Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Premier and
Minister of Defense, launched last night the yearlong celebrations
to mark Madinah as the capital of Islamic culture.
As many as 400 activities and
programs, including conferences, seminars, recreational activities
and competitions, as well as wide variety of cultural programs and
folk art shows highlighting the rich culture and civilization of
Madinah city will be held as part of the celebrations.
There will be two exhibitions
displaying the various stages of the holy city’s history, and
showcasing the life story of the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions
from a historical perspective.
After opening Maaraz Al-Eiman exhibition, he toured the exhibition
and was briefed on its exhibits through a replica of the city at
the beginning of the Saudi era. He also watched a photo exhibition
on the history of the historic city up to date.
Speaking on the occasion, Salman highlighted the significance of
Madinah. “Allah Almighty has honored this
country by making it the seat of Muslims’ Qibla and the two holy
cities of Makkah and Madinah where the Holy Qur’an was revealed
and the Holy Kaaba was located. We are now in the city of the
Prophet (peace be upon him) to where he migrated from Makkah, and
from where the message of Islam started spreading throughout the
world,” he said.
Salman also spoke about the utmost
care and concern given by the Saudi government to serve the two
holy mosques and extend the best possible services for the Haj and
Umrah pilgrims as well as visitors to the holy mosques.
Over 130 noted Islamic cultural
personalities, including scholars from all around the world, were
in attendance along with Prince Faisal Bin Salman, governor of
Madinah region in the opening ceremony.
Earlier in the day, Crown Prince Salman visited the Prophet’s
Mosque to offer prayers and greet the Prophet (peace be upon him)
and his two companions Abu Bakr Siddiq and Omar Bin Khattab (May
Allah be pleased with them).
He was received by a number of
senior officials and scholars, including Sheikh Abdurahman Al-Sudais,
head of the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques,
and his deputies — Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Faleh and Sheikh Muhammad
Al-Khozaim. Madinah — the Prophet’s City — is known for its
centers of spirituality, faith, knowledge and science.
This modern city in the western part
of the country is the second holiest city in Islam after Makkah.
The city, which is also home to the
three oldest mosques in Islam — the Prophet’s Mosque, Quba Mosque
and the Mosque of the Two Qiblahs — was the power base of Islam
during the times of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The launch of the festivities also
coincides with the multi-billion riyal development projects in and
around the holy city, including the massive expansion of the
The Rabat-based Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (ISESCO), an affiliate of the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation (OIC), has chosen Madinah as the Islamic Culture
Capital for the Arab region for 2013.