This is a welcome increase following two years of pared-down pilgrimages
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have announced that up to one million Muslims from both inside and outside the country will be permitted to participate in this year’s Haj.
The announcement was welcomed by many Muslims outside the kingdom who have not been able to attend Haj since the start of the pandemic, though it still falls short of reinstating pre-pandemic Haj numbers.
One of the world’s largest religious gatherings, roughly 2.5 million people took part in 2019
In 2020, Saudi authorities allowed only 1,000 pilgrims to take part, increasing the number to 60,000 fully vaccinated Saudi citizens and residents chosen through a lottery the following year.
The Hajj pilgrimage, which will take place in July 2022, will be limited to vaccinated Muslims aged under 65. Those coming from outside Saudi Arabia will be required to submit a negative Covid-19 PCR result from a test taken within 72 hours of travel, as well as the usual Haj visa.
According to the statement, the government wants to promote pilgrims’ safety “while ensuring that the maximum number of Muslims worldwide can perform the Haj”.
One of the pillars of Islam, Haj consists of a series of religious rites that are completed over five days in Mecca and surrounding areas of western Saudi Arabia.
For more information, visit www.haj.gov.sa