What pilgrims need to know about Islam's holiest shrines


Muslim pilgrims circumambulate around the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, July 6, 2022. [AP Photo]

The Grand Mosque in Makka al Maqarrama (Makka the ennobled or honoured) was built by Prophet Ibrahim to sit directly below its prototype in the seventh heaven. Bait al Maa’mur (the frequented house) has been visited by 70,000 thousand angels since the beginning of time to date.

Situated just beneath the throne of Allah, the angels perform Tawaf (circumambulation) just like their human counterparts on earth then leave to be replaced by a fresh batch every day.

Little else is known about Baitul Maamur but we can follow up on the technological advancement on its replica here on earth.

This Ramadhan season, the General Authority for the Care of the Grand Mosque in Makka and the Prophets Mosque in Madina has introduced a golf cart service to help physically challenged pilgrims perform tawaf (circumambulation around the Kaaba).

This service has been made available on the roof of the grand mosque to serve especially, the elderly, the infirm and those who are specially-abled and would require help in observing the seven rigorous tawafs required to complete Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage). During the month of Ramadhan, the pilgrimage peaks in the grand mosque in Makka.

The authority announced that pilgrims using the service are to access the carts using the various expressway service to the rooftop of the grand mosque, the venue at which the carts will be operating during the busy Umrah period.

The named avenues include, Ajyad Escalators, King Abdulaziz Gate Elevators, and Umrah Gate Elevators.

“The carts will be available from 4pm to 4am every day, covering 12 hours,” announced the authority.

Each ride is expected to cost Saudi Riyal 25 per person which is equivalent to nearly KSh99. The authority says that they have procured a fleet of 50 golf carts initially with each to ferry up to 10 passengers per trip.

“Tickets will be available on sales points available at the roof of the grand mosque,” said the authority.

Islam’s second holiest shrine, Al Masjid Al Nabawy (the Prophets Mosque) which is located in the city of Madina and was constructed by the holy prophet hasn’t been left behind in this year’s Ramadhan. The mosque also falls under the patronage of the General Authority for the Care of the Authority for the care of the Haramain (two holy sites).

The mosque, which the prophet himself actively participated in constructing, is the second largest mosque in the Kingdom and is a major site for pilgrimage especially during this period of Ramadhan when faithful have thronged the holy land for pilgrimage.

The prophet’s migration to Yadhrib, the city that was later renamed Madinatul Munawwara (The city of enlightenment) is today living up to its reputation with the installation of lanterns that have literally turned its skyline as well lit as any glorious day in the kingdom.

The mosque which was initially lit with palmfronds and oil lamps is today the home of cutting edge technology in the luminescence industry.

It all started back in 1910 with the introduction of electricity in the Haramain.

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