Saudi Arabia: Umrah pilgrims in Ramadan topped 30 million
Image Credit: X@HajMinistry

Cairo: More than 30 million Muslims from around the world performed Umrah or lesser pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia during this year’s Islamic holy month of Ramadan which ended last week, according to a Saudi official.

Walid Basamad, an official at a state agency in charge of Islam’s two holiest sites, added that competent directorates acted in coordination and harmony to ensure top-quality services to worshippers who thronged the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest place, in Mecca. “The services were beyond the requirement and expectations,” he told Saudi TV Al Ekhbariya.

Ramadan usually marks the peak of Umrah at the Grand Mosque witnessed in this past lunar month large numbers of the faithful from outside the kingdom due to a host of facilities recently introduced by the kingdom.

To cope with the influx, Saudi authorities unveiled a series of measures to help worshippers perform rites smoothly and comfortably.

The circumambulation courtyard of the mosque around the Holy Kaaba and the ground floor were designated for Umrah pilgrims during Ramadan. Likewise, authorities allocated certain gates of the sprawling mosque for pilgrims’ entry and exit to stave off overcrowding.

The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, meanwhile, said no permit was issued for performing two or more Umrahs in Ramadan, urging the faithful to make do with one lesser pilgrimage. The ministry explained that the restriction aimed to ease congestion, allow others to undertake Umrah and help in crowd management.