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Muslim pilgrims are performing Umrah in Holy City of Makkah  | Coastweek

MAKKAH Saudi Arabia -- Clockwise from top left: Jabal al-Nour, the Kaaba in the Great Mosque of Mecca (prior to the completion of the Abraj Al-Bait), overview of central Mecca, Mina and the modern Jamaraat Bridge Mecca[a], also spelled Makkah, is a city in the Hejazi region of the Arabian Peninsula, and the plain of Tihamah in Saudi Arabia, and is also the capital and administrative headquarters of the Makkah Region. As the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad, and the site of Prophet Muhammad's first revelation of the Quran (specifically, a cave 3 km (2 mi) from Mecca), Mecca is regarded as the holiest city in the religion of Islam  and a pilgrimage to it known as the Hajj is obligatory for all able Muslims. Mecca is home to the Kaaba, by majority description Islam's holiest site, as well as being the direction of Muslim prayer. PHOTO - COURTESY: WIKIPEDIA

 

More than six million devout Muslim Pilgrims
performed Umrah in the Holy City of Makkah

RIYADH Saudi Arabia (SAMIRAD) -- The number of pilgrims performing Umrah in the holy city of Makkah this Hijri year reached 6,136,139 by last Sunday, which marks the end of the Islamic month of Shaban, up seven per cent compared to 5,719,398 in the corresponding period of last Hijri year, according to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s latest monthly statistical report.

According to the report, covering the period until the end of the Islamic month of Shaban (April 6 to 5 May, 2019) of the current Hijri year 1440, the number of issued visas is 6,730,109 visas, up 6 percent from last Hijri year’s 6,314,448.

The report looks at the number of issued visas, footfall of pilgrims visiting the Kingdom, number of pilgrims leaving the Kingdom, and number of pilgrims still in the Kingdom.

The current 2018-2019 Umrah season, which began earlier than usual, on the 1st of the Islamic month of Muharram, coinciding with mid-September 2018, is expected to see an increase in the number of Muslims performing Umrah.

Umrah — the minor pilgrimage undertaken by Muslims outside of the major Hajj pilgrimage — traditionally began during the following Islamic month, Safar.

The 2017-2018 Umrah season started in late October 2017 and ended in early July 2018 and drew more than seven million pilgrims, according to the ministry.

"Umrah season is open most of the year wherein more Muslims can visit and perform Umrah rituals," the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah noted in the report, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

As for the 2018 Hajj season from August 19-24 more than 2.37 million pilgrims travelled to Makkah to perform the pilgrimage, including more than 1.75 million from outside the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the ministry’s latest report said the number of pilgrims who left the Kingdom so far this Umrah season is 5,589,537 pilgrims, for an increase of five per cent from 5,324,906 pilgrims who left the Kingdom during the same period last season.

The number of pilgrims still in the Kingdom is 546,602 pilgrims, with pilgrims staying on average in Makkah for 13 days and in Madinah for 8 days.

The number of pilgrims who stayed in the Kingdom during last year’s corresponding period was 394,492 and stayed on average in Makkah for nine days and in Madinah for five days.

Most pilgrims arrived via air (5,486,345) while 567,976 entered by the land entry point and 81,818 pilgrims via seaports. Most air arrivals are via King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.

Male pilgrims numbered 3,190,533 while female pilgrims were 3,539,576.

As for nationalities, 1,371,544 pilgrims are Pakistanis, 894,571 Indonesians, 595,429 Indians, 422,365 Egyptians, while 292,498 pilgrims come from Turkey, 274,109 from Yemen, 266,333 are Algerians, 262,109 Malaysians, 231,342 Iraqis, and 169,529 pilgrims are Jordanians, according to the ministry.

The top five languages used in Umrah are Urdu, Malay, Hindi, Arabic, and Turkish.

The Saudi Vision 2030 roadmap for the future, which is spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to improve the pilgrimage experience and states as one of its goals:

"To increase our capacity to welcome Umrah visitors from eight million to 30 million every year."

This will be done through a strategic and comprehensive plan to improve the sector.

At the beginning of Hijri year 1440, the ministry launched the Umrah weekly indicator to focus on the number of issued visas, the total number of pilgrims arriving in the Kingdom via air, land, and seaports, number of pilgrims in Makkah and Madinah, and the number of pilgrims leaving the Kingdom after completing Umrah rituals.

The statistical report aims at enabling authorities to track the number of pilgrims coming into the Kingdom each month of this year as well as comparing it with the numbers of each month last Hijri year, and in turn, enrich their experiences by providing high-quality services.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah launched a new interactive website to provide easy access to more than 30 of its services to pilgrims in Arabic, English and French and with more languages to be added in the future.
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FURTHER READING:

Saudi tourism commission launches ‘Ramadan Brings Us Together’ festival in Makkah

             

 

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