Children who are five years old can obtain an umrah permit and accompany their parents to offer prayers inside the Grand Mosque. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has outlined terms for issuing permits for children escorted by parents to perform umrah or lesser pilgrimage at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca during the new season due to start next week.

The kingdom’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said children can accompany their parents to offer prayers inside the Grand Mosque and set the minimum age for obtaining an umrah permit at five.

Those children must not be infected with COVID-19 or have come in contact with infected patients, Saudi news portal Ajel reported.

Earlier this week, Saudi authorities announced instructions for Muslims wishing to enter the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, to undertake umrah rites.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has required umrah pilgrims to be in good health as shown in the smartphone app “Tawakkalna” and to wear face masks during presence in the mosque.

The faithful are also required to leave the mosque following the expiry of their entry permits and to avoid bringing in luggage into the site during entry for the rituals.

The new umrah season is due to start on the first day of Al Muhram, the first month in the lunar Islamic calendar expected to begin on Saturday according to astronomical calculations.

Authorities in the kingdom have geared up for the new season that is expected to draw more than 10 million Muslims, according to officials.