Srinagar: 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, reports said Monday.
The order by the King aims to help the men and women perform their Umrah with greater ease since the area becomes extraordinarily congested during the holy month.
Regular worshipers, who are not performing Umrah, will not be allowed to enter the Mataf area between Magrib prayer and the end of Taraweeh prayer, the Saudi Gazette reported.
However, during the last 10 days of Ramadan the Mataf area will be reserved for Umrah pilgrims until the end of Tahajjud prayer. Those who wish to perform prayers should go to the areas outside Mataf where prayers are permitted.
The basement floor has been allocated for Itikaf (an Islamic practice consisting of a period of staying in a mosque for a certain number of days devoting oneself to ibadah). Some of those observing Itikaf may be directed to other specific locations in the northern expansion if required, the report said.
Hundreds of thousands of people gather for prayers and supplications at the Grand Mosque in Makkah during Ramadan.
Ramadan, the ninth month of the 12-month lunar-based Islamic calendar, this year is expected to start is most countries on 17 May.