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

Saleh Al-Shaibi, senior caretaker of the Kaaba, dies
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. (Supplied)
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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.


Saudi Real Estate Registry clinches prestigious Esri GIS Award

Saudi Real Estate Registry clinches prestigious Esri GIS Award
Updated 22 July 2024
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Saudi Real Estate Registry clinches prestigious Esri GIS Award

Saudi Real Estate Registry clinches prestigious Esri GIS Award
  • Accolade, awarded at the international Esri User Conference in the US, recognizes the registry’s innovative application of geographic information system technology
  • RER CEO Mohammed Al-Sulaiman: It supports our vision of creating a comprehensive real estate registry for all property data and information in the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Saudi Real Estate Registry has been honored with the 2024 Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award, presented by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri), the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The accolade, awarded at the international Esri User Conference in the US, recognizes the registry’s innovative application of geographic information system technology.

According to the SPA, Mohammed Al-Sulaiman, CEO of the Saudi Real Estate Registry, received the award from Esri CEO Jack Dangermond, highlighting the organization’s exceptional use of spatial technologies and AI-supported geospatial data predictive analysis. The registry has developed a detailed geospatial map of Saudi Arabia’s real estate using ArcGIS and Esri technologies.

“This award confirms our world-class implementation of GIS technologies,” Al-Sulaiman said. “It supports our vision of creating a comprehensive real estate registry for all property data and information in the Kingdom, with geospatial surveying as the foundation for property registration.”

Since its inception, the Real Estate Registry has employed a range of advanced technologies in executing geospatial operations, including drones, digital geospatial solutions and systems, remote sensing, AI and satellite-based GPS, the SPA reported.

The registry aims to produce a reliable and updated real estate map, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, covering more than 100,000 sq. km of urban areas, encompassing 8 million plots and generating 5,000 terabytes of data.

Al-Sulaiman said that the initiative will enhance transparency and reliability in the real estate sector, ensuring its sustainability, and boosting its investment appeal and contribution to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product, in line with the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.


Last group of Hajj pilgrims leaves via Madinah airport

Hajj pilgrims depart from Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport on Sunday evening. (SPA)
Hajj pilgrims depart from Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport on Sunday evening. (SPA)
Updated 22 July 2024
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Last group of Hajj pilgrims leaves via Madinah airport

Hajj pilgrims depart from Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport on Sunday evening. (SPA)
  • 320 pilgrims departed the holy city for Kertajati, Indonesia and a farewell ceremony was held for them by Saudia

RIYADH: The last group of Hajj pilgrims left the Kingdom via Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport on Sunday evening.

320 pilgrims departed the holy city for Kertajati, Indonesia and a farewell ceremony was held for them by Saudia, concluding its operations for Hajj 2024.

Saudia flights provided quality services to enhance the Hajj experience of pilgrims this year, including various educational programs in different languages, Saudi Press Agency reported.


Jeddah’s Historic District celebrates 10 years on UNESCO World Heritage List

Jeddah’s Historic District celebrates 10 years on UNESCO World Heritage List
Updated 22 July 2024
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Jeddah’s Historic District celebrates 10 years on UNESCO World Heritage List

Jeddah’s Historic District celebrates 10 years on UNESCO World Heritage List

JEDDAH: The Jeddah Historic District Program celebrated the 10th anniversary of the district’s inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The district was inscribed on the list in 2014 in recognition of its outstanding universal value.

According to a statement, the program oversaw the regeneration and preservation of the district’s cultural and urban heritage, transforming it into a global destination aligned with Saudi Vision 2030.

Historic Jeddah spans an area of 2.5 sq. km along the Red Sea coast. Serving as a major port for pilgrims arriving in Makkah and a hub for global trade routes between Asia and Africa since the 7th century, the district has been a center of cultural and economic exchange for centuries.

According to UNESCO’s criteria for inscribing the Historic Jeddah district on the World Heritage List, the area fulfills three key requirements — representing an important interchange of human values over time, being an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural ensemble, and being directly associated with events, living traditions, or artistic works of outstanding universal significance.

Facing numerous challenges, such as the need to save dilapidated buildings and improve infrastructure while preserving the area’s historical and cultural character, the program has implemented various projects within the framework of the regeneration plan. These efforts have enriched the visitor experience and enhanced the district as an attractive tourist destination, according to the statement.

The Jeddah Historic District Program has established four main pillars for the district’s restoration efforts: intangible cultural heritage, archaeology and excavation (the wall and historic gates), urban fabric (markets, squares, and streets), and historic buildings (houses, mosques, and endowments).

The program has also set standards for the preservation of the area’s heritage, including the use of traditional materials and the maintenance of original building heights.


Madinah Book Fair commences on July 30

Madinah Book Fair commences on July 30
Updated 22 July 2024
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Madinah Book Fair commences on July 30

Madinah Book Fair commences on July 30

Jeddah: The third Madinah Book Fair will take place from July 30 to Aug. 5, the Literature, Publishing, and Translation Commission announced on Monday.

The Saudi Press Agency reported that the event promises to be a cultural extravaganza, featuring over 300 Arab and international publishing houses and agencies spread across more than 200 booths.

Mohammed Hasan Alwan, CEO of the commission, emphasized the significance of the fair, highlighting the continuous support the cultural sector receives.

He said the event showcases the cultural importance of Madinah and its role in enhancing the artistic movement and the Kingdom’s growing status in the publishing industry.

The fair has become an annual event, attracting thousands of visitors from all walks of life.

Alwan explained that the commission has ensured the latest edition provides a rich and integrated knowledge experience for visitors of all ages, building on the remarkable successes of previous fairs.

According to SPA, the Madinah Book Fair aims to be a cultural platform that encourages the community to take an interest in reading, highlighting the talents of Saudi writers and creators while attracting prominent writers and publishers from the Kingdom, the region, and the world.

The fair will feature cultural and intellectual activities aimed at enriching the cultural sector and knowledge production, promoting a reading culture.

A significant area is dedicated to children, offering educational and skill-based activities and workshops that boost children’s creative abilities.

The Madinah Book Fair announced the start of visitor registration for free entry tickets through the Discover Culture platform at: ‏https://dc.moc.gov.sa/home/ar/event-tickets/379/almadinah-book-fair-2024/


Saudi, North Macedonia to strengthen Islamic affairs cooperation

Saudi, North Macedonia to strengthen Islamic affairs cooperation
Updated 22 July 2024
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Saudi, North Macedonia to strengthen Islamic affairs cooperation

Saudi, North Macedonia to strengthen Islamic affairs cooperation
  • The pact was inked by Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Albania Faisal bin Ghazi Hefzi and representatives of the Presidency of the Islamic Union of North Macedonia

RIYADH: The Kingdom and North Macedonia have signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation on Islamic affairs, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

The pact was inked by Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Albania Faisal bin Ghazi Hefzi and representatives of the Presidency of the Islamic Union of North Macedonia.

Hefzi also serves as non-resident ambassador to North Macedonia, and was representing the Kingdom’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance.

In a press statement after the signing ceremony, Hefzi said the Kingdom supports all efforts to ensure peace and prosperity for Muslims worldwide.

The signing ceremony took place on Sunday in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, and was attended by various government representatives.