MAKKAH: Women working in Tawafah are continuing their ancestors’ profession dating back more than eight centuries.
Their main task is to serve and care for pilgrims in Makkah from arrival until departure.
“I have worked in the National Tawafah Establishment of South Asia for years, and we feel that it’s a profession of honor,” Nojood Jmal Aleel told Arab News
“It’s a job that’s affiliated with the human spirit, because it deals with diversity of nationalities in which pilgrims and worshippers are seeking only mercy and forgiveness,” she said.
“Our families brought us up to respect the Tawafah profession. Moreover, it’s fundamental to pilgrims’ visit to Makkah as it helps them complete their journey without trepidation,” she added.
“We work on a specific schedule, and we’re notified about the time the pilgrim arrives to facilitate receiving him. We closely follow the stages of his journey, getting a visa, (taking care of any) requests he asks for, until he feels reassured that he’ll perform the holy rituals to the fullest.”
Aleel said the profession is handed down from one generation to the next. Mutawafs have to speak multiple languages to be able to meet the needs of pilgrims from various countries.
Mutawafa Asia Matar said people in the profession have to attend workshops. “My father… taught me that this profession is holy,” she said. “He always encouraged me to take care of pilgrims because they’re guests of God.”
Mutawafa Dr. Wafaa Mokhadar said the profession is limited to Saudi women living in Makkah, who must obtain permits from relevant authorities.
Mutawafa Shadia Jannabi said the profession has benefitted from modern technology such as translation programs and mapping apps on smartphones.
Nebras to host 120 recovering drug abusers for Hajj
The National Narcotics Control Committee (Nebras) and the General Directorate for Drug Control will host 120 recovering drug abusers who will perform Hajj this year.
Abdulilah bin Mohammed Al-Sharif, Nebras secretary-general, said the pilgrims come from various regions of the Kingdom and have stopped using drugs.
There is a supervisory committee for the Nebras program, and a group of specialized doctors will accompany the pilgrims to Makkah and the holy places, he added.
— With input from Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr.