Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the holy places for Muslims across the world, Mecca and Madia are situated has announced that 1 million pilgrims would be allowed this year for the hajj. The Hajj pilgrimage starts from 1st July this year as per the calendar by Saudi Arabian authorities.
Since the last two years, the Covid-19 pandemic had cast it’s ominous shadow over the hajj pilgrimage as well. Like most religious places, the Hajj pilgrimage also witnesses a very heavy congregation of people from around the world at mecca and Medina during the annual Islamic ritual of pilgrimage.
last year, the administration had allowed only 60000 pilgrims due to Covid-19 pandemic-induced restrictions from inside and outside the kingdom.
The conditions to make the pilgrimage however remain strict. Only people under 65 age only are permitted and all the pilgrims must be fully vaccinated. The pilgrims coming from abroad to perform Hajj would need to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test. All other pandemic protocols and precautions will have to be observed.
The Hajj pilgrimage, an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that is ordained to be performed at least once in a lifetime by all physically and financially adult Muslims who can continue to support their family during their absence during the pilgrimage.
In Islam, Hajj is a pilgrimage made to the Kaaba, the “House of God” in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people. The rites of pilgrimage are performed over five to six days, extending from the 8th to the 12th or 13th of the last month of the Islamic calendar.
During Hajj, pilgrims join processions of millions simultaneously converge on Mecca and perform a series of rituals: each person walks counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaaba, walks briskly back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah seven times, drinks from the Zamzam Well, goes to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, spends a night in the plain of Muzdalifa, and performs symbolic Stoning of the Devil by throwing stones at three pillars. After the sacrifice of an animal, the Pilgrims then are required to either shave or trim their heads (male) or trim the ends of their hair (female).
According to the official published statistics between 2000 and 2019, the average number of pilgrims is 2,269,145 per year, in which 1,564,710 come from outside Saudi Arabia and 671,983 are local.