Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Image Credit: SPA

Cairo: Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz has greeted Muslims and the return of overseas pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to perform the annual Hajj rites after a two-year hiatus prompted by COVID-19.

In a brief address marking Eid Al Adha, he said that the return of Hajj pilgrims has been made possible due to “enormous efforts” made by different sectors in Saudi Arabia.

“After the exceptional health circumstances that ravaged the whole world, we thank Allah for facilitating the pilgrims’ return with His grace and thanks to the enormous efforts exerted by workers in all sectors in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he said in his televised address.

“Due to the great success achieved by the kingdom in confronting the coronavirus epidemic, we increased the number of pilgrims for this year to 1 million from inside [the kingdom] and abroad while taking precautionary measures to ensure pilgrims’ safety and health,” he added.

Around 1 million pilgrims from inside and outside the kingdom are now gathering in Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.

The kingdom has increased the number of Muslims allowed to attend Hajj after restricting the annual rituals to some thousands of Muslims living inside the country for the last two years due to the pandemic.

Eligible pilgrims this year must be under 65, fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present a negative PCR test result.

Around 2.5 million Muslims from around the world used to attend Hajj every year before the pandemic.