JEDDAH: NADIM AL-HAMID
To ensure a smooth worshiping experience for everyone at the Grand Mosque this Umrah season, the director of the Gates Administration at the mosque in Makkah, Abdullah Al-Tamih, urged pilgrims not to push and shove while entering and exiting the building for prayers.
”We usually face this serious problem during this season. Even though the mosque administration keeps 125 gates open to access all the floors of the Grand Mosque including its basement, we usually face overcrowding,” Al-Tamih told Arab News regarding the beginning of the Umrah season.
The official added that 475 workers including female and temporary recruits work at the gates to welcome and assist the pilgrims. ”Digital sign boards have been placed at the gates to show whether there is any space inside; a green signal means there is space while the red signal is a warning to pilgrims that the mosque is full,” he said.
As part of the third stage of the Grand Mosque’s expansion, the Bab Ali has been reserved to bring in bodies for funeral prayers, while 17 gates have been equipped to welcome pilgrims with special needs.
Al-Tamih pointed out that other workers in his department also play a vital role in ensuring the smooth flow of pilgrims. They make sure that worshippers engage in their prayers without experiencing any kind of crowding or bustle by directing the traffic in and out of the mosque, he said.
His team also prevents pilgrims from bringing food, drinks, suitcases and personal belongings into the mosque, which would inconvenience other worshipers.
Al-Tamih called on pilgrims to cooperate with the gate officials, while maintaining the cleanliness of the mosque.
As part of the activities during the Umrah season, Undersecretary at the General Administration for Guidance, Ibrahim Al-Barkati, told Arab News that his department organizes classes and records sermons and lectures for the pilgrims, as well as the issuance of fatwas. According to Al-Barkati, his department also oversees guidance activities inside and outside the mosque and supervises classes in various languages on the correct form of worship.