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Friday, 15 October 2010

Makkah imam urges measures to protect environment

Taken from ARAB NEWS, Published: Sep 24, 2010 23:30
By P.K. Abdul Ghafour

JEDDAH: The imam of the grand mosque in Makkah on Friday made a strong appeal to governments and peoples to exert all-out effort to protect environment and make the life on earth safer.

“Nobody should ignore the health of people and safety of other living creatures in order to amass wealth,” said Sheikh Saleh Bin-Humaid while giving his Juma sermon to the thousands of faithful thronged the mosque.

The imam urged governments to prevent activities damaging environment: “The plans of governments should be aimed at ensuring people’s happiness, health and safety rather than making money or profit.”

People should not cause environment problems on the earth as it would endanger the life of humanity, the imam said, denouncing the move to spread diseases in targeted countries during wars.

He said people should have faith in God and the Day of Judgment in order to regulate their activities and make them responsible citizens. Closer relations with God makes people truthful and healthy.

Bin-Humaid stressed the responsibility of humans, being the representatives of God on the earth, in engaging in constructive activities, without causing problems for them or environment.
He said God has created the whole universe in a balanced manner and it is man’s duty to keep that balance.

“All creatures on the earth have a role to play on the earth in accordance with the God’s plan,” he said.

The imam said the material resources in the earth should be exploited in a proper manner without affecting its balance. Man’s move to tamper with global balance has been causing dangerous problems including environment pollution.

“The result of this corruption would have its dangerous consequences on men and other animals,” he said.

He denounced the move by some traders to market harmful products in attractive boxes and bottles. He also warned against destruction of rivers and forests and excessive hunting of animals and birds as well as against carbon-emissions from motor vehicles and massive use of insecticides and detergents.

He denounced the move by some traders to market harmful products in attractive boxes and bottles. He also warned against destruction of rivers and forests and excessive hunting of animals and birds as well as against carbon-emissions from motor vehicles and massive use of insecticides and detergents.


Further Reading: Islam and the planet

Monday, 11 October 2010

Hajj pilgrims to ride first Makkah metro

Taken from emirates247.com
By Nadim Kawach, Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims will ride a new railway metro transport system for the first time when they converge on the Saudi holy city of Makkah next month, according to the local media.

The Gulf Kingdom, where millions of Muslims from around the world gather every year for their annual haj (pilgrimage) season, has just completed the first stage of a train that will eventually transport nearly two million people.

Officials said around 170,000 pilgrims would be able to use the Chinese-built metro during this haj season, which is expected to start in mid November.

“The train will have a capacity to transport around 170,000 pilgrims this year, mostly from Saudi Arabia and nearby Gulf countries,” said Prince Mansour bin Mutab bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Municipal Affairs.

The Prince was speaking on Tuesday following a 10-minute test trip by the train through Makkah, Islam’s holiest shrine. His trip was apparently intended to refute claims by some Saudis that it was not up to international standards.

Pic Source: ArabNews

Pic Source: emirates247

Pic Source: emirates247

Pic Source: SaudiPressAgency

Pic Source: SaudiPressAgency
The remarks by Saudi businessmen, citizens and newspapers about the train’s risks followed reports that one of its cars fell off the rails during a trial drive in the holy city last week without causing any casualties.

Prince Mansour said his ministry has set up a committee to study transport fees for passengers using the train that will transport pilgrims through Makka’s holy sites during the four-day Haj season.
Saudi Arabia has allocated nearly SR6.7 billion (Dh6.6 billion) for Makkah’s first train project, which will eventually have the capacity to transport around two million Muslim pilgrims when it is completed within two years.

Newspapers said the train would launch services this year for the first time in Makkah’s history, adding that it would largely contribute to easing road congestions caused by the accumulation of thousands of cars near Makkah.

“The train will have the capacity to transport 500,000 pilgrims when the second phase is completed next year and two million when the third and last phase is finished in 2012…its total cost will be around SR6.7 billion,” said Jamil Al Qirshi, Director of the Saudi Haj (pilgrimage) commission in Makkah.

Dubbed the “Holy Rituals Train”, the project is part of a costly programme by Saudi Arabia to tackle massive traffic congestions in and around the city and facilitate access to all sacred sites in Makkah.

The train project, initiated three years ago, followed a series of incidents that have killed thousands of pilgrims in stampedes, building collapses and other accidents during the few days of the Haj season.

More than two million Muslims from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Co-operation Council countries and other nations descend on Makkah every year to perform Haj.

China Railway Construction Corp, part of a Saudi-French-Chinese consortium which won the contract, is carrying out the project, involving nearly 5,000 workers. The train is the Gulf’s second metro system after the Dubai Metro.

"The train project is part of ongoing efforts under the directives of His Majesty the Monarch to alleviate the suffering of the pilgrims and facilitate their holy mission. Several projects have been implemented in this respect and more would be carried out in the future," Alriyadh newspaper said.

The government has spent more than SR20 billion on development projects in Makkah over the past few years following an increase in accidents and criticism over lack of proper services for pilgrims.

The projects involved the construction of buildings on top of a surrounding hill, expansion of the area on top of the holy Mount Arafat, development of the sewage and fire-fighting systems, upgrading health and transportation services and a SR4.2 billion expansion of the space and roads leading to where Muslims perform Ramyi Aljamarat (stoning of the devil), the scene of some deadly accidents over the past few years.

It must be noted that the service will officially be open to all pilgrims next year inshallah. This Hajj it is speculated that the service will be trialed by Pilgrims from Saudi and other Gulf countries only.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Hajj in 1953

Snaps taken during Hajj in 1953
Taken from al-hajjumrahtours.co.uk

Please click on the images to make them bigger. More picture are avalable on the link above.

Pilgrims arriving by air

Pilgrims arriving for Hajj by sea
The Borders of Haram
Salaat at the holy Kaba
View of Mina
Pilgrims cooking in Mina
Stoning of Jamarat

Tawaaf around Holy Kabbah
Pilgrims choosing animals for sacrifice

Head shaving of pilgrim