Hajis stream into Madinah

ISLAMABAD: An estimated 650,000 Hajis have already arrived in Madinah to visit the Prophet’s Mosque since the Haj ended, with more expected over the coming days, according to officials.

There was congestion on the Madinah-Makkah highway because of the increasing numbers of buses carrying pilgrims into the city.

The security checkpoint at Kilo (meter) 9 has been staffed by special forces officers to inspect vehicles, limit the speed of vehicles and provide parking space for Saudi Red Crescent vehicles, Arab News Reported.

Director of the Haj Ministry in Madinah, Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al-Beijawi, said that on Tuesday alone, 110,000 pilgrims arrived as the government’s health, traffic and security agencies geared up for the influx, under the supervision of Madinah Government.

He said the ministry was confident that 99 percent of foreign pilgrims would leave the Kingdom as planned because they have accommodation and travel contracts.

Pilgrims would leave according to pre-defined schedules, in coordination with their Haj guide operators.

Abdul Wahid Al-Hattab, spokesperson of the Prophet’s Mosque, said that 250 umbrellas have been provided to protect worshippers from the sun. “We also provided 20 golf carts for persons with special needs.

Ambulances are ready and on alert for any emergencies,” he said.

Other departments handling missing persons and lost property have been placed on alert.”The religious guidance and orientation section will guide visitors and worshippers at the Prophet’s Mosque, and provide scientific lessons on Islam.

There is also an integrated library with a sound system broadcasting lessons, offering visitors free CDs, and proving facilities to explain fatwas (religious edicts) on the Haj and holy rituals, and required behavior at the mosque.” It also has computers.

The library is open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., he said.

Al-Hattab said the female section has been prepared for worshippers, with women supervisors to ensure there is no congestion and privacy is maintained.

There are also special arrangements for women to enter the Garden of Paradise section.

Female visitors can enter from sunrise until before noon prayer, after noon prayer until before Asr, and then after Isha until midnight.

The Prophet’s Mosque also deploys scholars and law students to conduct daily lessons on Tafseer, Hadith and modern jurisprudence.

There are also copies of the Qur’an in several languages distributed to worshippers, he said.

One hundred doors of the mosque will be opened at peak times.

There would also be continuous cleaning of the mosque inside and the courtyards without disturbing worshippers.

Corridors will be opened to allow people with special needs to perform prayers.

There are also wheelchairs provided for people with disabilities.

The Civil Defense in Madinah has a plan in place to deal with 13 possible emergencies at the mosque and surrounding areas.

The Health Ministry has staff deployed to assist pilgrims in the mosque’s courtyards.

It has already conducted several programs to raise awareness about health issues, said Al-Hattab.

Meanwhile, the Haj Ministry’s branch in Madinah has already started to prepare for next year’s Haj, as is customary every year once the pilgrimage concludes.

This includes liaising with the guide organizations in Makkah, traffic and security agencies, and coordinating travel arrangements with officials at Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport, Al-Hattab said.

Many pilgrims were sleeping in the yards of the Prophet’s Mosque to rest after a tiring Haj. There was a great demand for electric sockets to charge up their phones.

Source: APP