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Pilgrims head to Mount Arafat for the ‘most important’ day of hajj

By Shounaz Mekky | Al Arabiya | 14 Oct 2013

Muslims around the globe commemorate on Monday the Day of Arafat, considered the most important day of hajj during which pilgrims gather on the desert planes of Arafat, near Makkah, to pray to their Lord.

This year, officials said they expected around 1.5 million pilgrims to descend on the site of Mount Arafat for the occasion.

The day falls on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, and is an integral part of the pilgrimage of hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam.

Capacity of mataf to reach 105,000 in 2015

Source : Arab news / 28 June 2013

The ongoing expansion of the mataf (the circumambulation area around the Kaaba) will double the hourly capacity of the area from 48,000 pilgrims to 105,000 pilgrims after its completion in three years.

The expansion project, ordered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, is expected to be completed in October 2015. It will accommodate more worshippers when the capacity in the other parts of the Grand Mosque rises to 2.5 million people following the completion of the entire expansion project.

Saudi Haj minister starts meetings with foreign Haj delegations

Source : Arab News | 09 Feb 2013

Saudi Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar will start meeting today with Haj officials of various countries to discuss arrangement for this year’s Haj pilgrimage.

Over the next three months, Hajjar will meet with officials of 70 Haj offices from different parts of the world.

While making the announcement, Hajjar said the name “Haj delegations” has been changed to Haj offices.
This year the Haj expected to fall on Oct.13.

Ottoman portico surrounding Kaaba to be protected

Source : Agencies | 11 Dec 2012

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz has ordered the preservation of the Ottoman portico within the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Mecca during a project to expand the prayer area in the mosque, a Turkish daily reported on Sunday.

The project will increase the size of the mosque to 500,000 square meters, doubling its current size. However, there have been debates as to whether the historic Ottoman portico within the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Mecca will be demolished as part of the project or not.

Work on mataf expansion begins

Source : Arab News | 16 Nov 2012

Preliminary work for the expansion of the mataf (the circumambulation area around the Kaaba) started yesterday with the installation of huge cranes at the northeastern courtyard of the Grand Mosque. The contractor undertaking the expansion has sought the evacuation of preachers’ offices in the mataf and the command office of the Haram Security forces close to Al-Safa Gate.

The expansion is being undertaken on the basis of a study prepared by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Haj and Umrah Studies.

Seen from space, only the two holy cities stand out

By Abdul Hannadn Tago | 15 Nov 2012

The four Russian astronauts who came to visit the Prince Salman Science Oasis (PSSO) told Saudi students that while taking a picture of some beautiful cities from outer space, the brightest and beautiful cities he saw were Makkah and Madinah, specifically the spots in the centers of the two holy cities. These astronauts came as part of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) program during their 25th Assembly in Riyadh this week.

Kiswa handed to Sheikh Al-Shaibi

By Jassim Abuzaid | 18 Oct 2012

The General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs handed in the new Kiswa (Kaaba's cover) to the senior gatekeeper of the Kabaa yesterday in Makkah.

Sheikh Abdurrahman Al-Sudais, chief of the general presidency, handed in the Kiswa to Sheikh Abdul Qadir Al-Shaibi in order to put it on the Kaaba on the 9th of Dul Hijja (Oct. 25), as is the annual custom.

Sadin, Kaaba key keeper keeping tradition alive

By Nadim Al-Hamid | 06 Oct 2012

Since Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) handed over the key to the Kaaba to Othman bin Talha, the prophet’s companion’s lineage sons have been inheriting it and the title Sadin of the Kaaba until today.

The Sadin is the keeper of the Kaaba’s key.

“Sadins are originally members of the Al-Shaibi family whose history can be traced to pre-Islamic period,” said Sadin Nizar Al-Shaibi.

The family’s history in key keeping goes back to the days of Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, according to Al-Shaibi.

26,000-strong force to ensure hassle-free Haj

Source : Arab News | 03 Oct 2012

The Civil Defense Department announced yesterday that it would deploy around 26,000 men, 6,900 equipment and devices and 19 helicopters in Makkah and other holy sites during this Haj season to ensure the safety and security of pilgrims.

Lt. Gen. Saad Al-Tuwaijri, director general of the Civil Defense, said Interior Minister Prince Ahmed, chairman of the Supreme Haj Committee, has approved the department’s Haj plan aimed at protecting the guests of God from accidents and catastrophes.

Media campaign to spell out Haj do’s and don’ts

Source : Arab News | 28 Sep 2012

Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who is also chairman of the Central Haj Committee, will inaugurate the fifth national media campaign for Haj pilgrims on Saturday.

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