Grand mosque
Staff at the Grand Mosque guide worshippers. Image Credit: The General Authority for Care of the Two Holy Mosques

Cairo: As the season of Umrah or minor pilgrimage has reached its peak in the Saudi holy city of Mecca, the state agency in charge of Umrah security has launched a digital guide to help worshippers gain easy access to the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site.

The guide is aimed to ensure comfort and security of the faithful heading to the mosque during the current month of Ramadan.

The worshippers need to scan the QR code to upload the guide that furnishes directives as to how to get smooth access to the Grand Mosque in Mecca to perform Umrah and prayers aboard buses or by train, private cars or taxis or on foot.

Car parking and bus terminals are designated too. The guide, moreover, highlights roads to the mosque and its gates.

In Ramadan, Muslims from inside and outside Saudi Arabia would head in large numbers to the Grand Mosque to perform Umrah and offer prayers. To cope with the influx, Saudi authorities recently unveiled a series of measures to help worshippers perform rites smoothly and comfortably.

The circumambulation courtyard of the mosque around the Holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque and the ground floor are designated for Umrah pilgrims during Ramadan. Likewise, authorities have allocated certain gates of the sprawling mosque for pilgrims’ entry and exit to stave off overcrowding.

In recent months, the kingdom has introduced a host of facilities for overseas Muslims to come to the country to perform Umrah.

Muslims holding different types of entry visas such as the personal, visit and tourism visas are allowed to undertake Umrah and visit Al Rawda Al Sharifa, where the tomb of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is located at the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina after booking an e-appointment. Saudi authorities have also extended the Umrah visa from 30 days to 90.