Hajj pilgrimage begins today
The Hajj pilgrimage begins today (28) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, with the participation of tens of thousands of pilgrims under strict health guidelines.
For the first time in the modern era, amidst efforts to curb COVID-19, Muslims from abroad will be unable to attend the pilgrimage.
This year’s event has been limited to about 1,000 pilgrims from within Saudi Arabia, 70% of whom will be foreign residents of the kingdom.
The remaining 30% will be from Saudi healthcare workers and security personnel who have recovered from the coronavirus, as a gesture of thanks for their sacrifice.
An average of 2 million local and foreign pilgrims attend the annual pilgrimage, however, the Saudi Government has taken steps to curb the spread of the epidemic.
Some 2.5 million Muslims typically visit the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long pilgrimage, due to start on July 28. A once-in-a-lifetime duty for able-bodied Muslims who can afford the cost, it is usually extremely crowded.