RIYADH (AFP) – Some 600,000 Muslims crowded into the Grand Mosque in Islam’s holiest city of Mecca for prayers on the last Friday of the Ramadan holy month, mosque officials said.
In all more than a million worshippers were in the mosque and surrounding areas, Said al-Mansoori, a spokesman for the commission governing Mecca and Medina told AFP.
The two cities have swollen with worshippers from Saudi Arabia and around the world undertaking the umrah, or minor pilgrimage, which peaks during Ramadan.
The Muslim fasting month ends on September 9 with the holiday of Eid al Fitr. The month’s last Friday, the Muslim holy day, is considered especially blessed.
Saudi King Abdullah was in Mecca as well Friday to inaugurate a 187-million-dollar (145-million-euro) expansion of the Zamzam waterworks which serves up to worshippers the celebrated holy water from a spring beneath the city.
The new system can filter up to five million litres (1.3 million gallons) of Zamzam water per day.
Many overseas pilgrims take large jugs of Zamzam water, which Muslims consider holy, back home from Mecca.