World’s Largest Umbrellas Shade Makkah Pilgrims

MAKKAH – World’s largest folding umbrella will be installed at the Grand Mosque’s courtyards and roof next year to protect pilgrims from sun and heat.

The new huge umbrellas, the largest in the world, will cover 53×53 meters, Arab News reported on Thursday, August 24.

The commander of the forces responsible for security at the mosque, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Al-Ahmadi, said temperatures are quite low inside the mosque due to air conditioning, but the umbrellas will provide comfort for pilgrims in the courtyards and on the roof.

Last year, the mosque engineers installed new umbrellas, with each canopy consisting of a giant clock, screens of guidelines for worshippers, air-conditioners, and surveillance cameras.

These umbrellas have the height of 45 meters, making them smaller than the new planned shades.

Meanwhile, the General Directorate of Passports announced Saturday that the Kingdom has welcomed 1,405,924 pilgrims so far, Al Arabiya reported on Thursday.

The directorate’s daily statistics revealed that 1,313,946 pilgrims arrived by air; 79,501 by land; and 12,477 by sea, an increase by 33 percent (350,531 ) pilgrims compared with the same period last year.

Saudi security forces have also paraded through Makkah ahead of Hajj, with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other top officials among those watching.

The military display took place late on Wednesday.

Between two and three million Muslims are expected to travel to Makkah for this year’s Hajj.

Muslims from around the world pour into Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.

Hajj consists of several rituals, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them.

Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.

Hajj is officially expected to fall this year between August 30 and September 4, with the climax falling on August 31 when the faithful descend the Mount `Arafat.