210723 Hajj
Worshippers perform the farewell tawaf around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on July 22, 2021, marking the end of this year's Hajj. Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: Zamzam water containers set up at fixed marble stations are now available for pilgrims and worshippers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca after a pause of more than 18 months.

The Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques has restored 155 fixed marble stations (mashrabiyas) and 20,000 containers for drinking Zamzam water at the Grand Mosque, to serve worshippers and visitors, in total compliance with precautionary measures against coronavirus.

Authorities stopped serving Zamzam water from containers following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

During the pandemic period, the presidency hired a large number of workers to distribute the holy water in sealed, sterilised and single-use bottles in the mataf (area around the Holy Kaaba), mas’a (jogging area between Safa and Marwah mounts), as well as at various locations inside the Grand Mosque.

Mohammad Al Jabri, deputy head of the Presidency, said the decision to restore mashrabiyas and containers was taken following an increase in the rate of immunisation against coronavirus.

“This is also in compliance with all precautionary measures and preventive protocols against coronavirus by Umrah pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque,” he said.

“The number of fixed marble Zamzam stations that were re-operated inside the Grand Mosque reached more than 97 and 48 marble stations on the columns of the ground floor and first floor of the Grand Mosque, in addition to 10 marble stations in the courtyards of the Grand Mosque.

“New marble water stations were built on the first and second floors of the Grand Mosque as well as on mas’a, the basement of the mosque, and on the northern courtyards.” He added that all fiberglass water stations on the roof of the Grand Mosque are replaced with new marble stations.

Al Jabri said the number of Zamzam water containers at the Grand Mosque reached more than 20,000, and the average daily consumption of Zamzam water at the Grand Mosque stood at 1.6 million cubic metres.

The Zamzam water containers are regularly sterilised and disinfected to ensure the safety of pilgrims and worshippers.

Director of the Zamzam Watering Department at the Grand Mosque Abdulrahman Al Zahrani said his department seeks to keep the containers clean and sterilised with the aim of preserving the safety of visitors to the mosque.

The washing process goes through five stages, he said, adding that a specific, fragrance-free soap is used in the cleaning. The stages also include the sterilisation, drying and storage.

The containers are then transported in specific cars to the filling points at the Grand Mosque. He said the entire operation is carried out inside the mosque complex with the help of special equipment.