HAJ NEWS 1444Hijriah/ 2023






Hajj 2023: Saudi ministry announces registration rules​

Priority will be given to first-time pilgrims and all attending must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19​

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Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has confirmed that priority for registration this year will go to those who have not made the pilgrimage before.
A new pilgrim can accompany a main applicant, provided they highlight their first-time status in their application.
The news came during the ministry's response to a question on its Twitter account from a person who wanted to know the reason why his Hajj application was rejected.
The applicant had performed the pilgrimage 16 years before.
The Ministry announced on Thursday that pilgrims wishing to perform this year's Hajj must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Pilgrims must also have the meningococcal vaccine and the seasonal influenza shot, the ministry added.
They should not be suffering from acute chronic diseases or any infectious illnesses.

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'Makkah Route' expanded for Hajj 2023​

The government programme to help pilgrims will include Turkey and Ivory Coast this year​

Worshippers in Makkah to mark the end of last year's Hajj. AFP image above.

May 21, 2023
Saudi Arabia Makkah Route' a government programme to help Hajj pilgrims, has been expanded to include Turkey and Ivory Coast this year, the kingdom's Ministry of Interior announced this weekend.
Makkah Route is a government programme to help Hajj pilgrims from a number of countries with visa, customs and passport issues, as well as dealing with health requirements, luggage, transport and housing arrangements in Saudi Arabia.

The initiative was launched in several countries in 2018 when the Saudi authorities began to put measures in place to ease travel procedures for pilgrims from abroad.

The service was introduced in Malaysia and Indonesia first, two of the countries with the largest proportion of Hajj pilgrims.

The expansion of the initiative will now serve pilgrims in seven countries including Pakistan, Morocco and Bangladesh.

All services are handled from the Hajj pilgrims’ point of departure in their home country or country of residence.
Once pilgrims arrive in the kingdom, they move directly to their place of residence in Makkah and Madinah via buses with a designated route and their luggage is delivered to where they will be staying.

Collaborative programme

The ministry implemented the initiative in co-operation with the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health, Hajj and Umrah, the General Authority of Civil Aviation, the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority “SDAIA”, “Doyuf (Guests) Al Rahman Program”, one of the Saudi Vision 2030 executive programmes, and the General Directorate of Passports.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan signed an agreement earlier this week to implement the Road to Makkah initiative, which will help simplify immigration procedures for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims from Pakistan.

Saudi Deputy Minister of Interior Dr Nasser Al Dawood and Pakistani Minister of Interior Rana Sanaullah signed the agreements in Islamabad on Wednesday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

In the first phase, the service will be available at Islamabad International Airport, where around 26,000 pilgrims will be able to use it, and the service will then be extended to Karachi and Lahore airports.

Hajj flights from Pakistan began on May 21, with the final flight departing for Saudi Arabia on June 21.

Updated: May 22, 2023, 3:01 PM



Hajj 2023: Pilgrims will need permit for Makkah as numbers return to pre-pandemic levels​

Holy city to begin receiving visitors on Saturday​

Saudi female officers register and check pilgrims at the Hajj Terminal at Jeddah airport. AP

Saudi authorities are gearing up for a busy Hajj season, which is due to start on June 25.
The kingdom will begin receiving pilgrims on Saturday with the tally of visitors expected to be the highest since before the pandemic.

To help manage the numbers, residents and international tourists have been barred from entering Makkah without a permit.
“One must have an Umrah permit prior to Hajj starting if they want to go now,” said Faisal Al Shehri, a Hajj guide in Jeddah. “But closer to Hajj, they will have very strict measures in place and the number of people allowed to go to Makkah will be cut off to accommodate millions of Hajj pilgrims and their rituals,”

The Ministry of Interior said four categories of people will be allowed into Makkah under the new rules, which began on Monday and will last until the end of the Hajj season.

They are those who hold an entry permit to work in the holy sites, a resident ID issued by the holy city, an Umrah permit or a Hajj permit.

The Directorate of Passports said it had begun accepting electronic applications for entry permits for residents including domestic workers and non-Saudi family members, workers housed in Makkah, temporary work visa holders and contractors registered in the country during Hajj season.


Dear guest of ALLAH swt
If you are coming to holy Makkah,
we would like to remind you that the visit visa does not allow
the performance of Hajj.
~May Allah swt accept your good deeds~Amin!
~Ministry of Haj and Umrah.


Ministry of Haj and Umrah.
They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj).
~holy quran.
Under the slogan #Proclaim_to_the_People, #MoHU launches the media identity for #Hajj_1444 Hijri.


This year, Hajj will return to pre-pandemic numbers as the country will remove all Covid-19 restrictions. In 2019, before the pandemic, about 2.6 million people performed Hajj.



First batch of Hajj pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia​

  • Pilgrims arrived from Bangladesh, Malaysia and Pakistan
  • Pilgrims thanked Saudi government for Makkah Route initiative which makes their trip easy and comfortable

JEDDAH: The first batch of Hajj 2023 pilgrims from Bangladesh arrived in Jeddah on Sunday, through the dedicated Makkah Route initiative, at the seasonal Hajj terminal of King Abdulaziz International Airport.
The arrival of this year’s pilgrims from outside Saudi Arabia marks the beginning of the first full capacity Hajj season after two limited years due to COVID-19.

The Bangladeshi pilgrims were warmly welcomed with flowers, gifts, and greetings by border and immigration officials and employees of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health.

The pilgrims also received chants of “Hajj Mubarak” (we wish you a blessed Hajj) and “Hajj Mabroor” (we wish you a Hajj refrained from sin). They were seen off from the airport by Ayed Al-Gwinm, deputy minister for Hajj affairs at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

Mohammad Javed Patwary, Bangladeshi ambassador and permanent representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, was also present. He wished the pilgrims a safe journey to the holy sites.

Al-Gwinm told Arab News: “The strategic integration between all the government entities, starting from preparing all the visas to the customs from pilgrim’s countries, went very well. Through integrated coordination with all parties, we are keen to offer an easy and simplified journey in which the pilgrims can reach the airports of the Kingdom and then move to their places of residence with ease … so that the pilgrims do not feel any disruption.”

Patwary told Arab News: “Alhamdulillah, everybody was very happy to receive the warm welcome by the Saudi authorities here.”

He added: “I must thank everyone — those who are involved in the Makkah Route initiative. Thank you very much to the Saudi government … because you are serving all Hajis (pilgrims).”

The first batch of pilgrims marked the arrival of four flights from Bangladesh to Jeddah, with a total of 419 pilgrims on each flight.

Meanwhile, a flight carrying pilgrims from Pakistan’s Islamabad International Airport, also via the Makkah Route initiative, arrived at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah.

Another flight carrying the first batch of Malaysian pilgrims arrived in Madinah.

They were received by the director of the Madinah region passport department, Maj. Gen. Talal Al-Dabbasi, and the undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for visiting affairs in Madinah, Mohammed Al-Bijawi

Shamsuldeen Mullah, a 63-year-old Bangladeshi pilgrim performing Hajj for the third time, said: “Thanks to the Saudi government for making this trip very easy.”

Mufeed Alrahman, another 63-year-old Bangladeshi pilgrim, traveling with his wife, and said: “Thank you so much for all the arrangements, it was very good. Compared to my previous Hajj which was around 28 years ago, everything is going smoothly and easily, I am happy with the changes and all the improvements that have been made.”

Pilgrims had their passports double-checked before they boarded busses to take them to their hotels in Makkah, where they will receive services and information in their native languages.

The Makkah Route initiative is part of Saudi Arabia’s Guests of God Service Program, which King Salman inaugurated in 2019, and which seeks to provide visitors to the holy sites with the finest possible services to help them perform their Hajj rituals easily and comfortably.

The initiative is being implemented in collaboration with Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the General Authority of Civil Aviation, the Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority, the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence, the Guests of God Service Program, Saudi Passports, and the Saudi digital security firm Elm Co.

It includes issuing visas, ensuring pilgrims comply with health requirements, and codifying and sorting luggage at airports in pilgrims’ home countries.
Seven countries are in the initiative: Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Morocco, Bangladesh, Turkiye and Cote d’Ivoire.

There will be daily arrivals of several flights between Jeddah and Madinah airports until June 4.