Umrah mecca saudi
Worshippers perform the Umrah pilgrimage walk between the Marwa and Safa hills at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Saudi authorities have maximised efforts to cope with an influx of worshippers as Umrah pilgrimage reaches its climax at the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, in the final part of Ramadan.

The General Authority for Care and Management at the Two Holy Mosques have stepped up efforts to serve the worshippers by employing thousands of qualified staff and cleaning labourers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, a major destination for Muslims particularly in Ramadan.

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Prayer places at the mosque have been furnished with more than 25,000 carpets while 50 sites for performing the pre-prayer ablutions inside the mosque and 3,000 toilets in the outer courtyards are provided, the Saudi news agency SPA reported. Some 15,000 containers of the blessed Zamzam water are available, too.

Meanwhile, health authorities in Mecca, known as Saudi Arabia’s Holy Capital, have boosted healthcare facilities at the Grand Mosque with qualified personnel to offer services to those who need them among the faithful.

Ramadan usually marks the peak season of Umrah or lesser pilgrimage at the Grand Mosque, particularly in the last 10 days of the lunar month. Saturday was the first of these days.

As part of efforts to ease congestion at the Grand Mosque, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has advised pilgrims to observe patterns of cooperative behaviour. They include avoiding peak times, using public transport instead of private cars, and shifting to other mosques in Mecca to perform prayers when the Grand Mosque is thronged. Pilgrims are also urged to avoid repeating Umrah rites to give fellows the chance to undertake them.

In a sermon he delivered at the Grand Mosque, chief of the Presidency of Religious Affairs at the Two Holiest Mosque Abdulrahman Al Sudais exhorted worshippers in the final days of Ramadan to abide by instructions, cooperate with security personnel, avert crowding, heed the sanctity of the place and devote themselves to worshipping.