Smart scooter Hajj
'Smart scooter' service has been introduced to facilitate pilgrims’ movement among the holy sites. Image Credit: Twitter / alekhbariyatv

Cairo: As the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage season is nearing, Saudi authorities have clarified for would-be pilgrims registered from inside the kingdom ways of cancelling their reservations if they want.

The kingdom’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has said that for applicants, who have previously registered for performing the upcoming pilgrimage, but want now to cancel their reservations, they can do this via the ministry’s website or the Nusuk app.

Starting last Friday, Saudi authorities started issuing permits for domestic pilgrims who plan to perform this year’s Hajj.

The permits are issued by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for applicants residing in Saudi Arabia who have fully paid Hajj fees related to reservations and finalised registration procedures.

Hajj, one of Islam’s five obligatory duties, is due in late June this year. Saudi Arabia has said that the minimum age for performing this year’s Hajj is 12 years as the numbers of pilgrims will return to the pre-COVID-19 times.

The Ministry of Hajj has said that priority for registering to undertake this year’s pilgrimage is given to Muslims who did not perform it before.

The kingdom has said there will be no limits on the numbers of pilgrims from around the world for the coming Hajj season, reversing earlier restrictions prompted by the pandemic.

In the past two years, Saudi Arabia downsized the numbers of Muslims allowed to perform the Hajj rites to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Around 2.5 million Muslims used to attend Hajj annually in the pre-pandemic times.

Muslims, who can physically and financially afford Hajj, have to perform it at least once in a lifetime.