Authorities have registered a total of 172,562 pilgrims who have traveled from across the globe to Saudi Arabia’s Medina so far ahead of this year’s Hajj, the official news agency SPA reported on Tuesday.
Statistics on arriving and departing pilgrims in Medina, issued by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, showed that 156,828 pilgrims have arrived through the Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Medina since receiving the first Hajj, while the land immigration center received 13,097 pilgrims who arrived in the city through land border crossings.
The statistics also revealed the nationalities of pilgrims staying in Medina, showing that Indonesian pilgrims are the highest proportion of international pilgrims (24,478), followed by pilgrims from India, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Iran.
Statistics showed that 76,955 pilgrims left Medina over the past few days on their way to the holy sites in Mecca.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia welcomed its first batch of foreign Hajj pilgrims since before the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted authorities to sharply restrict the annual ritual in line with global health guidelines.
“Today we received the first group of this year’s pilgrims from Indonesia, and the flights will continue from Malaysia and India,” Mohammed al-Bijawi of the country’s Hajj Ministry told the al-Ekhbariya channel at the time
“Today we are happy to receive the guests of God from outside the Kingdom, after a two-year interruption due to the pandemic,” he added, describing Saudi Arabia as “fully prepared” to accommodate them.
One of the five pillars of Islam, the Hajj must be undertaken by all Muslims who have the means at least once in their lives.
Usually one of the world’s largest religious gatherings, about 2.5 million people participated in 2019.
But after the onset of the pandemic in 2020, authorities announced they would only let 1,000 pilgrims take part.
The following year, they increased the total to 60,000 fully vaccinated Saudi Arabian citizens and residents chosen through a lottery.
In April, the Kingdom announced it would permit one million Muslims from inside and outside the country to participate in this year’s Hajj, which will take place in July.
The Hajj consists of a series of religious rites that are completed over five days in Islam’s holiest city, Mecca, and surrounding areas of western Saudi Arabia.
This year’s pilgrimage will be limited to vaccinated Muslims under age 65, the Hajj ministry has said.
Those coming from outside Saudi Arabia, who must apply for Hajj visas, are required to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR result from a test taken within 72 hours of travel.
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