Pilgrims arrive in Makkah for Hajj; Covid restrictions for second consecutive year

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Riyadh: Pilgrims began arriving from across Saudi Arabia at Islam’s holiest site in Makkah on Saturday.

The Hujjaj are continuing to arrive and are performing the Arrival Tawaaf (Tawaaf Al Qudoom). The Hujjaj will then proceed to Mina starting from Ishraq tomorrow—July 18 (the eighth of Zul-Hijjah) the day also known as “Tarwiyah”.

A video clip broadcast by “Al-Ekhbariya” showed the moment the first group of pilgrims arrived, with a commitment to wearing masks and applying physical distancing.  

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Pilgrims are received through four centers, namely, Al-Nawwariya, Al-Zaydi, Al-Sharia’ and Al-Hada, before heading to the Grand Mosque to perform the arrival circumambulation.   

The pilgrims will also be grouped in the stage of the arrival circumambulation, through the frequency transport service from the gathering centers to the Great Mosque of Mecca, so that 6000 pilgrims will be dispatched every three hours, and the first stage began on Saturday-July 17, the seventh of Zul-Hijjah at 6:00 am, and continues until the eighth of Zul-Hijjah.

Only 60,000 Hujjaj from 120 nationalities is scheduled to perform Hajj this year which includes residents of all nationalities and citizens in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia due to the ongoing COVID-19 and its variants for the second-year in a row.

This year’s participant’s selected through a lottery, is larger than the shortened version organized in 2020 but significantly smaller than normal times.

Selected from more than 558,000 applicants  and the event is restricted to those who have been fully vaccinated and are between the ages of 18 and 65 and do not suffer from chronic diseases, according to the Ministry of Hajj.

Arafat day sermon will be translated in ten languages, which are English, Malay, Urdu, Persian, French, Chinese, Turkish, Russian, Hausa and Bengali. It will also be available on the Arafat Sermon App and on the Manarat Al-Haramain website.

What is Hajj?

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.

Millions of pilgrims come across the world. 2020 witnessed an exceptional season for Hajj, and in consideration of the “COVID-19” pandemic. The number of pilgrims at that time was limited to about 10 thousand from inside Saudi Arabia only, compared to about 2.5 million pilgrims in 2019 from all parts of the world.