UMRAH today 14-1707901185911
Umrah pilgrims pray around the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Image Credit: Source: Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah

Cairo: Authorities in the Saudi city of Mecca, home to Islam’s holiest site, have reviewed preparations for receiving an expected influx of worshippers during the upcoming sacred month of Ramadan.

An adhoc committee reviewed Ramadan-related plans forwarded by different agencies at a meeting headed by Prince Saud bin Meshal, the deputy governor of the Mecca.

Click here to get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

They included preparations of the Saudi General Directorate of Passports to receive foreign Muslims arriving in the kingdom during Ramadan to perform Umrah or minor pilgrimage at the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

The directorate elaborated on smooth and swift procedures at different arrival and departure ports of the kingdom.

Also read

Moreover, health authorities presented their operation plan to be implemented during Ramadan covering the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, a hub for pilgrim arrivals for Umrah as well as health facilities in Mecca.

The Red Crescent also highlighted their plans during Ramadan including readiness of its medical teams deployed at the Grand Mosque and air ambulance services.

Muslims abstain from eating and drinking daily from dawn to sunset during the lunar month of Ramadan expected this year to start on March 11.

Ramadan traditionally marks the peak season of Umrah in Saudi Arabia.

After performing Umrah in Mecca, 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.

Saudi Arabia has introduced a host of facilities for Muslims wishing to come to the country to undertake Umrah. Visa holders are allowed to enter the kingdom via all land, air and sea outlets.

In yet a new facilitating step, Saudi Arabia said its citizens can apply to invite their friends abroad to visit the kingdom and undertake Umrah. 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.