Saudi announces new Umrah rules to enter Makkah’s Grand Mosque

Riyadh: Ahead of the new Umrah season, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia authorities have announced rules for Muslims wishing to enter the Grand Mosque in Makkah to undertake Umrah, local media reported.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Haj and Umrah called on Umrah pilgrims to enjoy good health, as shown in the “Tawakkalna” application for smartphones, and to wear face masks while they are in the Grand Mosque.

The pilgrims are also asked to leave the mosque after the expiration of their entry permits and to avoid bringing luggage to the site while entering the rituals.

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Saudi Arabia cancels ‘host Umrah’ system

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has cancelled a plan allowing its citizens and foreign Muslim residents to host relatives from abroad to perform Umrah or lesser pilgrimage, local media reported.

Three years ago, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah unveiled the plan designed to allow Saudis and expatriates to host three to five people to undertake umrah in the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

According to the Arabic daily Okaz, the host Umrah project has been cancelled and will not be implemented.

The new Umrah season is scheduled to start on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the lunar Hijri calendar that is expected to start on July 30 according to astronomical calculations.

The Kingdom expects more than 10 million Muslim pilgrims to attend the new season of Umrah or lesser pilgrimage, a forecast reminiscent of pre-pandemic numbers.

In October 2020, Saudi Arabia resumed Umrah after a suspension of nearly seven months due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The first phase of the plan, which began on October 4, allowed 6,000 daily pilgrims from inside the kingdom to enter the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

The second went into effect on October 18, allowing about 40,000 worshipers and 10,000 pilgrims per day to enter the site.

Up to 20,000 pilgrims and 60,000 daily worshippers were allowed into the mosque according to the third phase that started in November. Ramadan is usually the peak of the Umrah season.

In March, Saudi authorities lifted most COVID-19 restrictions. This included scrapping physical distancing among worshippers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mohammed Mosque in Madinah.

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