Saudi Islamic affairs minister inaugurates mosques

Dr. Abdullatif Al-Asheikh inaugurates mosques in Arar. (SPA)
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Dr. Abdullatif Al-Asheikh inaugurates mosques in Arar. (SPA)
Saudi Islamic affairs minister inaugurates mosques
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Dr. Abdullatif Al-Asheikh inaugurates mosques in Arar. (SPA)
Saudi Islamic affairs minister inaugurates mosques
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Dr. Abdullatif Al-Asheikh inaugurates mosques in Arar. (SPA)
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Updated 17 May 2024
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Saudi Islamic affairs minister inaugurates mosques

Saudi Islamic affairs minister inaugurates mosques
  • Dr. Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said: “Contributing to building and caring for mosques is a good deed that earns people rewards”

ARAR: Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance Dr. Abdullatif Al-Asheikh inaugurated the Al-Hanouf Al-Zwain and Ali Mohammed Al-Melhem mosques in the city of Arar as part of a visit to the area to inspect work progress.

The ministry’s undersecretaries and several department directors, as well as the director of the ministry’s branch in the Northern Borders region, Fahd bin Sulaiman Al-Khalifa, attended the event.

Al-Asheikh toured the two mosques, and was briefed on their construction in the Salmani architectural style, as well as their associated facilities and services.

He said: “Contributing to building and caring for mosques is a good deed that earns people rewards.”

The minister added that the Kingdom, since the era of King Abdulaziz until today under King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has given great importance to mosques.

Al-Asheikh prayed for the reward of those who built the mosques, and for the maintenance of Saudi Arabia’s security and stability.

 


Saudi woman Sondos Jaan set to climb the highest peak in the Arab world

Saudi woman Sondos Jaan set to climb the highest peak in the Arab world
Updated 18 sec ago
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Saudi woman Sondos Jaan set to climb the highest peak in the Arab world

Saudi woman Sondos Jaan set to climb the highest peak in the Arab world
  • Adventurer tackles Mount Toubkal in Morocco

DHAHRAN: Sondos Jaan embarked on the journey to the highest peak in the Arab world on June 20.

It is the latest episode in Jaan’s love for mountain adventures, but to understand the fascination it is important to take a look back at her childhood.

She told Arab News: “I am from Madinah. I was born in a city where I could see a mountain from my bedroom window, and as I walked the streets I would see mountains.”

A picture of Sondos Jaan aged about 5 on the top of a mountain with her father. (Supplied)

Those peaks were an important part of her early childhood. There are pictures of Jaan aged about 5 on the top of mountains. She said: “I call these pictures ‘Sondos between two mountains,’ the real mountain carved in nature, and my father.”

During family camping trips, she would sneak away the moment her family was not paying attention in order to climb a mountain.

HIGHLIGHTS

• For her latest adventure, Sondos Jaan is climbing Morocco’s Mount Toubkal, which is a height of 4,167 meters.

• The climb has two routes: The first takes three days of climbing, and the second takes two days but is more challenging.

She added: “I would hear my father calling me, telling me to stay put and to wait for him. My dear father would come to me and we would then climb together, step by step, him telling me where to place my feet until we reached the summit, and then we would descend together, just the two of us.”

Sondos Jaan from Madinah hopes that young Saudi girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about. (Supplied)

Her father was the first adventurer she knew. He was always prepared, she says, and “his car was always ready for a trip.”

She said: “He would tell me stories when he returned from hunting trips, whether on land or at sea. I would imagine the stories as if he were the hero in one of the animated films I watched. Sometimes he would take me with him, and I felt like I was part of the story.”

Sondos Jaan from Madinah hopes that young Saudi girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about. (Supplied)

Her love for adventure was instilled in her by her father from a very early age. And it seems mountain climbing is in her DNA.

Jaan said: “My father is my primary mountain-climbing coach, and I certainly inherited the spirit of adventure and love for travel, experiences, and camping from him.

Sondos Jaan from Madinah hopes that young Saudi girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about. (Supplied)

“He taught me swimming, horse riding, hunting, fishing, and the basics of camping.”

For her latest adventure, Jaan and a friend are climbing Morocco’s Mount Toubkal, which is a height of 4,167 meters. The climb has two routes: the first takes three days of climbing, and the second takes two days but is more challenging.

A file photo of Sondos Jaan when she was about five years old. (Supplied)

They started the climb early, continuing for about nine to 11 hours, followed by an overnight stay at an elevation of 3,200 meters above sea level.

She believes that elements of nature are instilled within each of us and it is our duty — and a privilege — to find and channel those elements.

She said that climbing to Everest Base Camp was the hardest trek she has yet attempted. It was a two-week journey and she added that she was not able to sleep, eat well or breathe properly due to oxygen deficiency in the two days leading up to arrival at the base camp. However, those were not the main factors behind it being her most difficult climb.

She said: “The (main) reason was simply managing expectations. I was emotional after walking all that time and reaching what was supposed to be the summit for that trip, only to realize it wasn’t even the summit.

“It was the main camp where climbers camp for two months every year before attempting to reach the Everest summit, allowing their bodies to acclimatize to the oxygen deficiency, training, and waiting for the right time to climb the summit.”

The experience taught her a valuable lesson, and she added: “I remember descending and as soon as we settled in one of the tea houses, I cried.

“They asked me why. I said I wanted pizza, crying real tears. The owners of the house tried hard to make pizza for me. I ate one slice and gave the rest to their dog. I reflected on my feelings and asked myself, ‘Why did I act that way?’ And the simple answer was, we didn’t reach the summit, we just saw it up close.”

She considers the thrill of the journey, and not only the destination, to be one worth embracing. She now believes that the feeling of almost giving up happens during every climb; she sees it as a healthy sign.

She added: “It is a reminder that I am human. It is also a reminder that I am capable of doing things that might seem impossible, not because I have superhuman strength, but because I am a human capable of overcoming challenges. This gives me the motivation to complete the climb.”

She believes her latest adventure also serves a greater purpose. Seeing Saudi women participate in various fields, especially sports, helps encourage her to keep striving for the highest heights.

She hopes that young girls reading about her adventures will feel encouraged to take up sports and hobbies they are passionate about, and that her experiences will help to push them to their limits to break stereotypes and barriers along the way.

She is to continue her climb, whether it be a mountain to conquer, or toward the goals of her gender.

For those starting out, she advised: “(You must) start with small, achievable goals and gradually increase the difficulty level. Ensure you have the right gear and training: it’s important to be physically and mentally prepared.

“Join a community or group of climbers for support and motivation. Most importantly, believe in yourself and enjoy the journey.”

 


Migratory birds bring ecological balance to Saudi Arabia’s Northern Borders region

The Aman Environmental Society has launched awareness campaigns and created water basins to support and sustain migratory birds.
The Aman Environmental Society has launched awareness campaigns and created water basins to support and sustain migratory birds.
Updated 31 sec ago
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Migratory birds bring ecological balance to Saudi Arabia’s Northern Borders region

The Aman Environmental Society has launched awareness campaigns and created water basins to support and sustain migratory birds.
  • Nasser Al-Majlad: “They contribute to plant reproduction and diversity through pollination, while also helping to control pests by consuming insects, reducing the need for harmful pesticides in agriculture”

RIYADH: Every year, nearly 300 bird species use Saudi Arabia’s Northern Borders region as a migration path. The area’s diverse landscapes and balanced ecosystem create a natural sanctuary for these avian visitors.

Nasser Al-Majlad, president of the Aman Environmental Society in the Northern Borders region, highlighted the crucial ecological and cultural role played by migratory birds.

FASTFACT

The migratory birds have a positive impact on soil health and ecosystem balance by aiding in soil aeration and seed dispersal near bodies of water.

“They contribute to plant reproduction and diversity through pollination, while also helping to control pests by consuming insects, reducing the need for harmful pesticides in agriculture,” he said.

According to a report by the Saudi Press Agency, Al-Majlad also emphasized the positive impact birds have on soil health and ecosystem balance by aiding in soil aeration and seed dispersal near bodies of water.

NUMBER

300

Every year, nearly 300 bird species use Saudi Arabia’s Northern Borders region as a migration path, Saudi Press Agency reported.

He also stressed the necessity of protecting migratory birds from poaching and environmental problems. The National Center for Wildlife has enacted strict anti-poaching legislation, he noted.

The Aman Environmental Society has launched awareness campaigns and created water basins to support and sustain migratory birds.

 


Saleh Al-Shaibi, senior caretaker of the Kaaba, dies

Saleh Al-Shaibi, senior caretaker of the Kaaba, dies
Updated 22 June 2024
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Saleh Al-Shaibi, senior caretaker of the Kaaba, dies

Saleh Al-Shaibi, senior caretaker of the Kaaba, dies
  • Funeral prayers held after Fajr on Saturday at the Grand Mosque
  • His responsibilities included opening and closing the Kaaba, cleaning, washing, repairing its Kiswa (covering), and welcoming visitors

MAKKAH: Dr. Saleh bin Zain Al-Abidin Al-Shaibi, the senior caretaker of the Kaaba, died in Makkah on Friday evening. Funeral prayers were held after Fajr on Saturday at the Grand Mosque.
Al-Shaibi, who held a doctorate in Islamic studies, was a university professor and an author of several works on creed and history. He was the 77th key holder of the Kaaba since the conquest of Makkah.
His responsibilities included opening and closing the Kaaba, cleaning, washing, repairing its Kiswa (covering), and welcoming visitors. He took over the guardianship after the death of his uncle, Abdulqader Taha Al-Shaibi, in 2013.
His son, Abdulrahman Saleh Al-Shaibi, told Arab News that saying farewell to his father was one of the hardest and saddest moments of his life. He added that the family accepted Allah’s will for a man who was always close to everyone and dedicated his life to serving the family.
He went on to say that his father had been suffering from illness recently but had remained patient and steadfast. The entire community shared in the family’s grief and expressed their sorrow and pain for the loss of the Al-Shaibi family’s pillar.
Al-Shaibi chaired the Department of Creed at Umm Al-Qura University for over two decades. Known for his scholarly approach and love for knowledge, he explored religious and doctrinal issues deeply. An academic at heart, he left a significant and lasting impact.
King Fahd bin Abdulaziz appointed him to the Saudi Shoura Council, and Al-Shaibi served as the deputy to his uncle in the guardianship of the Kaaba until becoming senior caretaker.
His son Abdulrahman added that he had served as his father’s deputy in the guardianship of the Kaaba for five years, after which his cousin Abdulmalik Al-Shaibi had taken over.
He said that his father had wished him to hold the guardianship and the key to the Kaaba after him. However, if this wish is not honored, the guardianship and the key will be handed over to his uncle Abdulwahab Al-Shaibi.
Nizar Al-Shaibi, the cousin of the deceased, told Arab News that it was a sad day for the family. However, the outpouring of love, solidarity, and support from all segments of society, who had rushed to offer their condolences, had helped to ease the burden of their grief.
They had expressed their gratitude for the life of the deceased, who had dedicated his life to the guardianship of the Kaaba and enhancing its reverence.
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque mourned the death of Sheikh Dr. Saleh bin Zain Al-Abidin Al-Shaibi.
It said in a statement: “With hearts content with God’s decree, the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque and all its employees extend their deepest condolences to the family of the deceased, Sheikh Dr. Saleh bin Zain Al-Abidin Al-Shaibi, the senior caretaker of the Holy Kaaba.”
Khaled Al-Husseini, a writer and expert on Makkah’s affairs, expressed his deep sorrow over the death.
Al-Husseini described Al-Shaibi as a man of knowledge and learning, who, alongside his honored role in the guardianship of the Kaaba, was a scholar, academic, and lecturer at Umm Al-Qura University. He had generously shared his knowledge with successive generations which had benefited from his expertise over 20 years.


10th International Yoga Day celebrated in Saudi Arabia

10th International Yoga Day celebrated in Saudi Arabia
Updated 22 June 2024
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10th International Yoga Day celebrated in Saudi Arabia

10th International Yoga Day celebrated in Saudi Arabia
  • A celebration was held at the Prince Faisal Bin Fahad Olympic Complex in collaboration with the Saudi Yoga Committee and the Ministry of Sports
  • A Yogasana (a sport focusing on the physical side of yoga) session was led by the renowned SYC instructor Alhanouf Saad

JEDDAH: June 21 was the International Day of Yoga. This year’s edition, the 10th, was held under the theme “Yoga for Self and Society,” emphasizing the importance of a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.
To mark the occasion in Riyadh, a celebration was held at the Prince Faisal Bin Fahad Olympic Complex in collaboration with the Saudi Yoga Committee and the Ministry of Sports of Saudi Arabia. India’s Ambassador to the Kingdom Dr. Suhel Ajaz Khan; Nouf Al-Marwaai, president of the Saudi Yoga Committee and Padma Shri Awardee; and Rajashree Choudhary, president of the International Yoga Sports Federation, were among those in attendance.
A Yogasana (a sport focusing on the physical side of yoga) session was led by the renowned SYC instructor Alhanouf Saad.
Al-Marwaai said: “It is with great joy and pride that we welcome all to the 10th International Yoga Day celebration here in Saudi Arabia. Today marks a significant milestone in our journey of promoting health, harmony and peace through yoga.
“Yoga has grown in Saudi Arabia and it is becoming a phenomenon embraced by thousands for its profound benefits to the mind, body and spirit,” she added.
Emphasizing the importance of the inclusion of yoga in daily life in Saudi Arabia, Choudhary — who is visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time — told Arab News that she feels happy that, over the past few years, Saudi Arabia has witnessed a surge in the popularity of yoga.
“I was following Saudis’ acceptance of yoga because Nouf Al-Marwaai’s contribution to yoga in Saudi Arabia is well-known. We were following each other because we had the same dreams and difficulties. She took the initiative to bring me to Saudi Arabia and I am here as a guest of the Ministry of Sports. I participated in the 10th International Day of Yoga and experienced an enormous love of yoga. This year’s theme, ‘Yoga for Self and Society’ perfectly exemplifies the growth of yoga today in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
She added: “I am glad that I am here and I will stand for women’s and children’s empowerment. I am sure that Vision 2030 in Saudi Arabia will bring more positive change and will empower the younger generation.”
Regarding the IYSF’s upcoming cooperation with the SYC, she said: “IYSF is working with several yoga federations around the world to develop Yogasana into an official Olympic sport. Increased awareness will encourage existing practitioners to sharpen their skills through training, dedication, and devotion, and will inspire new practitioners.
“The IYSF aims to govern this organization with the sole mission of promoting, unifying, and increasing interest in Yogasana globally. The SYC is definitely a member of our federation and active in our programs,” she added.
As part of the International Day of Yoga celebrations, the Indian Embassy in Riyadh also organized a seminar on June 20, in collaboration with the SYC and the Ministry of Sports.
The event featured screenings of documentaries on the history of yoga and the International Day of Yoga.
In December 2014, the UN designated June 21 as the International Day of Yoga to promote global awareness of the benefits of yoga practice.


Saudi Arabia shines at Beijing book fair

Saudi Arabia shines at Beijing book fair
Updated 22 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia shines at Beijing book fair

Saudi Arabia shines at Beijing book fair
  • The award aims to foster cultural cooperation and exchange between the two nations
  • A cultural seminar introducing the award was held on the sidelines of the five-day fair

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has taken center stage as guest of honor at the Beijing International Book Fair, with the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Award for Cultural Cooperation between the Kingdom and China a highlight of the event.
The award, launched in March by the Saudi Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Farhan, aims to foster cultural cooperation and exchange between the two nations. It is divided into two categories: the cultural elite and the youth, and covers various cultural and creative fields.
A cultural seminar introducing the award was held on the sidelines of the five-day fair, which ends on Sunday. Abdul Mohsen bin Salem Al-Aqeeli, secretary-general of the award, and Fu Ji Min, dean of the faculty of languages at Peking University, took part in the seminar.
According to a statement, the award is founded on the values of openness, cultural exchange, diversity, and conscious understanding of human commonalities, and aims to invest in the rich human, symbolic, and material heritage that both countries possess.
The nomination process for the award has begun, and candidates are encouraged to apply.
The Saudi pavilion at the book fair featured a five-day cultural program, including seminars, panel discussions, displays of books, manuscripts, and archaeological artifacts, live traditional performances, and a special Saudi dinner night.
More than 1,600 exhibitors from 71 countries and regions took part in the fair, which showcased 220,000 Chinese and foreign publications.
The Beijing International Book Fair, launched in 1986, and organized by the China National Publications Import and Export Corporation, is believed to be the second-largest book fair globally, behind Frankfurt.