Workers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca prepare iftar spreads for visitors before sunset last year. Image Credit: SPA file

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has launched an electronic portal to receive applications to obtain permits for serving Iftar meals at Islam’s holiest site in the upcoming Ramadan.

The Saudi General Authority for Care of the Two Holy Mosques said the portal enables the applicants to select locations of the sunset banquets at the Grand Mosque in the city of Mecca.

Get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

Last month, the state agency outlined regulations for serving the banquets.

According to the rules, individual and group benefactors wishing to serve the Iftar meals are required to contract a catering company accredited by the Mecca mayoralty, or factories and warehouses accredited by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.

Also read

For an individual benefactor, the maximum Iftar banquet is set at two, while a charity and endowment group can apply for up to 10.

The served meal must be dry, consisting of coreless dates, a cake, a pie and juice. The meal must be packed according to specified wrapping standards.

Muslims abstain from eating and drinking every day from dawn to sunset during Ramadan expected this year to start next Monday, depending on sighting the New Moon.

Ramadan traditionally marks the peak season of Umrah at the Grand Mosque. After performing Umrah, many pilgrims would head to the city of Medina to offer prayers at the Prophet’s Mosque, Islam’s second holiest site and visit other Islamic landmarks in the city.

Authorities in Mecca and Medina are on maximum alert to receive the expected influx of worshippers during Ramadan.