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Pandemic brought in technological innovation in Masjid-al-Haram in Mecca

Saudi Arabia, officially called the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is an absolute monarchy. According to the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia, the king must follow Sharia (Islamic law) and the Quran, while Quran and the Sunnah (the traditions of Muhammad) are declared by the country’s constitution. The law specifies that all citizens need to be Muslims. Neither Saudi citizens nor the guest workers have the right to freedom of Religion. The weekend is Friday-Saturday as Muslims consider Friday as the holiest day. On weekdays (Sunday to Thursday) all the working places are closed three to four times a day for 45 minutes for the prayer and everybody has to follow. Until the year 2016, they used only Islamic calendar and only after 2016 they announced that they are switching to the Gregorian calendar. 

Saudi Arabia is best known for the Islamic culture and traditions which are derived from the Arab Civilization. The state’s official language is Arabic. It is also referred as the “Land of the Two Holy Mosques” referring to Masjid-al-haram in Mecca and Al-masjid-an-nabawi in Medina which are considered as the holiest places in Islam.

In Masjid-al-haram there is a ZamZam well in which water is generated and is believed to be generated by Allah thousands of years ago when Ibrahim left his wife Hagar and son Ismail in the middle of a desert. Ismail was crying and feeling thirsty, Hagar searched for water for miles but found no water, and then it is believed that Allah blessed them with water in the middle of the desert. Millions of pilgrims come to the Masjid to drink water from that well.

Around 2.5 Million pilgrims had visited the Mosque in 2019. But in this pandemic situation and rate at which the virus is spreading all need to take precautionary measures for the safety of the local authorities in Mecca and also the pilgrims who visit each year. 

Due to the pandemic the authorities have specified that only 60,000 vaccinated residents will be allowed to perform this year’s Hajj and Muslims from foreign land will be prohibited from coming this and in the following year also.

In the view of social distancing and precautionary measures, Abdul Rahman Al Sudais, the Head of General Presidency for Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina has announced the launch of the internationally certified smart robots which will distribute the Holy water of the well to the pilgrims without human contact. Presently 10 robots have been launched which are supporting the sterilisation efforts in the Grand Mosque. The battery-charged robots operate with the help of automatic control systems and can work for five to eight hours. The authorities have specified that in the coming days if the number of visitors are increasing then the number of robots will also be increased to serve people with the bottles of Holy water.

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