2017
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News Analysis |

Around two million Muslims from all over the world have gathered this year (2017) in the Holy City of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to embark on their religious sacred journey of Pilgrimage (Hajj), that is ought to begin from Wednesday, August 30th till Monday, 4th September, as announced by the Council of Religious Affairs of Saudi Arabia.

Disconnecting themselves from the outer world, pilgrims will set out on this five- day journey to purify their inner self in this process. Alongside performing several rituals as mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, pilgrims will devote themselves completely to the remembrance of God.

Apart from the extension project of the Grand Mosque, this year, overwhelming security measures are ensured to avert any unpleasant incident marring the sanctity of the Pilgrimage.

Hajj is the central pillar of faith in Islam, where it is binding upon every Muslim to undertake this sacred journey once in a lifetime if have the sufficient means. In the Islamic scriptures, Hajj is interpreted as the rebirth of the devotee, where all his past sins are forgiven and he comes more closure to God (Allah).

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Saudi Arabia has been a tremendous host to the pilgrims each year. Every year endeavors are undertaken to facilitate the ever-increasing numbers of pilgrims. Apart from the extension project of the Grand Mosque, this year, overwhelming security measures are ensured to avert any unpleasant incident marring the sanctity of the Pilgrimage.

 Hajj Preparations 2017

Thousands of the kingdom’s elite forces participated in a spectacular show of force during the Mecca Parade.

The event – held annually in the week leading to the beginning of the Hajj – saw elite troops marching in formation, as tanks rolled into the streets of Mecca and helicopters hovered over the parade.

More than 2,000 TV and radio episodes have been produced in 12 languages to raise awareness among pilgrims; they will be broadcasted via satellite, on Saudi Arabian Airways and other Arab Airlines, and on ships and buses transporting pilgrims, he said.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was present at the parade, as were hundreds of spectators, who watched as soldiers took part in simulated training exercises.

More than 7,000 men from government and national sectors are volunteering to serve pilgrims once they arrive at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah.

The deputy minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance said the ministry has appointed specialized committees to monitor and implement Hajj activities.

More than 2,000 TV and radio episodes have been produced in 12 languages to raise awareness among pilgrims; they will be broadcasted via satellite, on Saudi Arabian Airways and other Arab Airlines, and on ships and buses transporting pilgrims, he said. The ministry is also raising awareness via its website and WhatsApp messages. A free hotline has been established to answer Hajj-related questions (8002451000), as well as an e-service available in eight languages.

According to the Ministry of Health, more than 16,000 units of blood and blood products are available to treat Hajj pilgrims in the holy cities.

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Statistics of Hajj 2017

According to the Saudi Press Agency, as of August 26, 2017, exactly 1,584,269 million people had arrived in the country for Hajj. The majority arrived via air (1,483,522); others came by sea (14,598) and by land (86,149).

Egypt with 108,000 pilgrims was Africa’s largest contingent even though they are placed fifth on the list. The top contributor was Indonesia followed by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in that order.

According to records, the Saudi government operates a quota system for, particularly Muslim majority nations. Africa occupies four slots in the top 10 Pilgrim contributing countries for this year.

Egypt with 108,000 pilgrims was Africa’s largest contingent even though they are placed fifth on the list. The top contributor was Indonesia followed by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in that order.

While around 86,500 pilgrims from Iran are permitted for the pilgrimage 2017, after the uplift of the ban imposed in 2016.

From rest of the world, the counts are Indonesia; 221,000, Pakistan; 179,210, India; 170,000, Bangladesh; 127,198, Nigeria 79,000, Turkey 79000, Morocco 31,000.

Gazans; The guests of King Salman

The Palestinian minister of Awqaf said that this year’s Hajj consists of 2,640 pilgrims from Gaza. This number includes 1,000 relatives of those killed by Israeli forces, who will go as the guests of King Salman. These 1000 members are the part of the pilgrimage under the Guests of King Salman for Hajj and Umrah Program.

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