Today, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov pays two-day visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform the Umrah Hajj (small pilgrimage) ceremony.
It is noteworthy that the President of Turkmenistan, following the canons of belief, makes his first foreign visit since taking office to the holy land of the Islamic world.
The chairmen of the Halk Maslakhaty and the Mejlis of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan, Deputy Chairmen of the Cabinet of Ministers, heads of military and law enforcement agencies, khyakims of Akhal and Ashgabat city gathered at the International Airport of the Turkmen capital to see off the head of state, and wished President Serdar Berdimuhamedov a happy flight and a successful stay in the Homeland of the Prophet Muhammad.
The Mufti of Turkmenistan prays to heaven that all roads are open to fulfill cherished goals, and our delegation has always been accompanied by luck on the way.
It should be noted that together with the head of state, yashulies (whitebeards) and gray-haired mothers from all the velayats of the country went to the holy land of Muslims.
After warmly saying goodbye to the assembled, the President of Turkmenistan boarded the airliner, which is heading for Jeddah – the second largest city in Saudi Arabia, often called its economic capital.
However, historically it is not only the largest diplomatic and economic center, but also a traditional place where numerous pilgrims who came to the holy land for Muslims to perform Hajj to Mecca and Medina – the main shrines of Islam – initially gather.
On the way to the Holy Land, the representatives of the older generation accompanying the head of state expressed their sincere gratitude to the country’s President, who shows great concern for the welfare of the Motherland and the happy life of his native people, for the opportunity to perform Umrah – one of the five pillars of Islam, wishing him sound health, longevity and success in grandiose undertakings.
After a while, everyone put on the ihram robe. Addressing the members of the delegation, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov wished their pilgrimage to be accepted by the Almighty and asked about their well-being.
Noting that it is a great honor for them to visit the holy places together with Arkadagly Serdar, the honorary elders and gray-haired mothers expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the honor and wished that the pilgrimage of the head of state was accepted by the Almighty.
After almost four hours of flight, the plane landed at the Jeddah International Airport of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Governor of Mecca Province, Adviser to the King of Saudi Arabia Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud, and other officials warmly welcome the distinguished Turkmen guest in the air harbor.
From Jeddah International Airport, the presidential motorcade headed to the holy city of Mecca, the spiritual capital of the Muslim world.
The Prophet Muhammad, the founder and central figure of Islam, was born here in 570 AD. According to the Islamic creed, this is the last prophet and Messenger of Allah, to whom the Holy Scripture, the Koran, was sent.
Modern Mecca is an international pilgrimage center that receives millions of believers from all over the world every year.
It is here, in the heart of the holy city, that the main and largest mosque in the world, Al-Haram (Reserved or Forbidden Mosque), is located.
During its existence, the mosque has been rebuilt several times. In recent years, it has been extensively renovated and expanded.
Thus, during the reconstruction of the mosque in the late 1980s, a huge building with two minarets was added to the southwest side. It is in it that the main entrance to the mosque is now located – King Fahad Gate.
From 2007 to 2012, another large-scale reconstruction of Masjid al-Haram, which is under the control of the King of Saudi Arabia – the keeper of the two shrines (i.e., the Forbidden Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina), was carried out.
During the expansion, mainly in the north direction, its territory increased to 400 thousand square meters. Two more were added to nine minarets, and a new King Abdullah Gate was also built.
In the center of the courtyard of Masjid al-Haram is the main shrine of Islam – the Kaaba. It is a cubic stone structure with a height of 15 meters, the corners of which are oriented to the cardinal directions.
Every year, a special veil (kiswah) is made for the Kaaba from black silk, the upper part of which is decorated with gold-embroidered sayings from the Koran.
The Kaaba bears the symbolic name Al-Bayt al-Haram, which means ‘sacred house’ in Arabic. For Muslims all over the world, it serves as a qibla – a landmark towards which they turn their face during prayer.
In the eastern corner of the Kaaba, at the level of 1.5 meters, there is a Black Stone sent by Allah in a silver frame Al-Hajar al-Aswad, which pilgrims tend to kiss or at least touch with their hand.
According to legend, when the Black Stone was lowered from the sky, it was of dazzling whiteness and shone so that it could be seen four days’ journey to Mecca. But gradually, from the touch of numerous sinners, the stone darkened until it turned completely black.
In the Al-Haram Mosque there is also the sacred spring of Zam-Zam, around which Mecca arose.
Hajj – the pilgrimage to holy places – is not only the greatest blessing, but also one of the five pillars of Islam, obligatory for all Muslims who are able to perform it.
Millions of people also make Umrah – a small pilgrimage, not in the month designated for Hajj, but at any other time of the year.
It is believed that after performing Umrah and Hajj, the true-believers find peace and are purified by the soul.
President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, accompanied by special religious representatives of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, went to the Al-Haram Mosque.
In this spiritual temple, the head of Turkmenistan and members of the official delegation of our country accompanying him performed the midday prayer (Mültezem), after which they began to perform the rituals prescribed for Umrah Hajj.
The first action of the rituals of Hajj and Umrah is ihram, which means the intention of a human to start the sacred rite.
Pilgrims first perform ablution from head to toe, vocalize their intention to perform Hajj and recite a special prayer.
Believers dressed in white ritual robes, symbolizing purity of thoughts and their equality before the Almighty, must necessarily perform the tawaf rite, that is, walk seven times around the Kaaba counterclockwise, starting from the corner where the Black Stone Al-Hajar al-Aswad is located.
The ritual begins with the greeting of the Kaaba with the raised right hand.
Seven is an important number in Islam. Tawaf symbolizes dispensation and monotheism, and each circumambulation around the Kaaba, completed with the words ‘Allahu Akba’ means a new stage of perfection of faith.
Having walked around the Kaaba seven times, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov approaches the Black Stone of Al-Hajar al-Aswad, thanking Almighty Allah for the great mercies and blessings bestowed upon the Turkmen people, for the success of the grandiose transformations of the era of the Revival of a new epoch of a powerful state, carried out in the name of happiness and prosperity, peace and well-being of the native Motherland.
– May the Almighty bless the pilgrims from the Turkmen land! May all their prayers be heard in the holy abode of Allah! Kabul bolsun!
Then the pilgrims go to a place called Maqam Ibrahim, located within the complex of the majestic mosque, where, according to legend, the prophet Ibrahim stood during the construction of the Kaaba. Currently, there is a small construction with a dome.
According to the established ceremony, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov and members of the delegation accompanying him drank water from the sacred spring of Zam-Zam and offered a prayer to the Almighty.
Then the Turkmen pilgrims made Sa’i – a seven-fold rapid movement between the hills of As-Safa and Al-Marwa, mentioned in the Quran. The rite also begins with raising up the right hand.
In the Muslim tradition, there are several versions of the origin of this rite, but the most widespread legend is that it was established in memory of the sufferings of Hajjar, who was rushing between the hills in search of water for her son Ismail. Having pitied the desperate woman, the angel struck the ground with his foot, and a spring of Zam-Zam was miraculously formed at this place.
The special religious representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia tells the Turkmen pilgrims about the peculiarities of the rite. They repeat the words of a special prayer after him.
After performing this rite, the President of Turkmenistan and his accompanying persons perform two rakats of nafl-namaz.
The Special Religious Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with a feeling of deep pride, informed the President of Turkmenistan that he had the great honor to be near his father, Haji Arkadag, during the Hajj.
Also, all the rituals associated with Umrah Hajj were performed here.
On the night of June 1-2, during the pilgrimage of the head of state to the holy land, the veil of the holy Kaaba, the house of Allah, was moved and its doors were opened, thereby affording a special opportunity to perform prayer inside the shrine. This was a manifestation of deep respect and reverence for Haji Arkadag, Arkadagly Serdar and the entire Turkmen people.
First, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov having kissed the sacred Black Stone bowed. Here, the head of state was given the opportunity to perform prayer in three places – at the place where the Prophet Muhammad read the prayer, near the inner wall of the Kaaba, as well as in the sacred corner inside the Black Stone.
Alternately observing all the noble traditions of the Muslim world, the President bowed to the shrines.
As you know, in May 2016, during a pilgrimage to the holy Kaaba, Haji Arkadag was presented with a teperrik as a sign of great respect.
And today Arkadagly Serdar was handed over a present from the Kaaba, which is considered a sacred relic. Thanking for the gift, Arkadagly Serdar highlighted that he perceives it as a manifestation of boundless respect for the Turkmen state and its hardworking people.
After leaving the holy Kaaba, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov offered prayers for a happy life, a bright future for his native people, the well-being and prosperity of the Fatherland, universal peace, and also for the great undertakings of Haji Arkadag to be henceforward marked by success.
The visit of the President of Turkmenistan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues.