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 07 April 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 The enchanting desert lands of AlUla and its rich history continues to mesmerize Saudis and those interested in historical reference to the land.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 must ‘confront power with power’ in Yemen, says expert

Saudi Arabia must ‘confront power with power’ in Yemen, says expert
Updated 16 April 2021

Saudi Arabia must ‘confront power with power’ in Yemen, says expert

Saudi Arabia must ‘confront power with power’ in Yemen, says expert
  • The Arab coalition destroyed five ballistic missiles and four explosive-laden drones launched by the Houthis toward Jazan on Thursday.

JEDDAH: The international community bears responsibility for prolonging the crisis in Yemen, and Saudi Arabia should not simply wait for the Iran-backed Houthis to cause a disaster, according to a Saudi expert in international relations.

Political analyst Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri said on Thursday that although a number of proposals had been put forward to put an end to Yemen’s ongoing conflict, there had been a lack of will from the international community to implement those initiatives.

“If the international community was honest, it would have (acted on) UNSC Resolution 2216, demanding the Houthis relinquish the arms they seized from military and security institutions and cease all violence. The international community is delaying taking action against the Houthis for its own interests,” Al-Shehri told Arab News.

“The international community’s regional interests are its top priority, not Yemen or the Yemenis,” he added.

Al-Shehri believes that, in the face of continued silence from the international community, Saudi Arabia should ‘confront power with power’ when dealing with Houthi attacks.

“We should not wait until the Houthis (cause) a disaster. We count on the Arab coalition and the Yemeni army, especially after the UN’s leniency with regard to putting pressure on the Houthis to accept diplomatic solutions,” Al-Shehri said.

He added that if attacks on the Kingdom continue, then Saudi Arabia should take military action. “The Houthis are using power and this power should be confronted with power. We have tried the international community for seven years, but unfortunately (nothing has been done).”

The Arab coalition destroyed five ballistic missiles and four explosive-laden drones launched by the Houthis toward Jazan, Al-Ekhbariya reported on Thursday.

Those attacks were the latest in a long line of hostile actions against the Kingdom by the Iran-backed Houthi militia.

Jazan University was one of the targets, as well as other civilian sites protected under international humanitarian law, coalition spokesman Turki Al-Malki said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency, adding that such actions amount to war crimes. He also said that the attacks originated from Yemen’s Saadah governorate and were a “continuation of the Houthis’ systematic and intentional hostile attempts to target civilians.”

The Houthis, who took over the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in 2014, have been widely condemned for their actions against the Kingdom.


62 Jeddah outlets shut for COVID-19 breaches

62 Jeddah outlets shut for COVID-19 breaches
Updated 16 April 2021

62 Jeddah outlets shut for COVID-19 breaches

62 Jeddah outlets shut for COVID-19 breaches

JEDDAH: Authorities in Jeddah have shut down 62 commercial outlets for breaching coronavirus disease (COVID-19) protocols.
Municipalities in the Kingdom have stepped up their efforts to ensure compliance with COVID-19 safety measures designed to protect public health.
The municipality of Jeddah governorate carried out 4,219 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities and identified 166 violations for issues related to overcrowding and the failure to effectively use the Tawakkalna app.
Officials urged people to report any suspected breaches of COVID-19 regulations to the 940 call-center number.


Saudi students win four awards in European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad

Saudi students win four awards in European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad
Updated 16 April 2021

Saudi students win four awards in European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad

Saudi students win four awards in European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia ranked 16th of 55 countries in the European Girls’ Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO), which ended on Thursday, rising 10 places from last year and winning four medals.
Each country involved in the competition is represented by a team of four female mathematicians of school age, This year’s EGMO was hosted by Georgia, but held remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saudi Arabia was represented by four students who have all been members of programs run by the King Abdul Aziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba) and have received thousands of training hours and attended several training camps.
In the past, Saudi teams have won 20 medals at the EGMO. This year, Rafaa Qanash from Jeddah won a silver medal, while Lara Munqal from Jeddah, Joud Bahwini from Yanbu, and Fatima Al-Ghanam from Al-Ahsa all won bronze medals.
All four students have been members of Mawhiba’s Program for International Olympiads and have received thousands of training hours and attended several training camps.
Mawhiba works in partnership with the Ministry of Education to qualify Saudis to compete in scientific Olympiads. Over 1,300 hours of training are provided annually to prepare students to participate.
The EGMO — launched by the UK in 2012, when 19 countries participated — seeks to encourage female students to compete in mathematics tournaments and to increase female representation in international Olympiads. Currently, only 10 percent of participants in math-based Olympiads are female.


Want to visit Saudi Arabia for Umrah? Here are the procedures you need to know about

Want to visit Saudi Arabia for Umrah? Here are the procedures you need to know about
Updated 16 April 2021

Want to visit Saudi Arabia for Umrah? Here are the procedures you need to know about

Want to visit Saudi Arabia for Umrah? Here are the procedures you need to know about
  • Saudi Arabia reported 10 more COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced the procedures for pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom to follow to perform the rituals.
Pilgrims need to go to a care center in Makkah six hours before performing Umrah to check the inoculation status according to the type of approved vaccines.
They will be handed their bracelet, which they must put on at the center. They will then be directed to the Al-Shubaikha gathering center. There, the pilgrims must present their bracelet to verify their data and their permit.
The ministry noted the need for the pilgrims to abide by the Umrah date and time period allocated to them.
The Kingdom began receiving pilgrims from abroad in mid-March, in accordance with requirements and controls set by the Ministry of Health as part of the precautionary measures set to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah had previously confirmed the launch of the two updated versions of the apps “Eatmarna” and “Tawakkalna,” in cooperation with the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence.
Through these apps, Saudis and expats can reserve Umrah and visit and prayer permits inside the Grand Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, with permits being displayed only on the Tawakkalna app.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah emphasized the need to adhere to the precautionary and preventive measures, and to reserve permits through the approved official platforms.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia reported 10 more COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday. The death toll now stands at 6,791.
The Ministry of Health reported 985 new cases, meaning that 402,142 people have now contracted the disease, of which 9,249 remain active.
It said 463 of the new cases were in Riyadh, 164 in Makkah, 140 in the Eastern Province and 30 in Madinah. In addition, 661 patients recovered from the disease, bringing the total to 386,102 recoveries.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted more than 16 million PCR tests, with 45,843 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Saudi health clinics set up by the ministry as testing hubs or treatment centers have helped hundreds of thousands of people around the Kingdom since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Among those testing hubs are Taakad (make sure) centers and Tetamman (rest assured) clinics.
Taakad centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual, while the Tetamman clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms, such as fever, loss of taste and smell and breathing difficulties.
Appointments to either services can also be made through the ministry’s Sehhaty app.
Saudis and expats in the Kingdom continue to receive their jabs of the coronavirus vaccine, with 6,607,384 people having been inoculated so far.


Saudi ambassador to Indonesia launches iftar program

Saudi ambassador to Indonesia launches iftar program
Updated 16 April 2021

Saudi ambassador to Indonesia launches iftar program

Saudi ambassador to Indonesia launches iftar program

Saudi Ambassador to Indonesia Essam bin Abed Al-Thaqafi on Thursday launched a massive iftar program and started distributing King Salman’s gift of dates for the year under the supervision of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance.
The program includes the distribution of 3,000 food baskets and 10,000 iftar meals to hospitals, orphanages and others in Indonesia. Al-Thaqafi oversees the project in cooperation and coordination with the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs, along with other prominent Islamic societies and centers.
The initiative was launched at the religious attache’s office for the Kingdom’s Embassy in Jakarta. Representatives from the Minister of Religious Affairs of Indonesia and the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta also attended the launch ceremony.