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Worshipers throng mosques for 'qiyamullail'

Aerial pictures of the Grand Mosque and surrounding areas taken by Arab News photographer Ahmed Hashad on Saturday night. (AN ph

Source : Badea Abu Al-Naja & Md Rasooldeen | Arab News
MAKKAH/RIYADH | 21 Aug 2011

The Grand Mosque in Makkah is filled to the brim with worshipers these days as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims have come from all over the world to perform Umrah and attend taraweeh and qiyamullail prayers, seeking the blessings of Lailat Al-Qadr (night of power).

The Civil Defense department in Makkah gave Arab News a rare opportunity to take aerial photos of the Grand Mosque on the 21st night of Ramadan on Saturday sitting in their helicopter and at the initiative of Maj. Gen. Muhammad Al-Harbi, commander of aviation in the Kingdom.

The S92 model helicopter was piloted by Capt. Abdul Aziz Al-Dhufyan and 1st Lt. Ziyad Al-Otaibi.

The helicopter had come from Jeddah and was flying at a height of 4,000 feet at a speed of 80 knots.

The trip covered the central region of Makkah and the Arab News photographer was able to take shots of the whole of Makkah from various angles. The camera focused on the newly established Makkah Clock on the King Abdul Aziz Endowment Tower.

The helicopter flew over the Misfala, Kuday, Ajyad, Hafair, Hajoun and Aziziya areas that were crowded with vehicles carrying pilgrims and worshippers. The pilots gave instructions to Civil Defense ground staff based on information they had on traffic in various parts of the city.

The trip on the helicopter, which is mainly engaged in search, rescue and fire extinguishing operations and airlifting patients, took about an hour and half. The plane can carry up to 22 people.

As the holy month of Ramadan entered its final phase of 10 days Saturday, mosques in all parts of the Kingdom began holding qiyamullail prayers.

"The special prayers are conducted during the last 10 days of Ramadan from 1 a.m.," Mohammed Obaidullah, imam at Sheebani mosque in Nasseriyah district in Riyadh, told Arab News.

The last ten days of Ramadan are more significant, since the Holy Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on Lailat Al-Qadr. The imam said that good deeds of the worshippers would be richly rewarded.

To enable worshippers to find a comfortable atmosphere inside the worshipping places, private establishments that had been contracted to maintain mosques throughout the Kingdom have geared up their staff to be on duty throughout the night to ensure smooth supply of power and water.

Extensive arrangements have been made in all mosques to accommodate the additional number of worshippers during this period. Sequel to a directive issued by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance, mosques will be kept open for worshippers throughout the night during the last 10 days of the holy month.

The imam said the mosques were kept open for public at nights for them to recite the Holy Qur’an and perform voluntary prayers.

According to the circular, imams of all mosques in the Kingdom were instructed to keep the places of worship tidy and to ensure adequate and uninterrupted supplies of power and water during the holy month to meet the requirements of the increased number of Muslims who go for Taraweeh prayers, which follow the regular Isha prayers.

Improvised partitions were built in mosques that do not have separate prayer halls for women.

Sermons at the Friday prayers focused on the significance of Lailat Al-Qadr. Welcoming the day of Lailat Al-Qadr, an imam at a mosque in Malaz district in Riyadh appealed to the people to strictly adhere to the teachings of the Qur’an and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during this period. "This is a golden opportunity for Muslims to get bounty of rewards, since worshippers in the Kingdom will have adequate time because of the Ramadan holidays," the imam stressed.

A maintenance contractor who looks after more than 1,500 mosques in the capital told Arab News that his company had instructed his labor force to work in the mosques till late during this period. "These workers are expected to keep the worshipping places spick and span, ensure smooth supply of water and power, and illuminate the places."

Around 10 laborers work in large mosques, while small mosques are manned by two workers. Some 5,000 mosques are maintained by the department of mosques at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance headquartered in Riyadh.

 

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