Cairo: The construction of a kindergarten at the Prophet Mohammed’s Mosque in the Saudi city of Medina will begin next month to take care of worshippers’ children, a Saudi official has said.
The 263-square-metre structure will comprise a playground and bedrooms, Abdullah Al Mohammadi, the assistant deputy for engineering projects at the General Presidency for Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, added.
Work on the facility will begin following the Muslim Eid Al Fitr, which marks the end of the holy lunar month of Ramadan expected to end on May 1, he added. The three-day Eid is anticipated to start the following day, i.e Monday, May 2, which corresponds to the first of the Islamic month of Shawwal.
“Implementation of the project will specifically get under way on Shawwal 10, and will take four to six months to be completed in the north-eastern side of the Prophet’s Mosque courtyards,” the official told Saudi state television Al Ekhbariya.
Embarking on the project, Al Mohammadi added, was postponed during current Ramadan due to the influx of worshippers to the holy mosque and to ensure visitors’ convenience.
More than 14 million worshippers prayed at the Prophet’s Mosque in the first 20 days of Ramadan, according to official figures.
During the same period, over 944,355 visitors and worshipers visited and prayed at Al Rawdah Al Sharifa, where the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) is located.
“A comprehensive service centre will be launched in the courtyards of the mosque along with the kindergarten project, thus providing all services offered by the General Agency for the Prophet’s Mosque in one place,” Al Mohammadi said.
The plan has drawn applause from women in particular.
Saudi woman Raghda Salehim said the project will put an end to the disturbance caused by children to the worshippers at the mosque.
“Most mothers can’t go to the Prophet’s Mosque despite yearning to pray there so as to take care of their children at home,” Wafaa Yamani, another Muslim woman, was quoted as saying by Okaz newspaper.
“I support having access to this kindergarten in return for token fees,” she added.
Ramadan is usually the peak season for undertaking Umrah or lesser pilgrimage at the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, in the Saudi city of Mecca.
After performing the Umrah rituals, many pilgrims, mainly overseas Muslims, usually head to the Prophet’s Mosque.