Only 1,000 resident pilgrims will be able to perform hajj this year
“The number of pilgrims will be around 1,000, maybe less, maybe a little more,” Hajj Minister Mohammad Benten was quoted as saying in a Reuters report. “The number won’t be in tens or hundreds of thousands,” this year, he added.
Hajj is one of the sacraments in Islam and each year, hundreds and thousands of pious Muslims flock to Saudi to pay respect to ‘The Kaaba’.
On Monday, the Saudi government announced that a limited number of Saudi residents will be allowed to visit hajj. It ended months of speculation whether or not the pilgrimage will be open at all this year owing to the coronavirus outbreak.
Saudi has reported more than 1,60,000 cases and 1,307 deaths.
Hajj is scheduled to begin on July 28 and end on the evening of August 2.
This will be the first time in modern times that Muslims around the world won’t be allowed to visit the holiest pilgrimage Muslims hope to partake in at least once in their lifetime.
Around 2.5 million pilgrims visit the pilgrimage in Mecca and Medina for the week-long hajj. Saudi Arabia earns around $12 billion a year from the hajj and the year-round pilgrimage known as ‘umrah’.