A brief guide to Hajj 2022: What the pilgrims will do over the next few days

A brief guide to Hajj 2022: What the pilgrims will do over the next few days
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A volunteer guides an elderly pilgrim in navigating the Grand Mosque in Makkah as he performs Hajj on July 6, 2022. (SPA)
A brief guide to Hajj 2022: What the pilgrims will do over the next few days
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Pilgrims circle the Kaaba and pray at the Grand Mosque on July 6, 2022, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)
A brief guide to Hajj 2022: What the pilgrims will do over the next few days
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Pilgrims pray at the courtyard of the Grand Mosque on July 6, 2022. (SPA)
A brief guide to Hajj 2022: What the pilgrims will do over the next few days
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Pilgrims on wheelchairs plan their route as they prepare to perform Hajj in Makkah on July 6, 2022. (SPA)
A brief guide to Hajj 2022: What the pilgrims will do over the next few days
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Pilgrims and visitors pray at the Kaaba on July 6, 2022. (SPA)
A brief guide to Hajj 2022: What the pilgrims will do over the next few days
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A volunteer provides directions to pilgrims at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on July 6, 2022. (SPA)
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A brief guide to Hajj 2022: What the pilgrims will do over the next few days
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Pilgrims chat as they leave the Grand Mosque in Makkah on July 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
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Updated 08 July 2022

A brief guide to Hajj 2022: What the pilgrims will do over the next few days

A brief guide to Hajj 2022: What the pilgrims will do over the next few days
  • This year one million pilgrims will perform the Hajj, one of the pillars of Islam obligatory for Muslims 
  • Saudi authorities have introduced many technological tools to aid pilgrims on their journey 

JEDDAH: Hajj is an annual religious pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah undertaken yearly by millions of Muslims worldwide. It occurs in the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, called Dhul Hijjah, between the eighth and 13th days of the month.

This year, Hajj takes place from approximately July 7 to 12. Taking part in the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime is a major obligation for all able-bodied Muslims of financial means, and between 2 million and 3 million people participate in the six-day ritual every year.

This year, 1 million pilgrims will flock to the holy city, 85 percent of them traveling from abroad for the first time following a two-year hiatus brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and attendant restrictions that prevented them from performing the ritual.

To ensure a smooth and safe journey for the pilgrims, the Saudi government has announced a series of entry conditions.

Pilgrims who wish to perform Hajj must be under 65 years old and fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a booster. They must also present a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before departure for the Kingdom, and priority will go to those who have not performed the ritual before.

Following Prophet Muhammad, for 14 centuries, pilgrims began their journeys in a spiritual state of purity and devotion, also known as Ihram, which is the combined sacred act of Niyyah and Talbiyah necessary to perform Hajj. It is the innate intention to commit an act of worship, while Talbiyah is a special prayer said in supplication to attain Ihram.

After entering Makkah, pilgrims perform the welcome tawaf, circling the Kaaba seven times in a counterclockwise direction, starting at the Black Stone. They then head to the hills of Safa and Marwa, where they perform saee, which is the act of going back and forth between the two hills seven times.




Pilgrims circumambulating the Kaaba in Makkah are shown in this slow shutter speed and long exposure shot taken on July 6, 2022. (SPA)

Pilgrims then travel to Mina, an area of 20 square kilometers nearly five kilometers away from the Grand Mosque in Makkah, on the eighth day of Dhul Hijjah, also known as Yom Al-Tarwiyah, where they will stay and fill their day and evening with prayers and supplications, resting and consuming water ahead of their long, perilous journey.

On the second day of Hajj, pilgrims travel to Mt. Arafat, 20 kilometers away. The day is devoted to prayer and supplications as they observe duhr (noon) combined with asr (afternoon) prayers until sunset.

Day of Arafat is considered the most critical day for pilgrims and the millions not performing. It is the day that, “atones for the sins of the preceding and coming (Muslim) year” and is the best day for worship and supplication in the entire year.

After sunset, pilgrims descend from Mount Arafat and make their way to Muzdalifah for isha (night) prayers, collect pebbles no larger than the size of a fingertip ahead of the stoning ritual on the next day, and rest until midnight or dawn, when they will make the long journey back to Mina for the final steps of Hajj, the stoning ritual at Jamarat Al-Aqabah.




A million fully vaccinated Muslims, including 850,000 from abroad, are allowed at this year's Hajj  after two years of drastically curtailed numbers amid the pandemic. (AFP) 

On the third day of Hajj, Eid Al-Adha, pilgrims stone the Jamarat Al-Aqabah, or the big pillar, a place where the Prophet Ibrahim threw seven pebbles at the devil. After doing so, pilgrims change from their Ihram; sacrificial animals are slaughtered, and men cut or shave their heads while women cut a fingertip’s length of hair to commemorate the end of the Hajj pilgrimage.

For three days, known as Ayyam Al-Tashreeq, pilgrims stay in Mina and perform the stoning of the other two pillars, Al-Jamarah Al-Wusta and Al-Jamarah Al-Sughra.

With years of preparations ahead of the mass gathering, Saudi Arabia’s authorities undergo major planning every year to control the crowds, dividing a large number of pilgrims into groups and designating specific timings and routes to reach the bridge where the pillars are located.

Thousands of volunteers, military, law enforcement, and health personnel will be on the ground to assist pilgrims in what many believe is their sacred duty to serve the guests of God in the holiest and most sacred of journeys for a Muslim.




Saudi scouts have been assigned to assist the elderly and infirm pilgrims in moving around the holy sites in Makkah to perform the Hajj rituals. (SPA)

Utilizing the power of technologies, Saudi Hajj authorities are including the pilgrims’ smart ID again this year to render the transport of the “visitors of Allah” easier and to ensure their fast arrival to their locations and tents, whether in Mina or Arafat, with robots with touch screens available to explain rituals explained in 11 languages.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, in collaboration with the General Authority for Awqaf, launched 13 detailed e-manuals offering advice to pilgrims from around the world on a variety of topics in 14 languages, including French, Turkish, Persian, Urdu, Russian, and Amharic, which are compatible with all phone operating systems and can be reached by visiting guide.haj.gov.sa.

In a video shared on Twitter, the Ministry said: “These guiding e-manuals are interactive, and include Shariah and Islamic law, procedural, organizational and health directives which pilgrims will need during their Hajj journey.”

A PDF Embed Here

 


Saudi Arabia relief efforts in Yemen continue with sanitation, medical outreach

Saudi Arabia relief efforts in Yemen continue with sanitation, medical outreach
Updated 18 August 2022

Saudi Arabia relief efforts in Yemen continue with sanitation, medical outreach

Saudi Arabia relief efforts in Yemen continue with sanitation, medical outreach
  • KSRelief earlier this year signed a deal with UNICEF to provide safe water supplies for up to 33,235 people in the Yemeni provinces of Marib, Al-Jawf, Hajjah and Saada

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s relief efforts in Yemen, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), continue with sanitation and medical outreach in areas of the conflict-ridden country.

The center provided, for the week ending Aug. 2, 395,000 liters of drinking water and 2,656,000 liters of non-drinking water in Hajjah Governorate as well as 100,000 liters of drinking water and 40,000 liters of non-drinking water in Saada Governorate.

KSRelief earlier this year signed a deal with UNICEF to provide safe water supplies for up to 33,235 people in the Yemeni provinces of Marib, Al-Jawf, Hajjah and Saada, and reduce the incidence of diseases resulting from drinking contaminated water.

During the same week, 502 people from Abs district of Hajjah Governorate who had various health issues were given free medical services.

The KSRelief mobile medical clinics also provided 251 individuals with medications.

KSRelief has so far implemented 684 projects in Yemen at a total cost of more than $4 billion, and is among the top beneficiary countries for the relief agency’s activities including food security, water sanitation and hygiene, health, education, humanitarian and emergency relief coordination.


Saudi-US military exercise ‘Native Fury 22’ continues in the Kingdom

Saudi-US military exercise ‘Native Fury 22’ continues in the Kingdom
Updated 18 August 2022

Saudi-US military exercise ‘Native Fury 22’ continues in the Kingdom

Saudi-US military exercise ‘Native Fury 22’ continues in the Kingdom
  • The exercise, involving the Royal Saudi Armed Forces and the US Marine Corps, began several days ago in the western city of Yanbu
  • It includes a number of scenarios and drills focusing on mobilization, deployment and logistics operations

RIYADH: Native Fury 22, a military exercise in the Kingdom involving the Royal Saudi Armed Forces and the US Marine Corps that began several days ago in the western city of Yanbu, continued on Wednesday, the Saudi Ministry of Defense said.

It includes a number of scenarios and drills focusing on mobilization, deployment and logistics operations. It also includes communications, field medicine, a life-saving combat exercise, shooting with live ammunition, and supply and evacuation operations.

The exercise is hosted by the Kingdom with the participation and support of several ministries and other official organizations. The aim is to give personnel an opportunity to practice and train in the implementation of bilateral military, operational and logistical plans; strengthen Saudi and American military coordination and partnership; improve joint-working capabilities; and gain experience in the use of the Kingdom’s military bases and road networks, the ministry said.

“It also aims to train in the integrated government work to implement mixed military exercises,” it added.

Native Fury 22 is one of several military exercises conducted by the Saudi Armed Forces throughout the year with allies to raise levels of combat efficiency, gain field experience, and work on standardizing military concepts and terminology among the participants.


INTERVIEW: Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan have ‘similar clear visions for progress,’ Uzbek Deputy FM Furqat Sidiqov tells Arab News

INTERVIEW: Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan have ‘similar clear visions for progress,’ Uzbek Deputy FM Furqat Sidiqov tells Arab News
Updated 18 August 2022

INTERVIEW: Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan have ‘similar clear visions for progress,’ Uzbek Deputy FM Furqat Sidiqov tells Arab News

INTERVIEW: Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan have ‘similar clear visions for progress,’ Uzbek Deputy FM Furqat Sidiqov tells Arab News
  • Saudi Vision 2030 plan and ‘New Uzbekistan’ road map have many similarities, says Furqat Sidiqov
  • Sidiqov spoke to Arab News in Jeddah ahead of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s state visit to Saudi Arabia 

JEDDAH: There are striking parallels between Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reforms agenda and the Uzbek government’s bold transformation plan, New Uzbekistan, according to Furqat Sidiqov, the Uzbek deputy foreign minister.

Speaking a day before the arrival on Wednesday of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in the Kingdom for a state visit — the first by a leader of the country since Islam Karimov’s visit in 1992 — he said that these shared visions augur well for the future of bilateral trade and cooperation.

“Saudi Arabia has the capabilities to achieve its Vision 2030 goals,” Sidiqov told Arab News ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the Saudi-Uzbek Business Council, hosted by the Uzbek consulate in Jeddah.

Uzbek Deputy Foreign Minister Furqat Sidiqov being interviewed by Arab News' Rawan Radwan in Jeddah. (Photo by Sultan Baajajah)
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He added that the reforms and road maps the two nations have developed are similar, representing clear visions for progress, as are the young and dynamic populations of the countries.

“Both nations are working closely and moving forward in joint cooperation within the framework of our strategies,” Sidiqov said. “We are closely following the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 strategy and we support its bid for Expo 2030.”

Over the past five years, he explained, Uzbekistan has implemented a domestic development strategy aimed at easing its transition to a market economy, which has offered fertile ground for the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises and a more diversified economy.

An Uzbek chef prepares plov — a dish known around the world as pilaf — at a small cafe in Tashkent.  Eager to diversify its sources of revenue, the country has opened up to foreign investment in agriculture, food security, energy, information technology and other sectors. (AFP)

He said the strategy echoes that of Saudi Vision 2030, which has opened up the Kingdom’s economy to capitalize on new sectors beyond hydrocarbons and actively encourages entrepreneurism, along with the development of technical skills and creativity among its young population.

For decades, Uzbekistan relied heavily on just a handful of staple exports, including cotton, gold, oil and gas. Eager to diversify its sources of revenue, the country has opened up to foreign investment in agriculture, food security, energy, information technology and other sectors.

On Wednesday, in keeping with their complementary visions, Uzbekistan and the Kingdom signed more than 10 investment agreements worth SR45 billion ($12 billion).

The Saudi and Uzbek delegations signed a number of agreements between private sector institutions in the two countries on Aug. 17, 2022, in Jeddah.  
(Photo by Sultan Baajajah)

Among them was a 25-year deal, worth $2.4 billion, for Saudi utility developer ACWA Power to build a 1,500-megawatt wind-power project in Uzbekistan, to help the country achieve its goal of sourcing 40 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2031.

Uzbek officials said that in recent years, Saudi investments in various sectors of the Uzbek economy have increased significantly. There are now 38 joint ventures, 20 of which involve direct Saudi investors. Still, Sidiqov said, there is the potential for even closer business cooperation, particularly in food processing and distribution.

“The numbers don’t reflect the capabilities of the two countries,” he said. “We’re working with the Kingdom to raise the number of joint ventures. 

A woman works at a cotton plantation near Tashkent. Uzbekistan is diversifying its sources of revenue and has opened up to foreign investment in agriculture and other sectors. (AFP)

“Agriculture plays an important role in Uzbekistan’s economic development and we’re one of the top nations in food production, food security and we have the capabilities to export food products, organic fruits and vegetables to the Kingdom.

“The plan is to have the Kingdom become a midway station for food processing and packaging, to ready them for export to other countries.”

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

Although they do not share a border, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan have been linked by religion, knowledge and culture for hundreds of years. Among the historical figures who traveled and studied across the Arab and Muslim worlds are four who hailed from places that are part of modern-day Uzbekistan: physician Ibn Sina, mathematician Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi, and Islamic scholars Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Al-Tirmidhi.

Among Uzbekistan tourism attractions is the historic architecture of Itchan Kala, a walled inner town of the city of Khiva, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Shutterstock)

The exchange of ideas and cultures continues in the modern era thanks to the expansion of air travel between Uzbekistan and Arab countries, notably Saudi Arabia, and more flexible visa rules.

“To further boost the exchange of cultures, direct flights will begin in October, via Flynas and Uzbekistan Airways, and Saudis will be exempt from entry visas for a 30-day stay,” said Sidiqov.

A view of Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov Tashkent International Airport. (Shutterstock photo)

Present-day Saudi-Uzbek cooperation extends far beyond trade and cultural exchange into the diplomatic sphere, guided by shared interests in security and humanitarian efforts across the wider region.

In the year since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan following the US military withdrawal from the country, regional powers such as Uzbekistan have sought to engage with the new government in Kabul to assist the Afghan people in their time of hardship.

“The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is among the highest priorities and our government has set up various initiatives and programs to support Afghanistan,” said Sidiqov.

“In the spirit of neighborly solidarity, we ensured that our relationship is of continued support. By working closely with the government, we want not only to provide humanitarian assistance, but also help them provide job opportunities to their youth and to be a gateway for Central and South Asia.”

An Afghan businessman works on his aluminum cauldron workshop near Uzbekistan's southern city of Termez. Uzbekistan is playing a key role in helping deal with Afghanistan's humanitarian crisis. (AFP)

He added that in the southern Uzbek city of Termez, for example, the government has established centers to help young Afghans receive an education and develop their skills to prepare them for the job market.

“We’re working to help reconstruction programs and developing its economy to help turn it into a country of opportunities,” said Sidiqov. “Our allies are helping us and supporting us in this endeavor.”

Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Saudi minister of foreign affairs, took part in an international conference titled Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenges and Opportunities in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, in July last year.

Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih leading a delegation on an official visit to Uzbekistan in 2021. (Reuters file photo)

In July this year, a Saudi delegation also attended the international Afghanistan: Security and Economic Development conference, also in Tashkent, during which the Kingdom reaffirmed its commitment to the promotion of regional cooperation.

In June, Saudi Arabia announced a $30 million grant to support the Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund, which operates under the umbrella of the Islamic Development Bank in coordination with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, of which both the Kingdom and Uzbekistan are members.

“As a neighbor to Afghanistan, our main aim is to provide safe passage of aid to those in need in Afghanistan,” said Sidiqov.

“We are working closely with the Afghan government to develop a food-security road map and to provide youth job opportunities. We serve as a broker between the world and the Taliban, and as ‘the voice of Central Asia’ we have encouraged the Afghan government to commit to their promises.”

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Saudi crown prince receives Uzbek president in Jeddah

Saudi crown prince receives Uzbek president in Jeddah
Updated 18 August 2022

Saudi crown prince receives Uzbek president in Jeddah

Saudi crown prince receives Uzbek president in Jeddah
  • The crown prince and Uzbek president then attended the exchange of various agreements between the two countries
  • The two nations inked a number a deals worth over SR45 billion ($12 billion) on Wednesday

RIYADH: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Jeddah on Wednesday.

The pair held a meeting and discussed bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields, in addition to reviewing a number of issues of common interest, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The crown prince and Uzbek president then attended the exchange of various agreements between the two countries.

(SPA)

The two nations inked a number a deals worth over SR45 billion ($12 billion) on Wednesday, including a wind project in Uzbekistan by ACWA Power.“We want to make this relationship one of the most important for Saudi Arabia.

We are here to facilitate. We are here to serve,” said Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih.

(SPA)

The agreements cover a range of investment sectors, including air transport services, livestock, agriculture, sports, education, science, media, energy and technology.

They aim to explore investment opportunities, advance the partnership between the Saudi and Uzbek private sectors, encourage and enhance mutual investments in a number of target sectors.

Senior officials from both sides attended the meeting.


Who’s Who: Wael Al-Hazzani, CEO of  the Saudi Securities Clearing House

Who’s Who: Wael Al-Hazzani, CEO of  the Saudi Securities Clearing House
Updated 18 August 2022

Who’s Who: Wael Al-Hazzani, CEO of  the Saudi Securities Clearing House

Who’s Who: Wael Al-Hazzani, CEO of  the Saudi Securities Clearing House

Wael Al-Hazzani has been CEO of  the Saudi Securities Clearing House (Muqassa) since its establishment in 2018.

He has led the company in its drive to reduce counterparty risk, improve market efficiency and enable the introduction of new products and services.

Muqassa performs a critical role in the Saudi capital market’s development as one of Saudi Tadawul Group’s subsidiaries. It is the only authorized entity that can act as a central counterparty clearing center in the Kingdom.

The establishmnet of Muqassa was one of the critical initiatives of the Financial Sector Development Program and is reflective of the group’s commitment to Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

Al-Hazzani has a breadth of knowledge about capital markets and risk management. Before he was appointed CEO of Muqassa, he held leading positions within the Saudi Tadawul Group across post-trade and risk-management specialties.

Al-Hazzani also holds three other positions, including as a member of the board of directors at the security depository center company (Edaa) since 2018, at Tadawul Advanced Solution Company (WAMID) since August 2020, and at the Saudi Exchange since April 2021.

In April 2022, Al-Hazzani successfully led the implementation of post-trade transformation on the Saudi capital market and introduced the largest bundle of enhancement in the history of the market.

The upgrades aim to strengthen post-trade infrastructure and increase efficiency by providing a more streamlined trading experience, supporting market participants to develop a wide range of products and services.

He also facilitated the first launch of the Repurchase Agreement clearing service, enabling Saudi financial entities to provide this service without contracting an international counterpart.

Al-Hazzani holds a master of business administration, which he gained in 2015, and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from King Saud University in Riyadh.

He has participated in many executive leadership and development programs at Harvard, INSEAD, and IMD Business Schools.