King Abdulaziz Palace, one of Saudi Arabia’s historical monuments in Taif

Photo/Saudi Press Agency
Photo/Saudi Press Agency
Short Url
Updated 11 April 2022

King Abdulaziz Palace, one of Saudi Arabia’s historical monuments in Taif

Photo/Saudi Press Agency
  • The palace itself is secured by several watchtowers and keeps, and features royal apartments and protocol halls for receiving guests, as well as meeting rooms for prominent figures and accompanying government delegations

TAIF: With its unique Islamic designs that embodied the era of its construction in the mid-20th century, the King Abdulaziz Palace in Al-Muwayh governorate in Taif is an architectural masterpiece that became one of Saudi Arabia’s most noted historical monuments.
So named because the founder of the modern Saudi Arabian state, King Abdulaziz, frequented it more than 85 years ago, the palace was known as one of the main stations for the late king when he performed Hajj, Umrah, traveled for the summer or went hunting.
He also used to meet with citizens at the palace during his annual visit to the area.
The palace is characterized by its central location among adjacent villages, and its proximity to the Hajj road between old Al-Muwayh (Al-Muwayh Al-Qadim) and new Al-Muwayh.
With an estimated area of 14,900 square meters, the palace is almost 185 km from Taif to the east. It is surrounded by a wall of solid black stone, 4.5 meters high and a meter thick.
Its construction embodied the identity of the area. The palace itself is secured by several watchtowers and keeps, and features royal apartments and protocol halls for receiving guests, as well as meeting rooms for prominent figures and accompanying government delegations.
The palace has two entrances, with the main entrance at the north leading to housing and service units, a dining room, bedrooms, bathrooms, and a guest area, in addition to several rooms overlooking an uncovered yard.
Two wells secured water for its occupants, with a mosque, rooms for preparing coffee, a bedroom and even a gas station on site.


100 scholars available at Makkah’s Grand Mosque to answer pilgrim inquiries

100 scholars available at Makkah’s Grand Mosque to answer pilgrim inquiries
Updated 54 min 3 sec ago

100 scholars available at Makkah’s Grand Mosque to answer pilgrim inquiries

100 scholars available at Makkah’s Grand Mosque to answer pilgrim inquiries
  • The 100 scholars comprise elite judges and university faculty members trained to answer questions
  • Worshippers can also have their questions answered by robots at the Grand Mosque

JEDDAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has allocated 100 scholars to answer questions from pilgrims and worshippers during their Hajj journey.

Spread across 10 different locations inside Makkah’s Grand Mosque, the 100 scholars comprise elite judges and university faculty members trained to answer questions in person or on the phone through seven booths operating around the clock.

Director general for dawah and guidance at the Grand Mosque, Majid Al-Masoudi, said: “Responses offered by scholars to pilgrims are compatible with the outcomes of the Two Holy Mosques Fatwa document and its impact on facilitating the journey of pilgrims and worshippers.”

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has allocated 100 scholars to answer questions from pilgrims during their Hajj journey. (SPA)

Scholars also offer responses about Hajj rituals in line with the frequent fatwas to avoid irregular fatwas, unify ijtihad (independent reasoning by an expert in Islamic law), and avoid racist and hate speech.

Worshippers can also have their questions answered by robots at the Grand Mosque. The presidency is offering this service in the main entrances of the Mataf area to take advantage of technology and artificial intelligence.

These robots support 11 languages to guide pilgrims from around the globe, including Arabic, English, French, Russian, Persian, Turkish, Malay, Urdu, Chinese, Bengali, and Hausa.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has allocated 100 scholars to answer questions from pilgrims during their Hajj journey. (SPA)

They guide pilgrims on how to perform their Umrah rituals, issue fatwas, answer questions and provide opportunities for people to communicate with scholars remotely.

The four-wheeled robots feature 21-inch touchscreens and a smart stopping system that allows them to be moved easily. They also feature high-resolution cameras for clarity when transmitting images, high-resolution headphones, and a microphone with high-capture quality that allows clear sound transmission.

The robots work on a Wi-Fi wireless network system with fast and high data transmission.

A similar scholars’ initiative was launched by the presidency during the previous Ramadan season, with 30 Muslim scholars to help worshippers answer their questions on the correct performance of Umrah rituals and give fatwas.


First group of pilgrims from England’s Manchester Airport arrive in Saudi Arabia

First group of pilgrims from England’s Manchester Airport arrive in Saudi Arabia
Updated 26 June 2022

First group of pilgrims from England’s Manchester Airport arrive in Saudi Arabia

First group of pilgrims from England’s Manchester Airport arrive in Saudi Arabia
  • CBHUK volunteers were on hand at Manchester Airport to reassure and assist pilgrims ahead of their journey
  • Two other groups of British pilgrims departed Heathrow and Manchester airports on Sunday

LONDON: The first group of British Hajj pilgrims flying out from Britain’s Manchester Airport arrived in Saudi Arabia in the early hours of Sunday.

More than 250 pilgrims, including England cricketer Adil Rashid, boarded a flight from the airport on Saturday afternoon and arrived at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport on Sunday morning.

Rashid will skip England’s upcoming One Day International series against India to fulfill the fifth pillar of Islam.

England cricketer Adil Rashid and CEO of the Council of British Hajjis Rashid Mogradia at Manchester Airport. (@cbhuk)

CEO of the Council of British Hajjis Rashid Mogradia and his team of dedicated volunteers were on hand at the airport to reassure and assist pilgrims ahead of their journey.

“Given the unprecedented nature of these Hajj bookings, and as they are the first of their kind to have transferred online, it was clear that we needed to assist and provide some ground support for departing pilgrims to give them assurance and support,” Mogradia said.

This year, the way pilgrims booked Hajj changed. Aspiring pilgrims from Europe, the US and Australia were required to register for this year’s Hajj electronically at www.motawif.com.sa. Applicants were entered into a draw system and were then selected from the pool.

The CEO of the Council of British Hajjis Rashid Mogradia assists pilgrims at Manchester Airport on Saturday. (@cbhuk)

“The volunteers from CBHUK assisted in ushering people and helped them join the right queues. They worked with Manchester Airport staff to assist them as and when required, and with the Saudia desk to help them move the queue quickly,” Mogradia said.

“They also helped people with preparing the correct documentation including passports, visas, PCR test results and vaccination certificates, so that they could be seen to quickly. Redundant licensed Hajj organizers also assisted with these efforts,” the CBHUK CEO added.

CBHUK volunteers assist pilgrims at Manchester Airport on Saturday. (@cbhuk)

The first group of British pilgrims traveling from London’s Heathrow Airport arrived in Jeddah on Friday evening. They were greeted on arrival by British Consul General in Jeddah Seif Usher.

The group later arrived in Makkah on Saturday and were welcomed by Abdulrahman Shams, assistant undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Umrah affairs, as well as a number of other officials.

They were given Zamzam water, flowers and souvenirs on arrival in the holy city.

The first group of British pilgrims to arrive in the Kingdom are greeted by the British Consul General in Jeddah Seif Usher. (@KAIAirport)

Two other groups of British pilgrims departed Heathrow and Manchester airports on Sunday.


Prince Khalid discusses military, defense cooperation with Pakistan military chief

Prince Khalid discusses military, defense cooperation with Pakistan military chief
Updated 26 June 2022

Prince Khalid discusses military, defense cooperation with Pakistan military chief

Prince Khalid discusses military, defense cooperation with Pakistan military chief
  • Prince Khalid and General Bajwa also reviewed ways to strengthen historic relations between their countries

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman has dicussed bilateral cooperation in the areas of military and defense with Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa.

Prince Khalid and General Bajwa also reviewed ways to strengthen historic relations between their countries, and discussed issues of common concern, the deputy defense minister tweeted on Sunday.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on the directives of King Salman, decorated the military chief with the King Abdulaziz Medal of Excellent Class on Saturday.

The medal was awarded “in appreciation of Gen. Bajwa’s distinguished efforts in strengthening and developing Saudi-Pakistani relations,” Saudi Press Ageny reported.


Saudi Arabia confers Order of King Abdulaziz on Pakistan’s military chief

Saudi Arabia confers Order of King Abdulaziz on Pakistan’s military chief
Updated 26 June 2022

Saudi Arabia confers Order of King Abdulaziz on Pakistan’s military chief

Saudi Arabia confers Order of King Abdulaziz on Pakistan’s military chief
  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa also met to review Saudi-Pakistani military ties and other fields of cooperation

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has conferred on Pakistan’s chief of army staff the Order of King Abdulaziz, an order of merit named after the Kingdom's founder, state media said on Sunday.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, implementing King Salman's order, decorated Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa the King Abdulaziz Medal of Excellent Class, "in appreciation of Gen. Bajwa’s distinguished efforts in strengthening and developing Saudi-Pakistani relations," SPA reported.

Bajwa was in the Kingdom on Saturday for a visit. 

The crown prince and the Pakistani military chief also met and "reviewed bilateral relations, especially in the military fields, and opportunities for developing them, in addition to a number of issues of common interest," SPA said.

The occasion was attended by Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi deputy minister of defense; Saudi Arabia’s Chief of General Staff Gen. Fayyad Al-Ruwaili; and a number of senior officials from the two sides, said the report.

Related


Saudi Crown Prince, Iraqi PM review bilateral ties

Saudi Crown Prince, Iraqi PM review bilateral ties
Updated 26 June 2022

Saudi Crown Prince, Iraqi PM review bilateral ties

Saudi Crown Prince, Iraqi PM review bilateral ties
  • Leaders exchanged views on strengthening security and stability in the region
  • It was Al-Kadhimi's second visit to the Kingdom as Iraqi prime minister

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi held talks in Jeddah, during which they reviewed the bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries and areas of joint cooperation, state media reported early Sunday.

The two leaders also "exchanged views on a number of issues, which contribute to supporting and strengthening security and stability in the region," according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Al-Kadhimi and his delegation was welcomed on their arrival at Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport late on Saturday by the crown prince and other members of the Saudi delegation.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi (L) in Jeddah on Saturday night. (SPA)

The session was attended by Prince Abdullah bin Bandar, Minister of National Guard; Prince Khalid bin Salman, Deputy Minister of Defense; Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Minister of Trade Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi; Chief of General Intelligence Khalid bin Ali Al-Humaidan; and Saudi Ambassador to Iraq Abdulaziz Al-Shammari.

The Iraqi delegation included Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, National Intelligence Agency Undersecretary Majid Ali Hussein, Director of the Prime Minister's Private Office Ahmed Najati, and Adviser to the Prime Minister for Protocol Affairs Hassanein Rashid Al-Sheikh.

It was Al-Kadhimi's second visit to Saudi Arabia since he took the post of prime minister in May 2020.