Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Saudi Arabian authorities have used robots to dispense bottles of holy water in Mecca. So the authorities hope to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 during the hajj, a traditional pilgrimage.
Saudi Arabian authorities announced on Saturday that 60,000 residents vaccinated against the coronavirus will be able to make the pilgrimage in July. This is more than last year, but significantly lower than normal times. In 2019, about 2.5 million Muslims from all over the world took part in the Hajj.
Let us recall that Hajj is a traditional pilgrimage associated with visiting Mecca and its environs at a certain time. Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam after Shahada, prayer, alms and fasting. Literally translated from Arabic, it means “striving, intent or striving for the glorified” and “return, renewal.”
Agencies in Saudi Arabia hope to prevent any coronavirus outbreaks by 2021. As one of the measures to serve the pilgrims, they launched small black and white robots, each loaded with bottles of holy water.
“The purpose of these robots is to provide personal services without any contact with humans,” explained Bader al-Lokmani, head of the sacred source of Zamzam in the Great Mosque of Mecca.
For centuries, pilgrims have visited Mecca to drink water from the Zamzam spring. This is a well in Mecca under the al-Haram mosque square, at a distance of 21 meters from the Kaaba. The depth of the well is 30 meters. Bathing in Zamzam and drinking its water is an important element of Hajj and Umrah.
About 20 robots are now available to assist visitors and pilgrims during the Hajj. If necessary, the authorities will use others as well.
Hundreds of thousands of bottles of Zamzam water are usually distributed annually.
Hajj is one of the five pillars or key responsibilities of Islam, but for the second year in a row, only vaccinated Saudis will be allowed.