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Old February 16th, 2019, 03:18 AM   #11861
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Al-Sudais: Kingdom, Muslim nations target
of disparaging media campaign


2019-02-15

MAKKAH/MADINAH – Muslim countries in general and the Kingdom in particular are witnessing a disparaging media campaign via satellite channels and websites these days, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, Imam and Khateeb of the Holy Mosque in Makkah, as saying in his Friday sermon here.

This necessitates that all must unify their ranks and stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of this wild media frenzy and repulse whoever tries to undermine the Muslim countries or the security of the Two Holy Mosques, Al-Sudais asserted.

Al-Sudais added: “The brilliant and prudent youth of the Muslim Ummah should not allow themselves to be deceived by these media campaigns and tendentious rumors, as their aim is nothing but to destroy society, cause its disintegration and undermine its security and stability.”

At the conclusion of the khutba, he supplicated to Allah Almighty to protect “the country of the Two Holy Mosques” (Bilad Al-Haramain), its creed (Aqeedah), leadership, security, and safety.

He also prayed that Allah Almighty may safeguard the Ummah in general from the machinations of the enemies lying in wait for it.

Sheikh Al-Sudais said: “A person who contemplates on the history of the Ummah will notice that most of the time Muslims are preoccupied by differences among themselves in good times when peace prevails, a state of relaxation and profuse intellectual creativity are replete.

“However, these differences dwindle when the Ummah is faced by a looming danger or an enemy lying in wait for them. They then resort to focusing on matters of top priority and are keen to maintain and protect their internal unity to counter the external enemy.”

“All the people cannot be the same due to the difference in their levels of understanding and will. The difference among human beings can be positive and leads to diversity. But what is undesirable is that diversity should not lead to discord, partisanship, sectarianism, and animosity due to difference in ideas or school of religious thought.

“There should be no war of words, being suspicious about one another or any bloodletting. Whatever the differences, their main goal should be to obey Allah Almighty and His Prophet (peace be upon him). They should treat one another with compassion and fraternity. Harmony and cohesion should prevail among them,” Sheikh Al-Sudais stressed.

Al-Sudais criticized the prevailing indulgence in materialism in this era.

Meanwhile, in his Friday sermon, Sheikh Abdulbari Al-Thubaiti, Imam and Khateeb of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, focused on the concept of “Emarat Al-Masajid” which encompasses building mosques and furnishing, maintaining, repairing, cleaning and keeping them neat and tidy.

http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/5...media-campaign








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Old February 16th, 2019, 03:53 AM   #11862
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King Fahd Complex for Printing
the Holy Quran distributes 240,989 publications



King Fahd Complex for Printing the Holy Quran in Madinah
Madinah, February 14, 2019

King Fahd Complex for Printing the Holy Quran in Madinah distributed 240,989 copies of the Holy Quran, its translations and religious books to government agencies during the month of Jumada I.

A report issued by the Complex said that the total amount distributed by the Complex since the beginning of the distribution on the 23rd of the month of Jumada I, 1405 AH until the end of the month of Jumada I, 1440 AH, reached 315,230,633 copies of various publications.

https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewstory.php...newsid=1885714


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Old February 17th, 2019, 05:34 AM   #11863
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More than 3.8 million Umrah visas issued so far

16 February 2019

JEDDAH: The number of Umrah visas issued this year has reached 3,896,580, of which 3,454,398 pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom, according to data provided by the Hajj Ministry.

There are 431,293 pilgrims still in the Kingdom, with 297,147 in Makkah and 134,146 in Madinah.

Most pilgrims — 3,069,062 — came to the Kingdom by air, while 357,165 entered by land and 28,171 arrived by sea.

The largest number of pilgrims are from Pakistan (863,317) followed by Indonesia (564,273), India (373,781), Yemen (191,214), Malaysia (185,716), Egypt (177,695), Turkey (143,074), Algeria (119,545) and Bangladesh (86,476).

The weekly data also included the number of Saudi staff within Umrah companies and institutions. They are 10,124 Saudis including 8,386 males and 1,738 females.

Developing Hajj and Umrah organizations and services in the Kingdom is among the top priorities of the Saudi government.

Government and private sector entities in Makkah and Madinah are providing first-class services to the worshippers.

The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to attract more than 30 million Umrah pilgrims, and provide them with excellent services and an outstanding experience.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1453316/saudi-arabia

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Old February 17th, 2019, 06:02 AM   #11864
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Pilgrims may soon travel
to Madinah on camel backs



Camels at King Abdulaziz camel festival 2019
2019-02-16

MAKKAH — The Ministry of Haj and Umrah is currently giving final touches to a fascinating project that will allow pilgrims and visitors as well as citizens and residents of the Kingdom to travel to Madinah on camels following the route that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had taken during his Hijrah (migration) to Madinah, according to a report in Makkah Arabic daily.

The ministry said it had agreed to launch the initiative in collaboration with the Royal Commission for Makkah and the Holy Sites.

The project includes the development of 27 points on the Hijra Road consisting of hotels, rest houses, museums and others.

Under the initiative, titled the Road to Thaniyat Al-Wada, a plateau near Madinah, the travelers will be able to tread the same route that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had taken during his migration from Makkah in 622 AD.

The caravan will start from Ghar Thor, the cave on Mount Thor in Makkah where the Prophet and his closest companion Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) had stayed hiding from the eyes of the enemy plotters for about three days before setting out on their journey to Yathrib, which would become famous as Al-Madinah Al-Munawwara, the enlightened city, after the Prophet settled there. The caravan will then stop at the location of the tent of Umm Maabad, who had hosted the Prophet on his way to Yathrib and where he had milked her sheep.

Umm Maabad’s place used to provide generous hospitality to travelers, but that was a year of scarcity with little rain. The drought had adversely affected people and cattle and Umm Maabad had no food to offer to her visitors. But when the Prophet rubbed the udders of Umm Maabad’s, milk came gushing and everyone drank to their fill. The incident has come to be known as a miracle of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

The caravan will then pass through the location where Suraqa Bin Malik met the Prophet. Suraqa had reached the location after following the Prophet’s footprints in the hope of winning the reward the Quraish had placed on his head.

It will also go through the site where the camel had tumbled down and then took a shortcut pointed out to the Prophet by the Bedouin guide Masoud Al-Aslami.

The caravan will stop at Thaniyat Al-Wada completing the journey to Madinah.

The ministry said there would be alternatives other than camels to reach Madinah taking the route, such as 4-wheel drive vehicles, fire balloons and motorbikes.

When the Prophet reached Quba on the outskirts of Yathrib on the 8th day of Rabiul Awwal, he had already traveled for eight days. The Hijra Road, which was known as the caravan road in olden times, is 380 kilometers long.

Haj Ministry giving final touches to project for revisiting Prophet’s Hijra route.

http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/5...on-camel-backs
Camels at King Abdulaziz camel festival 2019 https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewstory.php...newsid=1882492



A photo of Mina in 1889, pilgrims camp in tents along with camels for transport and sacrificial animals for Udhiyyah.

@IlmFeed



A camel caravan traveling to Makkah for the Hajj, 1910, during the reign of Sultan Mehmed V. Pilgrims often traveled in caravans,
where a large number of Hejazis worked in. The economy of the Hejaz Vilayet (Ottoman-administrated) relied heavily on the Hajj.

@ottomanrecord






Life-Size Camel Carvings Found in the Saudi Desert

Archaeologists estimate the reliefs are 2,000 years old but are unsure what culture made them




https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart...um=socialmedia




https://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...ampaign=buffer

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...#ixzz570RWUuFG
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Old February 20th, 2019, 06:15 AM   #11865
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Hop-on buses take visitors
to 12 landmarks in Madinah


2019-02-19

MADINAH — The hop-on and hop-off tourist buses, launched in the middle of 2017 to facilitate sightseeing in Madinah, are taking visitors to 12 historical locations in the Prophet's city.

The project came within the efforts of the Authority to Develop Madinah to promote tourism and enable pilgrims visit a number of historical and tourist sites.

In an hourlong trip, the bus will take visitors to the Prophet's Mosque, Al-Baqeea graveyard, Al-Manakha Square, Al-Salam Gate, the Uhud battleground, the Qiblatain Mosque, the location of the Battle of Al-Khandaq, the Quba Mosque and the Quba Road, in addition to other commercial and heritage sites.

The authority has provided a fleet of well-equipped double-decker buses for the project.

The tour service starts every day after the Fajr prayer from the Prophet's Mosque and will be available until after Isha prayer. The duration of each trip is one hour.

There will be tourist guidance in eight languages including the Arabic, English, French, Urdu, Turkish, Indonesian, Persian and Malay in the buses.

The tourists will be supplied with state-of-the-art earphones to listen to the guidance and descriptions about each location. The descriptions will include anecdotes related to the Prophet's life.

The authority will soon add four languages to the program so that more tourists can benefit from it.

The authority said the visitors and tourists could also benefit from various services along the route including malls, restaurants, coffee shops and others.

http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/5...rks-in-Madinah





















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Old February 21st, 2019, 06:27 AM   #11866
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Saudi Arabia increases
India Hajj pilgrim quota



Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the increase in quota for Indian Hajj
pilgrims to 200,000 at the request of PM Narendra Modi during his recent visit to the country
February 20, 2019

NEW DELHI: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the increase in quota for Indian Hajj pilgrims to 200,000 at the request of PM Narendra Modi during his recent visit to the country.

Also at the request of Modi, the crown prince ordered the release of 850 Indian prisoners held in Saudi Arabian jails.

In a joint press appearance after talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the crown prince said: “Extremism and terrorism are our common concerns. We would like to tell our friend India that we’ll cooperate on all fronts, be it intelligence sharing. We’ll work with everyone to ensure a brighter future for our upcoming generations.”

The two countries will start a security dialogue at the level of national security advisers and set up a working group on counter-terrorism, said T.S. Thirumurthy, who handles economic relations at India’s Foreign Ministry.

In a joint press statement, both countries agreed to cooperate in combating terrorism. “Last week, the attack on Pulwama reminds us of the danger terror attacks pose to humanity and we are unanimous in our decision that pressure should be applied to any country promoting terror,” said the statement.

It added: “We have agreed that terrorism should not be supported in any form, and we should put pressure on countries that back terror. To end terror infrastructure, ending support to terror groups and punishing them is essential, so that young people don’t take up arms.”

In an interaction with the media at the presidential palace earlier, the crown prince said: “The relationship between India and Saudi Arabia is in our DNA. Today, we want to be ensured that the relationship is maintained and improved for sake of both countries and with the leadership of Mr. President and the Prime Minister; we can create good things for both countries.”

He said: “I admire PM Modi. He is the elder brother and I am his younger brother.”

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1455476/saudi-arabia


Excellent relationship
with Saudi Arabia augurs well for Hajj,
Umrah pilgrims from India


February 20, 2019

NEW DELHI: Prominent Muslims in India have told Arab News the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has redefined their relationship with Riyadh.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to use the country’s fast-growing economy to attract more investment from Islamic nations, particularly Saudi Arabia.

Muslims make up 14 percent of India’s population. Last year, a record 175,000 of them traveled to Makkah for Hajj.

Zafarul Islam Khan, the chairman of the Delhi Minority Commission, said he hoped stronger bilateral ties would be an advantage for Muslims.

“Muslims in India go to Saudi for Hajj and Umrah, and a good relationship between New Delhi and Riyadh assures we will be treated well and given respect,” he said.

He added that the crown prince had sparked a lot of curiosity with his reform measures — aimed at diversifying the economy and opening up the Kingdom culturally — and that people in India, particularly Muslims, were keen to see what deals and agreements would be signed during his visit.

“Muslims in India think very highly of the Saudi-Indian relationship,” said Khan. “The process of redefining the India and Saudi Arabia relationship started long ago. Now what is happening is the consolidation.”

Andalib Akhtar, a New Delhi-based journalist and editor of The Indian Awaz, described the crown prince’s visit as special.

“For any Muslim, it’s a dream to go to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj or Umrah,” she said.

“It is also a destination for many Indians who seek employment.”

According to Pew Research Center data, India is the world’s top recipient of migrant remittances. Almost $69 billion was sent back to the country in 2015 and $10.5 billion of this sum was from Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Tasleem Ahmed Rehmani, from the Muslim Political Council of India, said Saudi Arabia’s reputation for promoting a conservative form of Islam had changed in recent years.

“The crown prince’s reformist measures have been received positively in the country,” he told Arab News, adding that Saudi Arabia had previously been considered close to Pakistan but that it was now regarded as “a great ally and very dependable strategic partner.”

Shaukat Azam, a university student in the eastern Indian city of Patna, said Saudi Arabia should invest in modern schools in India rather than building more seminaries and mosques.

“The Saudis have been building madrasahs (seminaries) and mosques for a long time now. It is time that investment is made in constructing modern schools and colleges,” he told Arab News.

He also said Muslim families depended on earnings from their relatives working in the Kingdom, and that Saudi Arabia was a “savior” for many.

“I have heard a lot about the crown prince and I hope his visit will not only redefine his relations with the country but also with the Muslim population in general.”

Shabuddin Yaqub, a media professional, said Muslims in India owed a lot to Riyadh.

“Almost 200,000 people go for Hajj in Saudi Arabia every year, plus many go for Umrah,” he told Arab News. “Indian Muslims get good respect in Saudi Arabia.”

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1455106/saudi-arabia
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Old February 22nd, 2019, 06:35 AM   #11867
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Steps taken to meet growing demand
for Muslim holy water


February 22, 2019

JEDDAH: The very mention of the word “Zamzam” evokes a feeling of awe in the hearts of the faithful. Zamzam water is considered holy in Islam.

It is found in a 30 meter well in the basement of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, about 20 meters east of the Kaaba. The water is believed to possess healing qualities, and is treated with reverence by all Muslims.

The Saudi government takes special measures to ensure there is an uninterrupted supply of the water to the Two Holy Mosques all year round, and to pilgrims during the Hajj and Umrah seasons.

In addition to the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Zamzam Water Project, the Zamzam bottling plant operates with a separate mission under the United Office of Zamazemah in Makkah.

Zamzam water is produced by the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Zamzam Water Project, which is operated by the National Water Co., and whose new bottling plant can produce up to 30,000 liters per hour.

The construction of the new plant began in 2014. Originally consisting of two production lines, a third was added in 2017, which massively increased production capacity. With the water being dispensed into 200 milliliter bottles, it means that the plant can produce well in excess of 150,000 bottles per hour.

The bottles are then distributed to pilgrims upon arrival in Makkah, and, under the Zamzam Water Additional Services program, are also made available near the central area of Makkah’s Grand Mosque and in other holy places, such as Mina and Arafat.

Two further expansion phases are currently underway at the site, which also houses its administrative center, including the management and marketing departments.

Two weeks ago, meanwhile, the Saudi Shoura Council approved a new project proposal by Arbab Al-Tawaif Establishments. The project will aim to enhance the competence of employees in Hajj and Umrah services.

It will also look to restructure Arbab Al-Tawaif, and transform its establishments from individual institutions into companies, working to ensure they provide better standards of service to pilgrims from outside Saudi Arabia.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1456126/saudi-arabia
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Old February 22nd, 2019, 06:53 AM   #11868
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Haramain Railway new schedule























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Old Yesterday, 02:01 AM   #11869
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Gazans give thanks as Egypt
opens border to Umrah pilgrims


21 February, 2019

For more than four years, Palestinians in Gaza have been unable to perform the Umrah pilgrimage rituals in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca.

But Palestinians have now been informed by Egyptian authorities that starting from March this year, hundreds of pilgrims will be allowed to travel via the Rafah terminal.

Awad Abu Madkour heads an association of owners of 76 pilgrimage and travel agencies in Gaza City.

The travel ban was been imposed in 2014, in the aftermath of bloody violence on Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, Abu Madkour told The New Arab. From now on, all Palestinians - men and women of all ages - will be allowed to travel via the Rafah crossing.

The closing of the Rafah crossing into Egypt heightened the Israel-imposed siege of Gaza, and, in addition to the multiple healthcare, energy, food and trade crises the blockade has caused, travel agencies have lost revenues of more than $4 million, according to Abu Madkour.

"In 2012, 2013 and 2014, we used to receive large numbers of applications for the Umrah pilgrimage from local residents," he said. "During those years, the situation was much better, For example, government employees of both the Gaza- and the Ramallah-based government received full salaries. Also, the construction process was going on and labourers of all types were working.

"Now, the situation is getting worse and people seem worried about the future. That's what I myself have noticed."

Just 2,500 people have so far applied for this year's Umrah pilgrimage, compared with about 20,000 in 2012.

At the Mushtaha travel agency in Gaza city, one of the largest in the coastal territory, Hadi Nabrees, a 35-year-old computer engineer and father of one daughter, told The New Arab that he hopes to reach out his sister, who lives in the United Arab Emirates, if he manages to make it to Mecca for the Umrah.

"Umrah has two sides, tourist and religious," he said. "Actually, I look forward to reaching out to my relatives in the United Arab Emirates. We hope that all will go well, in terms of the travel arrangements and prices."

The Gaza Strip has been subject to many travel restrictions since 2007, when Israel imposed a siege on the region. Ever since, the Rafah crossing into Egypt has been the main route for Gaza to the outside world. Yet, Egypt has frequently closed the terminal, allowing only a few categories of travellers from Gaza - students, medical patients with overseas treatment arranged and holders of residency permits of nearby Arab countries.

Waseem Mushtaha, director of the Mushtaha travel agency, told The New Arab that he and other travel agencies were solely and strictly responsible for the travel and return to Gaza of all pilgrims within a period of 14 days. His agency has deposited a sum of 257,000 Saudi Riyals as a financial guarantee with the Saudi Ministry of Hajj, in case of any breach.

"Before [a person] wants to go on the Umrah, they should provide me with a certified copy of their host's residency permit, an address and a land phone number - not a cellular one that can be turned off," he said.

"Also, a given traveller to the Umrah should show me a legal signed financial guarantee, granted by a local guarantor person in Gaza. The local guarantor will be charged an amount of 5,000 Jordanian Dinars ($7,000) in case there is a breach. That way, I can guarantee that travelers to the Umrah will return back to Gaza, upon completion of the rituals."

On March 3, a group of 1,064 Gaza Umrah pilgrims will be expected to cross via Rafah on their way to Mecca. This same figure will be allowed to cross every week until the end of May. The Umrah season usually begins in October for a period of eight months. Though it is late for Gaza, the Gaza-based ministry of endowment and religious affairs - which supervises the pilgrimage along with its parallel Ramallah-based ministry, expressed satisfaction with the arrangement.

"There is a joint committee made up of staff members of both ministries in Gaza and Ramallah, headed by the Ramallah-based minister of endowments and religious affairs, Minister Yousef Edais," said Adel Alsawalha, the director of pilgrimages at the Gaza-based ministry.

"This committee is assigned with supervising and managing the Umrah for this season."

Egypt's decision to lift the travel ban for Umrah comes as Cairo attempts to mediate in the ongoing dispute between the Islamist Hamas party, in control of Gaza since 2007, and the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah.

Meanwhile, Egypt has also been negotiating a "calm" between Hamas and Israel, amid continued peaceful protests by Palestinians on Gaza's border, which started in March last year aimed at breaking the 12-year Israeli siege.

According to the Gaza-based Popular Committee for Breaking the Israeli Siege of Gaza, the unemployment rate here in Gaza stands at almost 60 percent of the labour force, and more than 80 percent of Gaza's 2 million residents rely on food rations provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, known as UNRWA.

"My daughter will be taking care of all my Umrah and she has literally told me 'even if I run out of money, I will pay for your Umrah, my mother'," Um Mohammad Al-E'mour, a 75-year-old woman from the Shati refugee camp in western Gaza city, told The New Arab.

"Actually, over the past few years, I have come over many times to the Mushtaha travel agency, to ask about the possibility for Umrah. I feel really relieved that they have finally allowed us to go. I give thanks for everyone who has made Umrah possible. Life is short, son."

https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/in...rah-pilgrimage
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Old Yesterday, 02:30 AM   #11870
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Emirati runner sets sights on Makkah
in epic endurance challenge



Dr Khaled Al Suwaidi is running 65km a day for 38 consecutive days from Abu Dhabi
February 7, 2019

Seven days into his epic 2,070-kilometre m run to Makkah and Dr Khaled Al Suwaidi has taken his first steps into Saudi Arabia.

Dr Al Suwaidi, 35, is beginning to find his stride a week after setting off from Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, as he aims to inspire others to lead a healthier life.

The Emirati academic, who specialises in international relations, is hoping to complete his challenge within 38 days.

He has faced his own battle with obesity, losing more than 50kg in three years after becoming a father and deciding to take up running and healthy eating.

“I’m trying to eat as well as I can, but this is just the beginning – I have another 1,700km to go,” said Dr Al Suwaidi during a pasta break on the road, 10km from the Saudi border.

“It is difficult to eat those calories every day, so I have had to build it up gradually.”

Technology is playing a big part in his mammoth effort.

Each night, he is accompanied by a support trailer equipped with a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to help his body recover, as he refuels for the next day.

After completing his daily target of 65km, he uses a NormaTec machine where electric pulses compress his muscles, increasing blood flow and accelerating recovery.

The biggest challenge is consuming the whopping 7,200 calories he needs to fuel his daily running challenge.

Fruit, vegetables and waffles make up a large percentage of his diet.


Dr Khaled Al Suwaidi fuels his runs with 7,200 calories each day.

“Running is the easy part,” he said.

“When I get to my camp I have to rest, eat, take a shower, fix my feet, pray and then get physio treatment.

“Eating 3,000 calories in one sitting sounds easy, but it’s no fun.

“I then get into an oxygen chamber to recover, and get wired up to a rehydration drip every three days to replace all the essential nutrients I need.”

It is not the first time Dr Al Suwaidi has taken on an ultra-long-distance running challenge.

In February 2018, he ran from Fujairah to Port Zayed in Abu Dhabi, covering the 327km in only three days.

His efforts were to raise attention for the Rahma cancer charity, that supports people recovering from illness.

His latest run between the UAE and Saudi Arabia is to commemorate ties between the two nations.

“We all have to set high goals in life and the celebration of that is the preparation, not just the end result – that is the message,” he said.

“I’ve decided to do this run because people told me it was impossible, so I’ve trained for that.

“I’m not sure anyone else has run this far in this region before.

“I’m transcending boundaries, and I’ve already crossed the Saudi border.

"That is a small accomplishment towards a bigger goal.”

https://www.thenational.ae/uae/emira...lenge-1.823003





Emirati running to Makkah battles
through sandstorms and exhaustion


February 21, 2019

While the mantra of ‘head down and keep on going’ might seem straightforward enough – running mile after mile across empty desert is no easy task.

Yet despite the challenges Khaled Al Suwaidi, an Emirati academic, remains resolute in his effort to run from Abu Dhabi to Makkah in just 38 days.

Now in Saudi Arabia with some 600km still to go, the super-fit 34-year-old has revealed a little of the highs and lows of the journey so far.

He described the hardship of battling intense sandstorms on his own and the elation of having total strangers decide to run with him.

“The terrain and weather is tough but the people have been incredible, he told The National.

“Running in the middle of Saudi Arabia is a tricky thing but I’ve been invited in for so many meals by families I’ve met along the way.

“I was running through a sandstorm and it felt like I was running through hell. It’s a totally different environment to Dubai or Abu Dhabi.”

Dr Al Suwaidi is undergoing the mammoth 1,850km run in an effort to inspire others to get “out of their comfort zone”.

He also said the challenge was in part to highlight the importance of the close relationship between the UAE and its neighbour Saudi Arabia.

His first 20 days were spent mainly running on highways, though small towns and villages.

But he revealed the terrain had now given way to vast stretches of desert as he ventured deeper into Saudi Arabia.

He hopes to reach Makkah by March 4, leaving him a remaining target of around 55km a day to complete the challenge.

“When we reached Riyadh there was a lot more traffic and people about,” he said. “Everyone wanted to stop and speak with us so it was slow going.

“That was the only place I’ve seen any action really - it was incredible meeting the other runners who joined us.”

Dr Khaled is now around 200km past Riyadh and close to the village of Ar Ruwaidah.

As he gets closer to Makkah, his progress will slow as he takes time out to visit a number of hospitals and schools to talk about his trip.

“When you see the map it is just empty where I am now,” he said. “I didn’t see a house or a traffic light for 12 days.

“I’d heard of the love and appreciation the people of Saudi Arabia have for the UAE but it has been incredible to see it in person.

“A Bedouin came out of nowhere and ran with me, barefoot through the desert for 10km in Al Ahsa.

“They call me a traveller here and to see the Saudis in person and their reaction to what I’m doing – it makes me feel proud.”

https://www.thenational.ae/uae/emira...stion-1.828402
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Last edited by Roukaya19; Yesterday at 02:36 AM.
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