Enhancing the Tawaf experience: Saudi’s 3 rules for pilgrims

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The Holy Kaaba athe the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Oct 25, (Agencies): Saudi Arabia has established guidelines to ensure a smooth Tawaf, the ritual circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, which is Islam’s holiest site. The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has issued advice for pilgrims performing Umrah, as well as other worshippers, to follow three rules that will facilitate the Tawaf ritual.

Firstly, it is recommended that pilgrims avoid sudden stops during their circumambulation around the Kaaba. Secondly, they should refrain from obstructing the path of other worshippers while at the site. Lastly, pilgrims are encouraged to stick to the designated Tawaf track when entering and exiting the area.

Additionally, the ministry has suggested that the Tawaf prayer can be performed anywhere within the Grand Mosque to help prevent overcrowding.

These recommendations have been provided as the Umrah season is currently underway in Saudi Arabia. The country anticipates that approximately 10 million Muslims from around the world will perform Umrah during this season, which began over three months ago. This season followed the conclusion of the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage, which saw around 1.8 million Muslims attend in Saudi Arabia for the first time in three years, as pandemic-related restrictions were lifted.

Muslims who cannot undertake the physically or financially demanding Hajj pilgrimage come to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah. In recent months, Saudi Arabia has introduced several measures to facilitate Umrah for overseas Muslims.

Among these measures, Muslims holding various types of entry visas, including personal, visit, and tourist visas, are now permitted to undertake Umrah and visit Al Rawda Al Sharifa, where the tomb of the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is located within the Prophet’s Mosque, provided they have made an e-appointment.

The Umrah visa duration has been extended from 30 to 90 days, and visa holders can enter the kingdom via all land, air, and sea entry points and depart from any airport. Female pilgrims are no longer required to be accompanied by male guardians. Moreover, the kingdom has announced that expatriates residing in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are eligible to apply for a tourist visa, regardless of their profession, and can also perform Umrah.

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