The seven grand mountains of Makkah

The seven grand mountains of Makkah
Makkah is rich in mountains related to Islamic history. These include Jabal Al-Nour, Mount Thowr, Mount Arafat and other mountains that reflect the cultural values of the holy city, which is what distinguishes it from other cities. (Supplied)
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Updated 19 April 2021

The seven grand mountains of Makkah

The seven grand mountains of Makkah
  • Natural features overlooking the Grand Mosque bear testimony to history

MAKKAH: If only mountains could talk. For centuries, Makkah, a holy city in the middle of large grey bouldered mountains, has witnessed thousands of historical events over several millennia and undergone many stages of development, sheltering millions throughout the years.

Surrounded by seven distinct mountains, the once bare land located in a valley where no plants can grow holds the holiest site in Islam, the Holy Kaaba in the Grand Mosque of Makkah. It has drawn people from all walks of life to settle and develop a city of mixed cultures, races, backgrounds, sects and traditions.
Inhabitants of Makkah grew into the habit of climbing the mountains from Al-Misfalah neighborhood and descending from the Al-Mallah area of the Grand Mosque through the valley known as Ibrahim Al-Khalil.




‘There should be moderation in developing the mountains of Makkah so as not to stop the necessary development operations and at the same time not to indiscriminately damage this topography that reflects the historical identity of the city, its structure and essence.’ (Getty Image)

Dr. Mansur Al-Daajani, a history researcher, told Arab News about Makkah’s most famous mountains. Abu Qubays mountain is considered one of the pillars of Makkah and lies east of the Grand Mosque. It is said that this was the first mountain elevated on Earth and overlooks Kaaba. In the days before Islam, the mountain was called “Al-Amin” (the trustworthy), and was where the Kaaba’s black stone was stored in the year of the Genesis flood.
The second is the Khandama mountain, located behind the Qubays mountain.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Surrounded by seven distinct mountains, the once bare land located in a valley where no plants can grow holds the holiest site in Islam, the Holy Kaaba in the Grand Mosque of Makkah.

• It has drawn people from all walks of life to settle and develop a city of mixed cultures, races, backgrounds, sects and traditions.

• Inhabitants of Makkah grew into the habit of climbing the mountains from Al-Misfalah neighborhood and descending from the Al-Mallah area of the Grand Mosque through the valley known as Ibrahim Al-Khalil.

The third, the Quaiqian mountain, or Jabal Hindi, lies west of the Grand Mosque. It was called Quaiqian due to the clanking of swords during the battle between the tribes of Jurhum and Katura, according to the history books of Makkah.
One of the more famous mountains located northeast of the city is Jabal Al-Nour, “the Mountain of Light,” where the cave of Hira lies and where the Prophet Muhammad received the first of his many revelations.
Another important mountain noted in the history books and Holy Qur’an is Thowr. Located 3 km from the Holy Kaaba, it is where the Prophet and his companion Abu Bakr sought refuge when fleeing to Madinah from the Quraysh tribe.




‘There should be moderation in developing the mountains of Makkah so as not to stop the necessary development operations and at the same time not to indiscriminately damage this topography that reflects the historical identity of the city, its structure and essence.’ (Getty Image)

Located to the west of the mosque, Jabal Omar extends from Al-Shabika to Al-Misfalah neighborhoods and is where many worshippers are housed in hotels and apartment houses nowadays due to its close proximity to the mosque.
The last of the seven mountains is Mount Thabir. Located opposite Jabal Al-Nour to the east, it is believed to be where the scapegoat was sent to Ismail, son of Abraham. The mountain is divided into many regions, such as Thabir Ghinaa, Thabir Al-Nakhil (Thabir of Palms), Thabir Al-Nusu and Thabir Al-Aaraj.

Landmarks
The Abu Qubays, Khandama, Al-Sayeda, Jabal Omar and Quaiqian mountains are landmarks with a long history. Over time, the many homes and slums that covered their slopes became an issue for development planners in the region. The preservation of the city’s identity was a concern and returning these mountains to their correct state is a continuing project for the city’s future development.
Anas Saleh Serafi, head of the real estate committee at Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Arab News that the process of developing and building on the mountains surrounding the Grand Mosque is important in accommodating the increasing number of Muslims visiting the site and in continuing the expansion plans of the Grand Mosque but in a manner that will ensure that they are preserved within technical parameters.
Serafi said that Jabal Hindi, north of the Grand Mosque, was the first to be developed, where the “Northern Terraces” project was executed to facilitate climbing on its slopes while preserving it and developing the buildings on top of it. The same applies to Jabal Omar, which lies 600 meters north of the mosque, and includes the small market and part of Al-Misfalah neighborhood. He added that rocks were cut to allow for the expansion of the Grand Mosque and for facilitating access to the visitors of holy places.




‘The old houses of Makkah should be preserved, painted and rehabilitated.’

He said that Makkah is rich in mountains related to Islamic history and heritage. These include Jabal Al-Nour — where the Cave of Hira lies — Mount Thowr, Mount Arafat and other mountains that reflect the cultural values of the holy city, which is what distinguishes it from other cities.
Serafi said that a number of violations had occurred in the past, including building in unauthorized areas in some of Makkah’s mountains, the expansion of slums, and the damage caused by quarries on top of the mountains surrounding the highway leading to Makkah.
“This contributes to staining the beauty and nature of the place, and distorts the image for visitors,” Serafi said. “There should be moderation in developing the mountains of Makkah so as not to stop the necessary development operations and at the same time not to indiscriminately damage this topography that reflects the historical identity of the city, its structure and essence. The ultimate objective is to preserve these mountains, which are deeply rooted in history.”
History researcher, Dr. Samir Barqah, told Arab News that Makkah, with its mountains, has a geographical and historical identity related to events, stories, and facts documented in history.
Barqah said that in some countries, such as Italy and Greece, houses are clustered on top of mountains and still have all the necessary services and infrastructure; they are easily accessible, and have hospitals and schools. He said that Makkah is distinguished by its distinct geographical characteristics, and that its identity and cultural potential should be reflected through its mountain ranges and its building designs.
He said: “Our role as Saudis is to present the identity of Makkah to the world including its historical landmarks and characteristics. This is what officials are trying to do as we saw slums invading the mountains near the Cave of Hira and Jabal Thowr, noting that today we are witnessing the rehabilitation of these two mountains by rendering easy access to them and by giving special care to the holy sites of Muslims, which entails cooperation from all.”
Barqah said that the old houses of Makkah should be preserved, painted and rehabilitated, especially the ones that do not obstruct the development operation in the central region, for they reflect the authentic culture of Makkah and satisfy the curiosity of any visitor who is passionate about history.


ThePlace: Tayeb Al-Ism, one of Saudi Arabia’s most stunning natural attractions

ThePlace: Tayeb Al-Ism, one of Saudi Arabia’s most stunning natural attractions
Updated 33 min 20 sec ago

ThePlace: Tayeb Al-Ism, one of Saudi Arabia’s most stunning natural attractions

ThePlace: Tayeb Al-Ism, one of Saudi Arabia’s most stunning natural attractions
  • Small streams run through the stones and groves of palm trees dot the inside of the valley

Tayeb Al-Ism is one of Saudi Arabia’s most stunning natural attractions. Visitors to the valley enjoy one surprise after another. The valley is located on the Gulf of Aqaba, 15 kilometers north of the coastal town of Maqna.

Palm groves and granite massifs surround the valley’s entrance, which is located between two massifs that appear to be split in half.

After leaving their cars, visitors follow a pedestrian bridge that gives hikers the impression that they are about to embark on a magical journey. Small streams run through the stones and groves of palm trees dot the inside of the valley.

Shade and the large number of streams help to regulate the temperature, ensuring conditions in the heart of Tayeb Al-Ism are always pleasant.

Moses is believed to have spent his voluntary exile in Madyan, the ancient name of the Gulf of Aqaba, and reached Tayeb Al-Ism, hence the name “Valley of Moses.”


Eligibility rules, amount of aid revealed for job seekers in Saudi Arabia

Eligibility rules, amount of aid revealed for job seekers in Saudi Arabia
Updated 18 min 26 sec ago

Eligibility rules, amount of aid revealed for job seekers in Saudi Arabia

Eligibility rules, amount of aid revealed for job seekers in Saudi Arabia
  • Under a new system, citizens and residents between ages of 20 and 40 can receive payments for up to 15 months

JEDDAH: The details of a financial aid system for job seekers, which was recently approved by Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers, have been revealed.

Payments will be made to eligible claimants for up to 15 months. They will receive SR2,000 ($530) a month for the first four months after a successful claim, SR1,500 a month for the following four months, SR1,000 a month for four months after that, and SR750 a month for the final three months.

To be eligible for the aid, applicants will have to meet a number of conditions. They must be Saudi nationals or permanent residents of the Kingdom, between the ages of 20 and 40, able to work, and seriously and actively looking for a job.

They must not already be employed in the public or private sectors, or receiving a retirement pension, income from social security, or any other allowance. The owners of commercial enterprises are not eligible for the aid, nor are students or trainees at any stage of their education or training.

FASTFACT

Payments will be made to eligible claimants for up to 15 months. They will receive SR2,000 ($530) a month for the first four months after a successful claim, SR1,500 a month for the following four months, SR1,000 a month for four months after that, and SR750 a month for the final three months.

In addition, an applicant will not qualify for aid if his or her wealth exceeds a certain amount, but the exact figure for this was not specified. Applicants must not previously have benefited from the job-search aid system or any other financial allowances paid to job seekers.

The authorities said the new system aims to regulate the system of financial aid for people looking for work and clearly define the rules for eligibility. In addition it is designed to support job seekers, motivate them to enter the labor market, and set out the rights, responsibilities and obligations of the Human Resources Development Fund and those who are looking for work.

Applications to the fund can be submitted online or through authorized representatives. Individuals whose applications are rejected have the right to file an appeal with the relevant authorities.


Who’s Who: Sultan Al-Qahtani, spokesperson of KSA’s Citizen Account Program

Who’s Who: Sultan Al-Qahtani, spokesperson of KSA’s Citizen Account Program
Updated 14 May 2021

Who’s Who: Sultan Al-Qahtani, spokesperson of KSA’s Citizen Account Program

Who’s Who: Sultan Al-Qahtani, spokesperson of KSA’s Citizen Account Program

Sultan Al-Qahtani has been the spokesman and communication general manager of the Citizen Account Program since 2018.

Al-Qahtani, who received a bachelor’s degree in English translation from King Khalid University (KKU) in 2007, is an ambassador of the Charity Orphans Care Foundation (Ekhaa).

His KSA Awla initiative, which he started in 2010, has succeeded in helping thousands of young men and young women find suitable jobs. Moreover, he is a member of the Saudi Media National Association since 2020. 

After graduation from KKU, Al-Qahtani joined King Abdul Aziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba), where he worked as a creativity prize administrator for nearly 16 months.

During the same period, he served at the leading mobile service provider, Zain KSA, as a marketing administrator for 10 months and as an application supervisor for five months. He also led Zain’s public relations team for more than a year.

For four months, Al-Qahtani worked for the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) as a media and public relations officer.

In October 2012, he started a new job with the Saudi mining firm Maaden, where he provided protocol support to the company’s president in regard to his visits, conferences, tours, and social functions. In December 2013 he moved to SAP, a producer of software for the management of business processes, where he managed marketing events and social media activities in Saudi Arabia.

In April 2017, Al-Qahtani joined the General Entertainment Authority, where he was the media relations manager for nearly a year before moving to the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha’at), where he administered its communication department for six months.


Worshippers at Two Holy Mosques thoroughly screened from coronavirus disease

Worshippers at Two Holy Mosques thoroughly screened from coronavirus disease
Updated 15 May 2021

Worshippers at Two Holy Mosques thoroughly screened from coronavirus disease

Worshippers at Two Holy Mosques thoroughly screened from coronavirus disease

MAKKAH: Worshippers deemed resistant to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) attended the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah to perform Friday prayers.

All those taking part in worship were required to show Tawakkalna app proof of immunity to the virus and follow strict health and safety protocols.

Entry was allowed for people who had received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, those where 14 days had passed since their first jab, and individuals who had recovered after contracting the virus.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has stepped up cleaning operations to 10 sessions a day at the Grand Mosque.


Saudi, Palestinian Authority foreign ministers hold call

Saudi, Palestinian Authority foreign ministers hold call
Updated 14 May 2021

Saudi, Palestinian Authority foreign ministers hold call

Saudi, Palestinian Authority foreign ministers hold call
  • Prince Faisal bin Farhan affirmed the Kingdom's condemnation of illegal practices carried out by Israeli authorities

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister spoke to the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riyad Al-Maliki on the phone on Friday.

During the call, Prince Faisal bin Farhan affirmed the Kingdom's condemnation of illegal practices carried out by Israeli authorities, and the need to immediately stop the country's escalatory actions that violate all international norms and conventions.

Prince Faisal called for the completion of efforts aimed at finding a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue which would enable the Palestinian people to establish an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and in accordance with international legitimacy decisions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s foreign minister said he had discussed with Prince Faisal targeted efforts to “stop the Israeli aggression on Gaza and the attacks in Jerusalem and the rest of the Palestinian territories,” as a means of ending the current escalation.

“Occupation is the basis of the conflict, and launching an effective political movement to end it is a priority that we are working on with our brothers and partners,” Ayman Safadi tweeted.

Safadi also spoke to his Omani and Egyptian counterparts regarding the escalation in “occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Prince Faisal also received a phone call from Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi during which the two ministers discussed the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The foreign minister also discussed the conflict between Gaza and Israel with his Sudanese counterpart Mariam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi.