Cairo: The first flight carrying Muslims from Indonesia to perform annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia this year will take off on May 12, a Saudi news website has reported, citing a senior Indonesian official.
The Hajj flights will depart from Indonesia during the period running from May 12 to 23 heading to the Saudi city of Medina, home to Islam’s second holiest site, Sabq quoted Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Qoumas as saying.
The second group of Hajj flights from Indonesia will fly to the Saudi city of Jeddah on May 24-June 10.
Flights carrying pilgrims back to Indonesia after undertaking Hajj rites will depart from Saudi Arabia starting from June 22 to July 22.
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The number of Indonesian pilgrims due to attend this year’s Hajj reaches 241,000, according to the official. Around 61% of the po-tential pilgrims have already undergone the required health tests before their departure to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has embarked on early preparations for this year’s Hajj due in June under a new strategy, and launched associated operations last month.
Some 1.8 million pilgrims from around the world last year performed Hajj in and around the Saudi holy city of Mecca, marking the return of their numbers to pre-pandemic levels.
Saudi Arabia has already set rules for this year’s Hajj. According to these rules, no specific places would be allotted any more for countries at the holy sites. Instead, places for different countries will be designated depending on finalising contracts.
“The country that concludes early contracts will be given the pri-ority in taking the appropriate places in the holy places,” Saudi Ministry of Hajj Tawfiq Al Rabiah has said.
The issuance of Hajj visas will commence on March 1 and end on the 20th of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calen-dar corresponding to April 29.
The arrival of Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia will begin on the first day of Dhul Qadah, the 11th Islamic month, corresponding to May 9.
The new mechanism is geared towards facilitating preparations for Hajj, an obligatory Islamic duty.