In order to prevent another COVID-19 outbreak, Saudi authorities have deployed robots to serve holy water of Zamzam to pilgrims amid preparations for a socially-distanced hajj pilgrimage.
The new black and white robots, each loaded with three shelves of water bottles, first appeared on Sunday, June 20, as a few devotees helped themselves with a mixture of bafflement and amusement.
“The aim of these robots is to provide personal services without any human contact,” Bader Al-Loqmani told Agence France Presse (AFP).
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Al-Loqmani manages water from the sacred spring of Zamzam which emerges in Makkah’s Grand Mosque.
“Roughly 20 robots are currently available for helping visitors and pilgrims at the hajj,” Loqmani said, noting that more could be brought on stream if necessary.
Earlier this month, Saudi authorities announced hajj restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kingdom said no foreign pilgrims would be allowed to perform Hajj this year, setting a maximum of 60,000 pilgrims.
Hajj ceremonies symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith. It commemorates the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform Hajj at least once in a lifetime.
Before the pandemic, Makkah used to see millions of Muslims from around the world pouring in to perform Hajj.
Zamzam is a well located within the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
According to Islam, it is a miraculously generated source of water from Allah, which sprang spontaneously thousands of years ago when Prophet Ibrahim’s son ʾIsmaʿil was left with his mother Hajar in the desert, thirsty and crying.
Millions of pilgrims visit the well each year while performing the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages in order to drink its water.