Contact us

'Tis the season...

Eid-al-Adha is upon us. Eid Mubarak (blessings at this time of religious holiday) to you all!
So, what is the Eid holiday? There are two Eids during the Islamic year, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The former is the period of celebration and breaking of fasts following the strictures observed during the holy month of Ramadan. This seems to last for about a week, although the King (bless him) has a penchant for declaring additional days of holiday, usually at extremely short notice. This of course makes booking anything that involves flights a bit of a lottery, as it is my preferred choice to be somewhere else on weeks off, and let my Muslim friends enjoy their celebrations without me getting in their way. And the Saudi way is spending time in family or religious groups, with the tribal elders or imams holding court. No fiestas or carnivals here for us westerners to participate in. 

Eid al Adha (which translates as "Festival of the sacrifice") commemorates Ibrahim (Abraham) submitting to God's will in attempting to offer his own son as a sacrifice, and when he had proved his willingness to do so, a sheep was provided for the purpose instead. So at Eid al-Adha, Muslims are called upon to sacrifice an animal, and it is the custom for the parts to be split three ways, with one going to charity, one for family and friends, and one for immediate family consumption.
The Hajj is now in full swing (I am spared having to attend it this year as we now have more staff in the Public Transport Authority who can do so), and on sacrifice day there will be millions of animals slaughtered in Makkah as part of the rituals for the Hajjis. And, of course around the world wherever there are Muslims, similar local traditions will be enacted. 

One thing that has caught my interest is the shower of electronic messaging that is visited upon us at this time of year. Saudi national institutions, and companies send out blanket texts to all mobile phone users in the Kingdom, generally in Arabic, but occasionally in English too. For those that are in Arabic, I have an app on my phone that can translate Arabic to English, and whilst it manages to translate everyday things to a point where I can get the gist of the intention, it is not very good at technical or engineering translation. Arabic, as an ancient language does not cope well with modern inventions, and tries to describe them in terms of simple desert based life, with occasional non-sequiters. But here are some of the seasonal (and general) messages that have been sent my way:

* Dear Resident... Deportation from the Kingdom is the penalty for a resident who seeks to perform Hajj without a permit. In addition, one will be prevented from returning to the Kingdom for 10 years.
* Public Security calls upon All Citizens to select proper times for performing Umrah
* Public Security invites citizens and residents to choose the right time for visiting and visiting
* Dear Citizen .. Dear Resident: The General Security confirms the readiness of all its forces to implement the supreme directives to prevent the entry of unauthorized pilgrims, and wishes everyone to cooperate with this
* My brother the citizen: Preserving government documents is a national responsibility, and destroying them in violation of established procedures is a system that may expose you to legal accountability. Our documents are secretariat. With greetings from the National Center for Documentation and Archives.
* Illegal expatriate initiative to leave the country on his own and at his own expense within the amnesty period will exempt him/her from fees, fines and, consequences resulted on his fingerprint (deported) and he/she can return to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the legal methods (A nation without illegal expatriates)
* To report violators of residency, labour or borders security regulations, kindly call the unified number (999) (A nation without illegal expatriates)
* On occasion of the 87th National Day, the Directorate General of Passports congratulates the wise leadership, the Saudi people and all residents of the Kingdom. Every year, the homeland is fine and peace.
* My brother the citizen ... My brother resident: Anyone who is caught transporting pilgrims who do not have regular Hajj permits shall be punished as follows: 1 - imprisonment for up to six months. 2 - A fine of 50,000 riyals (GBP 10,000) for each pilgrim to be transferred. 3 - Punishment of confiscation of land transport by judicial decision. 4 - The deportation of the offender if he is an expatriate after the execution of the penalty. And to prevent entry into the Kingdom according to the prescribed periods. General Directorate of Passports.
* My brother the citizen ... My brother resident: Any operation, harbouring, transporting or covering up those who violate the rules and regulations of Hajj will expose you to the the prescribed penalties. General Directorate of Passports.
* My brother the citizen ... My brother resident:. Providing any means of assistance to those who try to do Hajj without a permit will expose you to punishment. General Directorate of Passports.
* My brother the citizen ... My brother resident: .. Violation of the Hajj instructions expose you to financial punishment and imprisonment and the financial penalty is multiplied by the number of persons who have committed violations against them. General Directorate of Passports.
* Brother Haj: The electronic path of pilgrims inside is the only right way to Hajj (With the greetings of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah).
* My brother Haj: Ministry of Hajj and Umrah at you service around the clock on toll free number (800xxxxxxx). (With the greetings of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah).
* #The_Kingdom_Embraces_the_World We wish you a blessed Hajj and may your efforts be rewarded. Best Regards, Ministry of Media #OnePeople
* Stay informed on the latest news of the Hajj season through the Hajj Media Portal, which is supervised by the Government Communication Center at the Ministry of Information. The world is in the heart of the kingdom.
* We congratulate you on Eid al-Adha and every year and you are well. With regards, Ministry of Information,
* (And from my phone company) Eid Mubabak Alasutir (sic) May Allah accept your good deeds.

We also get general messages from Government, and these are received all-year round. The Ministry of Finance are very keen on this method of communication. Some examples:

* To avoid fraud, select the secret numbers of your bank cards randomly
* In order to avoid fraud, you do not transfer or reimburse your bank account
* In order to avoid fraud, your banking information is only available through the bank branch
* In order to avoid fraud, ignore irregular payments to pay off debts
* To avoid fraud, avoid large cash transfers outside the branch and use alternatives
* To avoid fraud, avoid phantom investments that are considered false profits
* Do not write your PIN on your bank card or on its clipboard
* Saving is the beginning of the path to financial stability and wealth development
* Money transfers are not accepted by anonymous persons to avoid your statutory accountability
* Damage your bank cards and magnetic tape as soon as they expire
* Sign the place behind the bank card as soon as you receive it
* Ignore phony messages claiming to win a prize and delete it immediately
* Do not transfer or pay anonymous bills from your account using your ATM
* Ignore irregular credit repayment and project financing
* Change your confidential numbers periodically when you return from abroad and select them randomly
* When you travel, leave your mobile phone open to receive transactions from the bank
* Avoid investing in currency trading to avoid risk and fraud
* Our internal systems and customer accounts are not compromised

I'm very glad that I am not charged for incoming messages.

Peace and blessings to all. 

Contacting us is straightforward

* Email:

* Call Alastair Fyfe directly on 07785 370074 (UK) or +966 503095212