Women worship inside the prayer area allocated for old women at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. Image Credit: General Presidency for Affairs of the Grand Mosque

Cairo: A prayer area has been designated for old women at the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, in the Saudi city of Makkah as part of efforts to upgrade services offered to Muslim worshippers, a mosque official has said.

The General Presidency for Affairs of the Grand mosque and the Prophet Mohammed’s Mosque said it has allocated the prayer area on the ground floor of the Grand Mosque next to Gate No 88, fitted with all necessary services.

The area was launched by deputy chief of the presidency for women’s social and humanitarian services, Abeer bit Mohammad, who said that opening the facility is aimed at ensuring comfort for old female worshippers and give them an easy access to services.

“Designating a prayer area for old women is a step towards upgrading services provided for worshippers heading to the Grand Mosque,” she added.

During the launch ceremony, meals, the holy zamzam water and copies of the Quran were offered to worshippers at the prayer area.

Authorities in charge of the Grand Mosque have already allocated prayer areas for the physically challenged worshippers and provided them with all services needed by the persons with mobility, hearing or visual im-pairments to ensure their comfort and safety.

Millions of Muslims from inside Saudi Arabia and around the world flock to the Grand Mosque, home to the Holy Kaaba, throughout the year.

In its latest step to utilise artificial intelligence (AI) at the Grand Mosque, Saudi Arabia last September launched robots for the Holy Quran recita-tion and sermons to serve the faithful.

The robots display barcodes enabling users to download their services on personal smartphones or press commands on the robots to access in-formation on prayer imams, muezzins, weekly schedules including names of clerics delivering the weekly Friday sermons.

In recent months, a series of robots have been launched into service at the Grand Mosque for providing fatwas (religious edicts), sterilisation and cleaning the rooftop of the Holy Kaaba.