By MAKKAH: ANWAR AL-SAYED ARABNEWS
The Mataf, the open area surrounding the Grand Mosque where pilgrims do their circumambulation, will be expended from its present capacity of 50,000 pilgrims an hour to more than 130,000 pilgrims, dean of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Haj and Umrah Researches announced.
“This will be an unprecedented expansion, which will resolve the problem of overcrowding of Umrah and Haj pilgrims in this limited area,” said Abdul Aziz bin Rashid Sirouji.
He said new techniques would be used in the project, including smart transport and special passes for the disabled and the old.
The dean said according to the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, the project should be implemented in a maximum time of three years. “There will be hectic and intensified work at the Grand Mosque so as to execute the project on time,” he added.
Sirouji explained that studies related to matters concerning the Grand Mosque would be presented to the Saudi Authority of Senior Scholars under the chairmanship of the Grand Mufti to solicit the authority’s opinion on them. “The government will not do any work concerning the Grand Mosque without making sure that it is in line with Shariah and does not contract it in any way,” he said.
The dean said an example of this was when a number of researchers and scholars called for the expansion of the Masa (where pilgrims walk between Safa and Marwa). “The technical studies prepared by the institute were presented to the authority for final approval before starting the work. The project has been successfully executed and the Masa has been expanded to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims,” he recalled.
He said the project to expand the Mataf was approved by the authority and submitted to the king for consideration and final approval.
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