Coming through air, land, and seaports, almost one million hajj pilgrims have arrived in the holiest cities of Islam, Makkah and Madinah, to perform the lifetime journey of hajj according to a report by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Gulf Today reported.
“About 881,229 pilgrims reached by air, 35,148 by land and 10,349 by the sea. This represented an increase of 91,440 pilgrims (11%), compared to the number of arrivals during the same period last year,” the president of the Saudi Directorate General of Passports said.
Each year, more than two million Muslims commit to Hajj, a spiritual journey that represents the 5th Pillar of Islam and one of the largest annual human gatherings on the planet.
Every Muslim who is physically and financially able to do so is expected to make this pilgrimage once in their lifetime.
Hajj follows the Hijri lunar calendar of Islamic rituals and thus it revolves around the Gregorian year throughout the weather seasons. This year, Hajj occurs from approximately August 9 to 14.
Millions of Muslims
According to the 2018 report of the General Authority of Statistics in Saudi Arabia, a total of 2,371,675 Muslims performed Hajj last year in a steady and substantial annual increase during the past 92 years.
Millions out of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims apply for Hajj visa but due to a quota system, not everyone is able to come as the local authorities usually allocate 1,000 places for each million Muslim per country.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation; thus, it provides the largest number of pilgrims. About 231,000 Indonesian pilgrims are expected to perform Hajj this year, including the additional quota 10,000 granted by Saudi Arabia.
The increasing quota of the Indonesian Hajj pilgrims will cut the waiting list, which is currently 40 years long, according to Arab News.
From within Saudi Arabia, Muslims must apply for a permit to perform hajj, which is only granted once every five years due to space limitations.
The Hajj authorities have also increased India’s quota by 30,000, lifting the figure to 200,000 pilgrims per year. The enhanced quota means that India will send the 2nd highest number of pilgrims after Indonesia.
With another increase in the quota of Hajj pilgrims by 5,000, now over 184,210 Pakistanis will perform Hajj in 2019, making it the 3rd largest nationality in the 2019 season of Hajj.
Moreover, a sum of 127,198 pilgrims from Bangladesh are set to perform hajj this year. This figure puts Bengalis at the 4th place after Indonesia, Indian, and Pakistan.
The following figures show the top five countries who have the highest numbers of Hajj pilgrims in 2019: