Millions of Muslims from around the world as well as other parts of the Kingdom are converging on the Grand Mosque in Makkah to perform Umrah and take part in special prayers in the final phase of Ramadan, which is considered to include the holiest days of the fasting month.
The traffic heading to the holy city is getting intense day after day. All government departments have mobilized their human and material resources to welcome the mammoth crowd of worshipers and facilitate their stay in Makkah providing them with a spiritual atmosphere.
The pilgrims engage in special prayers seeking the Lailat Al-Qadr, or the Night of Power, when the first verses of the Holy Qur’an were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. According to the Qur’an, (worship on) the night is better in reward than (worship in) a thousand months.
Though there is no clear indication in the Islamic texts about the exact date, based on a saying of the Prophet scholars believe the Night of Power falls on one of the odd nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan.
“Whoever spends this night in prayer out of sincere faith and in the hope of reward from God will be forgiven all his previous sins,” the Prophet said in a Hadith reported by Bukhari, the most authentic book of traditions.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif have given instructions to government departments and public agencies to extend all-out efforts to make the stay of the guests of God in Makkah and Madinah comfortable.
Efforts have been made to provide the faithful with adequate accommodation, keep Makkah and its surrounding clean and tidy, ensure security and safety of pilgrims and control traffic to ensure the smooth flow of vehicles in the central area of the city.
“The Ramadan plan focuses on ensuring the smooth flow of pilgrims to and from the Grand Mosque,” said an official of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, adding that there is good coordination between the presidency, Haram Security Force and the crowd management department.
“We provide a host of services to the guests of God,” the official said while urging pilgrims and worshippers not to enter the mosque while the faithful come out after prayers to avoid congestion and possible stampedes.
The mayoralty has intensified cleaning services throughout Makkah to keep the city and its environment clean by deploying a large number of cleaning workers. Its officers check shops selling foodstuffs as well as street vendors to make sure they comply with hygiene regulations.
The Health Affairs in Makkah on the other hand has set out a complete plan to protect pilgrims from contagious diseases. It has set up clinics inside the Grand Mosque to provide quick medical assistance and first-aid services to pilgrims who may fall sick.
Public security agencies have deployed adequate number of officers all over Makkah to ensure law and order, safeguard the security of pilgrims, control crowds and stop any negative practices. Traffic officers prevent vehicles from entering the central area of Makkah and divert them to huge parking areas outside the city. A shuttle service takes the worshippers from various parking lots to the vicinity of the Grand Mosque and back.[Source: Saudi Gazette]