Muslim pilgrims walk around the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, during the minor pilgrimage, known as Umrah, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, May 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Manama: The Mataf, the open white circumambulation area around the Holy Kaaba in the Grand Mosque in Makkah, will be allocated exclusively for people performing Umrah during Ramadan.
The order by King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and conveyed by the Emir of Makkah Prince Khalid Al Faisal aims to help the men and women perform their Umrah with greater ease since the area becomes extraordinarily congested during the holy month.
The exclusive allocation will stretch from after the Maghreb (Sunset) prayers until the end of the Taraweeh, the prayers performed late in the evening throughout Ramadan. In the last ten days of the holy month, the priority for those performing Umrah will extend until after the Tahajjud prayers which are performed late into the night.
Worshippers who are not performing Umrah will have to go to the locations beyond the Tawaf areas, the order said.
Hundreds of thousands of people gather for prayers and supplications at the Grand Mosque in Makkah during Ramadan, making it one of the most crowded areas in the world.
During the holy month, Muslims focus on their spiritual relationship with God and on charitable deeds.
They abstain from food, drink and sensual pleasures from sunrise until sunset and use the evenings to perform extra prayers.
Ramadan, the ninth month of the 12-month lunar-based Islamic calendar, this year is expected to start on May 17.