Saudi novelist Sultan Ayaz’s ‘Crossing Thoughts’ to be adapted into manga

Saudi novelist Sultan Ayaz’s ‘Crossing Thoughts’ to be adapted into manga
Sultan Ayaz finished writing the story of “Crossing Thoughts” in 2014, and says the adaptation deal with Manga Arabia is the result of a decade-long dream. (Supplied)
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Updated 11 April 2024
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Saudi novelist Sultan Ayaz’s ‘Crossing Thoughts’ to be adapted into manga

Saudi novelist Sultan Ayaz’s ‘Crossing Thoughts’ to be adapted into manga
  • Ayaz’s novel, written in English, tells the story of humans defending their lands against the oppression of demons
  • In the book, humans fight off demons by using elemental magic and swordplay

RIYADH: A fantasy novel by a Saudi author has been chosen for adaption into a manga, Japan’s famous style of graphic novel.
Sultan Ayaz finished writing the story of “Crossing Thoughts” in 2014, and says the adaptation deal with Manga Arabia is the result of a decade-long dream.
Manga are comics or graphic novels originating from Japan, conforming to a style developed in the late 19th century, though the form has antecedents in earlier Japanese art.
Ayaz’s novel, written in English, tells the story of humans defending their lands against the oppression of demons. It is about the eternal conflict between humans and demons, and a man who stands in between.
In the book, humans fight off demons by using elemental magic and swordplay.
The narrative begins with Drake, a little boy, who, along with his family, lives in tranquility in a tiny town. But the town is destroyed by a demonic attack, which Drake miraculously survives.
Three characters emerge — Aria, Ray and Amber — and study the nature of elements at the Grand College of Elements in the Kingdom of Iora. They learn how to use the elements as weapons against their demonic foes.
“Crossing Thoughts” is full of drama, action and a hint of terror.
Ayaz told Arab News: “I was always into writing in English since high school, and I was influenced by video games and anime, which strongly developed my imagination. Along with daydreaming and creating scenarios in my head, I always wanted to have my own story. So, I started to write short stories from time to time to fulfill this desire.”
The Saudi author said he was “ecstatic” to sign a deal with Manga Arabia and adapt his novel.
“‘Crossing Thoughts’ is the result of hard work and sincere dedication, and I am very proud of it. Since I finished writing the novel back in 2014, I always wanted to have it adapted into a manga or an anime, because I believe it is suitable for such adaptation,” he said.
“When I signed the contract with Manga Arabia, I felt overwhelming happiness, because, for 10 years, this is exactly what I was aiming for. I am very proud of this achievement and honored to be chosen among other talented Saudi authors to be part of this project.”
In 2020, Ayaz became one of the first Saudi novelists to have a fiction work published internationally when a British publishing house, Olympia Publishers, acquired the rights to publish “Crossing Thoughts.” The book was first released locally in 2017 and sold in Virgin Megastores.
“During this journey, I faced many obstacles and hardships that almost forced me to drop my novel and just focus on balancing my life. My father passed away. I had to drop college for a couple of years, and worked in several minimum wage jobs just to contribute to covering the living expenses of my family. But, eventually, I was inspired by my mother’s strength and decided to push myself to the limits and overcome all that, and I succeeded,” Ayaz said.
The writer used two monthly salaries just to cover the printing and publishing expenses of his work.
And though he faced some criticism because the novel was authored in English, “Crossing Thoughts” sold well in Saudi Arabia, attracting the attention of Olympia Publishers.
“I am rather pleased with ‘Crossing Thoughts.’ It is the first English-language fantasy book by a Saudi author to be published, and it helped me overcome my anxiety of failing by landing me live TV appearances and magazine features. It is the sole outcome of real commitment and persistent work,” Ayaz said.
His advice for young writers is to never aim for fame, set your goals straight and persuade audiences with continuous effort. Always remember that “the journey’s experience is priceless,” he said.
Last month, Manga Arabia chose five Saudi authors to have their novels turned into comic stories.
“Drawing Nothingness” by Ashraf Al-Faqih was already featured in the Manga Arabia Youth magazine.
“The Voyagers” by Kendah Jambi, Ayaz’s “Crossing Thoughts,” “The Awsaj” by Al-Jawhara Al-Rimal and Ghada Al-Marzouqi’s “I Live My Memories Upside Down” will also be published in Manga Arabia magazine’s print and digital editions.
The project is part of joint efforts between the Saudi Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission and Manga Arabia to support businesses in the publishing sector.
The manga initiative has been hailed as a “cultural leap” in the presentation of Saudi literature worldwide, and an indicator of progress in the Kingdom’s burgeoning creative industries.


Arafat sermon translated into 37 international languages

Arafat sermon translated into 37 international languages
Updated 8 sec ago
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Arafat sermon translated into 37 international languages

Arafat sermon translated into 37 international languages

ARAFAT: The General Authority for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque translated the Arafat Day sermon on Saturday into 37 international languages, including live translation into 20 and non-simultaneous translation into 17 further languages.

This allowed Muslims to follow the sermon through the Al-Haramain platform, the authority’s YouTube channel, the Nusuk platform, and FM radio frequencies in the Arafat region.

The Arafat Sermon Translation Project, which is spearheaded by the Saudi leadership, aims to showcase Islam, enhancing its values and providing pilgrims and Muslims all over the world with the best service.


Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon

Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon
Updated 26 min 21 sec ago
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Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon

Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon
  • Pilgrims say they wish time could pause so they could continue praying on the most special day of Hajj
  • The Hajj sermon highlights that Shariah mandates 'justice and noble ethics' for all Muslims in the world

ARAFAT: Amid strict security and health measures, this year’s Hajj pilgrims arrived in Arafat early Saturday morning, the ninth day of Dul Hijjah, and attended the annual Hajj sermon at Namirah Mosque.

As the sun rose, pilgrims camping in the tent city of Mina performed dawn prayers, then began their journey to Arafat, where Prophet Muhammad gave his final sermon more than 144 decades ago. On Saturday, one could hear nothing louder than the crowd chanting supplications.

Ansarul-Haq Rasheed, a 63-year-old Indonesian pilgrim, expressed a heartfelt desire to pray to Allah for as long as possible.

“I wish time could pause so I could continue praying to Allah with all my heart,” he told Arab News. “These moments are unforgettable. I want to lay bare all my emotions to my creator, who knows everything. I seek His blessings for my needs in this life and the hereafter.”

 

 

Reflecting on the pilgrimage experience, he expressed gratitude for the services provided to pilgrims. He compared it with stories he had been told of his late father’s Hajj, some 45 years ago. “My mother shared the hardships my father faced during Hajj; I wish he could see how much more comfortable Hajj has become,” Rasheed said. 

Meanwhile, 49-year-old Khadija Yakoubi, a Moroccan pilgrim, anticipated a transformative experience from his pilgrimage.

“When all sins are forgiven, life inevitably changes for the better, leading to a renewed enjoyment. This feeling motivates pilgrims to continue doing good throughout their lives,” Yakoubi said, adding that the services pilgrims have received at the holy sites have been “exemplary.”

The Day of Arafat is the most important part of the Hajj — one of Islam’s five pillars; without it, a pilgrimage is not valid. Pilgrims typically combine and shorten the Dhuhr and Asr prayers before staying in Arafat until sunset. They then move on to Muzdalifah before returning to their tents in Mina.

Sheikh Maher bin Hamad Al-Muaiqly, one of the imams of the Grand Mosque, who delivered this year’s sermon, described Hajj as a “sincere act of worship for Allah.”

He urged pilgrims to seize “the great blessings” during their time in Arafat, reminding them that “in this honorable place and virtuous time, the Almighty multiplies his rewards” for their good deeds and forgives their sins.

In his sermon, Al-Muaiqly emphasized that Islam is a religion of peace and that Shariah “mandates justice, noble ethics, and kindness to parents, along with the importance of maintaining family ties, truthfulness in speech, and safeguarding rights to ensure they are rightfully upheld. It also emphasizes respect for contracts and encourages obedience to rightful authorities.”

He added that Shariah also emphasizes the obligation to obey the five central religious laws: safeguarding religion, and protecting the soul, the mind, one’s possessions, and one’s dignity — all important principles in Islamic jurisprudence and ethics, and, he said, guiding principles for the well-being and growth of individuals and society.

“Indeed, Shariah considers any transgression against these basics a crime deserving punishment. Furthermore, safeguarding these essentials is a path to entering paradise and attaining Allah’s satisfaction. It also serves as a key to stability, happiness, progress, and advancement in this world,” the imam said.


Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon

Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon
Updated 47 min 54 sec ago
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Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon

Hajj pilgrims arrive in Arafat, attend annual sermon
  • Arafat is where Prophet Muhammad gave his final sermon more than 144 decades ago

ARAFAT: Amid strict security and health measures, this year’s Hajj pilgrims arrived in Arafat early Saturday morning, the ninth day of Dul Hijjah, and attended the annual Hajj sermon at Namirah Mosque.

As the sun rose, pilgrims camping in the tent city of Mina performed dawn prayers, then began their journey to Arafat, where Prophet Muhammad gave his final sermon more than 144 decades ago. On Saturday, one could hear nothing louder than the crowd chanting supplications.

Ansarul-Haq Rasheed, a 63-year-old Indonesian pilgrim, expressed a heartfelt desire to pray to Allah for as long as possible.

“I wish time could pause so I could continue praying to Allah with all my heart,” he told Arab News. “These moments are unforgettable. I want to lay bare all my emotions to my creator, who knows everything. I seek His blessings for my needs in this life and the hereafter.”

 

 

Reflecting on the pilgrimage experience, he expressed gratitude for the services provided to pilgrims. He compared it with stories he had been told of his late father’s Hajj, some 45 years ago. “My mother shared the hardships my father faced during Hajj; I wish he could see how much more comfortable Hajj has become,” Rasheed said. 

Meanwhile, 49-year-old Khadija Yakoubi, a Moroccan pilgrim, anticipated a transformative experience from his pilgrimage.

“When all sins are forgiven, life inevitably changes for the better, leading to a renewed enjoyment. This feeling motivates pilgrims to continue doing good throughout their lives,” Yakoubi said, adding that the services pilgrims have received at the holy sites have been “exemplary.”

The Day of Arafat is the most important part of the Hajj — one of Islam’s five pillars; without it, a pilgrimage is not valid. Pilgrims typically combine and shorten the Dhuhr and Asr prayers before staying in Arafat until sunset. They then move on to Muzdalifah before returning to their tents in Mina.

Sheikh Maher bin Hamad Al-Muaiqly, one of the imams of the Grand Mosque, who delivered this year’s sermon, described Hajj as a “sincere act of worship for Allah.”

He urged pilgrims to seize “the great blessings” during their time in Arafat, reminding them that “in this honorable place and virtuous time, the Almighty multiplies his rewards” for their good deeds and forgives their sins.

In his sermon, Al-Muaiqly emphasized that Islam is a religion of peace and that Shariah “mandates justice, noble ethics, and kindness to parents, along with the importance of maintaining family ties, truthfulness in speech, and safeguarding rights to ensure they are rightfully upheld. It also emphasizes respect for contracts and encourages obedience to rightful authorities.”

He added that Shariah also emphasizes the obligation to obey the five central religious laws: safeguarding religion, and protecting the soul, the mind, one’s possessions, and one’s dignity — all important principles in Islamic jurisprudence and ethics, and, he said, guiding principles for the well-being and growth of individuals and society.

“Indeed, Shariah considers any transgression against these basics a crime deserving punishment. Furthermore, safeguarding these essentials is a path to entering paradise and attaining Allah’s satisfaction. It also serves as a key to stability, happiness, progress, and advancement in this world,” the imam said.


Girl Scouts assist Grand Mosque Security Force 

Girl Scouts assist Grand Mosque Security Force 
Updated 15 June 2024
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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.