Riyadh: Close to 2 million Muslims from around the world have performed Umrah at the Grand Mosque in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia since the start of the holy month of Ramzan on April 2, 2022, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
“Since the beginning of the first day of the holy month of Ramzan until the tenth day of Ramzan, nearly two million pilgrims were delegated to the Grand Mosque in line with the precautionary measures,” Osama bin Mansour, the deputy head of the Presidency General for Affairs of the two holy Mosques for congregation management said.
Osama bin Mansour pointed out that integrated services are provided at the Grand Mosque to suit the needs of pilgrims and worshipers including designating tracks for the elderly and physically disabled people.
“The Presidency General has devoted its full capacity to serve the Umrah pilgrims during the holy month of Ramzan and fully designated the courtyard [around the holy Kabba] for them to undertake the circumambulation ritual,” he added.
Ramzan is usually the peak of the Umrah season.
The Umrah is a pilgrimage to Islam’s two holiest sites in the cities of Makkah and Madinah and can be performed at any time of the year. It is distinct from the Haj, which takes place once annually.
Ramzan 2022 at Grand Mosque
On March 4, 2020, Saudi Arabia decided to temporarily suspend Umrah for citizens and residents; for fear of the spread of the COVID-19, the authorities also decided to prevent visiting the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
In October 2020, Saudi Arabia resumed Umrah for domestic worshippers after about seven months of suspension due to the global pandemic.
In August 2021, Saudi Arabia opened Umrah for vaccinated foreign pilgrims, 18 months after the kingdom closed its borders due to the pandemic.
On October 17, 2021, the Grand Mosque and the Prophet Mosque in Madinah returned to full capacity.
On December 29, 2021, Saudi Arabia reimposed wearing face masks and social distancing in outdoor and indoor places amid an increase in COVID-19 infections.
On March 5, 2022, Saudi Arabia lifted most COVID-19 restrictions in the kingdom. This included scrapping physical distancing among worshippers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mohammed Mosque in Madinah
On March 30, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that holders of all types of visas would be allowed to enter Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah, after obtaining the necessary permission through the Eatmarna application.