Pilgrims medina hajj saudi
Pilgrims arrive in the Saudi holy city of Medina. Image Credit: The Saudi news agency

Cairo: As part of early preparations for the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage, a committee in charge of pilgrims’ housing in the Saudi holy city of Medina has opened registration for related permits ahead of next year’s Hajj.

Nearly 2 million pilgrims from around the world late last month performed Hajj in Saudi Arabia, marking the return of their numbers to pre-pandemic levels.

The pilgrims’ housing committee in Medina, home to Islam’s second holiest site, announced start of receiving applications for obtaining housing permits for the faithful during the upcoming Hajj season.

The panel called the would-be applicants to check with it about the requirements to ensure finalising procedures during the registration period that runs until the end of Rajab, the eighth month in the Islamic lunar calendar.

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Saudi Arabia has recently disclosed rules for the upcoming Hajj season and stressed early preparations.

According to these rules, no specific places would be allotted for countries at the Saudi holy sites in the new pilgrimage season, the kingdom’s Minister of Hajj Tawfiq Al Rabiah has said.

He explained that places for different countries will be designated depending on finalising contracts.

“From now on, each country will start getting ready for the next year’s Hajj to guarantee delivery of high-quality services to Guests of Allah,” Al Rabiah said at the recent conclusion of Hajj rites.

“The country that concludes early contracts will be given the priority in taking the appropriate places at the holy places,” he said.

The issuance of Hajj visas will commence on March 1 and end on the 20th of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar corresponding to April 29.

The arrival of Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia will begin on the first of Dhul Qaidah, the 11th Islamic month, corresponding to May 9.

The new mechanism is geared towards facilitating preparations for Hajj, an obligatory Islamic duty.

Around 1.8 million pilgrims attended this year’s Hajj, according to Saudi official figures.