• Kingdom Makes Its Cyber Security Better, But Still Space For Improvement Is Required

    Due to the cyber attacks that Saudi Arabia had to face in the recent times, it is now sure that slowly but very well Saudi Arabia has now took good steps in order to make the cyber security better than ever.
    It has helped a lot in order to make the Saudi Arabia safer from the cyber attacks, which is a lot better for everyone that uses the internet across the Saudi Arabia.
    In the list of countries that were vulnerable for the cyber security Saudi Arabia was on the 36th spot in the year of the 2013, but in the year of 2014 it climbed the 42nd position.
    This shift in the ranking shows that Saudi Arabia has now took good steps in order to make it safe from the cyber attacks, and the threats which also include the malicious code and spam on the different levels.
    In the past it was very easy for the attackers in the Saudi Arabia to threat or attack, but this was not their fault, as the security systems were weaker. Now that respective steps are taken this is visible that the systems are much safer now.
    In the past the attackers were tricking the companies in order to install several programs that were used later by the cyber attackers in order to hijack in their systems, this gave the attackers a good access in the corporate network, seeking the information they were willing to have.
    It’s good to know that in the year of 2013 the cyber attack was about 56, and this dropped to the count of 39 in the year of 2014. It shows that it was shifted from 91 to lower count of 73 in the year of 2014.

    This is of special importance, as Saudi government is planning to put together all related ministries in sync to track Hajj and umrah pilgrims.

    Compared with the other security threat profiles Saudi Arabia remained at the number of the 4 from ranking of the 2013.
    The industry that had to face many threats in cyber was the Finance, insurance, and real estate. Around 79 percent of the incoming mails were targeted.

  • Hajj FAQ's

    Which things do I need to talk along with me when I go for Hajj?

    Provision of free hand bags and pouches is included in the package. The essentials like sandals, safety pins, personal clothes, nail-clipper, multipurpose knife, small shampoo bottle, soap dish, Vaseline, toothpaste and toothbrush, comb/hairbrush, small scissors, toilet paper, water bottle, umbrella, passport and plane ticket, pocket Quran, everyday use medicines for cough, flu cold, etc., sunglasses, face towel. You may want to take along your camera as well to capture the famous historical places in Saudi Arabia that you would visit during your stay. We advise you to take the mentioned things with you, yet you may add or remove any articles according to your needs and requirements.

    What is the Expected date of Hajj and the climatic conditions in the coming month of Hajj?

    10-ZUL HIJAAH—1433 is expected on 26th September, 2015, subjected to the citation of moon. The weather in Saudi Arabia remains hot in September and November. To stay comfortable throughout your stay during Hajj, you are recommended to take one set of clothes for each day. The limitation of space and physical exertion will demand you to get refreshed when you are done with your day's activities.

    How would I know the destination from one ritual to the next during the hajj days?

    It is best to thoroughly go through the guide-book once before you leave for Hajj. To ease any sort of difficulty, a religious guide proficient in English will be there for you. However, for the clarification about the rituals of Hajj, you may benefit from the pre-Hajj seminar where your questions will be entertained too.

    How much money should I take with me?

    The need of money varies with the individual. A few hundred pounds will suffice your needs. Moreover, it is advisable not to take travelers' cheque with you, as you might not be carrying the passport when the cheque needs to be cashed. You may take Pounds with you and get them exchanged when you reach the destination or you may get the Pounds converted into Riyals before departure.
    How much I do need to pay for my lunch/dinner or what is the average cost per meal?
    Lunch/Dinner will be served to you during the 5 days of Hajj (except at Muzdallifah), as it is included in the package. Additional meals will ask you for payment and the average cost per meal is around £3 or 20 Riyals. During the days of Hajj, tea and other refreshments shall also be provided to you.

    Is it permissible if I want to take Zam Zam water with me, back to UK, for my relatives and friends?

    It is permissible for you to take the water of Zam Zam with you. 10 liters/person of water is allowed which is not included in the excess baggage.

    Can females go to perform Hajj without mahram?

    In the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), it was not permissible for a woman to travel without a mahram, keeping in view the safety and protection of the women. The journeys today are much easier than they were in the older times, especially the group journeys like Hajj. Therefore, it is allowed for women to go and perform Hajj without a mahram. If a female is going alone or with another female, she needs to make sure that she is in the company of a group where she feels secure with her life, faith, honour, property and respect. You can see more details about Mahram rules here

    I hold a work/student visa in UK. Is it possible for me to apply for Hajj visa?

    Yes, you are eligible to apply for Hajj visa if you currently hold work/student visa. You need to provide proof of residence by sending a copy of driving license or utility bill copy or the copy of council tax along with your passport.
    Can I apply for Hajj visa if I hold UK visit visa?
    You must be a UK resident if you want to apply for Hajj visa from there. If you hold visit visa then you can apply for Hajj visa from the country you belong. More details on Hajj visa can be found on this page.

    Is the cost for sacrifice (qurbani) included in the package?

    No, the cost of sacrifice is not included in the package. You need to pay £85 for that in Saudi Arabia.

    Can I wear Ihram after reaching Jeddah? gives a very detail account that surely will answer your question. The generally agreed rule among scholars is that no one-- whose primary intention is to perform hajj or 'umrah--is allowed to cross the meeqaat except in a state of ihraam. Should he or she do so, they ought to offer a sacrifice. However, there are some modern scholars who are of the view that they are allowed to put off the intention until such time that they arrive in Jeddah, and then from there they may assume ihraam. You should only resort to this exceptional ruling if you are faced with the following situations: 1. you are flying from a city where you cannot possibly assume ihraam; 2. you are unable to assume ihraam in the plane; this would not be the case in Saudi Air Lines, since there are facilities for doing so in the plane itself.

    If you are flying from a city such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, or even London, you may assume ihraam without hardship. Therefore, I would not consider it permissible in such cases to put off the ihraam.
    If, on the other hand, your primary intention is to visit your relatives or friends, you are allowed to assume ihraam from Jeddah.
    Perhaps another option to follow may be to fly to Madinah first, and to assume ihraam for 'umrah from either Madinah or Dhul hulayfah (if you are traveling by road), by following the footsteps of the Prophet (PBUH).

  • The birth of Halal Holidays

    There were time, when Muslims from around the world were not very fond of holiday travel. If at all, it came to travel, it was for performing their obligatory duties of Hajj or Umrah or for employment purposes overseas. Then times changed and as more and more Muslims became well off and travelled to western countries, they started to travel for holidays as well.
    Now, when the trend started, wherever they went, they were encountered with problems like mixed beaches, difficulty to find halal food and people in these holiday destinations used to stare at them for the kind of attire that they had on. This lead to quite a few problems and incidents and the fear was that this trend might get nipped in the bud. There were specially difficulties to find Halal food and travellers had a bad time instead of enjoying their trips.
    However, gradually, the world responded to the idea of Muslim travellers having separate facilities to have fun in accordance with Shariah. Hotels and resorts in Muslim and non-Muslim world started to make separate arrangements for Muslim clientele and started to serve Halal food. This trend gradually got popular and reached a point where these hotels and resorts completely converted themselves into Muslim complaint places. This, in turn gave birth to a whole new industry called "Halal Tourism".

    Muslims around the world have next to no problem finding a Halal hotel, Villa or resort to stay in an d enjoy with their family. Different websites, offering halal tourism have emerged in the last few years. These websites list halal hotels, thermal resorts, resorts, hotels, villas, city breaks and honeymoons that are completely Halal. These Halal holidays websites, offer other halal packages like Ramadan in Jerusalem, skiing holidays and almost any kind of holidays that any Muslim can think of.
    Countries who are at the forefront of Halal tourism development and who have realised the potential most are Turkey, Jordan, Spain, Malaysia from the Muslim world, whereas travel agents in countries like Japan, China, Singapore and agents of lots of western countries are also devising packages to serve Muslim guests withcompliance to their needs.
    Beach resorts are also waking up to the idea and resorts like Adenya Beach resort in Turkey are offering separate beaches for men and women, with women area safe from outside eye and with kids pools, halal food and separate spa facilities.
    It is hoped that this trend will flourish more in the next few years and Muslims from around the world will be able to enjoy their holidays free of any tensions that are associated with holidaying in a non-Muslim environment.

  • 3 Oldest mosques in Islamic History

    The three oldest mosques in the history of Islam are in the city of Medina, which are visited before or after Hajj by millions of pilgrims each year. These Mosques not only carry a narration in themselves but they are held sanctified and holy among all the believers.

    Masjid e Nabwi:The second holiest site of Islam and the second mosque in the history of Islam that was built by our Holy Prophet (PBUH) by Himself is the Masjid-e-Nabwi. Through years it has passed through incredible developmental and renovation processes and now it is one of the biggest mosques of the world. Over the centre of the Mosque is the green dome which is the main identification of the Mosque. This dome is also known as the Dome of the Prophet.
    This mosque resides the Tomb of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and for this reason millions of pilgrims visit to say Salaam to Muhammad (SAWW) and pray Nawafil too. Ibn Umar said that the Prophet said:
    "My intercession is assured for all who visit me."
    Abu Hurayra related that the Prophet said:
    "One prayer in this mosque of mine is better than a thousand prayers in any other, except the Sacred Mosque (in Mecca)."
    One must go there with a pure heart and an intention of sending Durood and blessings upon our Beloved Prophet (PHUH).

    Msjid e Quba:

    Masjid e Quba is the first mosque in the history of Islam. It is that place where the camel (oontni) of our Holy Prophet (PBUH) stopped when he was moving from Mecca to Medina. And at this very place, the people of Medina (Ansaar) were standing in an honor to welcome the Messenger of Allah. Our Prophet (PBUH) stayed in Mosque Quba for 20 nights after migration from Medina.
    Every Saturday Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) used to go there to offer a two rak’ah prayer and other Muslims are advised to do the same. According to a Hadith, reported by Ahmad ibn Hanabal, Al-Nasa’I, Ibn Maja and Hakeem al-Nishaburi:
    “Whoever makes ablutions at home and then goes and prays in the Mosque of Quba, he will have a reward like that of an Umrah

    Masjid al-Qiblatain:

    Meaning: “Mosque of two Qiblas”. Masjid al-Qiblatain is that historical Mosque in Islam where the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), when He was leading the prayer, was commanded by Allah to change the direction of prayer form Jerusalem to Mecca. As narrated in the Holy Quran:
    “We see the turning of thy face (for guidance) to the heavens: now shall We turn thee to a Qibla that shall please thee. Turn then Thy face in the direction of the sacred Mosque: Wherever ye are, turn your faces in that direction. The people of the Book know well that that is the truth from their Lord. Nor is God unmindful of what they do.”
    The pilgrims always visit this Mosque to call to their imagination the historical event that took place in this Mosque. Muslim men and women pray nawafil in this mosque when they visit Medina.

  • Umrah with small children

    A lot of parents want to go for Umrah with their entire family. If the children are over 5 years old and
    healthy then it is relatively easy but if the children are under that age then some precautions should be
    made so that you can take care of them while performing your Umrah rituals.

    The first thing to make sure is that never go alone with more than one child. This will create a lot of problems for you and it will be hard to keep an eye on them and they might wander off and get lost. If you are going to Umrah, go with at least one other person so that you can take turn while performing Umrah and keeping an eye on the kids. Consulting your travel agent can provide you with discounts for children that are accompanying you on Umrah. There are Umrah packages where you can get discounts for the children that will accompany you. Here are some valuable tips that will help you with Umrah and your
    visit to Madinah.

    • Try to book a hotel close to the Masjid-al-Haram.
    • Always make sure your small children are wearing an ID with parent's name, hotel name, contact number, passport number etc. The children that usually wander off from their parents are normally found by the Mosque security. If such a case arises then you can contact them.
    • Keeping an eye on them is important while you are praying in case they wander off.
    • Ihram is not necessary for children who have not reached puberty. However you can put Ihram on them if you wish. But they should be taught about the restrictions of Ihram but if they commit a violation then there is neither penalty on the child or the parents. If you dressthem in their everyday clothes then make sure that the clothes are not too flashy or attraction gathering.
    • The weather of Makkah and Madinah is very hot during the summers. The best time for Umrah with small children is during October to January. The interior of Masjid-al-Haram and Masjid-un-Nabwi are air-conditioned.
    • Women praying areas in both Mosques are separate. Children usually accompany their mothers where there are several other children.
    • Always carry a baby bag for toddlers and small children with all necessary things so that you don't have to run back to the hotel. There should be plenty of water for the children in case the weather is hot.
    • Tawaaf and Sa'ye (running around the Safaa and Marwa mounts) is an important part of Umrah. If you have a toddler with you performing Umrah then it will not be any problem carrying him while doing Tawaaf. Some levels are less crowded for doing Tawaaf in case you have children who can walk and run for themselves. For Sa'ye you can rent a wheel chair and put the child in the wheel chair.
    • There are no day cares in Makkah where you can leave your children. Umrah takes little time so you can also leave small children behind in the hotel if you want of perform Umrah while they are taking a nap.

      Some people don't prefer to take children along for Umrah. But it is considered very good to take them with you because this will bring them closer to Islam and will be beneficial for them in their future life. So when you are planning for Umrah for this year, please keep this in mind.


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