By Arab News
Approximately 7 million Umrah pilgrims are expected in Makkah and Madinah before and during Ramadan. They will be served by thousands of employees who want to guarantee the pilgrims’ safety and comfort.
Umrah pilgrims come through various ports, the most important ones being King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah and Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz airport in Madinah. The kingdom uses all its powers to receive the pilgrims and facilitate all procedures until they reach Makkah and Madinah.
Mohammad Bejawi of the Ministry of Haj and Umrah in Madinah said this year Egypt ranked first in terms of the grant of Umrah visas with 1,275,785 visas; Pakistan came second with 918,063 visas; Indonesia third with 655,163 visas, followed by India with 436,000 visas; Turkey with 439,000, Jordan with 343,000, Algeria with 313,000, Malaysia with 211,000, Iraq with 183,000, Britain with 77,000 and the rest of the world 695,000.
Abdul Wahid Al-Hattab of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques reviewed the operational plan for Umrah season which is the responsibility of 5,000 employees in cooperation with all service directorates.
He said the presidency offers cool Zamzam water inside the Prophet’s Mosque and Grand Mosque. He confirmed that prayer areas have been laid with good quality carpets inside and on the roof of the two mosques and that the areas are kept clean around the clock.
He said the Prophet’s Mosque’s yards have been provided with 436 fans to offer cool surroundings and 250 shades to protect pilgrims from the heat of the sun. He said 100 gates and six pedestrian paths have been allocated to worshippers in addition to 20 carts for the elderly and the disabled.
Umrah pilgrims said they were happy to reach the Prophet’s Mosque and pray in it. They commended the facilities and services provided by the Kingdom to ensure their comfort while performing their prayers.
Abdul Noor from Algeria said they were happy to be in Madinah especially since this is the first time he is performing Umrah.
Bin Shanqi, also Algerian, said they had been received with a kind smile from airport officials and offered instant help by the guards at the mosque. He said the mosque and its supporting facilities are kept clean around the clock and cool water is available inside and outside the mosque.
Mohammed Salah, an Egyptian pilgrim, said services were very good with fans spraying water on worshippers to cool the atmosphere in the heat.
Aisha Ahmad, a Jordanian pilgrim, was happy to be in Madinah with her son and his wife. She said this was her second Umrah, her first having been 15 years ago. She said the difference was quite clear, especially in view of the expansion and the cleanliness of the mosque and its yards.
Pilgrims Faisal, Abdul Rahman, Hassan and Ashraf said there was quite a difference between their Umrah two decades ago and this one. They said Madinah had undergone many changes with many services added to the Prophet’s Mosque, which receives many visitors now in addition to services offered to the elderly and the disabled.
Saleh and Thamer from Iraq commended the services offered to visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque, saying they have witnessed many developments in all fields.