World Bulletin / News Desk
The Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Mecca, where millions of Muslims from around the world convene every year for the annual hajj pilgrimage, will be able to host around 10 million worshippers when the ongoing expansion project, the largest in the mosque's history, is completed.
There have been many projects to expand the capacity of the Grand Mosque, but the latest one will be the largest. It will increase the size of the mosque to 500,000 square meters, double its current size.
The mosque was first expanded by the Saudis in 1954, increasing its capacity to 300,000 people. The second expansion project took place during the reign of King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, which increased the capacity to 630,000 people. The latest project is sponsored by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz.
Currently, 52,000 Muslims can circumambulate the Kaaba in one hour. This figure is estimated to increase to 130,000 once the expansion project is complete.
The current project is being carried out in two stages. The first, which began in 2009, involved the demolition of 2,350 hotels, offices and other buildings around the mosque, with another 1,900 buildings set to be demolished soon.
The Saudi government is reportedly paying as high as 500,000 Saudi riyals (around $133,000) per square meter to the owners of the buildings close to the mosque in return for the expropriation. This brings the total figure to around $100 billion.
During the second stage, which is currently being carried out, the prayer area will be expanded.
Hotels will be built in the Jabal Omar region near the mosque to provide accommodation for 200,000 pilgrims. There are also ongoing efforts to ease transportation in Mecca, all of which have turned the city into a giant construction site.
To minimize the risk of overcrowding and to lessen congestion on the roads, the Saudi authorities began operating a Chinese-built train in 2010 that stops at hajj sites. Once fully functional, the railway is expected to reduce congestion caused by buses and cars during the hajj. It will also carry pilgrims performing their umrah, or lesser pilgrimage, throughout the year. Once completed, the Saudis estimate that 53,000 buses will disappear from the city's crowded roads, promising a safer and more comfortable pilgrimage.
Currently, about 3 million pilgrims travel to Mecca every year for the annual hajj. It is estimated that the city will be able to host 10 million pilgrims once the ongoing projects are completed.
'Hello, I am a Muslim' event aims to dispel myths, propaganda against Islam
Event aims to promote empathy launched in London’s central King’s Cross Station
Bzeek, who has been helping terminally-ill children for decades, says his actions change the negative perception of Muslims
Over 100 Muslim leaders felt a “measure of hope” after last evening’s four-hour meeting with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on issues directly affecting them, including the labelling them as terrorists.
As-Salam Mosque -- Chile's first -- renovated at direction of Turkish president during visit to country in 2016
Hadji Mohammad Dollie was a son of Scottish father and a Malay mother born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1846. He opened the first “Hanafi” Mosque in Cape Town along with a Dutch convert to Islam in the 1880’s.
Finsbury Park Mosque, which suffered terror attack last year, continues feeding homeless in London
I went to the local shop to buy some naans. After placing my order, I was just waiting on the side when I noticed that the guy in the shop was just staring at the door and had no smile on his face. It seemed like he was annoyed that no one was coming to buy anything. I noticed he kept looking at the clock then at the door, becoming more miserable each time.
Palestinian mosque officials accuse Israel of waging aggressive campaign against Islam's third holiest site
Suliman Abdul-Mutakallim was shot in the head as he was going home and was robbed of just $60.
BISHWA Ijtema is the second largest congregation of the Muslim community after the Hajj in Mecca. The annual gathering draws in Muslims from 150 countries.
Here are 12 fascinating photos of Jerusalem in the 1930s when Muslims, Christian and Jews lived peacefully side-by-side.
Hundreds of her supporters gathered around her to celebrate in Makhachkala, Dagestan's capital, on Saturday, two days after she confirmed her bid in a Facebook post.
Aarhus University's research shows number of mosques in Scandinavian country jumps from 115 in 2006 to 170 in 2017
'We are ready to furnish and maintain our own facility if we are given space,' social activist says