RELIGION

Ramadan 2023: Saudi Arabia expects about 3 million Umrah pilgrims

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Umrah pilgrimage, especially in the Holy month of Ramadan, is certainly the dream of all Muslims in the world.

The reason is that it is so special to perform Umrah in the month of Ramadan that it is said to have a reward equivalent to performing the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

In the holy month of Ramadan this year, Saudi Arabia is expected to welcome around 3 million Umrah pilgrims at the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah.

To prepare for the entry of large numbers of pilgrims during the holy month, the Saudi government has launched a massive operational plan and preparation, pouring into a program entitled “From Arrival To Access.” The program was directly announced to the public by the President of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Sudais.

The plan is designed to serve pilgrims during their journey to the holy places from arrival to completion of the Umrah rituals. This means the project will focus on pilgrims’ journey from their appearance in the outer courtyards of the Two Holy Mosques to circling the Kaaba at Masjid al-Haram to walking between the hills of Safa and Marwa.

Not only that, but the Saudi government will also ensure the best service for pilgrims to places of prayer and Itikaf. The scheme is designed to facilitate the implementation of tawaf around the Holy Kaaba for around 107 thousand Umrah pilgrims per hour.

According to Dr. Al Sudais, the planned operation will be crewed by 12 thousand of employees around the clock. The plan will also regulate the monitoring and governance of all services and ensure their high standards in the two Holy Mosques.

He added that the operational plan for Ramadan is centered on field presence asking, accountability for weaknesses, providing a safe and healthy environment at Masjid al-Haram and Masjid an Nabawi, diversifying initiatives, optimal utilization of artificial intelligence and the use of applications in various fields to serve the highest number of pilgrims and visitors.

Several other preparations for the implementation of Umrah during the holy month of Ramadan at the Two Holy Mosques, which include maintenance of the sound system and live broadcasting of the call to prayer at the Kaabah, are known to have been completed, as education services and Ramadan programs including for female worshippers were also ready. Last week, Dr. Al Sudais announced the list of imams leading the Tarawih prayers during Ramadan.

The communal iftar table provides free meals for worshipers who spend long hours at the mosque and will also be continued for a full month this year. Previously, the charity-sponsored iftar table had been suspended for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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