Saudi Arabia expects ‘exceptional, safe’ Hajj pilgrimage

people walking beside the rocky mountain

Saudi Arabia expects ‘exceptional, safe’ Hajj pilgrimage

ANKARA: Saudi Arabia said it expects an “exceptional” and “safe” Hajj pilgrimage this year.

“All preparations bode well. We are optimistic about this Hajj season,” Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, head of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, told the state-run Al-Ekhbariya television channel.

He said this year’s Hajj pilgrimage will be “exceptional, distinguished and safe.”

The oil-rich kingdom expects to receive over two million Muslim pilgrims this year.

Saudi Arabia held downsized Hajj in the last three years due to restrictions imposed to stem the outbreak of COVID-19.

In 2022, over 899,999 Muslim pilgrims visited Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, according to official figures.

In 2021, the kingdom welcomed up to 60,000 pilgrims from inside Saudi Arabia amid COVID-19 restrictions, while only 10,000 performed the ritual in 2020.

The Hajj, the pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest site Kaaba in Mecca, is one of the five pillars of Islam. Muslims are required to perform it at least once in their life if they have the means to do so.