Saudi Arabia to resume Umrah pilgrimages

Muslims will once again be able to visit the holy city of Mecca for the Umrah pilgrimage, Saudi authorities have announced, seven months after it was suspended because of the pandemic.

People living inside the kingdom will be able to undertake the pilgrimage from 4 October, the country’s state news agency SPA reports.

Pilgrims from certain other countries will be allowed from 1 November, with the numbers of pilgrims allowed to take place each day rising from 6,000 to 20,000.

Full restrictions on numbers will only lifted after the threat from coronavirus has ended.

The Umrah is the lesser of two pilgrimages that exist in Islam and can be performed at any time of the year.

The annual Hajj pilgrimage, on the other hand, is a requirement of all Muslims who are physically and financially able to take part and normally attracts around two million people.

This year, only a very small number of pilgrims already residing in Saudi Arabia were allowed to attend due to the pandemic.

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