RIYADH: In a change of tradition, the new cover of the Holy Kaaba in Makkah was installed early Saturday, at the dawn of the new Islamic year of 1444.
It used to be that the Kiswa was replaced once a year during Hajj, specifically on the morning of Dhul Hijjah 9 after the pilgrims go to Mount Arafat, in preparation for receiving worshippers the next morning, which coincides with Eid Al-Adha.
Last month, Saudi Arabia's General Presidency for the Two Holy Mosques announced the change in tradition so that the annual event would be held on the eve of Muharram 1, the first day in the Hijri calendar.
Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, president of the Two Holy Mosques presidency, had said the change was being made based on a royal decision.
According to the Saudi Press Agency, the changing of the Kiswa early Saturday was carried out by a team of 200 Saudi technicians from the King Abdulaziz Complex for Manufacturing the Kaaba’s Kiswa, under the supervision of Sheikh Sudais.
Describing the process, the SPA reported: "The new kiswa consisted of four separate sides and the door curtain was installed. Each of the four sides of the Kaaba was raised separately to the top of the Kaaba in preparation for its unfolding on the old side, and fixing the side from above by tying it down and dropping the other end of the side, after the ropes of the old side were loosened.
"By moving the new side up and down in a permanent movement, then the old side fell from below and the new side remained, and the process was repeated four times for each side until the dress was completed, then the belt was weighed in a straight line to the four sides by stitching it.
"This process began first from the side of the hem, due to the presence of the gutter that has its own hole at the top of the garment, and after all sides were fixed, the corners were fixed by sewing them from the top of the garment to the bottom."
Technicians at the King Abdulaziz Complex do the weaving, stitching and printing by hand and machines using 47 pieces of cloth and thread to make the Kiswa. The world’s largest computerized sewing machine, at 16 meters in length, carries out the process.
The cloth is stitched together in five different parts and fixed to the base with copper rings. Around 670 kilograms of raw silk is dyed black at the complex.
The Kiswa is decorated with Quranic verses embroidered onto the cloth with 120 kilograms of 21-karat gold thread and 100 kilograms of silver thread.
The cost of making a new 850-kilogram Kiswa is estimated to cost SR25 million, or over $6.5 million, making it the world’s most expensive covering.
The Kiswa is the special cloth cover of the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. Around 670 kilograms of raw silk is stitched together in five different parts and fixed to the base with copper rings. It is decorated with Qur'anic verses embroidered onto the cloth with 120 kilograms of 21-karat gold thread and 100 kg of silver thread. The cost of making a new 850-kg Kiswa is estimated to cost SR25 million, or over $6.5 million, making it the world’s most expensive covering.
Saudi FM pays condolences to slain Abe Shinzo in meeting with Japan FM
Japanese FM Hayashi Yoshimasa expressed his appreciation for Saudi’s presence at the ceremony
Updated 27 September 2022
Arab News Japan
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud paid his heartfelt condolences over the passing of former Prime Minister ABE Shinzo during his meeting with Japan Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa on Tuesday.
Prince Faisal is in Japan to attend Abe’s state funeral, which took place earlier this morning. During the two officials’ meeting, Yoshimasa expressed his appreciation for Saudi’s presence at the ceremony.
He also expressed his intention to “firmly develop the diplomatic legacy inherited from former Prime Minister Abe and strengthen the strategic partnership between Japan and Saudi Arabia,” according to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Kingdom’s FM reaffirmed his hopes for further strengthening the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
They also exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine and the international oil market. Yoshimasa thanked Prince Faisal for supply of oil from Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi FM said the Kingdom is committed to assuring a stable supply of oil to Japan.
The two ministers also agreed to further promote cooperation in moving towards the realization of carbon-neutrality through the utilization and promotion of clean energy.
KSRelief launches humanitarian campaigns in Yemen, Lebanon and Pakistan
KSRelief’s Project Masam has so far dismantled 359,626 mines since its inception
KSRelief’s 8th and 9th aid planes arrived in Karachi
Updated 27 September 2022
DUBAI: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) launched on Saturday a campaign to combat malaria in Yemen.
KSRelief’s aid efforts were carried out by its implementing partner, the World Health Organization, according to a report by state agency SPA.
The relief organization also dismantled 763 mines across Yemen in one week. These included 93 anti-personnel mines, 335 anti-tank mines, 333 unexploded ordnance and 2 explosive devices.
KSRelief’s Project Masam has so far dismantled 359,626 mines since its inception.
The humanitarian center also extended its relief efforts to Lebanon by distributing 300 food baskets to refugees and host communities in the country.
This came within KSRelief’s project to provide food security for Palestinian and Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Meanwhile, the relief center’s teams have worked tirelessly to support people affected by the floods in Pakistan.
KSRelief has lately sent its 8th and 9th aid planes to Karachi, carrying 60 tons of shelter materials and food baskets for 8,424 beneficiaries.
The aid, which comes as part of the air bridge that the center has earlier established for flood-hit communities, will be distributed across Pakistan based on the need.
On Saturday, as many as 1,520 food baskets were distributed in the Sindh and Punjab provinces, benefiting 10,640 people, reported SPA.
Popstar Jason Derulo lauds AlUla’s unique ‘blend of worlds’
Singer says Saudi Arabia becoming world’s most attractive destination
Updated 27 September 2022
ALULA: In the historical epicenter for cross-cultural exchange, between the majestic mountains of AlUla, popstar Jason Derulo took the stage to deliver a performance unlike any other at the second edition of the Azimuth music festival on Saudi National Day last weekend.
The American artist entranced the crowd with some of his most recent hits, including “Swalla” and “Jelebi Baby,” as well as some of his older fan favorites such as “Solo” and “In My Head.”
The concert took place in the same valley that hosted the contemporary art exhibition Desert X earlier this year, ensuring a special music experience for nationals and visitors alike in celebration of the Kingdom’s 92nd National Day.
“Any time you can come to a place and have an experience … it makes the show so much better because it’s something that’s completely different that you can’t get anywhere else,” Derulo told Arab News in an exclusive interview.
Historically known as a strategic crossroads for trade and pilgrimage routes, the settlement conceals hidden gems such as the narrow valley oasis and the unique Elephant Rock. As part of the Madinah province, AlUla is a symbol of the cultural richness found throughout the eastern region of Saudi Arabia and beyond.
Any time that I can spread the word about how incredible this place is, I jump at the opportunity, and this is another one of those opportunities.
“Coming through the rock and all the sand, it’s almost like it’s a hideaway from everything, and to bring all of this luxury to the middle of the desert is unlike any other experience,” he said.
“Here you get to really see all the stars, you get to see all the rock, the mountains, you get a piece of that world. Then you bring the highest level of luxury to it and it’s just a blend of worlds that you can’t get anywhere else,” Derulo added.
Derulo has performed throughout the region, headlining in Saudi for the first time in 2018 at the Saudia Diriyah E-Prix alongside Enrique Iglesias, The Black Eyed Peas, and Egypt’s Amr Diab.
“I’ve been performing for a very long time and I can say that this experience was unique, unlike any experience I’ve ever had. I’ve performed all over the world and even coming here today, I pulled out my phone — I was like, ‘this is amazing,’” he said.
The three-day Azimuth festival is one of several initiatives, forming part of Vision 2030, to position the Kingdom as a tourism hub.
• The American artist entranced the crowd with some of his most recent hits, including ‘Swalla’ and ‘Jelebi Baby,’ as well as some of his older fan favorites such as ‘Solo’ and ‘In My Head.’
• The concert took place in the same valley that hosted the contemporary art exhibition Desert X earlier this year, ensuring a special music experience for nationals and visitors alike in celebration of the Kingdom’s 92nd National Day.
• Jason Derulo commended the efforts made to globalize local talent and create new avenues for entertainment, recalling his performance during the professional LIV Golf tour, financed by the Public Investment Fund.
“I was actually one of the first performers, if not the first performer, that performed with an integrated crowd between men and women here, and I feel honored and blessed to be a small piece of history.”
“Any time that I can spread the word about how incredible this place is, I jump at the opportunity, and this is another one of those opportunities,” Derulo said.
“I love that people from across the world have come here and made this home because it really is a special place. They have a sense of pride, a small piece of ownership even, you would think that they were from here and they know so much about the history,” he added.
The artist believes that Saudi Arabia is on the verge of becoming one of the “biggest” attractions in the world.
“This is something that’s just starting, though people are just now starting to see it, I’m sure this has been in the works for such a long time. There’s still so much room for growth, but it’s already incredible,” he said.
Bringing in a diverse lineup of both local and international artists was a key goal for the event, collaborated by entertainment festival MDLBEAST and the Royal Commission for AlUla.
Ahmed Alammary, the Saudi DJ and chief creative at MDLBEAST, told Arab News that this celebration was a chance to create cultural exchange opportunities with international artists while also catering to a local audience.
Derulo commended the efforts made to globalize local talent and create new avenues for entertainment, recalling his performance during the professional LIV Golf tour, financed by the Public Investment Fund.
“This is becoming a melting pot, and it’s beautiful to see … I think Saudi is really pushing the envelope in terms of tourism and technology. When you think of arts when you think of entertainment, Saudi has become really high up on the list because they really took a stand and really took a giant leap in that world,” Derulo said.
Who’s Who: Mishaal Ashemimry, vice president of the International Astronautical Federation
Updated 26 September 2022
Saudi engineer Mishaal Ashemimry is the newly elected vice president of the International Astronautical Federation, becoming the first Saudi woman to hold the position after receiving 14 majority votes from international representatives.
Her role as one of the federation’s 12 vice presidents enables her to further the development of the space sector globally and consolidate the direction of the IAF.
As a Saudi woman and the first aerospace engineer in the Gulf Cooperation Council, her position strategically places the Kingdom at the forefront of the industry and highlights the country as a global leader in the field.
Since September 2021, Ashemimry has served as special advisor to the CEO of the Saudi Space Commission Mohammed Al-Tamimi, a position in which she consults on developing a national space strategy, creates and leads space programs, and advises leadership on direction and execution.
Ashemimry was previously a space nuclear technology consultant at the aerospace and defense company Northrop Grumman. She also conducted research funded by the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center during her time as a research assistant at the Florida Institute of Technology
At 26 years old, the engineer was also president and CEO of her own aerospace company, MISHAAL Aerospace, established in 2010. The company developed space rockets, designed and launched its own line of cost-effective rockets titled the “M-rocket” series, completed static tests for hybrid rocket propulsion systems and provided global consultation.
In 2015, Ashemimry won the Inspirational Woman of the Year Award at the Arab Women Awards and in 2018 was awarded for her scientific achievements by King Salman.
She received her bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and aerospace engineering in 2006 and her master’s degree in aerospace engineering in 2007, both from the Florida Institute of technology.
She is a certified Nitrox, rescue and open water diver, a commercial pilot and is trained in real space flight conditions of zero-gravity.
Ashemimry is an expert in aerodynamics, missile and rocket stage separation analysis, vehicle design, wind tunnel testing, simulations and analysis, and computational tool development.
Volunteers clear litter from hiking routes near Jeddah
Over 4,000 plastic bottles, 1,000 cans, glass shards collected
Earth Trails focuses on environmentally friendly life, says GM
Updated 26 September 2022
JEDDAH: Volunteers from a local tourism group recently cleared heaps of garbage from hiking trails in Asfan as part of their social responsibility commitments, and to ensure a pristine environment for outdoor enthusiasts.
Asfan is a small city surrounded by hiking trails running through its unique terrain and striking rock formations, making it a favorite destination for people living in Jeddah.
The cleanup was undertaken by Earth Trails, a company licensed by the Saudi Tourism Ministry, that specializes in hiking tours and trips around the Kingdom.
Dr. Shadi Badawood, the general manager of Earth Trails, said: “Natural trails in Saudi Arabia need more attention by all nature enthusiasts and the public.” This initiative would hopefully inspire people to keep the country’s natural spaces clean, he said.
Dr. Shadi Badawood, the general manager of Earth Trails, said plastic takes 450 years to decompose, aluminum 80 years, and glass one million years.
Earth Trails’ members collected more than 4,000 plastic bottles, over 1,000 aluminum cans, and a significant number of glass shards. Badawood said plastic takes 450 years to decompose, aluminum 80 years, and glass one million years.
“It is part of our responsibility to take the initiative to clean up these trails, and encourage other individuals to follow in our steps,” Badawood said. Many people do not realize how much they are harming the environment by littering, he said.
Around 25 volunteers participated in the initiative. Badawood said he was pleased with the turnout and hopes the next event will attract more participants.
“We do have a number of volunteering members who really love nature and we admire their actions (to) take care of the environment, and we encourage them to learn new ways to sustain the ecosystem around us,” said Sarah Fida, volunteer coordinator at Earth Trails.
Muath Al-Ahmadi, a volunteer, said: “I’m a nature enthusiast and I believe that one of the most significant points about the cleanup initiatives is awareness. The participation in such programs with hiking groups is a big step towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly life.” Seeing the amount of waste on the trails should make people “rethink” their consumption, Al-Ahmadi added.
Another volunteer, Yousef Albouq, said: “When I joined … I felt excited and happy. I think events like this will contribute to reducing waste, and I hope such initiatives of Earth Trails will … raise people’s awareness of putting trash in the right place.”
He said those who willingly contributed their time showed how committed they are to protecting the environment.