JEDDAH — Among the many projects that the late Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz directed with dedication and determination was one on improving services for the pilgrims during Haj each year. For the past four decades, a priority on his agenda had been facilitating the Haj rituals for the Guests of Allah who come from all parts of the world.
Involving himself in Haj-related developments tear long, the late Prince often inspected the pilgrimage sites for progress and development. The driving force behind his efforts was his well-known saying, “We are the servants of the Guests of Allah.”
Prince Naif had no tolerance towards those who practiced intentional shortcomings, deception, or trickery towards the Haj pilgrims, and had implemented punitive security measures to protect the pilgrims and the holy sites. In his words, “The Kingdom is fully capable of protecting its lands and pilgrims, and we have no need for outside help. The Kingdom will deal harshly with any organization or individual that violates or threatens the safety of the holy lands.”
He shouldered the immense responsibility of ensuring the safety of millions of pilgrims each year. Live coverage, reports by the media and the testimonials of innumerable pilgrims are all proof to the advances witnessed year after year during the pilgrimage season.
Following his directives, the problem of illegal and random camping out of pilgrims on the streets was tackled. Scouts, security personnel, public educators, and guides patrolled the streets to halt the phenomenon of camping on the streets. Combating this problem alone resulted in the spread of diseases, pollution, and traffic congestion. Last year, even the most challenging Haj ritual of throwing the stones (Jamarat) proceeded smoothly and without the occurrence of any accidents or deaths.
Serving and protecting approximately three million pilgrims and preserving the most sacred lands on earth were accepted by Prince Naif as his duty and also as a privilege.
Under his patronage, the government, the private sector, and various volunteer organizations joined forces to bring forth the enormous improvements to the holy sites.
It was no easy task to organize the congregation of millions of people of different colors, tongues, and races in one place, but the Kingdom succeeded in doing so, with the direction of Crown Prince Naif. He is said to have been gravely saddened if he learned of any harm that had befallen even one pilgrim.
The late prince was loved by all and will be remembered as the loyal servant of the Guests of Allah.