Record 2.5 million Muslims gather in Makkah to observe Ramadan's sacred night prayer

Saudi Traffic Directorate said it doubled its security forces across the grounds

Evening prayers at the Grand Mosque on the eve of 27th day of Ramadan in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Reuters
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A record 2.5 million Muslims gathered at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday to mark one of the holiest nights of Ramadan this year, authorities said.

The General Authority for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah said plans for a large number of Umrah pilgrims went smoothly as night prayers were held on the last Friday of Ramadan.

For many, the night marked Laylat Al Qadr (The Night of Destiny), the spiritual climax of the holy month, which commemorates the moment the archangel Gabriel first appeared to the Prophet Mohammed and began revealing the Quran.

This night is celebrated by those who believe that their prayers have the greatest chance of being answered. It is a time of festivity, during which children are allowed to stay up late and shops remain open until the early hours throughout the Muslim world.

“We planned for this large number of people both domestic and foreign pilgrims as well as worshippers from the local province of Makkah to descend on the holy grounds of the mosque and we can confirm that more than 2.5 million pilgrims prayed last night,” Mohammed Al Bassami, director general of the Saudi Traffic Directorate, told reporters in Makkah.

“We ensured we doubled our security forces across the grounds to facilitate the smooth control of crowds who wished to pray at the mosque on the holiest night of Ramadan,” he added.

Local media reported that the attendance at the prayers set a record.

The Grand Mosque and its courtyards reached full capacity with the Umrah pilgrims and worshippers who came to perform the Isha, Taraweeh, and Qiyam Al Layl prayers.

The Qiyam Al Layl prayers concluded with a special supplication led by Abdulrahman Al Sudais, president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.

The specific date of Laylat Al Qadr remains uncertain, but the Prophet Mohammed said it occurs during the last 10 nights of Ramadan, specifically on an odd-numbered night, with many believing it to be on the 27th.

Updated: April 06, 2024, 7:18 AM