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

 


Suspect in murder of Saudi student set for Feb. 13 court hearing in Philadelphia

Suspect in murder of Saudi student set for Feb. 13 court hearing in Philadelphia
Updated 7 sec ago

Suspect in murder of Saudi student set for Feb. 13 court hearing in Philadelphia

Suspect in murder of Saudi student set for Feb. 13 court hearing in Philadelphia
  • Alwaleed Algheraibi, 25, stabbed in the neck
  • Bail denied for accused Nicole Marie Rodgers, 19

CHICAGO: A Pennsylvania judge has denied bail for Nicole Marie Rodgers, 19, who is accused of the Jan. 23 murder of Saudi student Alwaleed Algheraibi, 25, with a court appearance set for next month.

Rodgers, who is originally from Columbus, Georgia, allegedly stabbed Algheraibi in the neck. She was arraigned on Thursday and will be held in police custody until her first public court appearance on Monday, Feb. 13, court records provided to Arab News show.

Rodgers was taken into custody on Thursday, Jan. 26, following a three-day Philadelphia police investigation.

Rodgers faces charges including murder, robbery, burglary and theft. Investigating officers told local press that the victim’s phone and other valuables were taken.

Police said that witnesses had heard a person screaming from an apartment building located at the 300 block of Hansberry Street in Philadelphia at approximately 11:50 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 23.

When police arrived with paramedics, they found Algheraibi in the bathroom of a third-floor apartment with a fatal stab wound to his neck.

Algheraibi, described as a college student, was pronounced dead by the Philadelphia Fire Department Medical Unit personnel five minutes after his body was found on the bathroom floor.

Algheraibi was nearing the end of his studies and was due to return to Saudi Arabia.

The victim’s uncle told local Saudi media that his nephew’s suspected killer was a neighbor who lived in the apartment opposite.


Bollywood singers to fire up Jeddah with live performances

Bollywood singers to fire up Jeddah with live performances
Updated 29 January 2023

Bollywood singers to fire up Jeddah with live performances

Bollywood singers to fire up Jeddah with live performances
  • Two-day music festival Indian Cultural Night to be held on Thursday

JEDDAH: Indian melody king Kumar Sanu, playback singer M.G. Sreekumar, actor Dileep, and many more are set to take the stage in Jeddah for live music shows as part of the Indian Cultural Night.

This was announced recently by Junaise Babu, chairman of Good Hope Events, at a press conference with the attendance of various media representatives from Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The two-day music festival will be held from Feb. 2-3 at the Equestrian Club located on Asfan Road, in the Al-Frosyah district in Jeddah. It is expected to draw more than 35,000 music fans from all Asian communities.

Babu told Arab News that Saudi Arabia has been hosting massive entertainment and cultural events and is becoming the Gulf region’s premier entertainment hub.

He said: “We are planning to introduce the same standard of events for our Asian community.

“We are working with the relevant authorities and ensuring all safety measures are put in place as we organize a live music performance for thousands of expats in Jeddah, mainly from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.”

On Feb. 2, the South Indian night will feature Malayalam cinema’s favorite actor Dileep, singer Sreekumar, Nadirshah, Kottayam Naseer, Ranjini Jose, Amrutha Suresh, Fazilah Banu and Mahesh Kunjumon, among others.

On Feb. 3, the Bollywood night music festival will be led by famous musicians such as Sanu and Rachana Chopra and various other artistic performers from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Tickets are already on sale, with four categories starting from SR500 ($133) for VVIP seats, diamond tickets for SR300, gold for SR150 and silver for SR90.

Bollywood music events are a recurring theme on local event calendars. On Friday, the Makan Music Center in Jeddah organized an Indian-themed music night to support local artists and bands.

Fans of Indian music were treated to well-known Bollywood tunes and other genres of Indian music. The themed night was part of Makan’s cultural events calendar, during which local bands showcased genres including Arabic and Latin music.


Formula E for entertainment for fans in Diriyah

Formula E for entertainment for fans in Diriyah
Updated 29 January 2023

Formula E for entertainment for fans in Diriyah

Formula E for entertainment for fans in Diriyah

RIYADH:  From live gaming racing experiences, musical performances, food trucks, and face painting, this year’s Formula E Allianz Fan Village pulled out all the stops to create memorable fun for visitors in Diriyah.

“It’s truly wonderful. I brought my kids and wife. It has been loads of fun,” Michael Brintley, a business strategist living in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“We played the racing game in the Jahez tent, and my daughter got her face painted.

“It’s a nice experience to have on top of the races going on. We are still new to Saudi, so this was our first Diriyah Formula E, but it was great.”

The fan village welcomed locals, expats, families, and friends to watch the races and enjoy downtime in between rounds on Friday and Saturday.

It boasted many tents and booths, giving interactive experiences and offering activities such as a miniature remote-controlled racing game around Diriyah hosted in the Saudia airline booth pop-up.

The live gaming arena gave guests the full racing experience through multiple simulators and several different levels.

The fan village also had a main stage with multiple screens which displayed a live broadcast of the races.

Live performances, from marching bands to magicians, took place on a smaller stage to entertain families, while other tents featured live music and autograph sessions from competing drivers.

Formula E merchandise and memorabilia could also be bought, and near to the store was a padel court for visitors seeking some exercise.

Yusra Al-Humaidan, 22, attended the event with friends to share the experience.

She said: “I decided to come to Formula E with some of my friends at the last minute. We did not attend the first day but, after seeing all of the videos and pictures on Snapchat, we decided to come and see it.”

The party toured the fan village before returning to the Emotion Club, Formula E’s premium hospitality club.

She added: “The games in the [fan] village were so much fun. We saw this man dressed like a trophy who was dancing, and we played some of the car racing games before we ate dinner.”

The event ended with concerts by French Montana and John Legend on the podium stage.

The two-day Diriyah E-Prix, which ended on Saturday, took place during the ninth season of the FIA Formula E World Championship.

Some 11 teams and 22 drivers took to the race grid for the fifth time in the Kingdom since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the event in December 2018.


Saudi Arabia condemns ‘provocative’ Qur’an burning in Denmark

Saudi Arabia condemns ‘provocative’ Qur’an burning in Denmark
Updated 29 January 2023

Saudi Arabia condemns ‘provocative’ Qur’an burning in Denmark

Saudi Arabia condemns ‘provocative’ Qur’an burning in Denmark

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Saturday strongly condemned the burning of copies of the Qur’an by extremists in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, “in a new provocative step to the sentiment of millions of Muslims around the world.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated the Kingdom’s position, which “strongly rejects all these blatant acts that have unfortunately been repeated in several European capitals recently, under the pretext of freedom of expression, without a clear reaction toward stopping these practices.”

The Kingdom called on all European governments in which these extremist violations occurred, to urgently address all these practices that contribute to fueling hatred and conflict between followers of religions, the ministry said in a statement.

Rasmus Paludan, a far-right activist who holds both Danish and Swedish citizenship, already infuriated the Muslim world by staging a Qur’an-burning protest in Sweden on January 21. On Friday, Paludan replicated the stunt in front of a mosque as well as the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen and vowed to continue every Friday until Sweden is admitted into NATO.

Several regional and international organizations, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Muslim World League, Arab Parliament and Gulf Cooperation Council, also issued statements strongly denouncing the incident, along with Pakistan, Jordan, Turkiye and Oman.


Saudi Arabia, France discuss peaceful atomic energy cooperation

Saudi Arabia, France discuss peaceful atomic energy cooperation
Updated 29 January 2023

Saudi Arabia, France discuss peaceful atomic energy cooperation

Saudi Arabia, France discuss peaceful atomic energy cooperation
  • They also discussed opportunities in renewable energy, clean hydrogen, and electrical interconnection

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman held a meeting on Saturday with French Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty Bruno Le Maire in the capital, Riyadh, the state-run SPA news agency reported.

The two ministers praised the relations between their two countries and discussed prospects for cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy.

They also discussed future opportunities in various energy fields, including areas of cooperation in renewable energy, clean hydrogen, and electrical interconnection.