Saudi Arabia gears up for last ten days of Ramadan

Heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected this week across the kingdom

Muslim worshippers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah during the second Friday prayers of Ramadan. AFP
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Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Interior on Sunday issued a safety guide for pilgrims in Makkah and Madinah during the last 10 days of Ramadan.

It includes several instructions announced at the beginning of Ramadan, Saudi state news reported, to ease the ritual performance.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque has maximised its preparations and increased security, health, emergency and volunteer's efforts to provide services that help pilgrims perform their rituals easily during the holy month.

General guidelines

Pilgrims can use public buses from King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, or buses from the car parking area in Makkah to reach the Grand Mosque.

Pilgrims can also use taxis, as well as trains from Haramain station from KAIA to Al-Raseefa station in Makkah.

Pilgrims can walk if they are living in the central area or adjacent to the Grand Mosque, or they can take a private car, which has to be driven by non-Umrah pilgrims.

Non-Umrah pilgrims are allowed to stay in the car park located at the beginning of Makkah, and pilgrims can use public transportation to reach the Grand Mosque.

The General Syndicate of Cars is also providing a free-of-charge public transportation service at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah to transport Umrah pilgrims to Makkah.

Inside the Grand Mosque, pilgrims must abide by the directions allocated by security forces.

The green light on main gates means that pilgrims can enter from that gate as there is space for pilgrims to pray, however the red light will indicate that entry is prohibited due to all sites being full.

Collecting donations is forbidden in the Grand Mosque, the Ministry said, adding that pilgrims are not allowed to smoke, beg or engage in commercial activities, such as buying or selling.

Weather warning

Heavy rain, sandstorms and snowfall are expected across Saudi Arabia from Sunday until the end of the holy month, according to the National Centre of Meteorology.

In its daily weather report, the NCM said to expect moderate to heavy thunderstorms in most regions until Thursday.

Heavy rains were welcomed by Umrah pilgrims on the night of the 19th day of Ramadan, which fell on Sunday.

The last 10 days of Ramadan will start on Monday.

These days are considered to be the holiest and most blessed days, as it is believed that was when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.

Schools were moved to remote learning on Sunday in Jeddah, Makkah, Taif and other neighbouring regions on Sunday due to rainfall.

Classes will resume through the Madrasati remote learning platform.

During the first 15 days of Ramadan, the presidency provided services to more than 15.7 million worshippers and helped organise entry to the Noble Rawdah of more than 103 million visitors in Madinah.

The official spokesman of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque, Hani bin Hosni Haider, said that around 5,000 vehicles and 3,000 electric ones had been provided to transport worshippers from parking lots to prayer halls, which can be booked in advance through an app.

Mr Haidar said that artificial intelligence technologies have been employed to carry out disinfection operations in the Grand Mosque, with 11 robots providing sterilisation services for up to eight hours “through a pre-programmed map to sterilise the Grand Mosque, and 20 high-speed Biocare sterilisation tasks”.

Updated: April 10, 2023, 4:40 AM