Saudi ministry provides 24-hour healthcare for pilgrims

Saudi ministry provides 24-hour healthcare for pilgrims
The ministry starts planning for Ramadan several months in advance to ensure services are in place for pilgrims throughout their stay in the Kingdom. (SPA)
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Updated 27 March 2024
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Saudi ministry provides 24-hour healthcare for pilgrims

Saudi ministry provides 24-hour healthcare for pilgrims
  • 170 trained volunteers stationed at 6 locations in the Grand Mosque this Ramadan, official says 

MAKKAH: The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia is continuing to provide 24-hour healthcare for pilgrims this Ramadan in Makkah, say officials. 

Dr. Wael Motair, director of the Makkah Health Affairs directorate at the ministry, told Arab News that three emergency centers are available for pilgrims, seven days a week.

The emergency center for the mosque is located on the first floor of the King Fahd Expansion area; the second is at the Saudi Portico, which was originally known as Safa Gate; and the third is on the first floor, close to the Ajyad bridge. 

The Ajyad Emergency Hospital and the Mosque’s Hospital are located in the northern courtyard of the King Abdullah Expansion area.




The emergency center for the mosque is located on the first floor of the King Fahd Expansion area. (SPA)

Motair said “as part of its role with the Health General Authority at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, the Ministry of Health is providing primary care, health and awareness services to the pilgrims, in order to provide high-quality health services throughout the holy month of Ramadan.”

The ministry starts planning for Ramadan several months in advance to ensure services are in place for pilgrims throughout their stay in the Kingdom, he said.

Motair added that 170 volunteers are participating in the Sawaed project this year providing ambulatory care, split up among six teams at the Grand Mosque. 

He said Makkah Health Affairs recently signed an agreement with the Endowment of Princess Seetah bint Abdulaziz Al-Saud for the supply of medical and ambulatory packs to Sawaed volunteers. 

Khalid Zahran, secretary-general of the endowment, said 30 of these packs have been provided to Makkah Health Affairs for Ramadan and Hajj.




The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia is continuing to provide 24-hour healthcare for pilgrims this Ramadan in Makkah, say officials. (SPA)

Mahasen Shuaib, director of volunteer and community development at Makkah Health Affairs, said: “The endowment board agreed to support the Sawaed project and provide means of empowerment and enhancement to first aid methods of intervention, inside the holy mosque.”

In addition to dealing with between 200 and 900 individuals a day during Ramadan, the volunteer teams move patients to clinics where they can receive care.


Pilgrims perform final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha

Pilgrims perform final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha
Updated 19 sec ago
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Pilgrims perform final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha

Pilgrims perform final rites of Hajj as Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha

MINA: More than 850,000 pilgrims had performed Tawaf Al-Ifadah by Sunday night in Makkah, the ritual marking the final days of the Hajj and the start of the Eid Al-Adha celebrations for Muslims around the world.

The long day started with masses of pilgrims embarking on a symbolic stoning of the devil in Muzdalifah under the soaring summer heat.The stoning is among the final rites of the Hajj, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

It came a day after more than 1.8 million pilgrims congregated at a sacred hill, known as Mount Arafat, outside the holy city of Makkah, which Muslim pilgrims visit to perform the annual five-day rituals of Hajj. The Tawaf Al Ifadah is performed by Hajj pilgrims after the returning from Mina.

In a press conference on Sunday night, Col. Talal bin Abdulmohsen Al-Shalhoub, spokesperson of the Saudi Ministry of Interior, said that all pilgrims safely returned to their tents in Mina after departing from Muzdalifah.

He emphasized that security forces are continuing their operations to ensure the security and safety of the Guests of Allah throughout their stay in Mina, including their rituals at the Jamarat Bridge and within the Grand Mosque.“These services encompass crowd control and management on all routes connecting their accommodations in tents, the bridge, and the Grand Mosque, as well as during their tawaf. I urge all guests to adhere strictly to the instructions governing their ritual performances,” he stated.

Pilgrims cast stones at pillars in the symbolic stoning of the devil, one of the last rites of Hajj, at the Jamarat in Mina, near the holy city of Makkah, on June 16, 2024. (SPA)

The spokesperson also advised pilgrims not to carry personal belongings when heading to the Jamarat Bridge or the Holy Mosque.

“Furthermore, I urge those intending to leave Mina on the second day of Tashreeq to follow the specified guidelines,” he added.

The days of Tashreeq are the three days that follow the 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah, Eid al-Adha, and are known for the ritual of stoning the three pillars in Mina, symbolizing the rejection of temptation and evil.

However, it is permissible for pilgrims to leave Makkah before sunset on the 12th day of Dhul Hijjah.Al-Shalhoub further reported that the 911 center in the Makkah region had received a total of 78,872 calls on the 10th of Thul Hijjah, covering security reports and service inquiries, all of which were promptly addressed.

He highlighted the close monitoring by Saudi leadership of all security sectors, noting continuous enhancements in their performance each year.“Our security personnel serve as exemplary role models in fulfilling their duties and facilitating the Hajj journey for pilgrims,” he concluded.

For his part, Ayedh Al-Ghuwainem, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah for Hajj affairs said that the organizational plans and efforts were implemented in harmony with all the participating Hajj agencies.

“The stoning process occurred safely and tranquilly within just ten hours, achieving a compliance rate of 95 percent with the instructions,” he said.

He further added that the plans were designed to accommodate the diverse jurisprudential preferences of pilgrims using modern technology and preplanned schedules for grouping the pilgrims.Al-Ghuwainem stated that more than 800,000 pilgrims had arrived in Mina before dawn on Sunday, and by 8 a.m., all pilgrims had reached Mina.

On their arrival at the Jamarat Bridge, some 70 percent of the pilgrims used the first and fourth floors, while the rest of them went through the second and third floors, according to the deputy minister.

“Moreover, more than 850,000 worshippers have so far performed the Ifadah tawaf since midnight using shuttle bus services from and to the Grand Mosque,” he said.

The deputy minister added that the challenge they faced along with the concerned authorities was that most of the pilgrims preferred to go on foot, despite all the awareness campaigns and the availability of all means of transportation. He also urged the pilgrims to follow the instructions.


Hajj pilgrims innovate for comfort amid Saudi Arabia’s efforts to beat the heat

Hajj pilgrims innovate for comfort amid Saudi Arabia’s efforts to beat the heat
Updated 16 June 2024
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Hajj pilgrims innovate for comfort amid Saudi Arabia’s efforts to beat the heat

Hajj pilgrims innovate for comfort amid Saudi Arabia’s efforts to beat the heat
  • Portable fans, personal water sprinklers among useful aids in scorching conditions

ARAFAT: Pilgrims have remained inventive in their quest for comfort, despite Saudi Arabia’s diligent efforts to mitigate the sweltering heat at the holy sites.

Alongside the Kingdom’s measures — which include extensive cooling systems — pilgrims are using rechargeable and battery-powered neck and handheld fans in their determination to offset the challenging conditions brought by the summer.

A sprinkler system comprising more than 8,000  water posts has been installed at the holy sites to mitigate the high temperatures. (SPA)

The portable fans provide much-needed relief by offering personal cooling in crowded areas where air circulation may be limited. They allow pilgrims to maintain comfort and focus on their religious duties without being overly affected by the extreme temperatures, thereby enhancing their overall pilgrimage experience.

According to online retail websites, the hands-free fans range from $4 to $8, while neck fans are between $32 to $60. However, some portable waist clip fans may cost from $30 to more than $110.

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230k

Managed by the Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites, the sprinkler system at the holy sites disperses 230,000 cubic meters of water through a pipe network spanning over 190,000 meters.

In accordance with the Health Ministry’s warnings and instructions, many pilgrims are also being observed using small water sprinklers to cool themselves amid the high temperatures.

A sprinkler system comprising more than 8,000  water posts has been installed at the holy sites to mitigate the high temperatures. (SPA)

A report by the National Center for Meteorology noted that temperatures reached 46 C in Arafat on Saturday. In anticipation of such conditions, a massive water sprinkler system had been installed to reduce heat and refresh the air for pilgrims.

Saleh Al-Sufiyani, a Saudi pilgrim from Taif, said that he was aware of the weather conditions in Makkah and purchased a cooling gadget for SR150 (approximately $40).

Pilgrims are using rechargeable and battery-powered neck and handheld fans in their determination to offset the challenging conditions brought by the summer. (SPA)

He added: “The device provides direct airflow to my neck and face, which are sensitive areas for cooling the body. It helps me feel more comfortable as it reduces the sensation of heat.”

Maryam Jadallah, an Egyptian pilgrim, said that she had bought her portable battery-powered fan from Jeddah after learning about the high temperatures in Makkah.

Water is sprayed on Muslim pilgrims at the rocky hill known as the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabi, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP)

She added: “The fan operates quietly, allowing me to hear everything around me without disturbing my supplications.”

She stressed that cooling the body during hot weather can help prevent heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Volunteers spray water on Muslim pilgrims during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (AN photo by Huda Bashattah)

She said that despite having her fan with her, she often kept it off as fans and water sprinklers were installed everywhere to help the pilgrims stay cool.  

According to Kidana Development Company, a substantial sprinkler system comprising more than 8,000 water posts has been installed at the holy sites to mitigate the high temperatures.

Despite Saudi Arabia's diligent efforts to mitigate the sweltering heat in the holy sites, pilgrims remained inventive in their quest for comfort. (AN photo by Huda Bashattah)

Managed by the Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites, the system disperses 230,000 cubic meters of water through a pipe network spanning over 190,000 meters. It will operate for 15 hours daily across a span of 13 days.

A recent study published by King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre revealed that heat-related deaths and strokes during Hajj have fallen by 47.6 and 74.6 percent respectively over a 40-year period because of the interventions by the Kingdom’s government.

 


Hajj — a profound journey connecting global Muslims

Pilgrims learn the importance of social solidarity through sharing food and mutual assistance in performing the rituals. (SPA)
Pilgrims learn the importance of social solidarity through sharing food and mutual assistance in performing the rituals. (SPA)
Updated 16 June 2024
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Hajj — a profound journey connecting global Muslims

Pilgrims learn the importance of social solidarity through sharing food and mutual assistance in performing the rituals. (SPA)
  • Pilgrimage unites languages and cultures, building a bridge to the world

MAKKAH: Each Hajj season, Muslims from all over the world, representing diverse languages, cultures and traditions, gather in the holy cities.

Beyond its religious significance, the pilgrimage offers a platform for cultural engagement among worshippers, displaying the rich cultural tapestry of the global Muslim community.

The cultural diversity is evident not only in the pilgrims’ traditional attire, but also in the variety of languages that can be heard throughout Makkah’s neighborhoods, in the Grand Mosque and the roads leading to it, as well as on public transportation.

Muslim pilgrims arrive to perform the symbolic 'stoning of the devil' ritual as part of the hajj pilgrimage in Mina, near Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca, on June 16, 2024. (AFP)

Fawaz Al-Dahas, a history professor at Umm Al-Qura University, emphasized the understanding and solidarity of Muslims who gather for one purpose: to perform Hajj.

Despite their different languages and cultural backgrounds, pilgrims strive for understanding, harmony and kindness with each other to ensure their pilgrimage is accepted and their efforts are not in vain, he said.

“The cultural exchange during Hajj is a unique and enriching opportunity. Pilgrims learn about the customs and traditions of other countries, opening new horizons and deepening knowledge,” Al-Dahas said, adding that this leads to greater respect and deeper understanding among people from different backgrounds.

Muslim pilgrims walk at Mount of Mercy on the plain of Arafat during the annual haj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, June 15, 2024. (REUTERS)

“Hajj promotes the concept of one nation, where all pilgrims are equal, regardless of race or nationality,” Al-Dahas said.

“Wearing the ihram, all pilgrims feel a sense of equality and belonging to a single community, fostering peaceful coexistence. This experience teaches patience, tolerance and cooperation during the performance of the rituals, further strengthening the spirit of understanding and coexistence among Muslims after they return home.”

Hajj also promotes collaboration among Islamic nations in areas such as health, security, and logistics, as governments work together to ensure pilgrims’ safety and comfort, he added. This cooperation promotes brotherly relations and solidarity.

Pilgrims learn the importance of social solidarity through sharing food and mutual assistance in performing the rituals. (SPA)

Through this annual event, Muslims bridge cultural and geographical divides. Hajj highlights the value of interaction between peoples and nations, demonstrating how diversity can be a strength in society.

Rania Shawdary, a mutawif (guide for the pilgrims), said: “Hajj is a significant annual event that reflects the Kingdom’s substantial efforts in serving pilgrims from around the world. Pilgrims witness firsthand the extensive services and facilities provided, which encourages them to cooperate and participate and observe everyone working together for the success of this great ritual for Muslims.”

She highlighted the generosity and hospitality, with pilgrims from different parts of the world receiving free services, such as water, food and housing.

Muslim pilgrims pray at dawn on Saudi Arabia's Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal al-Rahma or Mount of Mercy, during the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage on June 15, 2024. (AFP)

Pilgrims learn the importance of social solidarity through sharing food and mutual assistance in performing the rituals, thereby enhancing the spirit of solidarity and brotherhood, Shawdary said.

“The shared challenges and difficulties faced during their journey prompt pilgrims to assist each other and cooperate, helping them put aside their differences.”

Majid Al-Mufadhli, a Saudi journalist who has covered Hajj events for years, said that media plays a significant role in conveying the Hajj experience to the world.

“This helps promote understanding and communication between different cultures, as media coverage of Hajj events and pilgrim stories and experiences raises awareness of Hajj’s importance and its role in uniting Muslims,” he said.

Social media platforms also enhance communication among pilgrims, their families and friends, as well as between worshippers themselves, facilitating the exchange of experiences and cultures and promoting understanding, Al-Mufadhli added.

“Pilgrims face significant challenges related to crowd management, joint work and adhering to plans set by the responsible authorities, which drives them to cooperate and harmonize with each other to perform the rituals with comfort and ease,” he said.

The pilgrimage also represents an opportunity for innovation in areas such as crowd management, health and transportation technology, utilizing modern technologies to ensure safety and comfort. The atmosphere of cooperation shows the world that Muslims are an organized and compassionate community, capable of adapting to ensure the safety and comfort of all.

“Hajj is an opportunity and an extraordinary gathering that unites languages and cultures. Through participating in this great event, pilgrims learn the values of generosity, hospitality, love and brotherhood, returning home with a new spirit of unity and cooperation,” Al-Mufadhli said.

 


Saudi Arabia’s advanced measures ensured a successful season for pilgrims, says chairman of the Hajj Security Committee

Saudi Arabia’s advanced measures ensured a successful season for pilgrims, says chairman of the Hajj Security Committee
Updated 16 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia’s advanced measures ensured a successful season for pilgrims, says chairman of the Hajj Security Committee

Saudi Arabia’s advanced measures ensured a successful season for pilgrims, says chairman of the Hajj Security Committee
  • Address to military sectors emphasizes commitment to high-quality services

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s precise execution of security measures has been pivotal to the success of this year’s Hajj season, according to Lt. Gen. Mohammad bin Abdullah Al-Bassami, director of Public Security and chairman of the Hajj Security Committee.

In an address to the military sectors involved in the Hajj season on Sunday, Al-Bassami emphasized the directives from the Kingdom’s leadership and the commitment to delivering high-quality services to the pilgrims as key elements of the success.

He highlighted the Kingdom’s concerted efforts in utilizing all available human and mechanical resources alongside modern technological advancements. This had streamlined Hajj operations, enhancing the services provided to pilgrims, saving time and effort and improving overall service quality.

Al-Bassami noted that Public Security had effectively implemented artificial intelligence for crowd management at the holy sites. The technology had been instrumental in ensuring the safety and security of pilgrims, supported by modern equipment and the dissemination of awareness messages.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received well-wishers on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha at Mina Palace on Sunday where he also praised the various organizations involved in the success of Hajj.
 


Saudi brand showcases heritage to pilgrims

Designers Arief Al-Sherif and Sari Salem Hariry. Pilgrims can choose from a collection of traditional costumes. (Supplied)
Designers Arief Al-Sherif and Sari Salem Hariry. Pilgrims can choose from a collection of traditional costumes. (Supplied)
Updated 50 min 8 sec ago
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Saudi brand showcases heritage to pilgrims

Designers Arief Al-Sherif and Sari Salem Hariry. Pilgrims can choose from a collection of traditional costumes. (Supplied)
  • Initiative to help ‘foster cultural understanding and appreciation’

JEDDAH: Almugasap, a Saudi fashion label, has launched a traditional costume experience in the Arafat and Mina areas, giving pilgrims the chance to wear authentic Saudi attire from all regions of the Kingdom.

The initiative, which includes instant photo printing, was installed prior to the start of the pilgrimage to showcase Saudi heritage to international guests.

Pilgrims could choose from a diverse collection of traditional costumes for both men and women, designed under the supervision of renowned Saudi designers Arief Alsherif and Sari Salem Hariry.  

“Wearing a traditional Saudi thobe with the shemagh and other accessories was a powerful way to experience a new culture,” said Mansour Ali from Malaysia. (Supplied)

“By showcasing the beauty of Saudi traditional clothing, we hope to foster cultural understanding and appreciation,” said Salem Hariry.

Through the intricate craftsmanship of traditional clothing, Almugasap is creating a vibrant mosaic of Saudi heritage that celebrates the rich cultural tapestry of the Kingdom and also serves as a bridge to connect individuals from diverse backgrounds.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Almugasap is creating a vibrant mosaic of Saudi heritage that celebrates the rich cultural tapestry of the Kingdom.

• The designers are exploring new silhouettes, experimenting with vibrant color palettes, and prioritizing sustainable fabrics and production methods.

“Each thread and design element in our traditional costumes tells a story of the past, present, and future, inviting pilgrims and visitors alike to immerse themselves in the beauty and essence of Saudi culture,” Alsherif said.

With new silhouettes, vibrant color palettes, and sustainable fabrics and production methods, the designers bridge the gap between tradition and modernity. (Supplied)

“By offering this unique experience, we hope to ignite a sense of curiosity and appreciation for the traditions that define us, fostering a deeper understanding and respect for the cultural identity that unites us all.”

The designers bridge the gap between tradition and modernity by exploring new silhouettes, experimenting with vibrant color palettes, and prioritizing sustainable fabrics and production methods.

Almugasap also partnered with Mashariq, the Southeast Asian pilgrims company, to hold a ceremony to celebrate the arrival of groups from 16 countries. The event was attended by diplomatic figures, officials from Hajj offices in the participating countries, and specialists in Hajj and Umrah affairs.

“Wearing a traditional Saudi thobe with the shemagh and other accessories was a powerful way to experience a new culture,” said Mansour Ali from Malaysia. “It felt like stepping into a symbol of unity and respect for the people of this land.”