Saturday, 27 September 2014

Mataf expansion to accommodate 130,000 pilgrims

JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah was given a presentation on the new project to expand the mataf (the circumambulation areas around the Holy Kaaba).

The project, which will be completed in three years, will enable 130,000 pilgrims to perform tawaf (circumambulation) at a time.

Higher Education Minister Khaled Al-Anqari presented the project to the king during a reception at Al-Safa Palace in Makkah on Sunday in presence of Bakri Assas, president Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, and a team of engineers who designed the project.

Also on Sunday, King Abdullah received the annual report of King Abdul Aziz National Dialogue Center and emphasized the importance of dialogue. "It is the best means to achieve unity and cohesion among members of the Saudi society," the king said.

King Abdullah said the dialogue should be conducted following its rules and principles. "Differences will be there. It's the nature of human beings. If we conduct any dialogue without following its principles it would lead to chaos and confusion," the king pointed out.

He expressed his confidence in the unity of Saudi people. "Our country is strong because of the faith of its people in the Almighty, the national unity and the strong bond between its people," he said.

He commended the role played by the dialogue center in promoting the values of moderation and tolerance among the Saudi people. He urged the public and private sectors to cooperate with the center to promote a culture of dialogue and respecting the views of others.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah met with Iraqi Vice President Tariq Al-Hashmi and Parliament Speaker Osama Al-Nujaifi. He also met with Haj Minister Fouad Al-Farsy and heads of Tawafa organizations. Al-Farsy praised the king for implementing the largest expansion of the Grand Mosque in history at a total cost of SR80 billion.


Published: Aug 29, 2011 00:23 Updated: Aug 29, 2011 00:28 

Study proposes expansion of first floor mataf

JEDDAH: A comprehensive study has been prepared for the expansion of the mataf (the circumambulation area around the Holy Kaaba) to reduce congestion. 

Col. Yahya Al-Zahrani, commander of the security force at the Grand Mosque in Makkah told Al-Watan Arabic daily that the mataf expansion would be carried out on the first floor of the Grand Mosque and its terrace in order to reduce crowding on the ground floor.

“We don’t know exactly how many worshippers can be accommodated on the ground floor of the mataf,” he said.

He pointed out that measures would be taken to avoid crowding in the area by stopping those not wearing ihram from entering the area.

Speaking on the issue of worshippers reserving space inside the Grand Mosque for prayer, especially in the front rows, Al-Zahrani said Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal had set up a committee to end this negative phenomenon and punish those practicing it. Reserving place inside the mosque for taraweeh and qiyamullail prayers has become a common practice for the past several years.

“The committee started work on the first night of Ramadan,” he said, adding that 2,800 additional police officers and 25 special security officers have been deployed to beef up his force.

He emphasized the role of the operation room at the mosque in identifying crowding of worshippers in different spots and taking necessary action to disperse them. “The operation room monitors movement of worshippers in every part of the mosque.”

Referring to the problems caused by the entry of wheelchairs into the mataf, the officer said: “We have prevented entry of those vehicles into the mataf from Asr to the end of taraweeh prayers but some wheelchair-ridden pilgrims still insist on taking them in, causing harm to others.”

Al-Zahrani said security officers inside and outside the Haram have been instructed to deal with worshippers in a pleasant manner.

“Every Monday we give them lectures on how to deal with pilgrims and how to help them. Our officers have responded positively to these instructions,” he said.

“There are some pilgrims who do not cooperate with security officers and insist on violating the regulations. Some of them even attack security officers,” he added. He also pointed that complaints against security officers have reduced considerably.


Published: Aug 3, 2011 00:02 Updated: Aug 3, 2011 00:33 

The Mataf - Haj 1431

Easing tawaf: Proposal floated to expand mataf

MAKKAH: Three Saudi engineers attending the Haj Research Forum in Makkah have called for expanding the mataf, the area surrounding the Holy Kaaba, in order to accommodate more worshippers.

Abdul Haleem Khouj, head of the team that made the proposal, said it would help the mataf accommodate 128,000 worshippers per hour, increasing its capacity by 160 percent.

Abdul Wahab Alawi and Amjad Maghrabi, the other two engineers who contributed to the plan, said it would enhance the visibility of the Holy Kaaba for people sitting inside the mosque.

The plan also envisions special facilities for the handicapped to perform Haj and Umrah with ease, Khouj said, adding that they came up with the proposal after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah called for a study on expanding the mataf. Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif, who is chairman of the Supreme Haj Council, opened on Tuesday the forum organized by the Haj Research Forum at Umm Al-Qura University.

Addressing the forum on Thursday, Walid Abul Faraj, vice president of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, said ongoing development projects in Makkah would bring about tremendous improvement in Haj services.

He noted the government’s efforts to help pilgrims perform their religious duties without difficulty.

Abul Faraj, former president of Umm Al-Qura, commended the institute’s efforts to promote Haj and Umrah services by conducting scientific studies.


Published: Jun 17, 2011 00:16 Updated: Jun 17, 2011 00:49