More than 266,000 pilgrims arrive in Madinah for Hajj 2022

Worshippers travelling from many parts of the world for this year's pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia's holy cities

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More than 266,000 pilgrims have already arrived in the holy city of Madinah in Saudi Arabia in preparation for this year's Hajj, figures published by the Saudi Press Agency on Sunday showed.

A total of 215,580 people have landed at Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah since Hajj flights started to arrive, while 17,774 pilgrims are thought to have arrived in Saudi Arabia having travelled over land.

Bangladeshi pilgrims have so far comprised the largest number of pilgrims from one country in Madinah as of Sunday, SPA said.

So far, 171,606 pilgrims have left Madinah during the past few days on their way to Makkah, while 95,194 have remained in the holy city.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said authorities in Madinah were working around the clock to ensure visitors enjoy the experience.

The ministry said 448 visits had been carried out to assess pilgrims' accommodation in Madinah for this year's Hajj, 27 visits to check on pilgrims admitted to hospital during pre-pilgrimage season and 161 field visits to evaluate the level of provision for pilgrims in various service outlets.

On Saturday, the ministry announced that only Hajj pilgrims would be permitted to perform Umrah, with registration resuming on July 19th via the Eatmarna app.

Latest batch of pilgrim arrivals

This year's first group of Moroccan pilgrims landed at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on Monday, as part of the Makkah Route Initiative. Morocco is the fifth country to participate in the project after Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Jeddah Islamic Port has received the last group of Sudanese pilgrims travelling by sea, the SPA said on Monday, having welcomed the first group coming by ship from Sudan on June 16.

A total of 1,183 pilgrims arrived on board the Amana have been received by senior port officials.

A group of about 190 UK pilgrims arrived on Saturday, among the first set of arrivals from Europe. Other pilgrims are expected from the US and Australia this year.

Hajj preparations for various nationalities

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has allocated 100 scholars to answer questions from pilgrims and worshippers during their Hajj journey.

They can be found across 10 locations inside the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

Last year, pilgrims who visited Makkah’s Grand Mosque received guidance from four-wheeled robot guides that spoke 11 languages.

With 21-inch touchscreen “faces”, the AI robots drove around the mosque, answered questions and offered guidance on the obligatory rituals worshippers have to perform.

Saudi Arabia's National Centre of Meteorology on Sunday said it had issued an interactive electronic guide to inform pilgrims of the kingdom's weather forecast in four languages: Arabic, English, Urdu and French. The e-guide will provide the forecast for Makkah and Madinah during the Hajj period, including data on rain, temperature, relative humidity and wind.

Saudi Arabia's Makkah Route, a government programme to help Hajj pilgrims from five countries with visa, customs and passport issues, has released a QR code for visitors to scan and upload information and updates.

Hajj is expected to begin on July 7, with Eid Al Adha likely to begin on July 9 in most Islamic countries.

Saudi Arabia is allowing up to 1 million people to perform Hajj this year, welcoming foreign pilgrims for the first time since 2019, after Covid-19 restrictions meant it was limited to the kingdom's residents only.

Updated: July 06, 2022, 11:24 AM