MAKKAH: AHMAD WAHAJ SIDDIQUI
Published — Friday 5 July 2013
Last update 8 July 2013 7:34 am
Sermons, the distribution of Holy Qur'ans, more cleaning staff and strict security are some of the services available at the two holy mosques this year during Ramadan.
Muhammad bin Nasir Al-Khuzayyam, vice president of the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, told Arab News plans for these services started on June 24.
The presidency has arranged for over 100 scholars to deliver sermons on the rituals of Umrah, basic teachings on beliefs and other important aspects of Islam. These sermons will take place after Fajr and Maghrib prayers.
The holy mosques have 150 telephones at various places for pilgrims and visitors to inquire about Islam. Advice is available on how to make up for any mistakes made during rituals, Al-Khuzayyam said.
Zamzam water is available in over 25,000 thermoses, which workers constantly clean and refill.
These thermoses have thousands of plastic cups for one-time use.
For tawaf (circumambulating the Kaaba) and Sai (running between Safa and Marwah), 10,000 wheelchairs are supplied for disabled and elderly people. These are available at various places outside the Grand Mosque and on the first floor above Safa Gate. Automatic wheelchairs cost SR 50 for the Sai only.
Security officers have been deployed to prevent pickpocketing on all four floors. These officers control the entire mosque with a computerized system. They also guard the 139 gates of the holy mosque and control crowds to prevent stampedes.
Al-Khuzayyam said one million copies of the Holy Qur’an translated into Urdu, French, Bahasa Indonesia, Spanish, Bosnian and Turkish would be distributed to visitors.
Only dates and Saudi coffee are allowed inside the holy mosques. But there is no restriction on food in the open plazas.
Worshippers have 10 minutes to break their fast after the call for prayer, before the Maghrib prayer starts.