Use virtual reality to train Haj pilgrims


Al-Madinah newspaper

An education department in Alexandria, Egypt has started training students how to perform Haj through virtual reality. Students dressed in white cloths circumambulated the Holy Kaaba, performed Sa’i, stood on Mount Arafat, entered Mina and threw pebbles. All of the students were happy and commended the experience. I read about this in the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram.

This is a wonderful initiative that has helped students familiarize themselves with the Haj without having to memorize the steps. Our local schools should benefit from this and introduce similar technology.

We are only a few months away from Haj. I hope the Ministry of Haj will coordinate with Saudi embassies and missions as well as the pertinent agencies in Islamic countries, and ask them to hold similar training courses.

The courses should also explain the regulations and laws applicable in the Kingdom with regard to Haj and Umrah. We should take advantage of virtual reality and train pilgrims in their own countries so that they come here prepared and well aware of the Haj rituals and how they should be performed.

The Ministry of Haj’s pavilion at Al-Jandariya Festival showcased a 3D electronic application that allows pilgrims by wearing special goggles to experience Haj virtually as if they were in Makkah. Such applications can help pilgrims perform the Haj rituals properly and correctly while feeling comfortable and at ease.

I have previously suggested that pilgrims should be frisked and their luggage checked at the airports of their countries of origin by Saudi officers. This would help reduce the large number of pilgrims who stand in line at airport counters waiting to be cleared and permitted to enter. The United States has already implemented this method and sent US officers to perform this job at the airports of a number of countries and cities including Abu Dhabi.