abide by his example the closer they will be to him in paradise.


Meet the Saudi volunteers saving lives across the Gulf

Meet the Saudi volunteers saving lives across the Gulf
Barq provides rescue and safety training to all its recruits, including basic first aid, in addition to the several awareness campaigns they provide to the public on a regular basis. (Photos/Supplied)
Updated 4 min 10 sec ago

Meet the Saudi volunteers saving lives across the Gulf

Meet the Saudi volunteers saving lives across the Gulf
  • The Barq Rescue Team are the people to call if you are stranded in the outdoors

RIYADH: With camping season in full swing across the Kingdom many Saudi families are taking the opportunity to engage in fun COVID-friendly activities.

Desert camping (or kashtas, as they’re colloquially known), hiking trips, and other outdoorsy activities are taking place all over the country.
However, due to the nature of these activities, the likelihood of accidents tends to increase, especially among first-timers or otherwise inexperienced outdoorsmen.
Fortunately, a group of dedicated volunteers is working tirelessly to ensure the safety of the Kingdom’s budding outdoor enthusiasts, allowing virtually anyone to dabble in those types of activities without fear.
Founded in 2017, the Barq (Arabic for “lightning”) Rescue Team is Saudi Arabia’s first accredited volunteer rescue team. Certified by the Saudi Civil Defense and the Ministry of Interior, the group is a member of both the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and the UN’s International Association for Voluntary Efforts.
Barq’s team leader, Talal Abdulghani, told Arab News that the team started off as an unofficial group of four-wheel drive vehicle owners who saw an opportunity to utilize their equipment for the greater good.
“We first had the idea to create the team during the 2017 flooding in Jeddah,” Abdulghani said. “Those of us with suitable cars that were fitted with off-roading equipment found ourselves able to help out, and we decided to make it an official team.”
What started off as a small group of volunteers quickly gained traction. Today, Barq has more than 950 volunteers spread out across the Kingdom, with members assisting stranded drivers all over the Gulf countries. And at least 120 of those members are women.

FASTFACTS

• Founded in 2017, the Barq Rescue Team is Saudi Arabia’s first accredited volunteer rescue team.

• Certified by the Saudi Civil Defense and the Ministry of Interior, the group is a member of both the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and the UN’s International Association for Voluntary Efforts.

“Every member of the team joined us out of passion and the desire to help others,” Abdulghani said, “We’re not getting paid, nor do we charge for our services, and all of us have day jobs. We volunteer out of a sense of duty to our country and community.”
Abdulghani told Arab News that one or two deaths tend to occur every month out in the desert, especially in remote locations or due to a lack of experience. Anyone stranded in the desert can call the 24-hour hotline to receive assistance from one of their team members, who will arrive on the site to help if they need to or can offer help over the phone or via WhatsApp.
“Considering the number of calls we get every day, sometimes we find it better to try to assist over the phone instead of heading to a location ourselves,” said Abdulghani. “That way, instead of just showing up and taking over, we give people a chance to learn from their mistakes with our guidance and prevent similar incidents in the future.”
However, Barq’s team is not only comprised of drivers; Abdulghani says that anyone can join up, provided they have something to offer.
“We have members who are doctors and paramedics, who can offer first aid in case we need to rescue someone who is injured, and mechanics who are able to fix cars that have broken down or stalled, or been damaged. We also have photographers, lawyers and so on,” he said.
Abdulghani said an interesting side effect of their work was that many of those rescued have been inspired to join the team themselves.
One of those people is Samaher Al-Qwasmi, who said: “I was taking a trip with my mother and brother to Khaleej Salman beach, and I ended up driving a little too close to the water. Eventually, I found myself stuck because it was so muddy, and I could feel the car sinking down into the mud,” she said.
Not knowing what to do, and with poor phone service, she contacted her uncle, who directed her to call Barq.
“They asked me a lot of questions about how many people we were, what our location was, whether or not we had food, and so on. They were very thorough about making sure we were safe, and that in turn made me feel safer,” she said.
The team maintained contact until they were able to send someone to rescue them, sending four cars to help pull her vehicle out of the mud. Their efforts are something Al-Qwasmi appreciates so much more now that she has an idea of exactly how much work a rescue operation entails.
“There are so many people in the same situation at the same time. Just looking at our WhatsApp group now, there are 10 or more cases a day, and some rescues may require a lot of work,” she said.
“I joined because it’s something nice to do for the community. It feels good to give back, to be able to do good but also to help people become more aware of the existence of teams like ours,” she said. “We’re like one family; I don’t think anyone is doing this for the sake of the money or anything like that. Apart from the rescues, we also have events where we get together as a team and just hang out.”
Apart from their rescue operations, Barq also does community service work. Last May, Barq launched a campaign to distribute food and other essential items to quarantine sites across the Makkah region and the Eastern Province, helping residents stuck at home while also helping to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Barq provides rescue and safety training to all its recruits, including basic first aid, in addition to the several awareness campaigns they provide to the public on a regular basis.
Those interested in joining up as volunteers can register on the team’s website, https://barqrescue.org/


Promo released for joint Saudi-Japanese anime ‘The Journey’

Promo released for joint Saudi-Japanese anime ‘The Journey’
‘The Journey’ tells the story of Aws, a potter with a mysterious past who indulged in an epic battle in defense of his city. (SPA)
Updated 10 min 25 sec ago

Promo released for joint Saudi-Japanese anime ‘The Journey’

Promo released for joint Saudi-Japanese anime ‘The Journey’
  • A number of famous Arab actors have taken part in the Arabic version of the movie, including Nassar Al-Nassar, Abdo Chahine and Rasha Rizk

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Manga Productions has launched a promotional video for the first joint Saudi-Japanese anime film “The Journey.”
Film buffs will enjoy a unique multi-sensory experience through 4DX technology, which simulates the effects and conditions seen on screen.
The launch of the promotional video comes ahead of the renowned Berlin International Film Festival beginning March 1.
The promotional video will be featured on the social media platforms of Manga Production and Vox Cinemas.
“The Journey,” which is in pre-production, will be available in summer this year in cinemas in the Middle East and North Africa, and will be distributed in Japan by T-Joy Company.
CEO of Manga Productions Dr. Essam Bukhari said the film is directed and produced by a specialized team of Japanese experts and Saudi talents.
“The video will be featured in the region and worldwide to export our Saudi culture and historical stories from the Arabian Peninsula,” he added. “This will be the first of a number of videos that will be produced by Manga Productions and will be featured in cinemas in the Middle East and the world.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Launch comes ahead of Berlin International Film Festival on March 1.

• The promotional video will be featured on the social media platforms of Manga Production and Vox Cinemas.

Inspired by the history of the Arabian Peninsula and the ancient civilizations of the region, “The Journey” tells the story of Aws, a potter with a mysterious past who indulged in an epic battle in defense of his city.
It is a joint production with famous Japanese studio Toei Animation, and is directed by renowned international director Kobun Shizuno, who has directed anime hits including “Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle” and “Detective Conan.”
Manga Productions was keen to recruit well-known Japanese voice actors, such as Hiroshi Kamiya, Takaya Kuroda, Toru Furuya and others.
A number of famous Arab actors have taken part in the Arabic version of the movie, including Nassar Al-Nassar, Abdo Chahine and Rasha Rizk.
Manga Productions is a subsidiary of the Mohammed bin Salman Foundation, and is specialized in producing creative content through animations, video games and comics that target various social groups, both locally and internationally.

 


Who’s Who: Husameddin Al-Madani, CEO of Soudah Development Company

Who’s Who: Husameddin Al-Madani, CEO of Soudah Development Company
Husameddin Al-Madani
Updated 17 min 7 sec ago

Who’s Who: Husameddin Al-Madani, CEO of Soudah Development Company

Who’s Who: Husameddin Al-Madani, CEO of Soudah Development Company

Usameddin Al-Madani is CEO of Soudah Development Company (SDC), a closed joint stock company wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia.
With extensive experience in the public and private sectors, Al-Madani has significantly contributed to the development and advancement of the socioeconomic plans laid out in the Saudi Vision 2030.
Al-Madani is also a board member of several real estate projects being carried out under the PIF.
Prior to joining SDC, Al-Madani was a member of the G20 Saudi Secretariat executive leadership team, where he led the strategy development and execution of the international conferences designed to support the G20 Saudi presidency.
In 2015, he was appointed founding director-general of the National Center for Performance Measurement in Saudi Arabia.
He played a crucial role in the establishment and implementation of a performance measurement framework in the Kingdom.
From 2004 to 2011, Al-Madani held various technical and managerial positions at Saudi Aramco. During his tenure with the world’s top oil company, he participated in the development of its performance measurement and management platform and contributed to the restructuring of the company’s research and development strategy as a member of the corporate committee.
Al-Madani obtained a bachelor’s degree in computer science at the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in petroleum engineering/ unconventional gas resources at Texas A&M University.
He is a recipient of the 2010 Texas A&M Montgomery Prize and the International SPE Young Member Outstanding Service Award. Al-Madani also completed a general management program in strategy, business and leadership with Harvard Business School in 2016.


Saudi Arabia pledges $430m to UN's Yemen response

Saudi Arabia pledges $430m to UN's Yemen response
Updated 50 min 34 sec ago

Saudi Arabia pledges $430m to UN's Yemen response

Saudi Arabia pledges $430m to UN's Yemen response
  • Kingdom has provided support and assistance to millions of people in need
  • Saudi Arabia ranks among the top donor countries in providing humanitarian aid

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia on Monday pledged $430 million toward the UN’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), made the announcement during a virtual pledging conference co-hosted by Sweden and Switzerland.
“Because of its keenness to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, I am pleased to announce that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has pledged $430 million to support the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan 2021, to be implemented through UN agencies, international organizations, and local and regional NGOs,” Al-Rabeeah told the conference.
He said the Kingdom has provided support and assistance to millions of people in need and shares the goal of reducing the effects of the humanitarian crisis.
He added that Saudi Arabia ranks among the top donor countries in providing humanitarian aid regionally and internationally, particularly in Yemen.
“We are meeting today amidst the ongoing humanitarian crisis Yemen has already been facing, along with all the additional economic, health and political challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has created there,” he said.
Al-Rabeeah said the Iran-backed Houthi militia had caused a major escalation of the crisis with a recent offensive in Marib governorate, which was a safe haven for internally displaced persons.
“The Houthi militia has also scaled up their terrorist actions to threaten neighboring countries,” Al-Rabeeah said.
He was referring to the increase in cross border attacks targeting civilian areas in Saudi Arabia.
“This requires a firm and resolute stand from the international community to protect the Yemeni people and to reach sustainable solutions that achieve security, stability and development for Yemen, and ultimately for the region and the world,” Al-Rabeeah said.
A total of $1.7 billion was pledged during the conference, out of $3.85 that the UN had appealed for.


US mission to Saudi Arabia to reopen routine visa services

US mission to Saudi Arabia to reopen routine visa services
Updated 01 March 2021

US mission to Saudi Arabia to reopen routine visa services

US mission to Saudi Arabia to reopen routine visa services

DUBAI: The US mission to Saudi Arabia announced on Monday the reopening of routine nonimmigrant visa services in limited numbers at its embassy in Riyadh and consulates general in Jeddah and Dhahran.

“We continue to implement safeguards to keep staff and customers safe. Due to these measures, visa appointments are extremely limited and subject to change,” a statement from the embassy said.

The consular sections advised applicants to schedule appointments “only when they have made tentative travel plans but prior to final purchase of travel.”

Mission consular sections said they will continue to prioritize US citizen services, immigrant visas, students, and emergency non-immigrant visas.