Pilgrims in ‘sublime act of complete surrender’

Pilgrims in ‘sublime act of complete surrender’
Updated 05 October 2014

Pilgrims in ‘sublime act of complete surrender’

Pilgrims in ‘sublime act of complete surrender’

The Mount of Mercy or Jabal Al-Rahma is the place where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), delivered his all-encompassing farewell sermon 1,425 years ago, which still serves as the guiding light for Muslims and humankind.
Jabal Al-Rahma is a granite hill. At its 70-meter peak is a platform, in the center of which is a white pillar that can be seen from afar. The hill has a cluster of boulders with deep crevices in it, with some perched quite precariously. Many have been artificially reinforced and supported by iron rods.
On the Day of Arafat on Friday, it was as if the hill itself was draped in white as thousands in their ihrams climbed up to be as close as possible to the pillar. This dramatic scene, of this moving sea of humanity, was among the highlights of Arab News' coverage.
The mount was ringed by very polite security forces officers who had earmarked entry and exit points to control the flow of pilgrims.
Pilgrims were reciting verses from the Holy Qur'an with tears rolling down their cheeks, or had their arms stretched out in prayers and supplications. Others, apparently tired from their long journey, slept with their prayer beads in their hands.
At the foot of the Jabal Al-Rahma, the government has erected big billboards stating that the Prophet (pbuh) did not climb it and pilgrims therefore do not need to do so. Some pilgrims had scribbled the names of their loved ones on the rocks and the white pillar. The instructions clearly state that this should not be done. The instructions are in many languages, including English.
The scenes at Jabal Al-Rahma were indescribable and moving, especially of fragile old women struggling to climb the mount. An elderly Moroccan pilgrim, Fatima Jalloul, her face deeply furrowed, told Arab News: "I want to take memories of this place and share them with my grandchildren. I am storing all these images in my mind."
For Jalloul, performing the Haj is a dream come true. "In Morocco, the pilgrims are selected by drawing lots. I was among the lucky ones to be here. You cannot imagine my happiness," she said with a wide angelic smile.
When it comes to describing the scene at Arafat, no one has done better than Lady Evelyn Cobbold, the Englishwoman who became a Muslim and took the name of Zainab. Every year, Haj reporters recall her words to describe the standing at Arafat, or wuqoof in Arabic.
"It would require a master pen to describe the scene, poignant in its intensity, of that great concourse of humanity of which I was one small unit, completely lost to their surroundings in a fervor of religious enthusiasm,” she wrote in her Haj journal decades ago. “Many of the pilgrims had tears streaming down their cheeks; others raised their faces to the sky that had witnessed this drama so often in the past centuries. The shining eyes, the passionate appeals, the pitiful hands outstretched in prayer moved me in a way that nothing had ever done before, and I felt caught up in a strong wave of spiritual exaltation. I was one with the rest of the pilgrims in a sublime act of complete surrender to the Supreme Will which is Islam.”


Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister receives Pakistan army chief

Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister receives Pakistan army chief
Updated 4 min 16 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister receives Pakistan army chief

Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister receives Pakistan army chief

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, received Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Prince Khalid said in a Tweet, early on Friday, that the pair had discussed “defense relations and affirm our two countries’ goal to preserve regional peace and stability.”

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will begin a three-day visit to the Kingdom on Friday.
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are expected to sign a landmark climate deal during the visit, according to Pakistan’s climate minister.
In meetings with the Saudi leadership, Khan will cover all areas of bilateral cooperation including economics, trade, investment, environment, energy, job opportunities for the Pakistani workforce, and the welfare of the diaspora in the Kingdom.


Hundreds of volunteers serve worshippers at Makkah’s Grand Mosque as Ramadan nears end

Hundreds of volunteers serve worshippers at Makkah’s Grand Mosque as Ramadan nears end
Updated 37 min 29 sec ago

Hundreds of volunteers serve worshippers at Makkah’s Grand Mosque as Ramadan nears end

Hundreds of volunteers serve worshippers at Makkah’s Grand Mosque as Ramadan nears end

JEDDAH: The culture of volunteer work is an important part of Muslim society throughout the year but especially during Ramadan. This is a time of deep faith during which positive behavior and selfless acts are encouraged.

Nowhere is this more evident during the holy month than in the halls of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, where volunteers from the public and private sectors and charities work tirelessly to maintain it and serve pilgrims from around the world.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, represented by the General Administration for the Coordination of Voluntary Work, said it has been working to recruit these volunteers and provide them and staff at the mosque with the training they need to ensure that their work is carried out in accordance with all the precautions that are in place protect the health and safety of pilgrims.

It has made efforts to spread the culture of volunteer work, improve its effectiveness and increase volunteer opportunities by adopting the latest methods and best supportive practices. By the beginning of Ramadan, 132 volunteers were working at the mosque each day.

The presidency said that some of the most important volunteer activities include helping elderly and disabled people to move through the mosque, organizing prayer rooms and corridors, monitoring security cameras at the entrances, and ensuring that social distancing rules are followed.

The Saudi Red Crescent Authority has also stepped up its voluntary activities during Ramadan, and has deployed throughout the mosque medical and emergency teams equipped with the latest medical equipment and supplies.

The authority revealed that 500 of its volunteers are working at the mosque during Ramadan, and added that during the last 10 days of the holy month it aims to increase the number of hours of voluntary work. It also provides buses to transport volunteers from Jeddah and within Makkah to the Grand Mosque.


PM Imran Khan on Saudi-Pakistan ties: ‘Our relationship is marked by close cooperation in all fields’

PM Imran Khan on Saudi-Pakistan ties: ‘Our relationship is marked by close cooperation in all fields’
Updated 07 May 2021

PM Imran Khan on Saudi-Pakistan ties: ‘Our relationship is marked by close cooperation in all fields’

PM Imran Khan on Saudi-Pakistan ties: ‘Our relationship is marked by close cooperation in all fields’
  • We share a history of cordial relations with Saudi Arabia: Imran Khan

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have long-standing and historic fraternal relations, rooted deep in common faith, shared history and mutual support.
The people of Pakistan hold the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in the highest esteem. Our relationship is marked by close cooperation in all fields and we look forward to further strengthen this equation especially our economic ties for our mutual benefit.
Being home to the two holiest cities for the Muslims across the world, Saudi Arabia has a key role in unifying the Muslim Ummah.
Pakistan highly values this role that Saudi Arabia has consistently been playing. One of the key challenges faced by Muslims today is Islamophobia.
It is imperative that the Muslim world takes a united stance against the rising tide of Islamophobia and we all make concerted efforts to sensitize the West about our deep respect for our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and our sensitivities about our religion being linked with terrorism.
I take this opportunity to appreciate various landmark initiatives taken by the visionary leadership of Saudi Arabia. One that requires a special mention is One that requires a special mention is “Saudi Green Initiative” and “Green Middle East Initiative.”
The threat that climate change poses to this planet and our region is real and it is high time for action. Pakistan has already initiated “Clean and Green Pakistan” and “Ten Billion Tree Tsunami.”
We believe that our priorities and goals in this regard are aligned and we can therefore learn a lot by sharing experiences. Pakistan will extend every possible support toward the success of the Green Initiative.
I look forward to my visit to Saudi Arabia and hope my interaction with the Saudi leadership will further strengthen our bilateral relations and will open further avenues for building a strong economic partnership as well as promoting people to people contacts.
I take this opportunity to pay my best regards to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the royal family and the great people of Saudi Arabia.
Long live Pak-Saudi friendship!

• Imran Khan is the prime minister of Pakistan.


The ancient caravan route between Taif and Makkah

The ancient caravan route between Taif and Makkah
Updated 07 May 2021

The ancient caravan route between Taif and Makkah

The ancient caravan route between Taif and Makkah
  • Hussein bin Salameh ordered the construction of two paths — one for camels and one for pedestrians — to facilitate the exchange and trade of goods in the Kingdom.

JEDDAH: The ancient stone road known as the “caravan route” linking Taif and Makkah is a cultural legacy of great historical value. It was constructed more than 1,000 years ago and was used regularly by pedestrians up to the 1960s.

At the time the road was built, movement between Taif and Makkah was restricted by Al-Qarah Mountain, researcher Hammad Al-Salimi explained. So Hussein bin Salameh ordered the construction of two paths — one for camels and one for pedestrians — to facilitate the exchange and trade of goods in the Kingdom.

The winding road made it possible to cross the mountain and was a remarkable feat of engineering, considering the limited technology available at the time of its creation.

“The roads were paved with stones, which made them resemble staircases winding between the top of the mountain in Al-Hada, the Karr below Al-Qarah Mountain, Shaddad and then Wadi Noman,” Al-Salimi said, adding that a third road, for cars, was built in the mid-1960s, during the reign of King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud.

Al-Salimi said that the two original paths are “important monuments, which should be preserved and maintained because they are part of the Al-Qarah Mountain system and complement the beautiful image of this mountain.”

Historian and writer Saleh Al-Judi explained that — before cars were common in the Kingdom — people would use the route to travel between the two cities, a journey taking around three days. The passage through the mountain, he said, is around six kilometers. In the middle of the route, he added, is a well-known site called Al-Rukb.

He said the route is mentioned in histories from the fifth Hijri century (1009-1106 CE), which say that it had room for pedestrians and animals alike. Al-Qathami stressed the importance of preserving the road as an historical landmark, as it is an important artery linking Taif and Makkah.


Saudi leaders send condolences to Algerian president over flood victims

Saudi leaders send condolences to Algerian president over flood victims
Updated 06 May 2021

Saudi leaders send condolences to Algerian president over flood victims

Saudi leaders send condolences to Algerian president over flood victims

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Thursday sent a cable of condolences and sympathy to Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune for those killed in torrential rains and floods that hit several Algerian states.
The king said: “We learned of the news of the torrential rains and floods in several Algerian states, and the resulting deaths, and we send to Your Excellency, the families of the deceased, and the Algerian people our warmest condolences and the most sincere sympathy,” Saudi Press Agency reported.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to the Algerian president.RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Thursday sent a cable of condolences and sympathy to Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune for those killed in torrential rains and floods that hit several Algerian states.
The king said: “We learned of the news of the torrential rains and floods in several Algerian states, and the resulting deaths, and we send to Your Excellency, the families of the deceased, and the Algerian people our warmest condolences and the most sincere sympathy,” Saudi Press Agency reported.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to the Algerian president.