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Makkah, Saudi Arabia

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Mecca 24256

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Five daily prayers, Jumu’ah prayers

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  • Middle East | 6 Countries That'll Instantly Make You Not Want To Leave

    When it comes to Muslim-friendly destinations, there is no area more perfect than the Middle Eastern region, and the growing popularity of travelling to the Middle East makes it much easier for halal travel. Countries that are ruled by Muslim monarchs translates to abundant Muslim-friendly services like halal food, places to pray, and even segregation in areas like water parks, the metro, and public buses. It means that even though Middle Eastern destinations comprise of a large expat population, they are used to Islamic culture and attire, and religious biases are practically non-existent. If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday with little stress and more spontaneity, check out these top 6 Middle Eastern countries (in no particular order) that you should visit: 1) United Arab Emirates When it comes to where to travel in the Middle East, this is a no-brainer, as far as tourist destinations go, Dubai is on the map. But the UAE has made sure that the rest of the Emirates step up their game as well, and every place has something to offer. Whether it is living the fast life, big entertainment, touring the best mosques, or discovering Arab culture, UAE has it all. Attractions Abu Dhabi: Ferrari World, Yas Water WorldDubai: Wild Wadi, Ski Dubai, Sky Dive, Parasailing, Desert SafariAl Ain: Jabal al HafeetHatta: Hatta Kayak Must-Visit Architecture Abu Dhabi: Sheikh Zayed mosque; Dubai: Burj Khalifa, Burj al Arab, Atlantis, Bastakia in Bur Dubai, Souq;Sharjah: Blue Souq; Ras Al Khaimah: Al Jazirat Al Hamra (a spooky abandoned village rumoured to be haunted, it is also known as Ghost Town. It dates back to the 14th century and is a must-visit for history buffs and anyone who has wanted to visit the set of a horror movie); Fujairah: Al Bidyah Mosque (the oldest mosque in the UAE, built in 1446) Getting around Dubai with public transport is fairly easy thanks to the Dubai Metro. The cabin after Gold Class is ladies only, as well as the front section on public buses. Similarly, Wild Wadi has ladies night in the summer, and Jabal al Hafeet has segregated hot spring areas that you can bathe in. With masjids, every few feet or so, and prayer rooms in the malls, praying while you’re on the move is not an issue. Make the most of the halal food cuisine with every country’s food imaginable. All restaurants are halal certified (only hotel buffets might serve pork), so eating out is a breeze! UAE is considered to be a pricey destination, and that is true if you want to splurge on the big entertainment venues like theme parks and adventure sports. You can balance it out, however, by going to the beach, roaming around the souqs, taking a ride in the abra at the Creek which is the cheapest ride you’ll ever get in the country, and taking the time to soak up the culture. You can find cheaper accommodations as compared to the hotels like furnished apartments, and thanks to the Dubai Metro, you are connected to the rest of the city. 2) Saudi Arabia  We know that Saudi Arabia isn’t really known as a tourist destination – just one for Hajj and Umrah. Some people just go for the pilgrimage, while others take tour packages that show them the sites of Islamic history. Even though that is what Saudi is most famous for, it does have more to offer than just that. Attractions If you are in the vicinity of Makkah and Madinah, then you’re in the vicinity of Islamic historic sites. The battlefields of Badr and Uhud, the first masjid ever built there, Masjid Qiblatayn – the masjid with the two qiblahs, and so much more. If you are at all interested in Islamic history, it pays to put an image to the names. Durrat Al Arous Island north of Jeddah houses Albatoul Marine which is a fun place for adventure sports. Flyboarding is bit pricey here, but worth it if you’ve ever wanted to walk – no, fly – on water! Water jets are attached to your boots and up you go! Must-Visit Architecture Without a doubt, the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah and Masjid an-Nabawi in Madinah are mandatory. Not just because they are spectacular and places of such peace and tranquillity despite the hustle and bustle, but because they are also home to great reward. Any prayer offered here is multiplied immensely. Credit: Wikipedia Muslims visiting Saudi rarely leave without visiting one of these sites. What most people don’t make it to are the Madain Saleh and sites. Jubbah and Shuwaymus are the areas with rock carving show that there that is so much more to Saudi Arabian history that is yet to be explored. The carvings are in a different language and depict what life was like in those days, much like hieroglyphics. Madain Saleh is not just for history buffs. These fascinating structures built so many thousands of years ago still stand today, attesting to an era long gone but not entirely forgotten. The area used to have fresh water that attracted many settlers who then carved out structures. Today, it is completely dry but the buildings still stand. As with countries in the Middle East, certain attractions can be rather pricey. But when it comes to history, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. 3) Qatar  Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world, and its lifestyle reflects that. Just step into the airport and you are surrounded by brand names and items that seem like they belong in a dream. Despite all this modernity though, Qatar still maintains its heritage, and it is one of the best places to visit. Attractions Credit: Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara on Facebook Banana Island Resort by Anantara is truly a paradise. Even if you’re not staying at the luxury hotel, you can still enjoy the premises. Its tropical flora makes you forget you’re in the Middle East, and you are treated to a range of cuisines. Make the most of the beach and sea, go bowling or take a Segway ride on this almost-private island. Credit: Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) on Facebook In complete contrast is the Museum of Islamic Arts which houses the largest Islamic art collection in the world. Curated from three different continents, Qatar is proud of this gem not only because of what is within but because the structure itself is magnificent, designed by the architect of the Louvre Pyramid. On its own island with a palm-tree lined entrance, set amid a vast landscape and an impeccable view across the water, this place is worth the visit. Credit: Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) on Facebook There are guided tours in English and Arabic every Thursday at 2pm of the permanent collection housed on two floors. Unlike other museums, the Museum of Islamic Arts is organised in such a way that you get a feel of what Islamic art is truly like through the homogeneity of a single print used across various medium. Visitors are requested to avoid strappy and short clothing and you might be restricted from entering. Must-Visit Architecture While some prefer the air-conditioned climate of malls, others would rather take in the culture while roaming the souqs. Souq Waqif is one such place that you should not miss. Contradicting the high-end fashion and attire visible in the malls, the streets are where you get a taste of what Qatar is really like. Vibrant in its sights, smells and feels, Souq Waqif has beautiful traditional bukhoor, spices, and embroidered clothing. Credit: Katara It is also a testament to history as it is where Bedouins would come to trade their essentials too. Katara Cultural Village is a beautiful man-made location to soak up more heritage. From the architecture to the Greek-Islamic style amphitheatre, people flock there in the evenings when the weather gets cooler to enjoy the outdoors. There are restaurants, mosques, and a beach right with water sports and inflatable play complexes, making it the perfect family spot. Qatar is known to be a pricey location but the country is also very hospitable. If you want to live in the lap of luxury for a few days, this is the place for you. 4) Oman  Even though Oman is in the Middle East – and generally what comes to mind when one thinks of ‘Middle East’ is ‘desert’, Oman is one of the few countries that actually has a tropical oasis region. Laidback and serene, the country has plenty to offer tourists. Since a slice of Oman juts into the UAE, many residents of UAE take the opportunity on long weekends or holidays to avail the natural sites available. However, if you decide to stay there exclusively, there is so much more that you can do. Attractions As always, souqs are part of the Middle Eastern charm and Muttrah Souq is no exception. Go there to get your fix of gahwah or Arabic coffee, bargain for souvenirs, or simply to enjoy the feel of being in an Arab country. The beaches of Musandam are one of the areas that you will find people on day trips as it is separated from Oman by a piece of UAE land. Pristine white sands and clear blue waters make this a hot tourist spot. Credit: Richard Bartz on Wikipedia Oman believes in conserving their land and natural resources and this is evident at Ras al Jinz, a natural reserve for endangered green turtles, located on the east coast. Visitors can observe them laying their eggs, and even catch them hatching and returning to the sea. Wadi Bani Khalid is one of those areas that are striking and green as it has a spring that keeps running year round. Add those palm trees to the shades of red that the rocks are made of, and you have a very Instagrammable location. #prettyasapicture #nofilter Credit: Philipp Weigell on Wikipedia Salalah is the vacation spot inside your holiday. Tropical, cool and like a world of its own, this is a must-visit. If you want your holiday to include a bit of a workout, be sure to head to Jabal al Akhdar. Translating to The Green Mountain, it gets its name from the greenery spattered across it, but it is well known for its hiking trails. Another great spot is Jabal ash-Shams, or Mountain of the Sun, so called as it is believed to be the first point that the sun touches when it rises. It is the highest peak in the region and has some great views. Majlis al Jinn is for the rock climbers out there as it has the second largest cave chamber in the world. The Bimmah Sinkhole is a natural phenomenon caused by limestone that eroded below the surface leaving a spectacularly blue-green pool for swimming. Must-Visit Architecture Credit: World Architecture Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque has to be one of the staples on your list of sights to see. This Grand Mosque is one of the chain of Sultan Qaboos mosques built around the world. The high arches, golden domes, engraved walls and a beautiful interior should not be missed. The Royal Opera House sounds like it belongs in England, but this one is in Oman. Besides the various international performances that the venue is used for, you can tour the location that resembles a palace. Oman is like one of those shy kids standing in the back; only when you decide to look further do you realise the gems it has to offer. 5) Kuwait  Kuwait may not be a tourist hotspot, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t waiting to be explored. Like the UAE, Kuwait is known for its modernity and high rise buildings, but they also keep a strong hold on their roots and culture. Kuwait is one of the smaller Middle Eastern countries, but it is worth the trip. When travelling around the GCC, what is striking is that, even though they all appear to be the same on the outside, different aspects of heritage and culture stand out when you dig deep. Attractions Housing an Imax cinema, aquarium, dhow harbour, and a discovery palace, The Scientific Centre is the best place to take kids. The floor-to-ceiling shark and ray tanks are incredible to see, and getting your hands dirty in the Discovery Palace allows kids to get lost in the wonder of science. Credit: @aquaparkq8 on Instagram In addition to viewing the different regions present in the aquarium – the desert, coastal edge, and sea zone – you can also dive with sharks if you have a valid diving licence. The age for diving is 14 years and older. If you don’t want to swim with sharks, no problem! Head to Aqua Park, a major water theme park in Kuwait. Whether you are a child or an adult, Aqua Park has something for everyone. Fancy lazing around? Grab a tube and float on the Lazy River. Want an adrenalin shot? Try the Boomerango. There are cafes and restaurants inside the park which are all halal, but as food can be a bit pricey, take at least a bottle of water with you. Tuesdays are now reserved for ladies’ day, but even if you go with the family, there are separate changing areas for men and women and separate prayer areas. Bikinis are not allowed. Credit: Mirror House The Mirror House is definitely a must-see as, even though it is an art display, it is more like art in action. You will not be bored. Each room is explained by the Italian-Kuwaiti artist and took around 40 years to complete. Yes, 40 years! It better be good! With visual effect and getting the visitors to interact with the art, this is one thing you have to experience to understand. Falaika Island is where you can see true history. Take a ferry to the island that is now an open-air museum, depicting the war. Must-Visit Architecture As with all the Gulf countries, the local Grand Mosque is a must-visit. The architecture is unique to the country and its history, and Kuwait’s Grand Mosque is no exception. With the hustle and bustle of the city, head here to admire the structure and bask in the tranquility. Kuwait Towers are also an iconic part of the city. With a viewing platform and a restaurant, you can grab a bite while you cast your glance of a view over almost the entire country. Tareq Rajab Museum is another standout location to visit. Housing some of the most beautiful pieces in history – think jewels and garments fit for a princess – the collection of Arabic manuscripts is what rocks it to international standards. Mercifully, while the rest of the museum was being looted by Iraqi soldiers during the war, this area was left untouched thanks to the quick thinking of the local guards. The Kuwaiti Dinar is one of the strongest currencies in the world, so don’t be fooled by the small numbers. 6) Bahrain  If you’re looking for a totally laidback holiday, Bahrain is the place to go. As a small country that mostly keeps to itself, Bahrain isn’t on the map as a tourist destination. There are plenty of low-key things you can keep yourself occupied with though, so if this is you, keep reading. Attractions Camping in the desert might seem like a risky move – “What about the snakes and scorpions?” – but wait till you see the level of camping. With proper toilets, plasma TVs, and food in your tents, just think of it as a relocation of your hotel room. Camping is open from October 15th to March 31st. Head to Hawar Island off the coast of Qatar to bask in nature. It is a protected wildlife reserve that is under Qatar as well, and a beautiful place to get away from desert life. Explore the souqs for your regular souvenirs. Just walking around the souq will expose you to items that you wouldn’t even have thought of getting. The biggest thing that Bahrain is known for is hosting the Grand Prix, so be sure to time your holiday around then and grab some tickets! You can’t leave Bahrain without taking an authentic souvenir for yourself, and what better way to do that than to go pearl diving? If you’re finding it hard to decide between buying traditional keepsakes and regular ones, you can take your time exploring Al Jasra Handicraft Centre with displays work by local artisans, or going across to the Capital Mall. Must-Visit Architecture Were you expecting to visit a mosque? Don’t miss Al Fateh Grand Mosque! Muslims and non-Muslims alike are allowed to tour the impressive mosque on Open Day. Qal’at al Bahrain is the 16th century remains of a Bahrain or Portuguese fort that is free to look around. Going back in time a hundred years is the Arad Fort, a 15th century fort that initially guarded its own island before being joined to Muharraq Island. It differs from Qal’at al Bahrain by its Islamic architecture, as it was built before the Portuguese invaded Bahrain. The currency in Bahrain is also pretty strong compared to the other Gulf countries, so the prices can seem a bit steep at times. With the few things there are to do in Bahrain though, we think a few days is enough time to visit....

  • When is Hajj 2018?

    Hajj is a holy pilgrimage that is compulsory for a Muslim to make at least once in his or her lifetime (given that they have the economical means to do so). It is fifth in the five pillars of Islam, which is an indication of how important it is. Every year, approximately 2-3 million people from all around the world gather in Makkah to perform Hajj. This makes it the single largest gathering of people in one place at the same time in the entire world, religious or otherwise. Falling on the 12th and final month of the Islamic lunar calendar of Dhul-Hijjah, the journey of Hajj takes place over a span of 5 days, beginning from the 8th and ending on the 12th of the month. During this period, pilgrims start their journey from the holy city of Makkah, traveling to different places and completing rituals along the way, each with it's own religious significance. The Date of Hajj 2018 Eid-ul-Adha, or the Day of Hajj is celebrated during the 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah. Since the Islamic calendar does not line up with the Gregorian calendar, the date of Eid-ul-Adha, falls on a different date every year. The arrival of an Islamic month is determined by the sighting of the new moon, and thus, the festival is announced. For this year, Eid-ul-Adha is set to be celebrated on Tuesday, the 21st of August, 2018. Hajj will take place from Saturday, the 19th of August, and end on Friday, the 24th of August. What Do Muslims Do on Eid-ul-Adha? There are only 2 celebrations that have been shown to Muslims, one of them being Eid-ul-Fitr, the celebration following the month-long fasting of Ramadan, and Eid-ul-Adha, the celebration of Hajj. Eid-ul-Adha translates to “Festival of Sacrifice”, representing the main feature of this day when Muslims all around the world give animals to sacrifice in the name of God. The meat is then distributed among friends, family, and the less fortunate in the community. Other than this, just as with the Ramadan festival, we wake up early to perform Eid prayers (in congregation, wherever possible), wear new clothes, visit friends and family, give and receive gifts, etc. The Story Behind Eid-ul-Adha Today, Muslims perform Hajj according to the way taught by Prophet Muhammed (sal), but the story of the festival of sacrifice goes back to the times of Prophet Ibrahim (alai). The act of sa'ee is derived from when Hajara (rali), the wife of Ibrahim (alai) ran between the two hills of Safa and Marwa in the search for water as her baby cried from thirst. Ibrahim (alai) had left her and their infant son, Ismail (alai) alone in the dessert as per Allah's request. From there sprung a stream of water, called Zam Zam, that is still running to this day. Later on, when Ismail (alai) was a little boy, Allah commanded Ibrahim (alai) to sacrifice his son in his name. With a heavy heart, Ibrahim (alai) prepared to carry out his Lord's wishes. But at the end, Allah replaced his son with a sheep, revealing that it had been a test. Today, Muslims going on the pilgrimage and others who have the means for it sacrifice an animal, typically a sheep, cow, or camel, as a reminder of the event....

  • Hajj & Umrah: Tips On How To Beat The Heat & Be Calm With The Crowd

    Hajj season is upon us! Hajj is the Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah that comes along once a year. It should be performed at least once in a Muslim’s lifetime if they are financially and physically able to, and it is just a few weeks away. The rituals of Hajj themselves only take a few days, but pilgrims go for around two weeks to one month to make the most of the journey. Before the convenience of modern transport, people would start out months before, and it was the journey of a lifetime. Even with the ease of travelling now, the expedition of Hajj takes on the weight of that ultimate pilgrimage. Religiously, there is a lot at stake to get it right the first time. So there are a lot of preparations before leaving for Hajj trying figuring out how to do that. As the Islamic year follows the lunar calendar, the months move forward around 11 days every solar year. This means that every year, Hajj moves more into summer and gets a little more difficult as the heat intensifies and the crowds increase. Managing the heat is one of the more crucial points to keep in mind when preparing to perform the pilgrimage. So how do pilgrims beat the heat during Hajj? Here are some top tips towards an unforgettable Hajj and keeping your cool. 1. Carry a bottle of water  This is the most obvious option and a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning as not everyone is in the habit of carrying a bottle of water around. Even in your regular daily life, it is useful to carry your own water bottle to ensure you drink more during the day. Throw in intense heat and crazy crowds and you’ve got an emergency level situation. Since the rituals of Hajj require pilgrims to move around from one place to another, it is always better to carry your own water bottle. Don’t depend on the resources that might be available around you as things change around every year and you don’t want to be caught in a desperate situation. Your water bottle can help someone else too! 2. Wear sunblock  Even if you’re not a regular sunblock or sunscreen user, it is always a good idea to protect yourself in every way possible, especially since you are so far from home. With all the emphasis on worshipping and perform Hajj perfectly, it is even more important to take care of yourself so that you are able to do that. Sunburn is a great source of discomfort and can throw off your mood and performance for days. Better safe than sorry! 3. Take glucose packets In the theme of staying hydrated, carry a few packets of glucose with you for those times when you need that extra boost. The crowds and rituals can tire some people out more than they expect, and it’s important to be prepared. In the times when you’re feeling dehydrated or light-headed, just plain water isn’t going to cut it. Glucose gives you that extra boost of energy when you need it. 4. Carry an umbrella  Most Hajj groups give you an umbrella with the rest of your pack, so use it if you need to. At the peak of the day, there is nowhere to hide from the sun and your best option is to carry your own shade. 5. Have a towel/handkerchief on you  For those times that you need to mop up your sweat or just keep a wet towel on your forehead, having a small face towel or a handkerchief with you is extremely handy. This is also where your water bottle comes into play! 6. Make use of the Zamzam water available  Whenever possible, drink Zamzam! Even if you take your own bottle, fill it with Zamzam water whenever you can. If you’re at the masjid or anywhere else where Zamzam is available, make it a point to benefit from it. It is the only place and time that you have such free access to it, and Zamzam provides energy that normal water doesn’t. it truly replenishes and the hardworking pilgrims are well-deserving of it! 7. Avoid caffeine  If you are used to your regular cup of tea or coffee, you might want to break free from that habit as soon as possible. Not only are those beverages not as freely available to you at Hajj (it isn’t a holiday after all!), but they aren’t good for you when you are in that situation. Most places at Mina especially will have ice water and juice freely accessible, and that is better to fill up on than caffeine as they are diuretics – they cause you to empty your bladder more often which leaves you dehydrated. 8. Don’t move around unnecessarily  If you find all the movements tiring, and even more so because of the crowds, give yourself a break. Take it easy and don’t wander around unnecessarily or too far. It is more important to take care of yourself and maintain your energy and fitness levels than it is to burnout in a few days and feel tired and helpless the rest of the time. 9. Let the crowd carry you  The crowds can seem overwhelming but they are helpful in one way. As long as you don’t let panic get the better of you – that is one of the most dangerous things that can happen as it is what leads to stampedes – you can let them 'carry' you. Everyone is mostly moving in the same direction and there are times, like at tawaf, when it is so packed that your feet barely touch the floor. This is not an exaggeration. Don’t panic, can't seem to stress this any further. Know when you need to exit so that you can start making your way towards it well beforehand. The crowds do not allow you to make sudden sharp movements in another direction – it is what causes a lot of confusion and disruption. 10. Know that it’s not that bad!  One of the scariest things about Hajj is the intense number of people. Here’s a Hajj pilgrimage fact: there are over a million people in one area for a few days! But what you see on TV and what you actually witness are two very different things. When we see it on a screen, we are watching the aerial view and can see the immense number of people; but when you’re in the crowd, all you can see are the people around you and it doesn’t seem that bad. The most important thing is to not panic, have an agreed upon spot to meet up with your group in case you get separated from them, and to not move in the opposite direction from the crowd. That is just asking for trouble. There are plenty of Hajj Guides 2018 for Muslim travellers with all the tips you need – what to pack, what to recite, the order of the rituals, etc. Nothing will truly make sense, however, until you actually get there. That’s why it is important to read the guides and be prepared with as much as you can because you don’t want to be caught unawares far away from home. One of the top tips for Hajj is always: Have a lot of patience. Expect the worst and everything will be better! Read more Hajj & Umrah articles here! May Allah accept your Hajj and return you safe, Ameen!...

  • Mövenpick Hotel & Convention Centre KLIA: Everything Is Within Reach At This Shariah-Compliant Hotel

    Main Image Credit: Mövenpick Hotel and Convention Centre KLIA Adding themselves to the list of Shariah-compliant hotels in Malaysia, Mövenpick's brand new location in Kuala Lumpur just launched in July 2018. The Mövenpick Hotel & Convention Centre KLIA is set in a prime location, just 10 minutes away from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, KLIA2, the F1 Sepang International Circuit, and the Mitsui Outlet Park.  Check out the full Mitsui Outlet Park Map here! Mitsui Outlet Park Picture Credit: Mitsui Outlet Park The city center can be reached in about 30-40 minutes, so visitors have the best of both worlds. They get the calm of being away from the crowded parts of the city, but can also reach downtown KL without any hassle, making it an ideal choice for business travelers who are looking for Halal hotels in Malaysia near the airport, but also for families who want a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Design & Facilities of Movenpick KLIA Picture Credit: Mövenpick Hotel and Convention Centre KLIA While keeping in mind all the unique requirements of a Muslim community, the hotel's management says that everything is designed to fit the overall principle of the 3 Cs – Comfort, Convenience, and Confidence. The architecture for the newest Movenpick Hotel in KL has been designed with the concept of showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the country, as well as showing off its Muslim-friendly Shariah-compliant concept – a seamless and modern blend of traditional Malaysian and Islamic architectures. Picture Credit: Mövenpick Hotel and Convention Centre KLIA The design team was headed by Amir Hamzah, a senior associate at HIJAS Architects + Planners, a company that has left their mark on several iconic buildings in Malaysia such as the Telekom Malaysia Headquarters, Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC), Putrajaya Masterplan, and Shell Tower in Kuala Lumpur. Amir Hamzah himself has been involved in the design concept for the extension projects of Masjid-Al-Haram, in Makkah, SA. Telekom Malaysia Headquarters Picture Credit: Ecler The hotel is set amidst beautifully landscaped gardens that stretch 7.2 hectares full of lush greenery, fountains, and streams. Mövenpick KL's design gives off an air of modernity and luxury the moment you walk in through the hotel doors into an expansive atrium with its ceiling that is 9-storeys high and glass elevators. The high open space makes it feel bright and breezy – tropical if you must. Picture Credit: Mövenpick Hotel and Convention Centre KLIA The outside is decorated with ornate patterns and Islamic geometric art. It also features one of the earliest forms of Islamic calligraphy that was initially used to record the Holy Quran called Kufic script. These designs extend to the interior of the hotel as well, which is also installed with several features that take inspiration from some of the most iconic buildings in the history of Islamic architecture. Like the columns of Alhambra in Spain, or the “lancet” archways of Turkey and Iran. Alhambra, Spain Picture Credit: Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash The mammoth hotel has 333 rooms, which include 2-bedroom suites and great views. The hotel provides free shuttle services, a 24-hour front desk, a staff that speaks a variety of different languages, and free Wi-Fi – but that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the list of amenities in store for their guests. Deluxe Room Picture Credit: Mövenpick Hotel and Convention Centre KLIA Tennis Court Picture Credit: Mövenpick Hotel and Convention Centre KLIA Halal Restaurants and Eateries Picture Credit: Mövenpick Hotel and Convention Centre KLIA Other facilities like wellness centers, well-equipped gymnasiums, a tennis court, spas, an outdoor play area and indoor kids club for the little ones make this a full-rounded experience. Keeping up with the criteria of a shariah compliant hotel, there are separate leisure facilities, like gyms, spas, and swimming pools for males and females. There are also 6 different Halal restaurants and eateries, serving all different cuisines from Malaysian to International. Picture Credit: Mövenpick Hotel and Convention Centre KLIA The convention center is an impressive hub of its own, home to a banqueting hall that has the capacity to host about 1,500 delegates, a pre-function area, 10 seminar rooms, 4 meeting rooms, 2 boardrooms, an exhibition hall, VIP lounges, and several other facilities. Other than business travelers, the convention center is also set to serve as a departure hall for Hajj pilgrims, as well as hosting international exhibitions and conferences (MICE – Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions). Special Offers Superior King Picture Credit: Mövenpick Hotel and Convention Centre KLIA Mövenpick Hotel & Convention Centre is offering guests a special offer – courtesy of its opening – until the 30th of September, 2018. Guests can book Superior Rooms for the rate of RM 388++ per night, and it comes with a complimentary breakfast for two, as well as 50% for dining at any of the hotel's restaurants/cafes and for spa treatments. You also get the option of late checkout, free airport transfers, and the chance of being upgraded to the next available category of room! The Mövenpick Hotel & Convention Centre in KL is set to make a big splash, and we're not just talking about their enchanting swimming pools. It is one of the best luxury Shariah-compliant hotels in Kuala Lumpur, and a great place to stay at on your Halal travel to Malaysia....

  • Solo Umrah: Is It Possible?

    The Umrah is one of the most personal and memorable journeys you will ever take, which is why you must organize it around your own needs and preferences. Visited by millions or more throughout the year for Umrah and Hajj, the teeming city, Mecca, is bustling with pilgrims from all over the globe and all walks of life, come together for the purpose of their faithful duties to their Lord. One of the most common questions people have is whether to travel alone or in a group. It could be that your family and friends are not in a position to go with you or you really don’t want to wait any longer, or perhaps going by yourself is your choice. Traveling solo is not a big hassle if you know the language (Arabic and English). When going for Umrah on your own and knowing how to plan it, going solo can actually save you money as well as more flexibility and exploring places. Apply for Umrah Visa If you are planning to travel solo for Umrah, the first process is to arrange for a visa and then book flight and hotel. The best bet is to check with the travel agencies for the needed documents. Umrah visas are offered from the 1st of Muharram to the 15th of Ramadhan. Most pilgrims opt to use a specialized travel agency, which will handle all the paperwork for them. Book your Flight and Hotel Planning a Solo Umrah can really help you keep the cost under budget and make it a memorable experience as well. If you want to save money, just get the Umrah visa through them (travel agencies) and take care of the rest on your own. For solo travel, you may prefer a single room. You can also opt for a hotel that suits your own interests and preferences; perhaps somewhere quieter, in a more peaceful location, or hotels that put you at the heart of Mecca. Depending on your needs, you can go for a budget accommodation or a more luxury accommodation for less. For flights and hotels, you can simply go on to any travel websites and book your tickets and rooms just like with any other destination. Few recommendations for hotels in Makkah: For the Budget Wary Picture Credit: M Hotel Makkah Facebook M Hotel Makkah by Millennium: It is a 4-star property about 2.5 km away from Masjid al-Haram. You have a free shuttle to take you there 24hrs. Mid-Range Picture Credit: Swissotel Hotels Swissotel Al Maqam Makkah: This hotel gets you closer to the Masjid al-Haram without paying a fortune. You’ll still have to walk 5-10 minutes to the mosque. The Luxurious Travelers Picture Credit: Hilton Suites Hilton Suites or any hotel in Abraj Al baith: This hotel has the best reviews at a reasonable price right in front of the Masjid al-Haram. Few recommendations for hotels in Madinah: For the Budget Wary Picture Credit: Elaf Group Meshal Al Madina: Nothing fancy, just a place to sleep and shower that’s about 5 minutes to Masjid an-Nabawi. Mid-Range Picture Credit: Pullman Hotels Pullman ZamZam Madinah: Not too pricey and within a 5-minute walk to Masjid an-Nabawi. The Luxurious Travelers Picture Credit: Intercontinental Hotels Intercontinental Madinah: Literally right next to Masjid an-Nabawi. Ultimate convenience and luxury for the most reasonable price. There is no need to be self-conscious or concerned, either – the minute you arrive at your hotel, you will see that this is an experience that offers no boundaries for age or background. Everyone mingles together in a way that breaks down all perceived barriers, leaving you free to carry out your Umrah in a relaxed and immersive way. Arriving You will land in either Medina or Jeddah. During busy times such as Ramadan and peak holidays, it is best to arrive in Medina first. The airport is smaller and not many airlines fly into Medina, therefore, it is less congested. You can be done with immigration and collect your luggage within an hour where in Jeddah it can be up to 2 to 3 hours or even longer. If you are doing Solo Umrah you can manage and find flights that can arrive in Medina which would be more manageable. Arrive at the hotel and rest since the distance from Medina airport to your hotel wouldn’t exceed a 25 min drive. Then travel Medina to Mecca by SAPTCO buses or by an Uber or taxis. Upon your return, all you need to do is to get from Mecca to Jeddah. This way you can save a 5-hour journey by a coach since only you need to travel from Medina to Mecca. Prices for flights arriving in Medina and leaving from Jeddah are not too expensive either and it is less of a hassle compared to the 10-hour return journey to Medina by coach. Jeddah airport is a busier airport so queues and delays are more prevalent. I would recommend to try not to fly into Jeddah if you can. Of course, if you cannot avoid it then brace yourself with patience, plenty of it too. It is an hour journey (1 hr) to get from Jeddah to Mecca. Taxi drivers may give you high prices which you need to negotiate. It is better to book an Uber and pay a base rate of 250 SAR to get to Mecca, no negotiating needed. Use Uber to get to Medina as well. The approximate rates are as follows: Jeddah to Makkah – 250 SARJeddah to Madinah – 900 SAR SIM Card You can buy location sim card from the airport from 35 Sr onwards on STC, Mobily or Zain networks. Money The Saudi currency is the Saudi riyal (ريال, SAR), which has traded at a fixed 3.75 to the US dollar. Saudi Arabia is still largely a cash society, but credit card and debit card acceptance are surprisingly good everywhere. ATMs are ubiquitous, especially in gas stations and malls. All banks accept foreign cards. Food and Drink Picture Credit: AlBaik You are safely going to the cheapest country for food. You can indulge in some great tongue tickling delicacies in Mecca and Medina. From splurge restaurants to pocket-friendly street food, there is a vast variety of food available nearby to both mosques. If you are a fast food lover do not forget to have Albaik, which is well known as a budget-friendly restaurant with 12 SR for a 4-piece chicken breast. The middle eastern staple, Shawarma, is widely available at 4 to 5 SR being the standard price for a sandwich. Traveling alone can be daunting, what more traveling solo with a purpose to perform Umrah. Sometimes you need that extra push to do something beyond ordinary and In Shaa Allah it will bring the best of experiences to you and your soul....



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