Beloved birds of Makkah’s Grand Mosque welcome sight for pilgrims who seek peace, sanctuary

Pigeons have become one of Makkah’s most famous landmarks and can often be seen in the courtyards of the Grand Mosque where pilgrims feed and interact with them. (SPA)
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Pigeons have become one of Makkah’s most famous landmarks and can often be seen in the courtyards of the Grand Mosque where pilgrims feed and interact with them. (SPA)
Beloved birds of Makkah’s Grand Mosque welcome sight for pilgrims who seek peace, sanctuary
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Pigeons have become one of Makkah’s most famous landmarks and can often be seen in the courtyards of the Grand Mosque where pilgrims feed and interact with them. (Supplied)
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Updated 21 June 2023
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Beloved birds of Makkah’s Grand Mosque welcome sight for pilgrims who seek peace, sanctuary

Beloved birds of Makkah’s Grand Mosque welcome sight for pilgrims who seek peace, sanctuary
  • Enjoying special status and protection, sanctuary pigeons have been welcoming pilgrims for years

RIYADH: Flocks of pigeons at Makkah’s Grand Mosque roam the courtyards, flapping their wings as they receive Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.

The birds are known by many names, including sanctuary pigeons, fever pigeons, and quiet pigeons.

Samir Ahmed Barqah, a researcher specializing in Makkah’s history, said: “Pigeons of the Grand Mosque are called fever pigeons because of how they hover around God’s safe sanctuary; they’re called sanctuary pigeons because of how reassured those pigeons are of their safety in Makkah.




Pigeons have become one of Makkah’s most famous landmarks and can often be seen in the courtyards of the Grand Mosque where pilgrims feed and interact with them. (SPA)

“The distinctive features of sanctuary pigeons differ from the other types of pigeons and other birds in the world.”

These features include their beautiful shape, unique colors, drawn eyes, and long necks.

The pigeons do not fear visitors, no matter how packed the area becomes.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The birds at the Grand Mosque are known by many names, including sanctuary pigeons, fever pigeons, and quiet pigeons.

• Sanctuary pigeons do not defecate on the Kaaba or its surroundings, which earns them further appreciation from both pilgrims and caretakers.

Sanctuary pigeons do not defecate on the Kaaba or its surroundings, which earns them further appreciation from both pilgrims and caretakers.

The birds have become one of Makkah’s most famous landmarks and are always seen either flying over visitors or standing between the sides of buildings searching for kind people who might offer them something to eat.

The loving relationship between the pigeons and visitors goes back hundreds of years.




Pigeons have become one of Makkah’s most famous landmarks and can often be seen in the courtyards of the Grand Mosque where pilgrims feed and interact with them. (SPA)

Barqah added: “Some have traced the origin of the sanctuary pigeons way back to the pigeons whose nest was placed in the cave of Mount Thawr during the migration of Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah.

“As a reward, God rewarded these pigeons and their descendants by letting them live safely in the holy sanctuary of Makkah.”

Historian Sheikh Mohammed Tahir Al-Kurdi says the sanctuary pigeons can be traced to descendants of the ababil birds, which were sent by God to destroy and expel the army led by Abraha Al-Ashram.

The army tried to destroy the Kaaba, but God sent flocks of birds that dropped small stones on them, eventually destroying and expelling them from Makkah.

Al-Ashram and his army are commonly known as the people of the elephant, and their story is briefly mentioned in a chapter in the Qur’an.

Barqah added: “This is most likely the correct narration regarding this matter.

“There are those who believe that the sanctuary pigeons are a descendant of the two pigeons that were in Noah’s Ark. Nonetheless, these beliefs are mentioned in history books and need to be looked at.”

The sanctuary pigeons hold a special place in Islam, and it is not permissible for either pilgrims or non-pilgrims to kill them.

Muslim jurists have also forbidden turning them away, breaking their eggs, or expelling them from the place in which they nest.

Barqah said: “Some say that the sanctuary pigeons fly peacefully in the sky until they die on land, without any force from the Earth daring to deliberately harm them, except in cases such as when the pigeons are the reason behind disease, which has not yet occurred.”

 


Yanbu festival honors King Salman, breaks world record

Yanbu festival honors King Salman, breaks world record
Updated 10 sec ago
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Yanbu festival honors King Salman, breaks world record

Yanbu festival honors King Salman, breaks world record
  • In honor of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, the record-breaking floral arrangement read “Salman” made from 19,464 roses
  • Saudi calligrapher Hani Mehalawi: I am delighted to be part of this work and set this new world record which honors our beloved king

JEDDAH: Yanbu has set a new Guinness World Record for the largest flower word displayed at the Flower and Garden Festival 2024, which started recently and runs until March 9.

In honor of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, the record-breaking floral arrangement read “Salman” made from 19,464 roses.

In collaboration with Jubail and Yanbu Industrial Cities Services Co., the masterpiece, which was completed on Feb. 13 by Saudi calligrapher Hani Mehalawi, stood 16 meters wide and six meters tall and is a magnificent work of art.

The entire procedure was overseen by official adjudicators from Guinness World Records, who examined every part of the record attempt from beginning to end.

Mehalawi spoke to Arab News and expressed his joy and happiness in writing the largest flower word. “This feat showed our dedication to our King. With the message behind this initiative being especially close to our hearts, I am indeed delighted to be part of this huge work and set this new world record which honors our beloved king.”

He explained that it took over three days to complete the monumental task of assembling the world’s largest flower word.

“It was a very happy moment for me when the officials of the Flower and Garden Festival asked me to do the work in  short notice but I managed to finish it within few days. My part was to write the name and they filled it with flowers,” he added.

This year’s Flower and Garden Festival also featured the world’s largest flower basket, with 127,224 natural white and red petunia flowers, as well as the world’s largest illuminated flower garden, with a total of 250,000 illuminated flowers. The biennial celebration also featured the largest recyclable vehicle (a space rocket) with a total length of 30,364 meters.


Ukrainian President arrives in Riyadh for an official visit to meet with the Saudi crown prince

Ukrainian President arrives in Riyadh for an official visit to meet with the Saudi crown prince
Updated 30 min 5 sec ago
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Ukrainian President arrives in Riyadh for an official visit to meet with the Saudi crown prince

Ukrainian President arrives in Riyadh for an official visit to meet with the Saudi crown prince

KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs
Updated 27 February 2024
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KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

RIYADH: Officials from Saudi Arabia’s aid agency, KSrelief, and the UN held talks on their respective volunteer programs in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Ali bin Saad Al-Qarni, director of volunteer programs at KSrelief, met with Niels Knudsen, who is the external communications chief for the UN Volunteers program. There were several UN officials present at the meeting.

Al-Qarni said KSrelief has 597 volunteer projects running in 40 countries across the world, which cover health, education, and vocational training.

The projects have benefited more than 1.5 million people.

Al-Qarni also highlighted KSrelief’s efforts in developing the skills of volunteers and humanitarian workers in needy countries around the globe.

Knudsen and Al-Qarni held discussions on future areas of cooperation.


Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart
Updated 27 February 2024
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Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

RIYADH: An official Saudi source denied on Monday allegations circulating on social media platforms regarding a meeting between Majid Al-Qasabi, Minister of Commerce, and an Israeli occupation official, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The same source said in a statement carried by SPA that the video circulated was while Al-Qasabi was standing with his Nigerian counterpart, prior to the opening of the thirteenth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Abu Dhabi.

“The individual shook (the Saudi minister’s) hand and then was introduced, without (Al-Qasabi’s) prior knowledge,” the source told SPA.

This was followed by Israeli media reports claiming that the two discussed peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel, with one Israeli outlet running a picture of the two under the heading: “Israeli minister and Saudi counterpart shake hands and discuss ‘making history together.’”

The source also affirmed to SPA Saudi Arabia’s firm position on the Palestinian issue and its steadfast support for the Palestinian people against Israeli aggression.


King Salman given award for services to Arab security

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
Updated 26 February 2024
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King Salman given award for services to Arab security

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
  • The award was received by the Kingdom’s Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud
  • Interior minister said the council is keen to achieve stability and development in the Arab world

RIYADH: King Salman was given the Prince Naif Award for Arab Security on Monday for his services to the security of the Arab community, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Arab Interior Ministers Council conferred the award and it was received by the Kingdom’s Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud in Tunis during a council meeting.  

The minister said the meeting was being held at a time when the Palestinian people are experiencing an unstable security situation which has caused the suffering of thousands of children, women, and the elderly. 

He said that the council, since its inception, is keen to achieve security for Arabs and bring about stability and development.

Prince Abdulaziz said the world is witnessing developments in cyber crime, the misuse of artificial intelligence, and advanced drug trafficking methods. 

These developments have “created fertile ground for the spread of multiple types of organized crime,” armed organizations, and terrorist groups which requires developing plans to invest in infrastructure and support development, education, and capacity building to confront these threats. 

He added that Arab coordination to deal with these threats is important in order to mitigate the possible negative repercussions from such threats.