Imam-e-Kaaba Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais assured Muslims that worshipers will soon return to the two holy sites in Saudi Arabia, reported the Saudi Gazette.
“Days (will come) when the sorrow will be driven away from the Islamic Ummah and we return to the Two Holy Mosques for tawaf (circumambulation around the Holy Ka’ba), sa’i (the ritual of hastening between the hills of Safa and Marwa) and praying at Al-Rawdah Sharif and greet the Prophet (peace be upon him),” Sheikh Al-Sudais, said in a video posted on official social media accounts.
He added that the situation will return to as they were before, assuring people that the state was also keen on creating a sound and healthy environment.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, in a statement posted on Twitter, also reassured Muslims that worshipers will return to the holy sites under the “wise leadership” of the Saudi government.
The publication also reported that earlier, Sheikh al Sudais also monitored the installation of thermal cameras in the Grand Mosque.
The Gazette reported that the cameras have been placed at the entrance of the mosque’s courtyard. It added that the cameras have the capacity to accurately scan the temperatures of up to 25 people at the same time.
Similar cameras have also been put up in the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina earlier this month, said the Gazette.
Saudi Arabia last week partially lifted the curfew in all regions of the kingdom from 9am to 5pm. However, state news agency SPA said that the 24-hour curfew will, however, remain in Makkah and in previously isolated neighbourhoods.
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday emptied Islam’s holiest site for sterilisation over fears of the new coronavirus, an unprecedented move after the kingdom suspended the year-round Umrah pilgrimage.
State television relayed stunning images of an empty white-tiled area surrounding the Kaaba — a large black cube structure inside Makkah´s Grand Mosque, which is usually packed with tens of thousands of pilgrims.
The move was a “temporary preventive measure” but the upper floors of the Grand Mosque were still open for prayers, a Saudi official told AFP.
He called the measure “unprecedented”. On Wednesday, the kingdom halted the Umrah pilgrimage for its own citizens and residents.
The move came after authorities last week suspended visas for the Umrah and barred citizens from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council from entering Makkha and Madina.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday declared three new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of reported infections to five.
The Umrah, which refers to the Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah that can be undertaken at any time of year, attracts millions of Muslims from across the globe annually.
The decision to suspend the Umrah comes ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan starting in late April, which is a favoured period for pilgrimage.
It is unclear how the coronavirus will affect the Haj, due to start in late July. Some 2.5 million faithful travelled to Saudi Arabia from across the world in 2019 to take part in the Haj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam as Muslim obligations are known.—AFP