A timeless love story from heart of Saudi Arabia’s AlUla

Now more than ever, the limestone formations of AlUla provide an enchanting atmosphere for tourists and locals alike. (AN file photo)
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Now more than ever, the limestone formations of AlUla provide an enchanting atmosphere for tourists and locals alike. (AN file photo)
A lovely women in ancient costumes is seen at the tourism site of AlUla. (Supplied)
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A lovely women in ancient costumes is seen at the tourism site of AlUla. (Supplied)
A lovely women in ancient costumes is seen at the tourism site of AlUla. (Supplied)
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A lovely women in ancient costumes is seen at the tourism site of AlUla. (Supplied)
A lovely women in ancient costumes is seen at the tourism site of AlUla. (Supplied)
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A lovely women in ancient costumes is seen at the tourism site of AlUla. (Supplied)
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Updated 14 February 2021

A timeless love story from heart of Saudi Arabia’s AlUla

A timeless love story from heart of Saudi Arabia’s AlUla
  • Jamil Buthainah was a pioneer in the poetic style of ghazal poetry, an element of Islamic literature that approaches themes of love in a lyrical style

JEDDAH: As Valentine’s Day arrives, celebrations of joy and romance can be found across all languages. However, one story has found its way out of the AlUla desert sands.
The patron St. Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome and was prosecuted for performing marriages for young lovers in secret. The unions angered Emperor Claudius II, who believed that unmarried men made better soldiers. Canonized by the Catholic Church, St. Valentine was given an annual feast day on Feb. 14. At some point in medieval England, the festival drifted away from being a commemoration of ultimate sacrifice in the name of faith and evolved into a more general celebration of love.
Though the tale of St. Valentine and that of many Arab love stories have been inextricably linked, it is the mystery and the power of love and the adventures that came along with it that became appealing. The enchanting desert lands of AlUla and its rich history continues to mesmerize Saudis and those interested in historical reference to the land.
The story of Jamil and Buthainah is one of forbidden love.




The late seventh-century Bedouin love poetry was written by Jamil ibn Mamar, a poet from the Bani Udhra tribe of Madinah during the Umayyad period. (Social media)

The late seventh-century Bedouin love poetry was written by Jamil ibn Mamar, also known as Jamil Buthainah, a poet from the Bani Udhra tribe of Madinah during the Umayyad period. He was a pioneer in the poetic style of ghazal poetry, an element of Islamic literature that approaches themes of love in a lyrical style. He was renowned for his poetic tradition of chaste love, a common theme in Beduin tribes of that era.

HIGHLIGHTS

Verses of poetry by Jamil ibn Mamar.

• If only the prime of the youth were new and old times come back, Buthayna. Should my poetry spend a night in Wadi AlQura, then I’m happy.  

• I took to loving her from childhood,   and up til today this love continues to thrive and grow.

The poems tell of Jamil’s intense but unrequited love for Buthainah bin Hayyan bin Thalabah from the Uthrah tribe, a beautiful maiden from a tribe residing near Bani Udhra in Al-Qura Valley in AlUla.
Infatuated by her beauty from a young age, Jamil wrote poems praising their love for years. The brave equestrian was proud of his love and his sword. He asked for his love’s hand in marriage but was rejected as Buthainah was promised to another man. Almost driven by madness, it did not deter the love-struck soldier, who continued to create beautiful and romantic poetry.
Much to the disdain of her family, Buthainah’s love for Jamil was true. His pleas fell on deaf ears as they would meet secretly in the plush oasis of AlUla, her homeland.


As time passed, Jamil left for Egypt and the star-crossed pair were separated, but their love will forever be told through the beauty of his love poems.
With thousands of years of history, it is no surprise that a love story would emerge from the sand of AlUla. The story of love and loss portrayed by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and can be felt through the verses:
“We grew older, Jameel Bouthaina and I, each alone, in two separate eras . . .
It is time that does what sun and wind do: It polishes us then kills us whenever the mind bears the heart’s passion, or whenever the heart reaches its wisdom Jameel! does she grow old, like you, like me, Bouthaina?
She grows old, my friend, outside the heart in others’ eyes. But inside me the gazelle bathes in the spring that pours out of her being”

 The way in which this poem has been transmitted over time was demonstrated beautifully a year ago when the world-renowned theater company Caracalla performed “Jamil and Buthainah: A love legend from the oasis of AlUla” at the Maraya Concert Hall. The performance, fitting for the Valentine’s Day weekend, came alive through song, music, dance and theater.
 This year, we celebrate the love story of the lost love emerging from the sands of one of the Kingdom’s gems. It is a story that has withstood the test of time and emerged again to retell the story of the star-crossed pair.

 


Saudi Arabia allows citizens married to foreigners to travel through border points

Saudi Arabia allows citizens married to foreigners to travel through border points
Updated 5 min 22 sec ago

Saudi Arabia allows citizens married to foreigners to travel through border points

Saudi Arabia allows citizens married to foreigners to travel through border points
  • Saudis married to non-Saudis will be able to travel with spouses or join spouses abroad

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has authorized citizens married to foreigners to travel through border points, a measure meant to facilitate their movements while international air travel is suspended because of the pandemic, state TV reported on Wednesday.
“The General Directorate of Passports announced the issuance of the royal decree to enable Saudi women married to non-Saudis to travel, whether accompanied by their husbands or joining their husbands abroad, upon providing proof of marriage certificate to officials at the port of departure,” a statement on Saudi Press Agency said.
The same applies for Saudi men married to non-Saudi women, whether they reside outside of the Kingdom due to work or other circumstances preventing them from coming to the country, the statement added.
The passports authority said that in the event that citizens are not able to provide documents proving their spouse is outside the Kingdom and unable to return, then they can apply for a travel permit via the Absher application.

(With Reuters)


WFP thanks Saudi Arabia for $40m aid package to improve food security in Yemen

WFP thanks Saudi Arabia for $40m aid package to improve food security in Yemen
Updated 24 February 2021

WFP thanks Saudi Arabia for $40m aid package to improve food security in Yemen

WFP thanks Saudi Arabia for $40m aid package to improve food security in Yemen
  • The agreement will benefit more than 2.2 million people and ‘help avert famine In Yemen’

LONDON: The World Food Program (WFP) on Wednesday thanked Saudi Arabia for “providing effective food support” to the Yemeni people through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief).
WFP and KSrelief signed a $40 million joint cooperation agreement on Monday to support food security to the most affected people in Yemen, who “are exposed to all kinds of suffering and deprivation,” said David Beasley, executive director of WFP.
Beasley added that the Kingdom’s donation, through KSrelief, “will undoubtedly help avert famine In Yemen, and will feed at least 2.2 million people.
In a press statement, Beasley expressed his happiness with the existing strategic partnership between the center and the WFP.
“We have a lot of work to do now and in the future, and this agreement will provide us with the tremendous support we need,” he said.
Beasley also said that the coronavirus pandemic has brought many tragedies and economic deterioration across the globe.
“This support will make a big difference because the pandemic has greatly affected vulnerable groups and exacerbated the problem of famine in the world and Yemen is one of the countries that suffers from the most difficult living conditions.”


Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 24 February 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 367,015
  • A total of 6,475 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced five deaths from COVID-19 and 353 new infections on Wednesday.
Of the new cases, 186 were recorded in Riyadh, 67 in the Eastern Province, 43 in Makkah, 10 in Madinah, nine in Asir, seven in Hail, three in Jazan and two in Najran.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 367,015 after 280 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 6,475 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.


Muslim women have always enjoyed prominent position in Islam, says MWL chief

Muslim women have always enjoyed prominent position in Islam, says MWL chief
MWL chief Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa speaks at on online seminar organized by the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall. (SPA)
Updated 24 February 2021

Muslim women have always enjoyed prominent position in Islam, says MWL chief

Muslim women have always enjoyed prominent position in Islam, says MWL chief
  • Al-Issa stressed the need to combat the extremist narrative using intellectual means to root it out from the world

The secretary-general of the Muslim World League, Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, on Tuesday said the Muslim women always enjoyed a prominent position since the beginning of Islam and any violation of their rights are against the basic teachings of the religion.
He was speaking at an online seminar organized by the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall.
Al-Issa said it is important to fight the wrong ideas about women propagated by extremist elements. He said armed struggle against terrorism and the deviant ideology is not enough. Al-Issa stressed the need to combat the extremist narrative using intellectual means to root it out from the world.
He stressed the need to promote dialogue between the East and the West to bridge the gap between different communities, cultures and civilizations.
The MWL chief blamed the trust deficit between different communities for violence. He explained the Islamic concept of moderation and its importance to promote global peace and harmony.
Al-Issa highlighted the efforts of the MWL in forging ties with several religious organizations around the world to spread its message of peace and coexistence.
Kim McCleary Blue, president of the World Affairs Council, praised the efforts of the MWL in promoting a culture of dialogue and cooperation between followers of different religions and cultures.

 


Saudi Arabia working to enhance energy security - cabinet

Saudi Arabia’s Council of Mincers held their weekly meeting, virtually chaired by King Salman from NEOM on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Council of Mincers held their weekly meeting, virtually chaired by King Salman from NEOM on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (SPA)
Updated 24 February 2021

Saudi Arabia working to enhance energy security - cabinet

Saudi Arabia’s Council of Mincers held their weekly meeting, virtually chaired by King Salman from NEOM on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (SPA)
  • Cabinet repeated the Kingdom’s condemnation of cross-border attacks by Yemen's Houthi militia
  • The council said it was hoping for a peaceful resolution to violent protests in Mogadishu

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is committed to supporting the stability of the oil markets and the sustainability of global supplies, the Kingdom’s cabinet said.
The announcement was made during the cabinet’s weekly meeting, during which the Council of Ministers discussed mitigating the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, enhancing energy security and the market balance.
Minister of Information Majid Al-Qasabi said the minsters discussed the Kingdom’s statements at the World Energy Forum, the International Energy Agency and OPEC, on the importance of cooperation to face the challenges of the pandemic and limit its impact on global economic growth.
“Saudi Arabia stressed the need to work to overcome the challenges through collective action, dialogue and data transparency in the energy field,” Al-Qasabi said.
The cabinet repeated the Kingdom’s condemnation of cross-border attacks by the Houthi militia in Yemen. Over the past week, the conflict escalated as the Iran-backed group launched missiles and drones toward Saudi Arabia that were intercepted by Arab coalition forces.
The council said it was also hoping for a peaceful resolution to violent protests that erupted in Mogadishu on Friday over delayed elections in Somalia.
On the COVID-19 front, the cabinet was briefed on the latest virus statistics in the Kingdom and progress in the national inoculation campaign. The ministers were also briefed on the resumption of vaccine supplies and the new vaccine centers opened over the past week in the Kingdom.