Health and safety tips for Muslim pilgrims

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Pilgrims at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (SPA)
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Umrah pilgrims pose for a souvenir picture at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (SPA)
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A night scene at the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah. (SPA)
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Muslims take some rest after Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on May 25, 2018. (REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)
Updated 28 May 2018
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Health and safety tips for Muslim pilgrims

  • Moving personal belongings to the Grand Mosque and its squares is prohibited.
  • Observe these tips for a hassle-free pilgrimage

Performing Umrah and praying at the Grand Mosque during Ramadan leads to a much greater movement of vehicles and pedestrians on the roads leading to the central area surrounding the Grand Mosque. This requires exceptional organizational procedures for transporting pilgrims and worshipers and managing their movements inside the Grand Mosque and on the roads leading to it.
Our goals are to maintain your safety and to facilitate your Umrah rituals with ease, tranquility and placidity.

How to reach?
The density of pedestrian traffic is very high on all roads leading to the Grand Mosque and continues for hours before, during and after prayers all the time.
To keep your safety and facilitate your way to the central area surrounding the Grand Mosque, the roads in the central area surrounding were specified for the pedestrian movement during the time of prayers. Pilgrims and worshipers are transported to the central area around the Grand Mosque and their accommodation using public transport buses from King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and 13 parking spaces to nine other public transport stations around the Grand Mosque. 

Buses used for Umrah have designated loading and unloading areas in the holy sites. (SPA file photo)


Vehicles driven by drivers seeking to perform Umrah must park at the parking areas at entrances to Makkah and use public transport to their destination.
Traffic men are stationed at 34 locations on the roads leading to the Grand Mosque to follow up on the traffic status and take all necessary measures to keep pedestrians safe. They compel the vehicles used to transport worshipers and pilgrims to Makkah to go to public or private parking spaces. They prevent all types of vehicles from parking on the roads and in locations affecting pedestrian safety. They prevent motorbikes and bicycles from using roads in the central area, and to be used for charge-paid transportation.

You can reach the Grand Mosque using one of the following options:
Using public transport buses from King Abdulaziz International Airport to public transport stations around the Grand Mosque.
Using transport services between parking spaces inside the Holy Places and the public transport stations in the central region.
Using taxis to the nearest site of the Grand Mosque or to your place of accommodation.
Using private cars driven by non-pilgrims to the nearest site of the Grand Mosque or to your place of accommodation.
Walking from your place of accommodation in the central area and adjacent neighborhoods.

What you should know before heading to the Grand Mosque
The absorptive capacity defines the number of visitors who can perform prayers in the Grand Mosque and in its precincts. This capacity decreases when performing the “Taraweeh” and “TaHajjud” prayers to enable pilgrims to perform “Tawaaf” and “Saa’i,” requiring the evacuation of the “Mataf” and the “Masa’a.”.
Because of the large turnout of pilgrims and worshipers and with the view of maintaining their safety, all roads leading to the Grand Mosque are reserved for pedestrians before prayers and one hour or more after, according to the number of pedestrians. This period is extended to two hours during Friday prayers, and for prayers during the last 10 days of Ramadan and Fitr prayers.

How to move in the Grand Mosque and the surrounding area:
The external and internal area of the Grand Mosque is equipped with pedestrian corridors that cannot be used for sitting, waiting or praying.
Illuminated signboards: When you enter the gates you will find signboards. When they light up in green it means that you have access to the Grand Mosque through this gate, but when it lights up in red, there is no access through this door owing to congestion.

The external and internal area of the Grand Mosque is equipped with pedestrian corridors that cannot be used for sitting, waiting or praying. (SPA photo)


Safety tips:
Move calmly, abide by traffic directions, pay attention to the elderly and other worshipers and pilgrims, and follow the instructions of the security personnel.
Move slowly when heading to public transport stations immediately after the prayer. Maintain your calm and abide by the instructions of security personnel.
Avoid obstructing pedestrian traffic by gathering in the external areas of the Mosque or by stopping by street vendors.
Pilgrims cannot perform their prayers at the doors of the Grand Mosque, near the entrances and exits of escalators, on the pedestrian corridors, on the roads and streets leading to the Mosque, on the entrances and exits of car tunnels and in front of toilets.

General instructions:
Some children who are taken to the Grand Mosque lose their parents, thus there is a dire need to monitor and take good care of them. 

Parents should make sure not to leave children alone while in crowded areas where they can easily get lost. (SPA file photo)


Pilgrims and worshipers must stay away from work or maintenance areas inside and outside the Mosque. 
Smoking, begging, taking pictures, or selling goods are prohibited inside the Mosque and surrounding areas.
Electrical plugs reserved for maintenance work cannot be used for personal purposes to avoid any electrical short-circuit that may affect the signboards in the Grand Mosque.
It is prohibited to play with escalators, regular stairs or carts inside the Grand Mosque.
It is prohibited to tamper with any of the firefighting tools such as the fire extinguishers, firefighting water hoses or fire alarms.

Prohibitions:
Carrying and entering weapons and all types of sharp tools into the Grand Mosque and its squares.
Conducting any act that would affect the pilgrims and worshipers’ safety and tranquility or would hinder facilitating the performance of Tawaf, Saa’i and praying.
Entry of motorcycles and bicycles into the areas of the Grand Mosque is prohibited.
Moving personal belongings to the Grand Mosque and its squares, or suspending them on the windows of the Grand Mosque from inside and outside, or leaving them in the courtyard of the Grand Mosque. Such belongings can be kept in the boxes allocated to this end in the courtyards.


INTERVIEW: Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, the prince who wants everyone to be part of Saudi Arabia’s forward trajectory

Updated 25 May 2019
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INTERVIEW: Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, the prince who wants everyone to be part of Saudi Arabia’s forward trajectory

  • The Saudi royal is a venture capitalist and a key supporter of entrepreneurship in the Kingdom

JEDDAH: Arab News recently got up close and personal with Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, a name that is often associated with successful business, entrepreneurial and humanitarian ventures.

Khaled bin Alwaleed has never conformed to the typical image of what a royal should be like, and he says this was down to his parents.

“It stems from how I grew up and what my parents instilled in me. They really emphasized how important it is to connect with people no matter what position in life they hold.”

He said that his mother used to get on with everyone in their household, from kitchen staff to gardeners, on a very personal level, giving each person importance and inclusion. “That connection — that characteristic — is probably one of the best examples of how I grew up.

“Sometimes I don’t act in the ‘proper’ manner that people expect. I’m here to do what I believe is right, and what I believe is right is being myself.”

He admits that in the past he had struggled with the conflict of how he should act to suit the persona expected of him. 

He admits that he struggled in the past to manage people’s expectations of him.

“I thought I should act in a certain way, do certain things that were expected of me, but were really alien to my personality and what I wanted to do for myself. In the end, what has worked best for me is being as honest and as genuine as possible.”

The Investor 

Prince Khaled founded his holding and investment company, KBW Ventures, in 2014, and he has made it his purpose to invest in a broad range of businesses, from technology start-ups to successful companies.

Prince Khaled doesn’t consider himself a renowned entrepreneur — he says calling him this would steal the thunder from everyone who started from scratch. He thinks of himself as more of a venture capitalist who supports entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

Before taking on a project, what he looks for most is the drive, knowledge, and commitment of the entrepreneur. 

“I look at how well they understand how to scale a particular business, and the business itself. It is important to know how well the founder (of the business) knows the industry, the numbers, competition, and how to best showcase their product or service and put it in front of the right audience.”

BIO

Name: Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud

Date of Birth: 21 April 1978

Education: Bachelor in business from the University of New Haven.

Current position: • Founder and CEO of KBW Ventures • Founder and Chairman of KBW Investments.

His advice to local businesses (and this applies to young entrepreneurs, as well) is to do their homework on the industry of the start-up, the potential verticals that exist, scalability, and to assess everything through due diligence before jumping into a project — at least that’s how he runs things.

“We should all want to be part of Saudi’s forward trajectory. My ideal situation is to put Saudi Arabia on the map as having the most successful track record for venture-backed companies. KBW Ventures has thankfully had a very good start but it doesn’t stop there. I want to partner with more Saudis to expose our entrepreneurs and our venture capitalists to international markets and international venture-backed companies. We’re not just an oil-rich country; we’re rich in entrepreneurship, we’re rich in innovation, and hopefully, quickly getting richer in terms of our history with venture-backed companies.”

He thinks the future is in the hands of the youth,  basing this view on how Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has changed things in Saudi Arabia.

“Mohammed bin Salman is the face of Saudi youth and its future — he has mobilized and invigorated the younger generation like no one before. I’ve never seen so many young people looking for a way to support the country and get involved — it is the best time for us as Saudis.”

Prince Khaled with King Salman

Prince Khaled has much more on his agenda, focusing on causes where he can make a difference such as “climate change, sustainability and animal welfare,” he said.

With KBW Ventures, he hopes to act as an ambassador to a healthier, more sustainable society.

The prince is also an enthusiastic humanitarian and vocal vegan, who has chosen to apply his beliefs to his lifestyle first.

“I started as a vegetarian many years ago and gradually transitioned my lifestyle completely; I’ve talked extensively about the health benefits and I think if people even adopt reducetarian measures it is great for the planet and for overall health and wellbeing.”

He said that at this point, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is no longer an option but a necessity. “I really feel the need to incorporate physical activity into my day and it’s matched with clean eating. No matter how busy you are, your health is the most necessary aspect as obviously if that isn’t a priority things fall apart very quickly. I work out daily and I eat well; that’s what fuels me to do what I do.

He has noticed the onslaught of GCC individuals going plant-based. He thinks that they are motivated by a combination of factors: the desire to live healthier and to live more humanely, in terms of being kinder to animals and reducing our damage to the earth. He is fully supportive of the General Sports Authority Chairman Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal with its mission of promoting mass sports participation and working on educating the health care system and citizens in general. “I’m not naïve enough to think the world is going to go vegan, it is not practical. Saudi is a very meat-centric culture; for the Saudi health problems of obesity and heart-related issues, I really encourage everyone to try a reducetarian diet by incorporating more fresh vegetables, legumes, basically just expand your eating horizons.”

 

 

Saudi Humane Society 

Prince Khaled’s latest move on a very resolute chessboard is taking on the role of the presidency at the Saudi Humane Society (Rifq, or SHS) in January 2019. He told Arab News: “I happily accepted the role as I believe I can add value there.”

Acting as one of the first NGOs in Saudi, SHS was dormant for the past few years, he said. Under his leadership, SHS now has two, five and 10-year goals across various tenets. 

SHS will be introducing TNR [Trap-Neuter-Release] programs, as some Saudi cities have issues with strays. 

“This issue wasn’t dealt with humanely in the past, and the important thing is that moving forward we work toward preventing these incidents from happening again. 

The Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs, HE Eng. Abdullatif bin Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh, banned animal poisoning; a noteworthy first step in the right direction, followed by TNR.”

SHS will also work with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), on the legislation to prevent the import of exotic animals, as well as with other organizations to deal with exotic animals in Saudi and returning them to the wild.

“We’ll be collaborating with the government on recommendations on how to best operate the sanctuaries, introduce animals back into the wild, and also educate the public on the importance and absolute necessity of biodiversity,” he said.

SHS also led a campaign recruiting young volunteers in different regions of the Kingdom to participate in rescuing animals. Prince Khaled is a firm believer in the youth’s effect on the advancement of society.

“Activating our youth across everything we do is how we really activate Saudi, whether it is for animal welfare or for our work with health and wellness. There has been a slew of volunteers coming to donate their time, effort and their emotion to these animals. We are so blessed to have a relationship with these people, they’re passionate and they really care. They will work on a TNR program in Madina, starting from the university in Taibah where they’ll trap, neuter then relocate the animals in other areas.”

Decoder

Trap-Neuter-Release

A program that traps stray cats, spays or neuters them, and then returns them to where they were found or, if the place isn’t secure, relocates them to a better home.