Saudi Gazette | 25 Muharram 1436/19 November 2014
Power outage notices on the doors of a number of mosques including the historical Sajdah Mosque have left historians fearing that they might get demolished to make way for the Prophet’s Mosque expansion project, Makkah daily reported.
Local authorities erected notices to cut off the power from several mosques in areas of Madinah that have been marked for demolition.
Some of the marked mosques carry historical and Islamic significance that date back to the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) era.
Historians and concerned citizens are unsure whether the expansion project plans include renovation of the mosques, taking into account their architectural heritage, or to demolish them completely.
Among the mosques that could be demolished are the Ijabah Mosque and the Sajdah Mosque, also known as the Shukur Mosque.
The Sajdah Mosque is where the Prophet (peace be upon him) performed Sujud Ash-Shukur (prostrating to Allah in order to express gratitude).
The mosque is located near the public transport stop north of the Prophet’s Mosque.
Both the Sajdah and Ijabah Mosques are classified by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities as historical Islamic landmarks.
Abdullah Kabir, Madinah landmarks researcher, said the expansion project must consult expert architects to ensure the preservation of the Sajdah Mosque’s architectural identity.
Preserving the historical significance of buildings in Madinah is considered complimentary to the expansion project’s vision and not an obstacle against modernization, he said.
He said: “Al-Sajdah Mosque is not just a praying location. “Imam Al-Bayhaqi and others confirmed the Prophet has performed sujud in this mosque.
“The mosque has a long history of preservation that started from the first Hijri century during the time of the Umayyad Caliph Umar Bin Abdul Aziz. The last renovation of the mosque was during the late King Fahd’s time.”
Agencies | 27 Muharram 1436/21 November 2014
The expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah would not affect other nearby ancient mosques, a senior official from the Ministry of Finance has said.
He said that the mosques of Abu Bakr, Omar ibn Al-Khattab, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Al-Ejaba and Abu Dhar (Al-Sajdah) would remain intact because they are outside the boundaries of the expansion area.
According to the source, the rehabilitation of the Al-Ejaba and Al-Sajdah mosques would begin after the completion of the expansion project.
Mohamed Al-Amin Al-Khatri, director general of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance in Madinah, reportedly said that 131 mosques are set to undergo restoration, including the historic mosques of Abu Bakr, Omar ibn Al-Khattab, Ali bin Abi Talib, and Fatima Al-Zahra.
Earlier this week it was reported that power outage notices had been placed on the doors of a number of Madinah mosques including the historical Sajdah Mosque leaving historians fearing that they might get demolished to make way for the Prophet’s Mosque expansion project.
Arab News | 26 Muharram 1436/20 November 2014
A huge expansion project for the historic Baqie Al-Gharqad cemetery in Madinah is ready for launch shortly, an official at the Presidency of the Holy Mosques said.
“The largest expansion in the history of the graveyard which will double its area to 300,000 square meters comes as part of the current expansion project of the Prophet’s Mosque to the northern side, with the number of grave spaces increasing to 42,000,” said the source.
The project of the cemetery which is designed to run parallel to King Faisal Road will require appropriation of the properties including farms and buildings on its eastern side. The office building of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Madinah will also have to be demolished to make way for the project, he said.
The entire facility, where relatives and companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and a number of Muslim leaders apart from Madinah residents are buried, is currently divided into 42 squares where the largest square houses 2,500 graves and the smallest accommodates 60. Some graves are allocated for infants while others are reserved for the elderly. He added that fresh remains are put in the graves every five years.
The cemetery has nine washing units for cadavers including four for men and four for women while one unit is kept in reserve. Bodies for burial are carried to the graves in golf carts. In addition, there are eight ambulances to transport the bodies to the cemetery.
The expansion work around the mosque has also taken into consideration the future requirements of the population growth in Madinah and the increasing number of pilgrims visiting the historical site.
The project is expected to have arrangements for the smooth entry and exit of pilgrims to the area besides better facilities for the washing and shrouding rituals, taking the bodies for prayers in the mosque and finally moving them to the burial site.
The regulations governing the burial include keeping records of the personal details of the deceased and the exact location of the burial.
The size of a single pit is 2 meters by 1 meter with a depth of 2 meters.
A network for the drainage of rainwater has also been put in place recently.
47% rise in women in KSA seeking divorce
DAMMAM: SULTAN AL-SUGHAIR
Last update 20 November 2014 4:07 am
There has been a 47 percent increase in lawsuits brought by women to divorce their husbands over the past year, to 2,033 cases, according to statistics released by the Justice Ministry.
The cases, known as khula, took place up until the end of the Hijri year, or Oct. 23 this year. There were 512 cases in Makkah region, 324 in Riyadh and 191 in the Eastern Province.
There were also an increasing number of lawsuits filed by husbands wanting their wives to return home over the past year, rising from 92 to 705 in Makkah, 36 to 541 in Riyadh, 148 to 319 in the Eastern Province, followed by Madinah and Qassim. Over the past four years, 624 separate marriage-related cases were brought by women against their husbands, with 187 filed by men against their wives.
The ministry stated that there were 100,000 marriages in the country over the past year. Riyadh had the most marriages at 30,000, followed by Makkah with 27,646 and the Eastern Province with 8,686.
Meanwhile, the ministry said it would soon launch a “divorce index” that would have statistics, reasons for breakups, and its social effects.
The project, aimed at finding solutions to divorces, would be launched next year in Makkah, Madinah, Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah courts.
The Weaam association for family affairs would soon launch workshops, with government support, that would provide advice to couples on how to deal with conflict. There would also be workshops for those planning to get married.
Street harassment of women on the rise
JEDDAH: FOUZIA KHAN
Published — Tuesday 18 November 2014
Women in Jeddah are becoming increasingly concerned about the rising trend of harassment and have urged the traffic police to be more vigilant in dispensing their duties considering that the reckless young men often chase taxis and cars with women passengers at high speeds posing a risk to fellow motorists and pedestrians.
Taxi drivers and women passengers regularly complain about this nuisance.
“I was taking a taxi to my workplace when suddenly a young man driving a Jeep began ramming the car from behind and ordered the taxi driver to pull over. I advised the taxi driver to change his route but it did not help and the man continued to follow and harass us,” said Farah Zaman.
She added that he finally swerved in front of the taxi blocking their path. “He began shouting at us to scare us and said that he would call the police, but before he could do so, I dialed 999 and called them myself. The police officer was very cooperative and asked me to look around to see if there was a police officer available,” said Zaman.
She explained that she was lucky to find a police officer after 10 minutes. The police officer told the young man to leave or risk arrest, she said.
Another victim, Sameera Zahrani, said that these unruly young men not only harass women on the streets, follow taxis and cars and terrify expatriate drivers but they also harass women pedestrians. Motorist Faroq Ali said: “These youth drive recklessly creating havoc on the roads which could result in terrible accidents or even death. However, as an expatriate, I am afraid to interfere.”
Tariq Abbasi, a visitor from the UK, told Arab News that he was shocked at seeing the way the youth chase women. He said: “We don’t expect this to happen in an Islamic country hosting the two holy cities. In fact, we haven’t seen such things happening on the streets of London.”
Vice president of the Social Science Forum organization and a social scientist, I. Hasan, said that the solution to the problem is to have the traffic police exercise more vigilance on Jeddah’s streets. “They should also be authorized to arrest anyone doing this obnoxious activity and there should be strict laws.”
He added that the “wasta system” should be eliminated as the guilty party takes advantage of its contacts with high officials to obtain a release without punishment.
He said that the guilty youth should stand trial and have the sentence read out to them in the presence of their parents, who should also be warned to reign in their sons or risk facing punishment themselves.
“Just as the traffic department is introducing a points system for reckless drivers, there should be one for youth who harass women where they stand to lose their driving license if they continue with the behavior,” he said. “Introducing stricter laws will certainly be a deterrent and the behavior will disappear with time,” he concluded.
Female harassment also takes place in malls which has resulted in some malls barring entry of young men at weekends.