More than a million faithful from all over the world have thronged the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah to spend the last 10 days of the holy month of Ramadan.
As the holy month entered its final phase on Friday, the faithful are prepared to embark on vigorous prayers and worship by offering taraweeh and qiyamullail (late night) prayers, seeking the blessings of Lailat Al-Qadr (Night of Power), a night which is better than a thousand months. They will also participate in the Khatmul Quran (completion of Quran in taraweeh) prayers.
According to a tradition, the last 10 days of Ramadan are earmarked by Almighty Allah to free the faithful from the torment of fire.
Thousands of worshipers started Itikaf (seclusion and staying in the mosque with the intention of worshipping) Friday at the Two Holy Mosques, after being chosen by the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques following their online registration.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from various parts of the world as well as from within the Kingdom are in Makkah to perform Umrah. A total of more than six million visas have been issued during the current Umrah season. There was an unprecedented rush for performing Umrah during Ramadan because of its reward equal to performing Haj with the Prophet. The Prophet said: “When the month of Ramadan arrives, go for Umrah, because Umrah in Ramadan is like accompanying me on Haj.”
Despite the soaring temperatures, the two mosques were filled to the brim with worshipers for Friday prayers.
Sheikh Saleh Bin Abdullah Bin Humaid and Sheikh Abdulmohsen Bin Muhammad Al-Qassim delivered Friday sermons at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque respectively. They urged worshipers to take full advantage of the blessed days in seeking the forgiveness and mercy of God.
Authorities have swung into action to make available to the Umrah performers and visitors all the facilities and services to perform their rituals in ease and comfort. Elaborate arrangements have been made under the close supervision and monitoring of the heads of various government departments and security agencies to ensure the smooth flow of pilgrims.
Sheikh Abdurrahman Al-Sudais, head of the presidency, chaired on Thursday a meeting of the heads of all departments under the presidency to review preparations for the final days of Ramadan.
He directed them to double their efforts to deliver the best services to the faithful. All the government and private departments and agencies in Makkah and Madinah, including the Haram presidency, police, traffic police, Haram security force, Civil Defense and mayoralties are actively involved in implementing their plan for the last 10 days of Ramadan.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Saturday, July 19, 2014.