AFP: This year, the Saudis have launched a “smart hajj” initiative, with apps to help pilgrims with everything from travel plans to medical care. Asefny, for example, is an app launched by Saudi Arabia’s Red Crescent to help pilgrims request emergency medical attention. Authorities are able to locate those in need through the app. The Saudi hajj ministry also runs the Manasikana app, which provides translation for pilgrims who do not speak Arabic or English.
Two million Muslims gather in Saudi Arabia this week for the hajj as the annual pilgrimage becomes increasingly hi-tech with apps to help the faithful navigate Islam’s holiest sites.
This year the hajj comes with the ultra-conservative kingdom witnessing an unprecedented pace of change, finally ending a ban on women driving while remaining firm in the face of any dissent.
One of the five pillars of the world’s fastest-growing religion, the hajj is expected to draw two million people from around the globe this year.