Flashes from the Muslim World
Barriers around Ka’aba Removed
Saudi Arabia has decided – after two years – to remove the preventive barriers around the Holy Ka’aba, allowing worshippers to once more touch the House of Allah(swt). The barriers were installed to ensure social distancing between pilgrims. The area surrounding the Ka’aba, where pilgrims circumambulate seven times was closed in March 2020 for sterilization as a preventive measure to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Hijrah – Walking the Path of the Prophet
When worshippers circumambulate the Ka’aba, they are often mesmerized by Maqam Ibrahim, the footprints of Prophet Ibrahim (asws), kept in an enclosed glass case. Maqam Ibrahim is a stone on which the Prophet Ibrahim (asws) stood when the Ka’aba was being built. The stone is 50 centimeters long on each side and has two foot prints in the middle in the form of two oval pits.
According to historians, when the Ka’aba was being built, the walls became too high and Prophet Ibrahim stood on a stone that miraculously lifted him to build the walls and lowered him so he could collect stones from his son, Prophet Ismail (asws). The Maqam Ibrahim and the Black Stone are the oldest and most sacred landmarks in Islam dating back 4,000 years. It is located in front of the door of the Ka’aba around ten to eleven meters east.
Saudi Beekeeper Tastes Success
Saudi Arabia’s rejection of derogatory language to describe Jews is an ‘encouraging’ sign of growing change throughout the Muslim world, the US special envoy on anti-semitism has told Arab News. “Jews had been ‘demonized’ in the past, but interfaith dialogue had played a key role in altering the narrative and people now recognize the need for change,” Deborah Lipstadt said. “That’s the first step – recognizing your own shortcomings, whether you’re an individual, whether you’re a community, whether you’re a family or whether you’re a nation, and saying ‘we want to change;’ only an honest person can do that. And I have seen some of that here, and I find that very encouraging.” Lipstadt, 75, the author of several acclaimed books on anti-semitism and the Holocaust, is a Professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ka’aba Adorned in New Kiswa
One of the most watched ceremonies in the Islamic world took place recently when the Ka’aba was adorned with its new Kiswa. The Kiswa, or the covering of the Ka’aba, is replaced annually in a tradition observed for centuries.
A team of 200 Saudi technicians working at the King Abdul aziz Complex for Manufacturing the Kaaba’s Kiswa, carried out the task.
The Kiswa is decorated with Qur’anic verses embroidered onto the cloth with 120
kilograms of 21 karat gold thread and 100 kilograms of silver thread. The cost of making a new 850 kilogram Kiswa is estimated to cost SR25 million, or over USD6.5 million, making it the world’s most expensive covering.
[COMPILED BY: SYED NEHAL ZAHEER]