Saudi Arabian Scouts on hand to help Muslim pilgrims during Hajj season
More than two million Muslims from around the world are in Mecca this week to complete the Hajj, and thousands of local Scouts have been deployed to assist them as they move around the holy city.
The Saudi Arabia Scout Association works with the country’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to provide assistance to the pilgrims each year and starts planning for the event well before the start of the season, assessing the pilgrims’ needs, advising Scouts, Rovers and leaders on their roles and responsibilities, and working out where best to position the Scouts.
The Hajj lasts for five days and is meant to cleanse Muslims of their sins and bring them closer to God. It started on Sunday and concludes this Friday.
During the event, Scouts are involved in a number of tasks, including helping to guide pilgrims – particularly the elderly - around the holy city and providing support at selected hospitals and health clinics. Some 4,500 Scouts are involved this year.
Over the past 25 years, about 54 million pilgrims are thought to have attended the Hajj, a requirement of all Muslims who are financially and physically able. The event re-enacts the farewell pilgrimage of Prophet Muhammad in the year 632.