Saudi officials announced on Sunday that it would continue to suspend the practice of spreading iftar sofras (iftar packs) and performing i’tikaaf (the practice of staying at a mosque for worship for a certain period of time) at the Two Holy Mosques during Ramadan this year.
According to the Saudi Gazette, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, head of the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, said that the suspension would continue during the upcoming Holy Month of Ramadan at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madina.
Al Sudais confirmed that individual ready-made iftar meals would be provided for those visiting the Grand Mosque in cooperation with the concerned committee in Makkah.
The distribution of suhoor among visitors, worshippers and others in the areas of the Prophet’s Mosque and its courtyards and premises is also banned.
“The mataf (area for circumambulation around the Holy Kaaba) will be designated only for Umrah pilgrims and there will be five designated areas inside the Grand Mosque and its eastern courtyard for the performance of prayers,” he said.
“Translators working at the Grand Mosque will provide guidance services and translate questions to scholars who will issue fatwas (religious edicts) in 23 languages,” he said.
“There will also be sign language interpreters for the Friday sermon,” the presidency chief noted.
Al Sudais added that there will be special prayer areas and toilets for people of determination in front of the Ajyad Bridge and King Fahd Gate in the eastern courtyard of the Grand Mosque.