My brother and his family and my sister and her family just returned from Umrah
This is what they've said:
You won't be allowed to bring Zamzam. You can try getting small bottles in your luggage. If you are flying out from Madinah, you might just be allowed, so enquire beforehand. Some are saying 5 litres will be allowed.
Have the Tawakkalna app and Saudi sim card ready. You might also be asked for insurance, even though your visa should cover it (a bit of a headache)
On return, you might be asked for "Passenger locator form" from Saudi even though its all been scrapped. Otherwise, just have some proof of employment stored in your phone, like a payslip or something.
Currently, no one is checking the app when entering the Masjid, but this could change.
Give yourself plenty of time to get into the haram as police are not allowing crowds in the courtyards.
Iftar packs or suhoor packs in flight are a mystery, so either take some with you or postpone your fast.
100 gates to manage crowds at Makkah’s Grand Mosque
MAKKAH: During the first ten days of Ramadan, crowds of worshippers and Umrah pilgrims flocked to the Grand Mosque from the Kingdom and abroad to perform Umrah and pray in a reassuring, tranquil spiritual atmosphere.
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, represented by the Tafweej and Crowds Management, is keen on receiving visitors with a distinguished cadre; 330 employees are working on organizing the entry of pilgrims through specific gates to ensure the flow of movement.
Osama bin Mansour Al-Hujaili, undersecretary-general for Tafweej and Crowds Management, said that the agency had allocated 48 gates for the entry of pilgrims, including 17 at the third Saudi expansion, 23 at the King Fahd expansion, seven at Al-Masaa area and the gate of Ajyad Bridge.
All efforts have been made to provide best services to visitors and Umrah pilgrims as part of a plan for the holy month, in accordance with the aspirations of the Saudi leadership.
It also allocated 38 gates for the entrance of pilgrims to the mosque, including 13 gates at King Fahd expansion, six gates at the King Abdul Aziz area, and 19 gates at Al-Masaa and Ajyad, in addition to four gates for emergency services and ten for services.
Al-Hujaili said that 35 praying areas for men and 30 for women have been prepared at the second Saudi expansion, as well as several routes for guiding the mosque’s visitors to ensure a smooth movement of crowds.
He said that efforts had been made to provide all services for visitors and Umrah pilgrims as part of a plan for the holy month, offering the best services for visitors in accordance with the aspirations of the Saudi leadership.
The “Tafweej” program was launched, dedicated to crowd management through an electronic system for preparing and monitoring the grouping dispatch plan, in addition to increasing the absorptive capacity, building camps equipped with services, and the “electronic system for the holy sites” initiative.
King Fahd Expansion basement set to receive worshippers for I’tikaaf
Each worshipper will get a locker to store their belongings, but the presidency would not be responsible for any lost items. (SPA)
MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has completed its preparations to receive male and female worshippers for I’tikaaf at the basement of the King Fahd Expansion.
As per procedures supervised by the Service Unit, deputy president for the presidency, Sheikh Badr bin Abdullah Al-Furaih, said worshippers will enter through King Fahd Gate 73, which will lead them to the basement. Each will get a locker to store their belongings, but the presidency would not be responsible for any lost items, he added.
Essam Al-Saghir, director of the Service Unit, said it had set a date to give I’tikaaf permits to worshippers from the 17th day of Ramadan through the service booth located in front of King Abdullah Gate 119 in the western courtyards of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
Ahmed Al-Halabi, an author specializing in Hajj and Umrah affairs, said that Muslims from all over the world come to the Grand Mosque during Ramadan to perform I’tikaaf, especially during the last 10 days of the holy month.
As per procedures supervised by the Service Unit, deputy president for the presidency, Sheikh Badr bin Abdullah Al-Furaih, said worshippers will enter through King Fahd Gate 73, which will lead them to the basement.
During I’tikaaf, the worshipper stays in solitude, but families can still visit worshippers in the mosque.
Al-Halabi added: “During the past two years, I’tikaaf in the Two Holy Mosques was not allowed amid the coronavirus pandemic. This year, special procedures are applied; worshippers need to log into the presidency’s website, choose their preferred language, and attach a copy of their ID card, in order to be able to submit a request for I’tikaaf permits.
“A service booth has been set up to follow up the affairs of worshippers in front of King Abdullah Gate 119 in the western courtyards of the Grand Mosque.”
4,000 people to observe itikaf in Prophet’s Mosque during last ten days of Ramadan
Worshippers pray at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah during Ramadan 2022.
RIYADH: 4,000 people who registered to observe itikaf, or secluded devotion, at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will arrive on Thursday.
Itikaf takes place during the last 10 days of Ramadan when worshippers seclude themselves and devote their time to prayer, supplication, and reading the Qur’an. It starts from the sunset of the 20th day of Ramadan and ends when the Eid moon is sighted. During itikaf, worshipers live and sleep in mosques.
Iftar and suhoor meals, hot and cold drinks, and cleaning services will be provided to those secluding at the Prophet’s Mosque to ensure their comfort. They will also have access to religious lectures in a number of languages.
Those secluding are urged to follow guidelines and instructions provided to them.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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