Hajj through history: A 1,400-year spiritual odyssey

August 19, 2018

Comparing a pilgrim’s Hajj journey in the past with today, the hardships have been greatly reduced as the advancements of the Saudi government in technology, logistics, hospitality, and security have considerably eased the burdens on pilgrims and their families. (Supplied)

Comparing a pilgrim’s Hajj journey in the past with today, the hardships have been greatly reduced as the advancements of the Saudi government in technology, logistics, hospitality, and security have considerably eased the burdens on pilgrims and their families. (Supplied)

  • The railway was built on the order of the Ottoman Empire, financed by Deutsche Bank, and strongly supported by the then-German Empire
  • Modern transportation in the form of aircraft effectively began after World War II, with the Kingdom establishing the Arabian Transport Company in 1946

JEDDAH: The annual Muslim pilgrimage of Hajj is an Islamic practice more than 1,400 years old that holds an incomparable spiritual value for Muslims when performed during their lifetime.
It is one of the five pillars of Islam, and a journey that every Muslim must embark on at least once in their lifetime (so long as they are financially and physically able). It is a physically taxing five-day voyage that begins in Makkah, and has pilgrims trekking more than 50 kilometers by foot. Comparing a pilgrim’s Hajj journey in the past with today, the hardships have been greatly reduced as the advancements of the Saudi government in technology, logistics, hospitality, and security have considerably eased the burdens on pilgrims and their families.

Rocky road for pilgrims
Before the Saudi state was founded and the current monarchy formed, the Arabian Peninsula consisted of many small tribes and sheikhdom-governed territories. This frequently led to constant states of chaos and instability within the region, and often the most prone to this violence were often defenseless Hajj pilgrims making their way through unfamiliar territories. At the turn of the 19th century, the security conditions en route to Makkah were unforgiving. When pilgrim began their Hajj journey, most had full knowledge that they were indeed risking their very lives while leaving worried families behind, putting their faith to the ultimate test.
Nomadic Bedouin tribes would often attack convoys, pillaging vital food and supplies. Those who resisted would often pay the ultimate price. Others would be left with insufficient supplies to stay properly hydrated. The unforgiving weather conditions would naturally claim additional casualties.
The beginning of the 20th century saw additional advancements in transit methods with the Hejaz Railway opening in 1908, running from Damascus to Madinah.
The railway was built on the order of the Ottoman Empire, financed by Deutsche Bank, and strongly supported by the then-German Empire. Seemingly from one Hajj season to the next, a pilgrim’s journey to Makkah was now drastically reduced from weeks by steamboat to only four days by train.

King ushers in era of security
By the late 1920s King Abdul Aziz, Saudi Arabia’s founder-to-be, was consolidating his power having overrun most of the central Arabian Peninsula. After capturing the holy city of Makkah in 1925 from Sharif Hussein, he ended more than 700 years of Hashemite rule. Prominent figures from Makkah, Madinah, and Jeddah now acknowledged King Abdul Aziz as the King of Hejaz. Najd was soon elevated to a monarchy as well in 1927, and for the next five years King Abdul Aziz ran a dual Kingdom of Hejaz and Najd, operating them as separate territories but both firmly under his control. In 1929, King Abdul Aziz would formally unite Hejaz and Najd into what we now recognize as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in 1932.
Not long after that, oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1938 by American geologists working for the Standard Oil Company partnered with Saudi officials. King Abdul Aziz’s tremendous influence over the region had increased exponentially. Rather than use this tremendous power to conquer additional territories, King Abdul Aziz used this heavy influence to promote peace and stability across his newfound Kingdom, forcing Bedouins to abandon intertribal conflicts that frequently involved Hajj pilgrims. For King Abdul Aziz, establishing the safety and security of Hajj pilgrims was of paramount importance.
Modern transportation in the form of aircraft effectively began after World War II, with the Kingdom establishing the Arabian Transport Company in 1946 and the Bakhashab Transport Company in 1948. Although the first official air transit contract for Hajj pilgrims was established between the Saudi government and Misr Airlines of Egypt in 1937, the airline frequently experienced engine trouble that disrupted the transport flow of pilgrims. This, coinciding with the impending WWII from 1939 to 1945, had Hajj pilgrim numbers decrease greatly. Once the war ended, though, traveling by plane proved highly effective for the pilgrims. By 1950, the use of camels as a means of transport during Hajj virtually ended.

Comfort, guidance for all
Today’s Hajj pilgrimage, in many ways, bears little resemblance to its early 20th-century counterpart. Aircraft have, for the most part, replaced sea and rail travel, and in doing so, have transformed Hajj from a months-long multi-site journey into a much more rapid, safe, and fairly direct voyage to Makkah.


Today, the Makkah Metro is expected to shuttle more than 350,000 pilgrims from Mina to Arafat and back to Mina. That is more than two million pilgrims every day. There are electronic maps equipped with multiple languages to accommodate the diversity of pilgrims, and water supply has improved considerably, as well as waste management, with more than 36,000 restrooms readily available. Thousands of government security officials, emergency services, and volunteers constantly guide pilgrims at every stage of their journey.
New medical equipment is regularly updated to adapt to the wide range of illnesses and changing environmental factors. Free medical care is provided with more than 100 ICU ambulances, each equipped with a physician, a nurse, and the latest technology on board.

While many aspects of Hajj have evolved with the times, some traditions have stood the test of time. Pilgrims used to pray on open fields on their Hajj journey, and likewise today, people do not hesitate to pray on the open path. The means of transport may have changed but the commitment to the punctuality of prayer has always endured. While larger in numbers, and many tents are now equipped with air-conditioning, Saudi Arabia has maintained this aspect of Islamic heritage. During Hajj, the “Kiswa,” made of pure silk with gold and silver threads that drape over the Kaaba, is annually replaced and folded up about 10 feet to protect it from harsh weather conditions, as well as overcrowding during the peak days of Hajj. To this day, this practice is maintained to prevent the cover of Kaaba from suffering any damage.
Throughout the 20th century, and still to this day, Makkah is constantly going through changes. The biggest is the expansion of the Holy Mosque itself, but many advancements have been made in the form of logistics, hospitality, security, and medical care. Some traditions and methods, however, have remained the same. A balance of tradition and progression that has the Saudi government recognizing Islamic customs while taking into consideration pilgrims’ primary needs of safety and security.

This article was first published in  ARAB NEWS

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  ARAB NEWS’ Home

am

Hajj 2018: More than 2 million pilgrims begin journey of a lifetime

August 19, 2018

Muslim pilgrims walk on a street in the holy city of Makkah on August 18, 2018, ahead of the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE)

A man pushes the wheelchair of a fellow pilgrim in a street in Makkah on August 18, 2018, ahead of the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE)
A pilgrim is pushed in a wheelchair on their way to offer prayers in the Grand Mosque in Makkah Aug. 18, 2018, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
A pilgrim is pushed in a wheelchair on their way to offer prayers in the Grand Mosque in Makkah Aug. 18, 2018, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
  • Massive safety and security operation swings into action as annual Hajj begins
  • The Hajj is an unparalleled logistical operation, with statistics to match. The Saudi Ministry of Health alone has employed nearly 30,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and technicians to provide health care to the pilgrims

MAKKAH- The number of pilgrims in Saudi Arabia passed two million on Saturday, Saudi security chiefs said, as the country finished preparations for the annual Hajj pilgrimage to begin on Sunday.

A final tally will be announced at the beginning of Eid Al-Adha on Tuesday, said Interior Ministry security spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki.

The pilgrims have flown in from almost every country in the world, but all had a similar story to tell — this is the experience of a lifetime.

“This is the first time I have seen the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba. It is the best feeling of my life to be able to perform the Hajj,” said Hisham Mostafa, 50, an accountant from Aleppo who fled the war in Syria five years ago and now lives in Turkey.

Nayef Ahmed, 37, from Yemen, sold a plot of land to be able to afford to travel to Saudi Arabia for Hajj. “Because of the war the cost was very high. But being here I feel comfort and peace and I pray to God for the war to end,” he said.

Najwa, 59, from Tunisia, said: “I came for Umrah in 2007 and today after 10 years of registering and waiting, I am here. I cannot describe the feeling. I cry every day.”

Over the next few days the pilgrims will retrace the steps of the Prophet Muhammad 14 centuries ago — and their safety and security are a Saudi priority.

“We will prevent any actions that are not part of the Hajj ritual and any act that may impact the safety of pilgrims or their ability to perform the rite,” Al-Turki said.

To ensure their safety, pilgrims will wear electronic identification bracelets, connected to GPS. “There is a comprehensive electronic agenda for every pilgrim and we have provided many apps that offer guidance,” said the Minister of Haj and Umrah, Mohammed Salih Bentin.

“We have a fleet of more than 18,000 buses, all of them linked to a control system that tracks their path.”

The Hajj is an unparalleled logistical operation, with statistics to match. The Saudi Ministry of Health alone has employed nearly 30,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and technicians to provide health care to the pilgrims.

The Saudi Red Crescent is operating 127 emergency centers, 361 ambulance cars and 20 emergency motorcycles, with nearly 2,000 staff on duty in Makkah and Madinah.

There will be 22 operational hospitals in Madinah and the holy sites, and 15 temporary emergency centers, supported by a fleet of nearly 90 ambulances and more than 650 paramedics.

This article was first published in  ARAB NEWS

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  ARAB NEWS’ Home

am

Over 800 foreign journalists to cover Hajj

August 17, 2018

Muslim pilgrims circle around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Aug. 17, 2018, ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. More than 800 journalists from all over the world are accredited to cover the annual Islamic pilgrimage this year. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

  • Facilities have been provided for 151 media institutions and 27 international networks
  • Six official broadcasts and broadcasts in 10 languages will provide news bulletins and daily programs on Hajj

JEDDAH- More than 800 foreign media workers will cover the Hajj rituals, Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, Saudi minister of media, has announced.

In addition, facilities have been provided for 151 media institutions and 27 international networks, while six official broadcasts and broadcasts in 10 languages will provide news bulletins and daily programs on Hajj.

Al-Awwad thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the government’s continuing efforts to provide the best services and security for Hajj pilgrims from around the world.

He said Saudi Arabia welcomes all Muslims to perform this religious rite, rejecting attempts to politicize or use Hajj for purposes other than worship.

Al-Awwad made his comments during a briefing on preparations for receiving local and international media representatives to cover the pilgrimage. He said the ministry has equipped seven media centers in Makkah and the holy sites to serve journalists and media personnel from inside and outside the Kingdom.

Sixteen digital channels will work around the clock to cover the Hajj season in six languages.

The ministry last year launched the Communication International Center and its account on Twitter @CICSaudi to enhance relations with the international media and pursue a more open policy to the global audience.

It also began to broadcast information and document data on events, facts and humanitarian works and services in the Kingdom in several languages, primarily English, French and German.

Al-Awwad said the ministry had contributed to the launch of a digital media platform documenting the creative work of government agencies, highlighting their efforts, disseminating the Kingdom’s media message locally and internationally, and presenting the governmental media work under one platform in a professional way.

This article was first published in  ARAB NEWS

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  ARAB NEWS’ Home

am

126,000 pilgrims from Bangladesh will perform Hajj 2018

August 17, 2018

Bangladeshi Hajj pilgrims arrive at Jeddah airport. (AFP)

  • Bangladeshi pilgrims were in a good condition and everything, from accommodation to treatment, was going well

DHAKA: The last Hajj flights from Bangladesh will leave for Saudi Arabia this morning.
About 125,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims have already reached the holy city Makkah, on special flights operated by Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines
(Saudia).
The two operators will take the last batch of 1,400 pilgrims from Hazarat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, after which the Hajj flights will be closed until Aug. 27.
The Bangladesh government has made extensive efforts to cooperate with the Kingdom in arranging travel plans for pilgrims, said officials in Dhaka.
“Our Ministry of Religious Affairs is highly concerned about the well-being of the pilgrims,” Saiful Islam, director of the Hajj Office in Dhaka, told Arab News.
“About 250 Bangladesh officials, including the staff of the Bangladesh mission in Saudi Arabia, have been deployed at places that the pilgrims will visit while performing the rituals of Hajj,” he told Arab News.
Most of the staff of the Religious Affairs Ministry have been sent to Saudi Arabia to assist Bangladeshi pilgrims and provide them with emergency support, Islam said.
“Three medical camps have been established in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah with 30 doctors and nurses to cater to pilgrims’ medical needs. In case of emergency, arrangements have been made to move a pilgrim in critical condition to specialized local hospitals,” he added.
“This year, so far, everything is under control and running very smoothly,” said M. Shahadat Hossain Taslim, secretary-general of the Hajj Agencies Association of Banglaesh (HAAB).
Speaking to Arab News from Makkah, Taslim expressed his gratitude to the Hajj Ministry of Saudi Arabia for its “better Hajj management this year.”
“Last year, many Bangladeshi pilgrims faced difficulty due to lack of transport in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah,” he said. “But this year, we have addressed the issue well ahead of time and are not facing any problem in this regard.”
Bangladeshi pilgrims were in a good condition and everything, from accommodation to treatment, was going well, he added.
A total of 126,000 pilgrims from Bangladesh will perform Hajj this year.
The Hajj flights from Bangladesh to Saudi Arabia will be closed after Friday and resume on Aug. 27 to bring the pilgrims back home.

This article was first published in  ARAB NEWS

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  ARAB NEWS’ Home

am

Saudi Arabia praised for services and facilities for Hajj pilgrims

August 16, 2018

Members of the Sports Academy, Kyrgyzstan, reach Makkah under the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program. (AN photo)

  • Guests laud King Salman’s efforts to unify ranks
  • Tatarstan’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Kamil Ismailov hailed the Kingdom’s efforts to ensure pilgrims’ comfort and safety

MAKKAH: King Salman received thanks from guests at Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for welcoming and supporting pilgrims. They also thanked him for hosting them so that they can perform Hajj rituals.

The king’s guests praised the services provided for them from the moment they arrived in the holy lands. This underscores the depth of the Saudi experience in dealing with crowds and successfully hosting millions of pilgrims each year.

Tatarstan’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Kamil Ismailov hailed the Kingdom’s efforts to ensure pilgrims’ comfort and safety.

“The expansion projects in the Two Holy Mosques and the holy sites, as well as the readiness of all medical and security teams, constitute strong evidence of Saudi Arabia’s capacities and ability to organize and manage the crowds with every Hajj season,” he added.

Ismailov pointed out that Muslims represent 70 percent of the population in Tatarstan, and that it is the first country in the region to adopt Islam as a state religion since 922.

Sheikh Mustafa Jusufspahic, the grand mufti of Belgrade, in Serbia, said that King Salman’s hosting of pilgrims from all over the world continues a tradition of the leadership of this blessed land assisting and unifying Muslims. It continues the path of good and giving by the Kingdom’s leaders toward Islamic work in the world, accounting for its prestigious position in the Muslim world, he added.

Jusufspahic expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman for his great gesture that enables Muslims to perform Hajj easily and conveniently. He praised all services offered in the program, which is supervised by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

Mohammed Amin, a professor from Ethiopia, who is making his first visit to Makkah, commended King Salman’s invitation to Muslims from all over the globe. He also saidthat the Ethiopian people were well aware of the financial and cultural support provided by the Kingdom.

The imam of the Central Mosque in Ethiopia, Ibrahim Khalil, expressed his admiration for the warm reception he and his delegation received upon their arrival, their speedy entry into the country and the journey to their residence.

Guinean Islamic preacher Mohammed Idris said the infrastructure and the scale of the preparations in Makkah reflect the tremendous efforts from all sectors there. “The Kingdom endeavors to develop organization and management of the Hajj season every year, a fact highly acclaimed among Muslims in Guinea, who consider Saudi Arabia to be the heart of the Islamic world,” he said.

Professor Bassim Berniavorates, from the faculty of medicine at the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia, said he was happy he had the opportunity to perform Hajj for the first time in his life, and was eager to meet Saudi people, to learn about their customs and traditions, and to visit popular markets that reflect the historical richness of Makkah.

He added that the Bosnian people were grateful for Saudi Arabia’s support throughout history, which has enabled them to overcome obstacles and crises and achieve their aspirations in building a civilized and democratic nation.

Bassim, a professor of anesthesia at the University Hospital in Sarajevo, noted that the program helped to extend bridges of communication with the world. “The Bosnians became more familiar with the Saudis and proud of this cultural fusion in the holiest parts of the earth,” said Bassim.

Dr. Mekhtbakh, from the Sports Academy in Kyrgyzstan, said that by visiting the holy land he had achieved a life-long dream. He expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman for his generous patronage and keenness to host Muslims from all over the world.

This article was first published in  ARAB NEWS

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  ARAB NEWS’ Home

am

Madinah introduces multilingual double-decker bus tour for Hajj pilgrims

August 16, 2018

All double-decker buses are equipped to transport people of all ages. (SPA)

  • The bus tour covers 12 stops, including the Prophet’s Mosque

JEDDAH- A new double-decker bus tour, supervised by the Development Authority of Madinah Region, will introduce visitors to some of Madinah’s historic landmarks as well as its entertainment facilities, commercial sites, and public utilities. The tour is part of the service extended to Hajj pilgrims and other visitors to the holy city.

The bus tour covers 12 stops, including the Prophet’s Mosque, Al-Manakha, the “Beautiful Names of Allah” exhibition, Al-Salam Door, Al-Uhud Mountain, Al-Noor Mall, Abu Bakr Road, Masjid Al-Qiblatain, Al-Khandaq Mosque, Quba Mosque, Hejaz railway and Quba Boulevard.

Trips start from the northern and southern entrances of the Prophet’s Mosque. The morning shift starts after the Fajr prayers and ends before noon, with departures every 30 minutes until noon, and the later shift starts after evening prayer with departures every 30 minutes until 11 p.m.

All double-decker buses, the authority announced, are equipped to transport people of all ages and people with special needs. Translation services covering 12 languages will apparently soon be available on the tours.

The authority said that these tours underline its continuous commitment to launch projects that enrich the experience of residents and visitors alike and provide high-quality services in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

This article was first published in  ARAB NEWS

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  ARAB NEWS’ Home

am

Hajj and politics don’t mix, says Saudi minister

August 15, 2018

Hajj and Umrah Minister Mohammed Saleh Banten. (Ziyad Alarfaj)

  • Saudi Arabia has no condition to impose on any Muslim coming only to perform their Hajj rituals in peace, says minister
  • The minister also highlighted the importance of the Makkah Route project to ease Hajj for the pilgrims

MAKKAH- The Hajj and Umrah ministry made it clear, once again, that there is no place for politics during Hajj.

This was reiterated by Hajj and Umrah Minister Mohammed Saleh Banten during the annual press conference at the Hilton Makkah Convention Hotel on Wednesday.

“Saudi Arabia has no condition to impose on any Muslim coming only to perform their Hajj rituals in peace,” he said.

He added that the conditions are only related to Allah, who ordered all capable Muslims to do their Hajj to the holy cities in peace and tranquility.

The minister highlighted the importance of the Makkah Route project to ease Hajj for the pilgrims. However, he noted that the technology his ministry is using to facilitate the Hajj process will limit the project to a few countries.

“We will surely expand the project, especially with the countries from which we annually receive a large number of pilgrims. In fact, if we apply the Route on six or seven countries, the process of pilgrims’ arrival will go smoothly and that will end many obstacles,” he said.

He added that the new technology they are using will make every pilgrim fully aware of his program and schedule of religious duties during Hajj.

“Moreover, the camps of pilgrims are equipped with TV devices through which we can transmit information and instructions to the pilgrims in their tents,” he said.

The Deputy minister for Hajj and Umrah, Abdul Fattah Al-Mashat, pointed out that the ministry has long adopted the use of technology to better serve the “Guests of Allah.”

“We are now using the latest technology to help pilgrims perform their rituals in all possible ease and comfort.

The minister launched the 43rd Hajj Symposium for this year with the presence of senior Muslim scholars from different parts of the Muslim world. The symposium will conclude Thursday here at the Hilton Makkah Convention Hotel.

At the beginning of the event, the Hajj and Umrah minister emphasized that the symposium embodies the carefulness of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. He stressed: “This event is part of the role the Kingdom has been playing in spreading Islam’s moderate teachings.

“The symposium highlights the values and the true message of Hajj. It also stresses the importance of Hajj in spreading intimacy among Muslims,” he said.

The minister stressed the role of the Muslim scholars and intellectuals attending the symposium through the researches that focus on introducing the meaning of Hajj as a religious and scientific gathering, through which Muslims from all parts of the world meet and interact.

“The Kingdom understands quite well what message it has in the service of the two holy mosques, in particular, and whole Islamic Umma, in general. It is very keen to call to Islam and unite the Umma through Hajj,” he said.

On the other hand, Chief of the General Presidency for the Two Holy Mosques Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais stressed the importance of the symposium, which has been held for the 43rd time, and the role of the Hajj and Umrah ministry in gathering the Muslim scholars during the Hajj. He also called upon all pilgrims to deal with Hajj as a means to control themselves.

The first session of the symposium was moderated by Dr. Abdullah Bafeel. Member of the Senior Ulama council and consultant to the royal court Sheikh Saleh bin Humaid talked about the Farewell Sermon. The Islamic Affairs Minister of Mauritania, Sheikh Ahmed Dawood, gave a future vision for Muslim unity. Meanwhile, the Head of Sharia Courts in Bahrain, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Hai, discussed moderation and tolerance as a method for a better life.

The second session, which saw the launching of the event, saw the Saudi minister of Islamic Affairs, Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh, talking about “Saudi Arabia… heart of the Islamic World.” Al-Sudais then highlighted how an acceptable Hajj should be performed.

A third session saw a member of the senior Ulam council in Saudi Arabia and consultant to the royal court, Sheikh Saad Al-Shithry, continuing the topic of Al-Sudais. Meanwhile, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Shawqi Ibrahim Allam, highlighted the Saudi efforts in enforcing Muslims’ unity, defending and helping them.

This article was first published in  ARAB NEWS

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  ARAB NEWS’ Home

am

More than 192,000 employees to serve pilgrims during Hajj 2018

August 14, 2018

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics said a total of 192,254 employees, from both genders, will be working to deliver those services to pilgrims. (SPA)

Construction work at the Al-Wakrah Stadium, a $575 million (465 million euros) World Cup venue seating 40,000 designed by celebrated Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, some 15 kilometers on the outskirts of the Qatari capital Doha. (File photo / AFP / Karim Jaafar)

JEDDAH- Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics announced on Tuesday its statistical calendar for this year’s Hajj season, which includes more than 136 major services to be carried as part of the general services offered to pilgrims.
The authority said on its official website that a total of 192,254 employees, from both genders, will be working to deliver those services to pilgrims. It said 189,113 men and 3,141 women are working around the clock throughout the days of Hajj.
It also said that the number of equipment and machinery used in these services had reached 59,741, including 7,995 cars, 1,583 motorbikes, 13,349 wireless devices, and 3,760 computers.
It also highlighted the security services offered to pilgrims during Hajj as the main public service offered by the General Directorate of Public Security. The services include executing security and traffic plans to maintain public order in Makkah, Madinah and other holy sites.
It said 52 police stations 280 traffic centers and 75 security border gates have been set up at the entrances of Makkah and the holy sites.
Civil defense forces have deployed 15,000 members to execute its preventive awareness program.
Meanwhile, the Directorate of Passport Control has deployed more than 5,000 staff officers, individuals and technicians to prepare outlets for the reception of pilgrims.
The National Information Center has assigned more than 1,355 technician and administrative officials to secure and prepare equipment that will can and read electronic Hajj permits.

This article was first published in  ARAB NEWS

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  ARAB NEWS’ Home

am

More than 100 Islamic preachers to answer pilgrim queries on new Hajj hotline

August 13, 2018

Through this service, the ministry aims to offer awareness and guidance to pilgrims. (File photo: AFP)

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance has registered a 24-hour helpline 800-245-1000 during Hajj season to answer the enquires of pilgrims.

A statement from the Saudi Press Agency said 128 Islamic preachers will be available to answer queries on the hotline.

Through this service, the ministry aims to offer awareness and guidance to pilgrims. It said the preachers will be available to provide information on any Hajj procedures by answering questions on the free hotline.

Fifty-nine telephone lines will be dedicated to the service, 24 in Makkah, 6 in Madinah and 29 in the sites of Menna, Muzdalifah and Arafat. The lines will operate based on the telecommunications relay service, that receives the call directly and transfers to the next line if there’s no answer, according to a schedule placed by the provider.

This article was first published in  Alarabiya

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Alarabiya’s Home

am

Over 1.3m pilgrims to arrive in KSA for Hajj

August 12, 2018

Muslim pilgrims climb Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat during the peak of the annual hajj pilgrimage near the holy city of Makkah, in this October 25, 2012. (Reuters)

Muslim pilgrims head to take part in the symbolic stoning of the devil at the Jamarat Bridge in Mina, near Makkah, which marks the final major rite of the hajj, in this file photo taken on September 1, 2017. (AFP)

  • Electronic platforms had also helped to make the process easier
  • Capsules are fitted with a sliding door at the end that can be opened by a magnetic card for each user, to ensure privacy

JEDDAH- More than 1.3 million pilgrims are expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj season, and more than 200,000 “domestic pilgrims” have also registered for services including the “low-cost Hajj,” “affordable Hajj,” and “general program,” the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced on Sunday.
The number of pilgrims registered for the general program is 160,221, with 37,891 signing up for low-cost Hajj and 10,016 for the affordable Hajj.
Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Abdulfattah Mashat said that the ministry had worked hard to ensure that all programs and facilities to receive guests in accordance with the highest standards were in place well in advance of the season. He said that its electronic platforms had also helped to make the process easier.
Mashat expressed his hope that all pilgrims would enjoy Hajj in comfort and safety and that God would accept their prayers and that they would return safely to their home countries after performing their pilgrimage.
This Hajj season pilgrims will also be able to try out the latest mobile hotel capsules — sleeping units that offer hotel room services and facilities in the smallest possible space, Hadiyah, the Hajji and Mu’tamer’s Gift Charitable Association has announced.
These capsules can be placed side-by-side or on top of each other, with a height of two units. When the capsules are stacked a three-step staircase gives access to the top capsule.
Capsules are fitted with a sliding door at the end that can be opened by a magnetic card for each user, to ensure privacy.

This article was first published in  ARAB NEWS

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  ARAB NEWS’ Home

am