Workers at the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina serve Zamzam water containers to worshippers. Image Credit: General Authority for Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques

Cairo: Worshippers at Islam’s two holiest sites in Saudi Arabia have been advised to observe a set of guidelines while getting access to and drinking from the Zamzam water containers.

The guidelines, unveiled by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, exhort altruism, shunning jostling with fellow worshippers and giving a priority to the elderly people in having access to the blessed water.

Moreover, they are advised to dispose cups after drinking in the designated places and avoid spilling water on the floor to help keep the place clean.

Sterilised Zamzam containers are provided for the faithful at the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Islam’s two holiest sites.

The guidelines were introduced as a new season for Umrah or lesser pilgrimage, which started more than a year ago, is underway in Saudi Arabia.

Zamzam is popular particularly with overseas pilgrims who buy packs of this water to present as a gift to relatives and friends after home return.

For pilgrims departing after performing Umrah, they can get the Zamzam bottles by booking them via the Nusuk app.

The Umrah season began at the onset of the New Islamic Hijri year after the end of annual Hajj pilgrimage that around 1.8 million Muslims attended for the first time in three years after pandemic-related restrictions were lifted.

Image Credit: General Authority for Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques

Muslims, who cannot physically or financially afford Hajj, go to Saudi Arabia to undertake Umrah at the Grand Mosque.

In recent months, Saudi Arabia has introduced a host of facilities for overseas Muslims to come to the country to do Umrah.

Muslims holding different types of entry visas such as the personal, visit and tourist visas are allowed to undertake Umrah and visit Al Rawda Al Sharifa, where the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) is located at the Prophet’s Mosque after booking an e-appointment.

Saudi authorities have extended the Umrah visa from 30 days to 90 and allowed holders to enter the kingdom via all land, air and sea outlets and leave from any airport. Women pilgrims are no longer required to be escorted by male guardians.

The kingdom has also said that expatriates residing in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are eligible to apply for a tourist visa, regardless of their profession, and be able to perform Umrah.