Archive for November, 2011
Worshippers make ablutions at the newly built facility in the courtyard of the Grand Mosque outside King Abdul Aziz Gate on Wednesday. (AN photo by Syed Faisal Ali)
By SYED FAISAL ALI | ARAB NEWS
Published: Nov 10, 2011 01:18 Updated: Nov 10, 2011 01:18
MAKKAH: The new ablution point constructed in front of King Abdul Aziz Gate or Gate No. 1 of the Grand Mosque has provided much sought after relief to pilgrims who want to perform wudu (ablution), said many pilgrims.
“Earlier we had to go to the underground washroom, which is always crowded with people who want to relieve themselves, making it difficult for others who want to use the facility for ablution purposes only,” said Ekran Javed from India.
Pakistani pilgrim Tajammul Hussain agreed. He said due to crowding it takes a long time there to perform ablutions. However, now with this facility just in front of the mosque gate, it has become convenient and time saving for pilgrims to purify themselves in preparation for the prayer.
The Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs has planned to build another three such open-air ablution points in front of the major gates of the mosque. Now only one point is operational while work on the other three is in progress, said Shah Alam Siddiqui of the Saudi Binladin Group, which is implementing the project.
“The ablution point has been built over the exhaust junctions where pilgrims used to sit and relax. Now it has been converted into an ablution point, which has also been fitted with water sprinklers to provide respite to pilgrims from heat,” Siddiqui said.
He said every year the authorities observe pilgrims’ needs and come up with some practical and workable solutions. “The ablution point is the result of the authorities’ continuous efforts to serve the pilgrims in best possible manner.”
Earlier, if a pilgrim had to perform Haj, he would have to walk all the way down to washrooms on either side of the mosque.
A pilgrim from Syria found the ablution point very useful. “This was needed here and once all four points start functioning, it will be very convenient for pilgrims to perform wudu,” Jamal Nasser said. “It will also ease pressure on the basement washrooms.”
Pilgrims thanked the Saudi government for this facility and also for the water sprinkler at the ablution point, which they found more useful than the ones in Arafat due the fact it is backed with huge fans that throw water to a larger area.
“These water sprinklers are a great relief for those who perform prayers in the courtyard, as they also keep the area cool,” said Junaid Aftab, from India.