Saudi Cabinet welcomes UN’s ceasefire resolution on Gaza

Saudi Cabinet welcomes UN’s ceasefire resolution on Gaza
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The Cabinet session was chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday in Jeddah. (SPA)
Saudi Cabinet welcomes UN’s ceasefire resolution on Gaza
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The Cabinet session was chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday in Jeddah. (SPA)
Saudi Cabinet welcomes UN’s ceasefire resolution on Gaza
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The Cabinet session was chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday in Jeddah. (SPA)
Saudi Cabinet welcomes UN’s ceasefire resolution on Gaza
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The Cabinet session was chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday in Jeddah. (SPA)
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Updated 27 March 2024
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Saudi Cabinet welcomes UN’s ceasefire resolution on Gaza

Saudi Cabinet welcomes UN’s ceasefire resolution on Gaza

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet on Tuesday reiterated the Kingdom’s backing of the UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

On Monday, and for the first time in 170 days of the war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, the UN Security Council demanded an immediate ceasefire, lasting for the duration of Ramadan.

The US, which had vetoed previous similar resolutions, abstained. By doing this instead of using its power of veto, it allowed the resolution to pass. With all other members of the council voting in favor, the 14-0 result drew a rare round of applause in the council chamber.

In a weekly Cabinet session chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, the ministers reviewed Saudi Arabia’s efforts, in cooperation with its partners in the region and the world, to find a solution to the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip.

Locally, the government affirmed continuous attention and support for national efforts and initiatives aimed at providing housing for the most needy families in the Kingdom, including working to achieve the objectives of the Jood Eskan charity housing campaign.

King Salman and the Crown Prince on Sunday made donations of SR100 and SR50 millions, respectively, to the campaign, which is affiliated with the Jood Housing platform.

The Cabinet said that the annual Saudi Green Initiative Day, which falls on the 27th of March, comes to consolidate the Kingdom’s interest in environmental issues locally and internationally, and to support its approach to leading the green era and climate action.


Pilgrims commence the final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha

Pilgrims commence the final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha
Updated 16 June 2024
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Pilgrims commence the final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha

Pilgrims commence the final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha
  • The stoning is among the final rites of the Hajj, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam
  • All Muslims are required to make the Hajj once in their lives if they are physically and financially able to do so

MINA, Saudi Arabia: Masses of pilgrims on Sunday embarked on a symbolic stoning of the devil in Saudi Arabia. The ritual marks the final days of Hajj pilgrimage and the start of the Eid Al-Adha celebrations for Muslims around the world.
The stoning is among the final rites of the Hajj, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It came a day after more than 1.8 million pilgrims congregated on a sacred hill in Mount Ararat outside the holy city of Makkah, which Muslim pilgrims visit to perform the annual five-day rituals of Hajj.
The pilgrims left Mount Arafat on Saturday evening to spend their night in a nearby site known as Muzdalifa, where they collected pebbles they have used in the symbolic stoning of pillars representing the devil.
The pillars are in another sacred place in Makkah, called Mina, where Muslims believe Ibrahim’s faith was tested when God commanded him to sacrifice his only son Ismail. Ibrahim was prepared to submit to the command, but then God stayed his hand, sparing his son. In the Christian and Jewish version of the story, Abraham is ordered to kill his other son, Isaac.
Pilgrims will spend the next three days in Mina, where they walk long distances on pedestrian-only streets toward a multi-story complex housing large pillars. There, they cast seven pebbles each at three pillars in a ritual meant to symbolize the casting away of evil and sin.
While in Mina, they will visit Makkah to perform “tawaf,” circumambulation, which is circling the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque counterclockwise seven times. They will make another circumambulation, known as Farewell Tawaf, at the end of Hajj and as they prepare to leave the holy city.
The rites coincide with the four-day Eid Al-Adha, which means “Feast of Sacrifice,” when Muslims with the financial means commentate Ibrahim’s test of faith through slaughtering livestock and animals and distributing the meat to the poor.
Once the Hajj is over, men are expected to shave their heads and remove the shroud-like white garments worn during the pilgrimage, and women to snip a lock of hair in a sign of renewal and rebirth.
Most of the pilgrims then leave Makkah for the city of Madinah, about 340 kilometers 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.
All Muslims are required to make the Hajj once in their lives if they are physically and financially able to do so. Many wealthy Muslims make the pilgrimage more than once. The rituals largely commemorate the accounts of Prophet Ibrahim and his son Prophet Ismail, Ismail’s mother Hajjar and Prophet Muhammad, according to the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book.
More than 1.83 million Muslims performed Hajj in 2024, Saudi Hajj and Umrah Minister Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah said in a briefing, slightly less than last year’s figures when 1.84 million made the rituals.
Most of the Hajj rituals are held outdoors with little if any shade. It is set for the second week of Dhu Al-Hijjah, the last month in the Islamic lunar calendar, so its time of the year varies. And this year the pilgrimage fell in the burning summer of Saudi Arabia. The heat soared to 47 degrees Celsius (116.6 F) at Mount Arafat on Saturday.
This year’s Hajj came against the backdrop of the devastating Israel-Hamas war, which has pushed the Middle East to the brink of a regional conflict.


225 pilgrims treated for heat stress and fatigue on second day of Hajj

225 pilgrims treated for heat stress and fatigue on second day of Hajj
Updated 16 June 2024
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225 pilgrims treated for heat stress and fatigue on second day of Hajj

225 pilgrims treated for heat stress and fatigue on second day of Hajj
  • The cases were treated at the Medical Center for Heat Exhaustion and Sunstroke 

ARAFAT, Makkah: Some 225 cases of pilgrims suffering from heat stress and fatigue had been treated at the Medical Center for Heat Exhaustion and Sunstroke in Makkah, the Saudi Press Agency said early Sunday.

The cases were reported on Saturday, the second day of Hajj, when pilgrims ascended Mount Arafat to ask God for mercy, blessings, prosperity and good health.

The ritual at Mount Arafat, known as the Hill of Mercy, is considered the peak of the Hajj pilgrimage. 

Medics at the center for heat exhaustion and sunstroke in Makkah attend to a heat stroke victim on Saturday. (SPA)

The center, affiliated with the Saudi Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, has 20 beds equipped with the latest devices to deal with cases of heat stress and sunstroke.

It is also equipped with an air and water spray distribution system through sprinklers covering all parts of the injured person’s body, in addition to clinics for men and women and a pharmacy.

Saudi officials had earlier advised pilgrims to wear umbrellas and keep themselves hydrated, and to take rest periods between rituals to avoid heat fatigue. 

The National Center for Meteorology had forecasted that temperatures in Makkah will range between 45 degrees Celsius and 48 degrees Celsius, from hot to very hot, with little rain potential.

 

 


Arafat sermon projected to reach 1 billion listeners worldwide

Arafat sermon projected to reach 1 billion listeners worldwide
Updated 16 June 2024
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Arafat sermon projected to reach 1 billion listeners worldwide

Arafat sermon projected to reach 1 billion listeners worldwide
  • The translated sermons promote peace, coexistence, and a deeper understanding of Islam

ARAFAT, Makkah: The Arafat sermon delivered on Saturday at Namira Mosque in Makkah was projected to reach a staggering one billion listeners worldwide, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The sermon was translated live into 20 languages as part of the groundbreaking initiative launched by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman's in 2018. Non-simultaneous translations into 17 languages were further made.

Spearheaded by the Presidency of Religious Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, the project serves as a cornerstone in spreading the message of moderation and centrism espoused by the holy sites, SPA said.

"The translated sermons promote peace, coexistence, and a deeper understanding of Islam — a religion built on mercy, tolerance, and peaceful living," the report said.

When the project was first launched in 2018, translations were offered in only five languages.  Its reach has continued to grow each year. Sermons are translated into an increasing number of languages and broadcast on various platforms, including digital platforms, FM radio, and Islamic television channels.

"These efforts demonstrate the Kingdom’s unwavering commitment to serving Islam and the global Muslim community," the report said, adding that the initiative "exemplifies Saudi Arabia’s dedication to serving the Two Holy Mosques and their pilgrims. It further reflects the leadership’s commitment to promoting global peace and the values of tolerance and moderation," said the report.

"Having surpassed 200 million listeners in 2020, the project fulfills the Kingdom’s sacred responsibility of caring for the Two Holy Mosques and their visitors. By translating the Arafat sermon, they effectively share the message of these holy sites with the entire Muslim world," it further said.

 


Interior minister inspects Hajj security forces in Makkah

Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud inspects Hajj security forces in Makkah. (SPA)
Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud inspects Hajj security forces in Makkah. (SPA)
Updated 16 June 2024
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Interior minister inspects Hajj security forces in Makkah

Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud inspects Hajj security forces in Makkah. (SPA)
  • Prince Abdulaziz met with the commanders of the forces and discussed their preparations for their assigned tasks.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Interior and chairman of the Supreme Hajj Committee Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud has inspected the special security forces participating in this year's Hajj security forces in Makkah, the Saudi Press Agency said early Sunday.

As part of the visit, Prince Abdulaziz met with the commanders of the forces and discussed their preparations for their assigned tasks.

Prince Abdulaziz was accompanied by several high-ranking officials and senior officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and State Security.

 


Hajj reaches its pinnacle; number of pilgrims placed at 1.83 million

Hajj reaches its pinnacle; number of pilgrims placed at 1.83 million
Updated 16 June 2024
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Hajj reaches its pinnacle; number of pilgrims placed at 1.83 million

Hajj reaches its pinnacle; number of pilgrims placed at 1.83 million
  • 150 treated for heat exhaustion
  • Sermon includes prayer for war-hit Palestinians
  • ‘Stoning the devil’ ritual begins today

JEDDAH: Muslims from around the world congregated on Saturday at a sacred hill in Saudi Arabia for worship and reflection amid sweltering heat.

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 together asking God for mercy, blessings, prosperity and good health.

Thousands of pilgrims walked here through the predawn darkness. They recited “Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik” (O Lord, here I am answering your call) and verses from the Holy Qur’an.
According to the Saudi Press Agency, the number of pilgrims reached 1,833,164.
This year’s Hajj came against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war, which pushed the Middle East to the brink of a regional conflict.

On the slopes of Mt. Arafat and the surrounding plains, many pilgrims raised hands in worship with tears streaming down their faces. (SPA photo)

In his sermon at the Namira Mosque in Arafat, imam Maher bin Hamad Al-Mu’wiqly, urged pilgrims to pray for the Palestinians who have been “harmed and hurt by their enemy” that killed them, and “deprived them of what they need from food, medicine and clothing.” 
Most of the pilgrims at Mount Arafat carried umbrellas, while others sat in the shade. Many were seen splashing water on their faces and bodies. 
Saudi Health Minister Fahd bin Abdurrahman Al-Jalajel said more than 150 pilgrims have been treated for heat exhaustion. 
He urged pilgrims to drink water and carry umbrellas as they perform Hajj’s rituals.
At sunset on Saturday, pilgrims left Mount Arafat, heading to a nearby site known as Muzdalifah to collect pebbles 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. Afterward, they return to Makkah for a final circumambulation, known as Farewell Tawaf. Once the Hajj is over, men shave their heads, and women snip a lock of hair in a sign of renewal.