Saudi Supreme Court calls on Muslims to look out for Ramadan crescent

Saudi Supreme Court calls on Muslims to look out for Ramadan crescent
Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has called on all Muslims in the Kingdom to look for the Ramadan crescent moon on Sunday evening. (AFP/File)
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Updated 08 March 2024
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Saudi Supreme Court calls on Muslims to look out for Ramadan crescent

Saudi Supreme Court calls on Muslims to look out for Ramadan crescent
  • Ramadan to begin either on Monday or Tuesday, depending on sighting of crescent moon
  • Muslims who wish to sight the moon for themselves are encouraged to do so as well

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has called on all Muslims in the Kingdom to look for the Ramadan crescent moon on Sunday evening.
Sunday, March 10, 2024, corresponds to Shaban 29, 1445 in the Islamic calendar. If the Ramadan crescent moon is sighted on Sunday evening, then Ramadan will begin on Monday, March 11. If not, the holy month will start on Tuesday, March 12.
The Supreme Court has asked that anyone who sees the Ramadan crescent with their naked eyes or through binoculars notify the court nearest to their location and record their testimony there, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Saudi Arabia’s moon sighting committee usually observes the moon in the days leading up to the expected start date of Ramadan, but Muslims who wish to sight the moon for themselves are encouraged to do so as well.
As the holy month of Ramadan begins, Muslims across the world observe fasts that require abstinence from all food and drink from dawn to dusk as part of the Islamic ritual that aims to encourage patience, charity, and community welfare.


Girl Scouts assist Grand Mosque Security Force 

Girl Scouts assist Grand Mosque Security Force 
Updated 16 sec ago
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Girl Scouts assist Grand Mosque Security Force 

Girl Scouts assist Grand Mosque Security Force 

MAKKAH: Around 220 girls from the Saudi Arabian Scouts Association are volunteering to serve this year’s Hajj pilgrims by participating with the Grand Mosque Security Force to manage crowds.

The girl scouts are helping to organize and direct the pilgrims, particularly in the women’s prayer areas.

They also guide the lost, assist the elderly, and help those with special needs.

Ghada Al Mutailiq, leader of the Girl Scouts camp, praised the dedication and commitment of the scouts and noted that the association’s expertise in handling large groups also provided members with valuable skills.


Ministry sets up 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah

Ministry sets up 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah
Updated 15 June 2024
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Ministry sets up 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah

Ministry sets up 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah
  • Facilities to help take care of youngsters while parents perform Hajj

JEDDAH: Some 32 children’s hospitality centers in Makkah and Madinah have been set up this year to take care of children while their parents are performing Hajj.

The centers, which were established by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development in partnership with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, can accommodate more than 1,000 children each day, targeting boys and girls between the ages of 1 and 10.

The centers provide care and education for children. They are safe and comfortable environments in which to learn and play under the supervision of a specialized team of consultants and qualified trainers, according to Mohammed Al-Rizqi, the spokesperson at the HRSD.

Facilities include a dining hall, where meals are provided, a sleeping area, a physical play area, and a skill activity space.

Al-Rizqi told Arab News: “The initiative aims to help the guests of Allah perform the Hajj rituals with reverence and reassurance, and to provide them with the utmost comfort to perform the Hajj rituals.

“This initiative is concerned with hosting children of pilgrims up to 10 years of age, as these centers provide a safe environment for the child by providing a group of health, social and psychological programs, as well as recreational activities and overnight services that are appropriate to the age stages of each child.”

Al-Rizqi added that the services are to be provided for all nationalities, with employees speaking different languages to serve the children of pilgrims.

He said: “Care services are provided through recreational programs and activities for children.

“Children are also cared for during their stay and a suitable environment is provided for overnight stays, as well as providing healthy meals for the child.”

Al-Rizqi explained that the initiative seeks to achieve several goals, such as providing awareness and guidance on the nature of dealing with children during the Hajj season.


MWAN launches sustainable waste management initiatives for Hajj

MWAN launches sustainable waste management initiatives for Hajj
Updated 15 June 2024
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MWAN launches sustainable waste management initiatives for Hajj

MWAN launches sustainable waste management initiatives for Hajj

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Center for Waste Management, or MWAN, has lunched initiatives to provide a healthy and clean environment for pilgrims throughout the Hajj period.

Sultan Al-Harthi, a spokesperson at the center, told Arab News that the initiatives are part of efforts to improve and regulate waste management during the Hajj season, preserving natural resources for future generations.

Al-Harthi said one includes a machine that turns food waste into fertilizer, which is initially used within sacred sites, without any emissions or emitting odors during the recycling process.

The “Sustainable Ihram” initiative educates pilgrims on the importance of recycling and environmental preservation, he added. It is based on collecting and sorting pilgrims’ textile waste, including ihrams, pillows, blankets and mattresses, followed by recycling and distributing them. Containers will be available in Mina camps and hotels in Makkah where pilgrims can contribute their cloths.

The center expects around 50 tonnes of ihrams and more than 300,000 pillows will be collected in cooperation with the relevant authorities. An outreach team is touring the Mina camps in order to ensure the readiness of the initiative, Al-Harthi said.

Another initiative will treat waste generated from slaughterhouse carcasses, expected to be more than 12,000 tonnes this year, with teams dedicated to monitoring the activity to ensure safe disposal. The work will begin on Sunday, the first day of Eid Al-Adha.

According to Al-Harthi, another initiative seeks to raise awareness of good waste management practices among Hajj service providers. This Hajj season, MWAN has given training courses on sustainable waste management to 121 service providers over the past two weeks, to help them develop their skills and abilities, raise awareness about reducing volume of waste produced, and use environmentally friendly materials that reduce pollution and preserve environmental integrity.

The monitoring and inspection team has undertaken dozens of monitoring tours and visited more than 100 facilities to improve the level of operational efficiency of the facilities.


Health, Transport, and Logistics Ministries Collaborate for Smooth Pilgrimage Experience

 Health, Transport, and Logistics Ministries Collaborate for Smooth Pilgrimage Experience
Updated 15 June 2024
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Health, Transport, and Logistics Ministries Collaborate for Smooth Pilgrimage Experience

 Health, Transport, and Logistics Ministries Collaborate for Smooth Pilgrimage Experience

MAKKAH:The security spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, Colonel Talal bin Abdulmohsen Al-Shalhoub, announced the successful implementation of the plan's first phase to smoothly transport pilgrims to the holy sites. 

He made his statement on Friday during the daily press conference for the Hajj season 2024, with the participation of official spokespersons for the Ministries of Hajj and Umrah, Health, Transport and Logistics.

Al-Shalhoub announced the completion of transporting pilgrims from the Grand Mosque to Mina, where they will stay overnight in preparation for their next stop at Arafat.

He indicated that 160 fake hajj campaigns were seized thus far, with 135,098 illegal vehicles were denied access.

Al-Shalhoub said that the number of non-residents of Makkah who were returned reached 250,381 people, and 6,135 were caught violating the city’s residency, work, and border security regulations.

“Saudi Arabia will always and firmly hinder all efforts to turn the holy sites during Hajj into an arena for demagogic chants that are far removed from the purposes of Sharia law, the holiness of the occasion and the spirituality of worship,” he said.

Al-Shalhoub added that any attempts to disrupt the security of pilgrims in any way will be dealt with firmly.

“The safety of the guests of God is a red line for the security authorities working in Hajj.”

Ayed Al-Ghuwaynem, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj Affairs, said that the most prominent infrastructure development projects in the holy sites include water networks and electrical power to improve services and raise the efficiency.

He added that the digital transformation processes led by Nusuk platform created a shift for pilgrims to access services, indicating that the number of readings of the response code printed on the Nusuk card exceeded 3 million readings.

Nusuk is the first-ever official planning, booking and experience platform for Hajj and Umrah.

The official spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Dr. Mohammad Al-Abdulali, reviewed the services and care provided by the health system, in integration with various agencies and entities, to the pilgrims during this year’s Hajj season.

He said that approximately 35,000 members of the healthcare system, along with approximately 5,500 volunteers, are responsible for providing services through 189 integrated hospitals, health centers, and mobile clinics.

“Fourteen health control centers in the Kingdom’s ports, 98 emergency centers, 32 mobile medical-supply trucks, and 12 laboratories are operational for pilgrims.”

Al-Abdulali added that there are 6,515 beds, including more than 800 intensive care beds and over 280 beds for heatstroke and heat exhaustion.

Aside from virtual clinics, there are seven ambulance planes, 729 ambulance cars and emergency and rapid response vehicles.

He said that 99 percent of domestic pilgrims had completed the health requirements for vaccinations.

“One-hundred and fifty permits were canceled to preserve the pilgrims’ public health, while others who adhered to the health requirements were enabled.”

The official spokesman for the transport and logistics system Saleh Al-Zwaid, stated that the Kingdom’s airports received, as of Thursday, more than 19 thousand flights from over 72 air carriers, coming from more than 90 countries.

 


Muslim pilgrims converge at Mount Arafat for daylong worship as Hajj reaches its peak

Muslim pilgrims converge at Mount Arafat for daylong worship as Hajj reaches its peak
Updated 15 June 2024
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Muslim pilgrims converge at Mount Arafat for daylong worship as Hajj reaches its peak

Muslim pilgrims converge at Mount Arafat for daylong worship as Hajj reaches its peak
  • Hajj officially started Friday when pilgrims moved from Makkah’s Grand Mosque to Mina
  • Saudi authorities expect the number of pilgrims this year to exceed 2 million

MOUNT ARAFAT, Saudi Arabia: Following the footsteps of prophets beneath a burning sun, Muslims from around the world congregated Saturday at a sacred hill in Saudi Arabia for intense, daylong worship and reflection.
The ritual at Mount Arafat, known as the hill of mercy, is considered the peak of the Hajj pilgrimage. It is often the most memorable for pilgrims, who stand shoulder to shoulder, feet to feet, asking God for mercy, blessings, prosperity and good health. The mount is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Makkah.
It’s believed that Prophet Muhammad delivered his final speech, known as the Farewell Sermon, at the sacred mount 1,435 years ago. In the sermon, the prophet called for equality and unity among Muslims.
“It’s indescribable,” Ahmed Tukeyia, an Egyptian pilgrim, said on his arrival Friday evening at a tent camp at the foot of Mount Arafat.

Muslim pilgrims gather at top of the rocky hill known as the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, June 15, 2024.  (AP)


Hajj is one of the largest religious gatherings on earth. The rituals officially started Friday when pilgrims moved from Makkah’s Grand Mosque to Mina, a desert plain just outside the city.
Saudi authorities expect the number of pilgrims this year to exceed 2 million, approaching pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.
The pilgrimage is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. All Muslims are required to make the five-day Hajj at least once in their lives if they are physically and financially able to make the demanding pilgrimage.

GALLERY: Hajj 2024: Muslims converge at Mount Arafat as pilgrimage reaches peak
The rituals largely commemorate the Qur’an’s accounts of Prophet Ibrahim, his son Prophet Ismail and Ismail’s mother Hajjar — or Abraham and Ismael as they are named in the Bible.
The time of year when the Hajj takes place varies, given that it is set for five days in the second week of Dhu Al-Hijjah, the last month in the Islamic lunar calendar.
Most of the Hajj rituals are held outdoors with little if any shade. When it falls in the summer months, temperatures can soar to over 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). The Health Ministry has cautioned that temperatures at the holy sites could reach 48 C (118 F). It urged pilgrims to use umbrellas and drink more water to stay hydrated.

Muslim pilgrims arrive at the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP)


After Saturday’s worship in Arafat, pilgrims will travel a few kilometers (miles) to a site known as Muzdalifa to collect pebbles that they will use in the symbolic stoning of pillars representing the devil back in Mina.
Pilgrims then return to Mina for three days, coinciding with the festive Eid Al-Adha holiday, when financially able Muslims around the world slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to poor people. Afterward, they return to Makkah for a final circumambulation, known as Farewell Tawaf.
Once the Hajj is over, men are expected to shave their heads, and women to snip a lock of hair in a sign of renewal. Most of the pilgrims then leave Makkah for the city of Medina, some 340 kilometers (210 miles) away, to pray in Prophet Muhammad’s tomb, the Sacred Chamber. The tomb is part of the prophet’s mosque, which is one of the three holiest sites in Islam, along with the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
In recent years, Saudi authorities have made significant efforts to improve access and avoid deadly accidents. Tens of thousands of security personnel were deployed across the city, especially around the holy sites, to control the crowds, and the government built a high-speed rail link to ferry people between holy sites in the city, which has been jammed with traffic during the Hajj season. Pilgrims enter through special electronic gates.
Saudi authorities have also expanded and renovated the Grand Mosque where cranes are seen around some of its seven minarets as construction was underway in the holy site.