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Grand Mosque officials finalize Haj plan

Tens of thousands of pilgrims pray at the Grand Mosque in Makkah in this file photo.

By Badea Abu Al-Naja | Arab News | Makkah / 03 Oct 2011

The General Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has completed all arrangements for the execution of its Haj plan this year.

The plan will come into effect on Oct. 13 and end on Nov. 25, Vice President of the Grand Mosque Affairs Muhammad bin Nasser Al-Khuzaim announced on Monday.

He explained that the plan aimed to enable the guests of God to perform the Haj rites in an atmosphere of peace and security and ensure the best ambience for worship inside the Grand Mosque and surrounding plazas.

“The plan also aims to extend all the required services to the pilgrims, providing the needed facilities and guiding pilgrims on how best to perform the fifth pillar of Islam,” he said.

Al-Khuzaim said more than 6,000 employees, including seasonal workers and cleaners, will help execute the plan.

He revealed that more than 350 male and female employees were intensively trained on the etiquette of treating pilgrims and on developing their skills to carry out their supervision assignments perfectly.

According to Al-Khuzaim, a number of committees were established to undertake around-the-clock inspection tours of the Grand Mosque to make sure that the services being provided to the pilgrims were at the desired level.

“The supervisors will make remarks and observations about the service and report their findings to their superiors,” he said.

He added that specialist consultants would be stationed permanently in the Grand Mosque to check the level of cleanliness there.

Al-Khuzaim said the number of Muslim scholars providing religious lessons and helping pilgrims inside the Haram will be increased.

“All rugs will be removed from the mosque during the Haj days for hygienic reasons and to avoid impeding the movement of pilgrims doing Tawaf,” he said.

He said the windows at the Masaa (where pilgrims do the Saie ritual between Safa and Marwa) were covered with transparent wooden sheets to preserve its coolness. Water sprinklers were installed in the plazas to cool the air.

Al-Khuzaim said more than 5,000 new Zamzam containers were distributed in the Haram to supply pilgrims with the blessed water. He said the new containers are easy to transport and store and can only be opened by trained workers.

He said more than 120 water taps were installed in 24 locations in the Haram.

Al-Khuzaim said the outside plazas in the southern part of the Grand Mosque were expanded by more than 2,000 square meters to provide more room for prayer. “The plazas were supplied with sound systems so that worshippers can easily hear the call to prayer and recitations during the prayer,” he said.

Al-Khuzaim said the presidency would carry out its Haj plan in cooperation with many government departments, including the Makkah municipality, the police force of the Grand Mosque, the Saudi Red Crescent, the Civil Defense and others.

He said the presidency also cooperates with the Haj Ministry to establish centers to guide stray pilgrims and with the Geological Survey Department to conduct research on Zamzam water.

“We cooperate with the health department in operating the health centers inside the Grand Mosque and with the Makkah police to check any crime that might be committed inside the Haram,” he said.

Al-Khuzaim urged pilgrims not to reserve places for themselves and others inside the mosque and said there is enough space for everyone.


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