Wheelchairs enable disabled pilgrims to perform Hajj

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The Saudi government and private philanthropists have made thousands of wheelchairs available to Hajj pilgrims. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
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The Saudi government and private philanthropists have made thousands of wheelchairs available to Hajj pilgrims. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
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The Saudi government and private philanthropists have made thousands of wheelchairs available to Hajj pilgrims. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
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The Saudi government and private philanthropists have made thousands of wheelchairs available to Hajj pilgrims. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
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The Saudi government and private philanthropists have made thousands of wheelchairs available to Hajj pilgrims. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
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The Saudi government and private philanthropists have made thousands of wheelchairs available to Hajj pilgrims. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
Updated 14 August 2019

Wheelchairs enable disabled pilgrims to perform Hajj

  • Health Affairs Directorate in Makkah has provided some 819 wheelchairs of different types this year alone
  • In Islam, a disabled pilgrim can ask another pilgrim to do the stoning on their behalf

MINA: Hajj is obligatory for all Muslims who are physically and financially capable to perform it. Some worshippers with certain illnesses, injuries and disabilities are exempt, but insist on performing it anyway. One invention, that of the German watchmaker, Stephan Farffler, has made it easy for them to do so.

The Saudi government and private philanthropists have made thousands of wheelchairs available to Hajj pilgrims.

Through its social department, the Health Affairs Directorate in Makkah has provided some 819 wheelchairs of different types this year alone, worth SR229,320 (over $61,000). These included self-powered chairs for those who needed them, as well as assistants.

Security forces assigned special paths at camps to the Jamarat for wheelchair users to ensure their safety while performing their Hajj rites. Boy scout volunteers have also exerted great effort in helping these pilgrims and those found exhausted after long treks.  

Social contribution supervisor, Mahasen Shuaib, told Arab News: “The program includes many gifts and services to the pilgrims, including clothes and hundreds of thousands of drinking water bottles. These were all made available for all pilgrims in need.”

Saleh Abdussalam, a Hajj service company provider, said that private companies were also providing pilgrims in need with wheelchairs for free.

“They use them to go to Jamarat. We also help in grouping them during non-peak hours or when they like to go out. We have some 150 wheelchairs distributed in our camps.”

In Islam, a disabled pilgrim can ask another pilgrim to do the stoning on their behalf. However, some pilgrims are keen to do it by themselves, despite all the difficulties they can go through.

Last year, the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques announced the launch of an application to help elderly and sick pilgrims, who were estimated at about 250,000, electronically book wheelchairs.


King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

Updated 30 min 19 sec ago

King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

  • Saudi Arabia has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies, king says
  • Kingdom also welcomed US decision to return Iran's Fordow nuclear facility to its sanctions list

RIYADH: Iran should abandon its expansionist ideology that has only “harmed” its own people, Saudi Arabia's King Salman said on Wednesday, following violent street protests in the Islamic republic.

A wave of demonstrations erupted in the sanctions-hit country on Friday after an announcement that petrol prices would be raised by as much as 200 percent with immediate effect.

“We hope the Iranian regime chooses the side of wisdom and realizes there is no way to overcome the international position that rejects its practices, without abandoning its expansionist and destructive thinking that has harmed its own people,” the king told the consultative Shoura Council.

“The kingdom has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies,” King Salman said, quoted by the foreign ministry, reiterating that Riyadh does not seek war but is “ready to defend its people.”

A satellite image from Sept. 15, 2017, of the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran. (Google Earth)

Saudi Arabia has welcomed Washington's decision to return the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran to the sanctions list. 

Washington said on Monday that it will no longer waive sanctions related to Iran’s Fordow nuclear plant after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment at the underground site. 

“The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is zero ... There is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters earlier this week.