Children’s prams banned at Grand Mosque’s encircling site: Saudi Arabia

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Saudi authorities regulate access of children’s strollers at Grand Mosque.

SAUDI ARABIA, Jan 30: In a recent development at Islam’s most sacred site, the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the General Authority for Care of the Two Holy Mosques, a Saudi state agency, has implemented specific regulations regarding the access of children’s strollers to certain areas. The designated areas, as reported by Saudi newspaper Okaz, outline where the prams are permitted or prohibited.

According to the regulations, children’s strollers are not allowed in the circumambulation area known as the mataf. However, they are permitted on the upper floors of the mataf and in the ma’sa area, where the ritual running between Safa and Marwa inside the mosque takes place. It’s important to note that even in the allowed areas, access to strollers may be restricted during periods of congestion.

The Grand Mosque in Makkah houses the Holy Kaaba, attracting millions of Muslims worldwide annually for prayers and the Umrah pilgrimage. Umrah, a minor pilgrimage that can be undertaken throughout the year, involves two primary rituals: Tawaf, the circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba, and Sa’i, walking seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwa.

Last year witnessed a record number of Umrah pilgrims, totaling 13.5 million, according to Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al Rabiah. Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, has introduced various facilities in recent months to enhance the Umrah experience for Muslims. This includes extending the Umrah visa from 30 to 90 days, allowing entry via all land, air, and sea outlets, and granting citizens the ability to invite friends from abroad for Umrah without the need for male guardianship.

Moreover, expatriates in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are eligible to apply for a tourist visa, regardless of their profession, to perform Umrah. Women pilgrims are no longer required to be escorted by male guardians. As preparations are underway in Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage scheduled for June this year, the kingdom continues to facilitate and improve services for Muslim worshippers.

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