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
Pilgrims are required to observe social distancing, among others, when performing their rituals including prayers at the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque of Makkah. (AFP file photo)
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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 air defenses intercept drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Khamis Mushait

Saudi air defenses intercept drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Khamis Mushait
Updated 28 min 45 sec ago

Saudi air defenses intercept drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Khamis Mushait

Saudi air defenses intercept drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Khamis Mushait
  • The Arab coalition said this was the latest example of the Iran-backed Houthis deliberately targeting civilians and civilian targets

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s air defenses intercepted and destroyed a booby-trapped drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward southern Saudi Arabia, state TV reported.
The drone was targeting the city of Khamis Mushait.
The Arab coalition said this was the latest example of the Iran-backed Houthis deliberately targeting civilians and civilian targets.
“We are taking operational measures to protect civilians and deal with imminent militia threats,” the coalition added.
Saudi defenses intercepted another Houthi drone launched toward Khamis Mushait on Sunday, and 17 armed drones launched toward the Kingdom on Saturday.
The Houthis have stepped up cross-border attacks since the beginning of the year and launched a brutal offensive on the Yemeni province of Marib, sparking international condemnation.
On Monday, France joined Arab countries and regional organizations in denouncing the recent Houthi attacks on the Kingdom, saying that they defy international law, and calling on the group to halt their attacks and work toward achieving peace in Yemen.


Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 1,479 new infections

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 1,479 new infections
Updated 22 June 2021

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 1,479 new infections

Saudi Arabia records 12 COVID-19 deaths, 1,479 new infections
  • The Kingdom said 920 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • 6 mosques reopened in 5 regions after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing them after 8 people tested positive for coronavirus

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia confirmed 12 new COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday, raising the total number of fatalities to 7,703.
The Ministry of Health reported 1,479 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 476,882 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 11,131 remain active and 1,487 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in Makkah with 431, followed by the Eastern Province with 280, the capital Riyadh with 256, Asir recorded 149, and Jazan confirmed 99 cases.
The health ministry also announced that 920 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 458,048.

The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs reopened six mosques in five regions after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing them after six people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed and reopened after being sterilized to 1,627 within 136 days.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 179 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.89 million.


Saudi Arabia will judge new Iran president Raisi by ‘reality on the ground’: FM

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg during his official visit to Vienna. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg during his official visit to Vienna. (SPA)
Updated 56 min 22 sec ago

Saudi Arabia will judge new Iran president Raisi by ‘reality on the ground’: FM

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg during his official visit to Vienna. (SPA)
  • Prince Faisal says ‘very concerned’ about unanswered questions on Iran’s nuclear program
  • Austrian foreign minister: Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia are unacceptable

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will judge Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi’s government by “the reality on the ground,” the Kingdom’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.
“From our perspective, foreign policy in Iran is in any case run by the supreme leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) and therefore we base our interactions and our approach to Iran on the reality on the ground, and that is what we will judge the new government on, regardless of who is in charge,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan told a news conference with his Austrian counterpart during his official visit to the capital, Vienna.
He said he was “very concerned” about unanswered questions on Iran’s nuclear program, an apparent reference to the UN nuclear watchdog seeking explanations on the origin of uranium particles found at undeclared sites in Iran.
Saudi Arabia and Gulf allies continue to pressure Iran over its nuclear program, which Tehran says is entirely peaceful, and its ballistic missiles. US intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency believe Iran had a secret, coordinated nuclear weapons program that it halted in 2003.
Raisi, a hard-line judge who secured an expected election victory on Saturday, said on Monday he wanted to improve ties with Gulf Arab neighbors.
Meanwhile, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg condemned the continuous Houthi attacks on civilians in Saudi Arabia, describing such assaults as “unacceptable.”
Prince Faisal said the Houthi militia has regularly rejected initiatives for a complete cease-fire, and have always resorted to escalate the situation.
Farhan said Saudi Arabia and Austria shared a “similar vision” regarding the region’s stability, while Schallenberg said his country supports developments taking place in across Saudi Arabia in several areas.
Prince Faisal met for talks with Schallenberg at the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the two sides discussed opportunities for joint cooperation, developing bilateral relations, and ways to develop them in various fields, especially in light of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.
They also discussed ways to enhance joint coordination to serve the interests of the two countries, and the most prominent regional and international developments.
(With Reuters)


Timeless craft of cane carving sees Saudi statement pieces go global

Visitors to Saudi Arabia are constantly on the hunt for souvenirs such as swords, or canes. (Photos/Supplied)
Visitors to Saudi Arabia are constantly on the hunt for souvenirs such as swords, or canes. (Photos/Supplied)
Updated 22 June 2021

Timeless craft of cane carving sees Saudi statement pieces go global

Visitors to Saudi Arabia are constantly on the hunt for souvenirs such as swords, or canes. (Photos/Supplied)
  • Adel Al-Shehri turns handmade sidr pieces into online phenomenon using local talent, materials

MAKKAH: A young Saudi in the south of the Kingdom is bringing back the timeless craft of hand carving wooden canes with a new look to suit modern tastes, driving demand from Hajj pilgrims and online customers from around the world.

Walking canes have always been associated with the elderly and ill, and usually comprise simple designs that focus more on function rather than appearance.
That association has prompted Adel Al-Shehri to give the concept a new life by bringing back an old craft and turning canes into famous statement pieces used by Saudis.
Through his work, he can convey the cultural and historical essence of Saudi Arabia by engraving cultural designs on sidr wood.
Al-Shehri grew up in the southern mountain ranges of the Kingdom and uses the old indigenous tree to create unique intricately designed canes just as his forefathers once did.
The sidr tree, known as Christ’s thorn jujube, is an evergreen species that is a deep-rooted part of the culture. It can be used in medicine and also in the construction of canes and wooden objects found in many homes in the south of the Kingdom.

FASTFACT

The sidr tree, known as Christ’s thorn jujube, is an evergreen species that is a deep-rooted part of the culture. It can be used in medicine and also in the construction of canes and wooden objects found in many homes in the south of the Kingdom.

He told Arab News that he inherited from his ancestors a love of artifacts, such as shiny swords and jambiyas, a type of dagger with a curved blade. Growing up surrounded by architecture adorned in stones and wood, Al-Shehri said that he wanted to bring the rich history of design back using a product found right in his backyard.


“Visitors to Saudi Arabia are constantly on the hunt for souvenirs, swords, or canes. However, shipping swords is a real problem, because they are considered white weapons. Meanwhile, some items lose quality or are damaged during shipping. This is why I shifted my entire focus to making canes,” he added.
Al-Shehri said that while carrying out his Hajj pilgrimage, he used his cane as a “crutch,” engraving his name on it. Soon after, he decided to use the phrase “Made in Saudi Arabia” and focus on the Umrah and Hajj seasons to introduce the product as a souvenir that could be carried back home by pilgrims. Al-Shehri said that some Hajj institutions even reached out to give out his canes as gifts at the end of pilgrimage tours.

The canes I create are enough to stop importing canes that neither accentuate our identity nor highlight our intellectual and cultural message.

Adel Al-Shehri

He said that many people from across the world have requested their canes through Hajj institutions or on social media.
Most recently, he added, a German citizen requested four canes with different designs inspired by Saudi culture, but some customers request personalized canes or ones that are specifically customized to illustrate a memory.
Al-Shehri said that the canes he designs are delivered in handmade luxurious boxes that serve as a masterpiece to be displayed in a customer’s home. He described the cane as a “sign of prestige, warmth, and hospitality.”
The first thing that caught his attention as a child was how his family stores their ancient swords, guns, and jambiyas — all wrapped in ornate fabrics and stored in old boxes.

I inherited the love of artifacts from my ancestors.
Adel Al-Shehri

Al-Shehri had always wanted to put this heritage in the limelight and share it with other Saudi cities. The public’s broad praise of his initial work was the first building block in his dream toward producing his canes. He stressed that he often uses sidr wood for the canes because the diameter must be more than 40 centimeters.
For the wood fibers to grow, the sidr must also be dried for six months. “The handle is made from the core of sidr wood so that it could bear the grafting, which sometimes may reach a thousand grafts inside,” Al-Shehri said. With no educational experience, his drive to create such masterpieces taught him to push through and learn the craft with time and patience. “The manufacturing stages became an inspiration and taught me the ins and outs of this creative craftsmanship, which shaped the features of my personality and led me towards worlds of magic and beauty,” he said.
“I was first concerned with the metal lathe and mastering its unique way of manufacturing accessories and adding wood to them. I then focused on the element of touch and adding luster in the absence of real manufacturers in this field. I insisted on mastering the metal lathe myself so I would not have to depend on anyone else. My workshop, filled with nickel, chrome, stainless steel, and brass, along with the metal and wood lathes, became my best friend.
“I work for hours on end to meet the various requests, especially if a customer places an order for a special occasion with a tight deadline,” he added.
Al-Shehri said that what he and many other craftsmen in the Kingdom do promotes the Saudi culture and is a sign of pride in the Saudi identity. “The canes I create are enough to stop importing canes that neither accentuate our identity nor highlight our intellectual and cultural message.”


Saudi security officials arrest Ethiopian national for selling drugs in Asir region

Saudi security officials arrest Ethiopian national for selling drugs in Asir region
Updated 22 June 2021

Saudi security officials arrest Ethiopian national for selling drugs in Asir region

Saudi security officials arrest Ethiopian national for selling drugs in Asir region
  • He was caught violating the border security system in Balqarn Governorate
  • Initial legal measures have been taken against him

RIYADH: Saudi security officials arrested an Ethiopian national in Asir region who was accused of distributing hashish and was found with a large quantity of amphetamine tablets in his possession.
Spokesman for the General Directorate of Narcotics Control Capt. Mohammed Al-Nujaidi said that during a “proactive security follow-up of the activities of criminal networks that smuggle narcotic drugs into the Kingdom,” an Ethiopian was caught violating the border security system in Balqarn Governorate, in the Asir region.
He was arrested for selling a quantity of cannabis while 1,096 amphetamine pills were found in his possession, he added.
Capt. Al-Nujaidi said that initial legal measures have been taken against him, and he has been referred to a branch of the Public Prosecution.