Over 1.5 Million Foreign Pilgrims Arrive in Makkah for Annual Hajj

Muslim pilgrims are gathering in Mecca for the Hajj, which will resume at full scale this week. By Tuesday, more than 1.5 million pilgrims from around the world had arrived in Saudi Arabia, mostly by air. This number is expected to grow as hundreds of thousands of Saudis and local residents join the pilgrimage starting on Friday. This year marks a significant return to the traditional, large-scale gathering for the annual Hajj.

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and requires Muslims who are physically and financially able to perform the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. The event typically draws millions of people to Mecca, making it one of the largest religious gatherings in the world.

The return to full-scale Hajj is particularly meaningful this year after the restrictions and limitations imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the past couple of years, the number of pilgrims was drastically reduced to prevent the spread of the virus, and only a limited number of people were allowed to participate, mostly from within Saudi Arabia.

This year, however, the Saudi government has lifted many of those restrictions, allowing Muslims from all over the globe to once again participate in this spiritual journey. The influx of pilgrims is expected to continue over the coming days, bringing together a diverse group of people united by their faith.

The preparations in Mecca are extensive, with facilities and services ready to accommodate the large number of pilgrims. Safety measures are also in place to ensure a smooth and secure experience for everyone involved.

The Hajj will officially begin on Friday, and pilgrims will engage in various religious rituals over the following days, including the Tawaf, where they circle the Kaaba, and the Sa’i, which involves walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah. The pilgrimage will culminate with the celebration of Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, which commemorates the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son in obedience to God.

This year’s Hajj is not just a return to tradition but also a testament to the resilience and enduring faith of the Muslim community worldwide.

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