MAKKAH/MADINAH: ARAB NEWS
Saturday 18 August 2012
More than 3 million worshippers offered Juma prayers on the last Friday of Ramadan at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. An equal number of the faithful attended Khatm Al-Qur’an prayers (conclusion of the Qur’an recitation) at the Two Holy Mosques on Thursday night.
Both mosques were packed with worshippers and the courtyards as well as the surrounding streets leading to them were overflowed. The faithful experienced their exalted spiritual moments in an atmosphere of tranquility, serenity, peace and security provided by the Saudi authorities.
More than 2 million worshippers attended Juma prayers at Islam’s holiest mosque in Makkah. Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, imam and khateeb of the mosque, led the prayers.
In his Friday sermon, Al-Sudais urged the worshippers to uphold the sublime values and the spirit of the fasting month in all walks of life in the rest of the year, too. Highlighting the significance of fostering Islamic unity and solidarity, he hailed the recently concluded Makkah solidarity summit.
Al-Sudais, who is also head of the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, noted that when Muslims bid Ramadan goodbye, tragedies of Islamic Ummah make them cry because wounds still bleed in Palestine, Syria and Myanmar. At this difficult time, he said, the Makkah summit came as warmth to the hearts of Muslims, showering coolness in their eyes. Al-Sudais hoped that the outcome of the summit would dissipate the darkness of sorrow engulfing the Ummah and enable it to regain its past glory.
He lauded the endeavors being made by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to achieve the unity and solidarity of the Ummah as well as to eschew sectarianism, discord and division in the Islamic world.
The mosque was overcrowded with worshippers, including hundreds of thousands of Umrah pilgrims, who began to stream into the mosque since the early hours of the day. The mosque’s upper floors and basement were packed to their capacity. Hundreds of thousands of worshippers prayed in the courtyards, terraces of residential buildings and hotels, as well as along streets around the mosque. They prayed under a scorching sun.
More than 2 million worshippers attended the prayers to mark the end of the recitation of the holy book during taraweeh and qiyamullail prayers at the mosque on Thursday night. Al-Sudais led the Khatm Al-Qur’an prayers.
The Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, various government departments and agencies, as well as security forces made elaborate arrangements and preparations to enable pilgrims and worshippers to do their rituals in ease and comfort. They mobilized all their manpower and other resources to facilitate a smooth flow of the faithful. More than 20,000 security men were on duty to ensure safety and comfort of worshippers.
The Haram Security Force, in coordination with the presidency, deployed its members at some 176 gates and doors leading to the mosque. Members of the force prevented worshippers from sitting along passages or on mataf (area for circumambulation around Kaaba) to make way for Umrah performers.
Maj. Gen. Ali Al-Ghamdi, commander of the special forces for Haj and Umrah security, said that about 3,000 members of the forces had been deployed in the eastern courtyard of the mosque, and that the courtyard was overcrowded half an hour before the call for Isha prayers on Thursday.
Col. Khalaf Matrafi, director of Civil Defense in Makkah, said there were no accidents or casualties reported among the worshippers.
More than 750 cameras have been installed inside the mosque to monitor the movement of the faithful. The traffic department joined the security forces in preventing traffic congestion and ensuring smooth movement of vehicles in the city. The municipality made unprecedented arrangements to keep the central Haram area neat and tidy around the clock. The presidency has readied more than 100 Fatwa offices at the mosque in order to clear doubts of the faithful with regard to their rituals.
In Madinah, more than one million worshippers attended Friday prayers and Khatm Al-Qur’an prayers. Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Al-Qassem, imam and khateeb of the Prophet’s Mosque, led Juma prayers. In the Friday sermon, he urged the faithful to continue practicing the righteous deeds that they are performing in Ramadan throughout the year after the holy month.