Haj 2023: Saudi Arabia lifts limit on number of pilgrims There will be no age restrictions during Haj 2023
Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has announced that it will no longer impose limits on the number of pilgrims for this year’s Haj after three years of restrictions to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The number of pilgrims will return to what it was before the pandemic, without any age limit,” Minister of Haj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah told reporters in Riyadh on Monday.
Speaking at the Haj Expo 2023 taking place in Jeddah, Tawfiq Al-Rabiah also announced the lifting of all restrictions imposed during the past years.
On January 5, 2023, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah announced the start of registration for Haj for pilgrims from within the Kingdom, and decided not to require a Mahram for women in Haj this year.
Haj season is expected to begin on June 26 in 2023.
This will be the first time that Muslims are allowed to perform the fifth pillar of Islam unconditionally since 2020.
Haj is a once-in-a-lifetime duty for all Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the journey, which takes believers along the path travelled by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ome 1,400 years ago. Pilgrims spend five days performing a set of rituals aimed at bringing them closer to God.
In 2022, the Kingdom received about a million pilgrims to perform the ritual, 850,000 of them from abroad, but it stipulated obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine and placed age restrictions, as it did not allow those under 16 and those over 60 to perform Haj.
In the the year 2021, only about 60,000 people, all of whom are citizens and residents of the Kingdom, performed the rituals, compared to a few thousand in 2020.
The Kingdom imposed strict restrictions throughout the years that followed the pandemic to prevent the spread of the epidemic, before it began gradually lifting restrictions during the past year.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 2.5 million people performed Haj in 2019.