Mecca Kaaba pilgrims saudi
Socially distanced pilgrims encircle the Holy Kaaba in Mecca. Image Credit: SPA

Cairo: As part of efforts to boost services for pilgrims, Saudi authorities have introduced a robot-assisted service providing fatwas or religious edicts during the annual Hajj season that starts today.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs has launched the service at mosques in the holy sites and premises of the pilgrim campaigns, according to Saudi online newspaper Ajel.

The robot provides a video connection between the pilgrims who have religious queries and Muslim scholars round the clock.

The high-tech service aims to offer guidance to pilgrims during the Hajj rituals through an automated system including sensors.

Last week, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs started an automated service in 10 languages to answer pilgrims’ queries via the toll-free phone number 8002451000. The service is made available in Arabic, English, French, Hindi, Turkish, Hausa, Indonesian, Bengali and Amhari.

Around 60,000 Saudi and foreign Muslims representing 150 countries have been picked to perform this year’s Hajj amid stringent health measures.

Last month, Saudi Arabia said that due to the continuation of COVID-19 and its variants, performing this year’s Hajj will be confined to 60,000 pilgrims from Saudis and Muslim foreign residents in the kingdom.

Eligible pilgrims must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, free of chronic diseases and aged between 18 to 65 years.