Makkah: Annual Hajj rituals begin in Makkah on Sunday (today) with the arrival of pilgrims in Mina.
This year, due to coronavirus pandemic, no foreign pilgrims have been allowed to perform the Hajj once again.
The Kingdom has restricted the number of pilgrims to maximum of 60,000 vaccinated citizens and residents between the ages of 18 and 65.
In 2020, only up to 10,000 Saudi citizens and residents were permitted to perform the annual pilgrimage.
On the other hand, Saudi’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah launched Hajj smart card to enhance the digital services, facilitating the journey of pilgrims while performing Hajj rituals.
Before coronavirus pandemic hit the world, around 2.5 million Muslims from across the world used to gather at Islam’s holiest site to attend the Hajj. But due to Covid-19 related restrictions, no foreign pilgrims have been allowed to perform the Hajj again this year.
The Kingdom allowed only 60,000 vaccinated Saudi citizens and residents between the ages of 18 and 65 to register for the annual pilgrimage this year.
Saudi Arabia’s High Judicial Court has announced that the first day of the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca will be on Sunday July 18.
Hajj re-enacts the actions of Prophet Muhammad’s ‘farewell pilgrimage’ in 632 AD. It also hearkens back to the time of Prophet Abraham, who Muslims believe built the Kaaba, along with his son Ismail.
With pilgrims coming from across the world all dressed in simple cloth, the Hajj strengthens the bonds of brotherhood among Muslims and removes markers of class, wealth and materialism.