ARAFAT, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Struggling to keep his footing in a throng of Muslims trying to reach a mountain top near Mecca, Omar al-Sharkasy says it is thanks to the downfall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi that he is able to make the haj pilgrimage.
Part of a government-sponsored group for relatives of fighters killed in the civil war to defeat Gaddafi’s forces, Sharkasy has joined up to 3 million people from around the world to perform the annual haj, which all able-bodied Muslims are enjoined to complete at least once in a lifetime.
As Muslims from all over the world congregate for the annual haj pilgrimage, some are defying the edicts of Saudi Arabia’s strict Wahhabi school of Islam by climbing al-Nour mountain in the hope of attaining spiritual favour.
MECCA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – As Muslims from all over the world congregate for the annual haj pilgrimage, some are defying the edicts of Saudi Arabia’s strict Wahhabi school of Islam by climbing al-Nour mountain in the hope of attaining spiritual favor.
Tucked under slabs of granite near the top of the 660-meter mountain on the outskirts of the sacred city of Mecca, dozens of pilgrims jostle for a glimpse of the Hera’a cave where they say God first revealed the message of Islam.
MECCA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Crown Prince Nayef, the new heir to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, warned on Tuesday the kingdom would use “all means” to ensure a peaceful haj pilgrimage amid tumult in other Arab countries and rising tensions with Iran.
Millions of Muslims have started to arrive in the holy city of Mecca to perform the haj, one of Islam’s five pillars and a duty for all Muslims who are physically able.
MECCA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Adalet Gigek sat impatiently in a crowded hotel lobby, waiting for the minibus to take her to Mecca’s Grand Mosque for noon prayers as millions of Muslims started arriving in Saudi Arabia before the annual haj pilgrimage which starts on Friday.
She has spent five years hoping for the chance to fulfill her duty as a Muslim by performing haj and knows she will not be allowed to go again because pilgrim numbers are strictly controlled to prevent overcrowding.
DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s Bakheet Investment Group expects the kingdom to fully open its stock market to foreigners in the first half of next year, with banks and petrochemical firms most likely to attract investment, an executive said on Wednesday.
The Saudi bourse, the region’s largest and most liquid stock market, has been moving toward giving foreigners access to the market, but does not yet allow direct ownership or trade in Saudi shares.
RIYADH (Reuters) – The world’s eyes are on Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Wednesday to make the widely expected choice of veteran Interior Minister Prince Nayef as his new heir, a decision that would emphasize stability in the top oil exporter.
The funeral of Crown Prince Sultan on Tuesday set the stage for the high-profile appointment in Saudi Arabia, a major U.S. ally with an aging leadership trying to reconcile conservative traditions with the needs of a modern economy and a young, increasingly outward-looking population.
RIYADH (Reuters) – The gap between housing demand and supply in Saudi Arabia is narrowing as banks start to lend and government support boosts sector development, the director of Jones Lang LaSalle in Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday.
John Harris told the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit that housing supply in the biggest Arab economy had been restricted over the past three years, with investors and banks reluctant to invest in real estate projects after the global financial crisis.
RIYADH (Reuters) – The funeral of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Sultan on Tuesday set the stage for King Abdullah to name a new heir, widely expected to be veteran Interior Minister Prince Nayef, a choice that would emphasize stability in the world’s top oil exporter.
Amid the flashing of cameras, Sultan’s sons and brothers carried his corpse, swathed in a brown shroud, on a bier through a throng of mourners in Riyadh’s sprawling Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque for funeral prayers before burial.
RIYADH (Reuters) – The funeral of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Sultan on Tuesday set the stage for King Abdullah to name a new heir, widely expected to be veteran Interior Minister Prince Nayef, a move that would emphasise stability in the world’s top oil-exporting country.
Sultan’s body, swathed in a brown cloth, was carried through the throng of mourners on a bier amid the flashes of cameras in the sprawling Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque in Riyadh for funeral prayers before burial.