Itikaf, the practice of staying in a mosque for several days at a time to pray and reflect, has been allowed again at Saudi Arabia's Grand Mosque. This follows a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The General Presidency for the affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque said being fully vaccinated is a prerequisite for performing Itikaf — most commonly undertaken during the last 10 days of Ramadan.
A special area has been allocated for those who wish to perform Itikaf away from worshippers and pilgrims, an official at the General Presidency told state news agency Al Ekhbariya.
The Itikaf permit is valid for only the last 10 days of Ramadan — beginning on the night of the 21st and ending on the first day of Eid Al Fitr.
Also at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque, a guidance programme has been launched for children of Umrah performers and visitors.
The initiative will provide indicative symbols for non-Arabic speakers and bracelets, to avoid children getting lost in crowds, a state news agency said.
“The Presidency is keen to provide the best services to the Grand Mosque's visitors to raise the level of social responsibility,” the Under-Secretary for social and voluntary services, Amjad bin Ayed Al-Hazmi, said.
A translation corner has also been set at the Grand Mosque to be able to communicate efficiently with non-Arabic speaking visitors of the field exhibitions.
The corner, officials said, will enrich the experience of non-Arabic speakers and attendees of the field exhibitions in the Grand Mosque. The move is also aimed at raising the level of service provided to visitors.