Saudi Arabia: Demand in Umrah booking rises before Ramzan

Riyadh: In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the booking for performing the Umrah during the holy month of Ramzan at the Grand Mosque in Makkah Al-Mukarramah are escalating, following the removal of most COVID-19 restrictions in the Kingdom, local media reported.

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According to Arabic daily Okaz, the bookings made on the Eatmarna application to perform the Umrah ritual have been very high in the first 13 days of Ramzan, which is expected to begin on April 2 this year.

It also showed a high demand for Umrah on Fridays of Ramzan, while the 30th day of the month is booked full—the application showed that it was not possible to book.

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It is reported that, the rest of the days recorded light and medium crowding, which means that there is a possibility of reservations.

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.

On March 4, 2020, Saudi Arabia has 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 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 4, 2022, Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, recalled that Umrah was stopped due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 two years ago.

Al-Rabiah took to Twitter and wrote, “On this day two years ago, Umrah was stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now it is available to everyone.”

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.

When is Ramzan 2022 in Saudi Arabia?

The first day of the holy month of Ramzan 1443-2022 in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Kuwait, the Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco and other Arab countries is predicted to fall on April 2, 2022, Arabia Weather reported.

A study conducted by Arabia Weather showed that the sighting of the crescent of Ramzan 2022-1443 will be possible after sunset on Friday, April 1, 2022, where astronomical calculations indicate that the central coupling (central new moon) will happen at dawn on Friday, April 1, 2022, 03:24 am Makkah time.

The moon will remain in the sky of Makkah after sunset for 15 minutes, and the age of the crescent will be about 15 hours, which means that seeing the crescent will be possible, and therefore Ramzan is expected to be on Saturday, April 2, 2022, in all Arab countries.

The exact date of the start of Ramzan and Eid-ul-fitr will be confirmed closer to the date, based on the moon-sighting tradition.

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