Pilgrims in submission at high point of Haj

Pilgrims in submission at high point of Haj
Updated 06 October 2014

Pilgrims in submission at high point of Haj

Pilgrims in submission at high point of Haj

More than two million pilgrims performed the most important rite of Haj on Friday as they stood in prayer from dawn to dusk on the plains of Arafat, 15 km east of Makkah.
A white sea of the faithful surged to Mount Arafat as dawn broke on the second leg of the five-day pilgrimage. Waves of men in seamless white robes and veiled women in long dresses raised their voices to a crescendo, chanting Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik (Here I am O God, answering your call).
On behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, arrived in Mina to supervise services for the pilgrims at the holy sites on Friday.
King Abdullah received a telephone call from Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani congratulating him on Eid Al-Adha. King Abdullah also received similar calls from King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain and Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber.
Makkah Gov. Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah, chairman of the Supreme Haj Committee, was in the front row of Masjid Al-Namira when Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh delivered the Haj sermon. The massive mosque was overflowing with pilgrims.
The grand mufti said Islam was the religion of humanity, with a perfect constitution aimed at bringing people together.
Al-Asheikh lashed out at people using Islam to further their violent and extremist agendas. He said these people cannot be considered Muslims.
“We have been tried with people who shed the blood of innocent people and tarnish the image of Islam. They are in fact the Khawarij whom the Prophet (peace be upon him) referred to,” the sheikh said.
The sheikh said that Muslims must stand together and work to help each other, particularly in protecting moral values. He said Islam's enemies are preparing to attack Muslims on all fronts, including their security, faith, strength and intellect.
He urged the GCC to bury their differences. “The Gulf Cooperation Council has gone forward in a remarkable way but need to cooperate to ensure the dignity and stability of the ummah.” He said that Muslims have the responsibility to do everything they can to avoid division and ensure the security of the community at large. “The media has a crucial role to play in disseminating Islamic teachings that could provide solutions facing Muslims today.”
Meanwhile, Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar said that the Haj has gone smoothly so far. “To manage such a large number of people coming from more than 140 countries and speaking 100 different languages is quite an achievement,” he said.
Thousands of police were stationed along the routes to Arafat with helicopters hovering overhead. Many faithful carried umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. The government has installed thousands of water sprinklers to cool pilgrims, although the weather was moderate.
Many pilgrims interviewed praised the government for their organization. Others said they were simply happy to be in the Kingdom to perform the pilgrimage.
Saleh Al-Owaili, a young Saudi from Najran, said he was performing the pilgrimage for the second time. “I feel blessed to be part of this grand gathering of Muslims,” he said. “I am taking comfort in the fact that Allah answers our prayers on these days from this place.”
He said one should never forget the main principles of Islam. “Islam is based on tolerance and forgiveness,” he told Arab News. He was part of a large contingent of Saudi pilgrims from all over the Kingdom.
Adam Ali from Chad said he was performing Haj for the second time and his wife, Naeemat, the first time. “We are extremely happy to have fulfilled the most important pillar of Islam,” said Ali.
Ahmad Abdul Hadi, from Khartoum, Sudan, said he was surprised by the huge numbers of people and the hot weather. “I am happy, yes. There are too many people here,” he said.
Pakistani pilgrim Mohammad Abbasi said performing Haj was a great experience. “It is an opportunity that people dream of all the time,” he said.
Abbasi, a father of seven, said he prayed for his parents, his country, his relatives and the Muslim Ummah. “May Allah awaken the Muslim masses and shower his choicest blessings on our community,” he said.
Standing at Mount Arafat in prayer before sunset on Dhul Hijjah 9 is the high point of the Haj. The pilgrims who fail to make it on time must repeat the journey.
The pilgrims left Arafat after sunset, moving to Muzdalifah where they will spend the night following in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). They will collect pebbles to stone the Jamarat in Mina at dawn on Saturday, the symbolic stoning of the devil.


Pakistan keen on greater economic interaction with Saudi Arabia: Pakistan president

Pakistan keen on greater economic interaction with Saudi Arabia: Pakistan president
Updated 52 min 22 sec ago

Pakistan keen on greater economic interaction with Saudi Arabia: Pakistan president

Pakistan keen on greater economic interaction with Saudi Arabia: Pakistan president
  • Strong relationship gains its strength from common religious and cultural values

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have always enjoyed cordial relations.
This strong relationship has been nurtured by successive generations of leadership on both sides and gains its strength from common religious and cultural values and a shared desire for international peace and global development.
Saudi Arabia is held in great reverence by the people of Pakistan and there exists a deep affiliation with the Kingdom, as it is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
There also exists a complete synergy for shared development between the two countries. Pakistani engineers, construction experts and labor have played a leading role in building the infrastructure of modern Saudi Arabia.
Similarly, Pakistani doctors, bankers, entrepreneurs, academics and financial experts have played a premier role in developing the institutional infrastructure of Saudi Arabia.
The visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Pakistan in early 2019 ushered in a new area of economic cooperation.
We wish to have greater economic interaction with Saudi Arabia and also look for enhanced trade between the two countries. I am sure the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia will open further avenues of mutual cooperation and broaden understanding on issues of mutual interest.
Pakistan looks forward to the further strengthening of strategic cooperation, trade and investment.
It also looks for cooperation against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has become a major challenge for the world including Muslim countries.
Long live the Pakistan-Saudi friendship!

• Dr. Arif Alvi is the president of Pakistan.


Pakistan and Saudi Arabia together ‘can play key role in countering Islamophobia globally’

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia together ‘can play key role in countering Islamophobia globally’
Updated 49 min 15 sec ago

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia together ‘can play key role in countering Islamophobia globally’

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia together ‘can play key role in countering Islamophobia globally’

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan enjoy strong fraternal relations, rooted in shared Islamic heritage and traditions.
Pakistanis have a special regard for the Kingdom due to its position as the custodian of Islam’s holiest places, whilst political, economic and military ties are also robust.
Islamabad supports Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030, which is a strategic framework to harness the strengths and potential of the Kingdom for a great future.
The Saudi Green Initiative is an important initiative aligned with our mutual pledge to counter climate change.
Pakistan would be happy to share experience, knowledge, and lessons from our own Clean Green Pakistan initiative, which is a notable success story.
Both countries share a common desire to uphold and promote Islamic solidarity and I am confident that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia together can play a significant role in countering the rising menace of Islamophobia.
Pakistan looks forward to further strengthening and diversifying our ties in mutually beneficial areas, especially in the media, as it is an important tool to promote our shared cultural and societal values.


• Fawad Chaudhry is federal minister of information and broadcasting.


Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to sign climate deal during Imran Khan’s visit

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to sign climate deal during Imran Khan’s visit
Updated 07 May 2021

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to sign climate deal during Imran Khan’s visit

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to sign climate deal during Imran Khan’s visit
  • Khan said that Pakistan would be happy to share its knowledge and experience of climate change initiatives with the Kingdom

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s climate minister on Thursday said his country and Saudi Arabia will sign a landmark climate deal on Friday during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the Kingdom.
Khan will embark on a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday at the invitation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
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.
In a letter to the crown prince in March, Khan said while Pakistan and Saudi Arabia already maintain close cooperation on climate-change issues at multilateral forums, “a meaningful and structured bilateral engagement can help advance our shared vision and create mutually beneficial opportunities for partnership.”
Khan added that Pakistan would be happy to share its knowledge and experience of climate change initiatives with the Kingdom.
“Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are all set to sign a landmark green deal which will lay the grounds for a sustained collaboration,” Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam told Arab News from Riyadh.
“The memorandum of understanding (MoU) to be signed in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will actually be a marriage of two overlapping green visions put forward separately by the two leaders which represent the aspirations of a young populace across the two friendly countries.”
The crown prince last month called the leaders of Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq and Sudan to discuss a massive regional tree-planting project.
The Saudi Green Initiative is part of the crown prince’s Vision 2030 plan to reduce its reliance on oil revenues and improve quality of life.
The ambitious initiative, unveiled at the end of March, will see Saudi Arabia planting 10 billion trees in the coming decades and working with other Arab states to plant another 40 billion, reduce carbon emissions, and combat pollution and land degradation.
According to a copy of the Pakistani-Saudi green agreement seen by Arab News, its aim is to help the two nations “meet their aspirations to consolidate the basis of the joint work in the various fields of environmental protection and preservation and control of its pollution, so as to meet the needs of present and future generations, in order to achieve sustainable development in both countries.”
The two nations will exchange opinions, information, experiences, documents, studies and publications in the fields that fall within the framework of the MoU.
Aslam said the deal will include setting future targets for the use of clean, renewable energy, and the expansion of national parks and protected areas, with the employment of young people in a National Parks Service.
The agreement said the countries will, according to available resources, bear the financial costs of implementing their respective obligations mentioned in the MoU unless otherwise agreed.
“The duration of this MoU is five years, automatically renewable for similar periods unless one party notifies the other, in writing and through diplomatic channels, of its intention not to renew or terminate the MoU,” the draft said. “Such notice should be given at least six months before the date the MoU ends.”
During Khan’s Saudi visit, “the two sides will also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest,” Pakistan’s Foreign office said in a statement. “A number of bilateral agreements / MoUs are expected to be signed during the visit.”
Khan will also meet the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the secretary-general of the World Muslim League, and the imams of the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah. Khan “will also interact with the Pakistani diaspora in Jeddah,” the Foreign Office said.
Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa is already in Riyadh. On Wednesday, he discussed defense cooperation with Lt. Gen. Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, the Saudi military chief of staff.
During the meeting with Al-Ruwaili, Bajwa emphasized the need to further enhance military cooperation between the two nations in the interests of regional peace and security.


Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister receives Pakistan army chief

Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister receives Pakistan army chief
Updated 07 May 2021

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 07 May 2021

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.