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Saudi Shoura proposes women-only timings for Black Stone ritual

In Islam, kissing or touching the Black Stone is a must but the sheer number of pilgrims make women’s access to site difficult

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The Committee for Islamic Affairs in Saudi Arabia’s Shoura council is currently studying a proposal presented by one of its members for allocating specific women-only timings for kissing the Black Stone ritual during Hajj and Umrah proceddings.

The proposal put forth by Modhi Aldeghaither includes setting three specific times during the day for a period of two hours each to allow women a chance to kiss the Black Stone during rounding of the Kaaba.

The proposal is expected to undergo a vote within the committee in prior to further discussions among the Shoura Council, according to Saudi daily newspaper Okaz.

In Islam, it is believed that while Prophet Abraham was building the Kaabah, the angel Gabriel came down and gave him the famous Black Stone, which he placed in the eastern corner of the structure.

The stone was said to be white but over the years turned black because of people’s sins.

Part of the Hajj pilgrimage entails kissing or touching the stone after every Tawaf – or encircling – of the Kaaba. But due to the sheer number of pilgrims visiting every year, it is acceptable enough to wave at it from a distance