International Hajj Policies 2023
Hajj is a religious responsibility of every adult Muslim, whether male or female. It is one of the five basics of Islam. It is compulsory for every adult Muslim who is physically and financially capable of doing so. Though it is required only once in a lifetime many Muslims like to do it repeatedly.
The most important part of this religious activity is that it must be performed yearly during a specific period. Muslims worldwide must travel to the Holy City of Makkah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj in the Islamic month of Dhul Hajj.
There are around 1.8 billion Muslims in the entire world. Everyone wants to fulfill this religious compulsion. Some of them even want to repeat this activity more than once. Resultantly there is tremendous pressure on the Hajj management authorities of the KSA.
Number Of Intending Pilgrims From Different Countries
Hajj is performed in specific locations in and around Makkah, as per the Islamic faith. The space on the sites is limited. They cannot accommodate an unlimited number of pilgrims, but the number of intending Pilgrims is countless.
So, the Kingdom can’t keep it open for all. Over the years, the authorities in Saudi Arabia have expanded the Grand Mosque and provided the best possible facilities in various locations for Hajj. And this is still ongoing.
Despite all those efforts, they must restrict the number of Pilgrims from different Countries. On average, around 2 million people usually perform Hajj each year. Accordingly, the Hajj authorities negotiate with different countries to agree on the number of pilgrims from that country.
International Hajj Policies – 2023
Every country has a considerable number of Muslims who make their own Hajj policy per the guidelines provided by the KSA. The individual Hajj Policies of each country are based on the main Hajj Policy of Saudi Arabia. The allocation of pilgrims from each country is the basic element of the overall Hajj Policy.
However, the Hajj policies contain a comprehensive framework on all aspects of Hajj. The Government of Saudi Arabia has made significant changes in the Hajj policy 2023, mainly due to the end of the pandemic situation in the last 2-3 years. COVID-19 affected the whole world.
The majority of the countries imposed lockdowns to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. So did the Government of Saudi Arabia. Resultantly they imposed restrictions on Hajj and Umrah. Though imposing restrictions on performing Hajj was tough, they were compelled to do so in 2020 and 2021.
Hajj was performed by a small number of people in these two years. However, the restrictions were removed gradually in 2022 once the situation eased. And now almost all restrictions have been removed by the Government of Saudi Arabia for the Hajj 2023.
So, we can expect a full gathering in the Hajj 2023.
Important Points Of International Hajj Policies 2023
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Saudi Arabia is responsible for issuing policy guidelines for the intending domestic and international pilgrims. They also convey their guidelines and requirement to the Governments of different Islamic Countries.
Here’s a summary of the guidelines for Hajj 2023, as announced by the Hajj management authorities of the KSA.
Hajj will be performed from 26th June to 1st July 2023. This will be called Hajj 1444H. This means the intending pilgrims must reach Makkah before the 26th of June 2023. However, as we know, the actual date of Hajj depends on the sighting of the Dhul Hajj moon, officially announced by the Saudi Government. Accordingly, the actual dates of Hajj will be determined.
Hajj Flights Operations
Hajj flights from various parts of the world will have to be scheduled to reach Saudi Arabia between the 21st of May and to 22nd of June 2023. Return flights will start from Saudi Arabia to their respective destinations on 2nd July 2023. The entire hajj flight operation will end on the 2nd of August 2023.
Allocation Of The Number Of Pilgrim From Different Countries
After negotiations with the authorities of interested countries, the Saudi authorities allocate the Hajj quota. It depends largely on the Muslim population of that country. They also consider various other factors before reaching an agreement.
Accordingly, the quota has already been allocated to the interested countries. Traditionally, the highest number of pilgrims come from Indonesia. Here’s a short list of the number of pilgrims allowed from some countries for the Hajj 2023.
- Indonesia – 221,000
- Pakistan – 179,210
- India – 175,025
- Bangladesh – 127,198
- Nigeria – 95,000
- Iran – 87,550
- Sudan – 32,000
- Russia – 25,000
- Tunisia – 10,982
- South Africa – 2,500
Private Hajj Organizers
Historically, Hajj operations in most Islamic Countries are handled by the Government. However, in the last few years, many countries have also involved the private sector in this operation. Due to restrictions on Hajj in previous years, the participation of the private sector was also affected. For the Hajj 2023, Private Hajj Organizers are again allowed to operate.
Every pilgrim must be completely vaccinated for COVID-19. This includes the recommended doses of a particular vaccine plus a booster dose. Some of the authorized vaccines for Hajj are:
The pilgrims are also required to get regular vaccination for seasonal influenza, yellow fever, polio, and meningitis. Another relevant point is that the quarantine requirement has been abolished for Hajj 2023.
Although permits are no more required for offering prayers at the Grand Mosque one still has to obtain a hajj permit for the Hajj 2023. This can be obtained online.
Important – This year, entry into the Holy City of Makkah will be restricted. Only pilgrims with a valid Hajj or Umrah permit will be allowed to enter the city of Makkah.
The compulsion of wearing of face mask is no more in place. But it is advised by the Saudi Authorities to keep face masks handy, as they may be required in public transport and during the prayers in the grand mosque.
Some Other Important Points Of Hajj Policies 2023
- Domestic pilgrims must register for Hajj 2023 before the 7th of Dhul Hajj. All those reservations where pilgrims have not made full payment stand canceled. They can, however, apply again but their chance depends on the availability.
- Pilgrims from America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand can apply for permission of Hajj through a specially introduced portal for them by the Saudi authorities.
- Children below the age of 12 years are not allowed.
- All pilgrims should keep their books of important duas handy in case they forget anything during Hajj.
- All Hajis are required to produce a CPR test (negative report) at the time of entry into Saudi Arabia. This test must not be older than 72 hours.
- United and unwrapped luggage is not allowed during air travel. Plastic and fabric bags are also not allowed.
- Hajjis are not allowed to carry gas cylinders or any other inflammable materials.
- Hajjis are not allowed the take photos of others without their permission. They are also not allowed to take photos of the people while they are praying.
Hajj is a very special occasion for Muslims all over the world. Unlike other religious activities in Islam, Hajj is an event where worshippers must travel to the Holy City of Makkah on specific dates.
Due to the uniqueness of this special religious activity, a huge number of pilgrims gather in Makkah. Normally the numbers reach beyond two million. Hence it becomes a challenging task for the hajj management authorities in Saudi Arabia to make reasonable arrangements for Hajjis.
The concerned authorities must make a comprehensive International Hajj Policy to make flawless arrangements. Making the policy is insufficient; its strict implementation is even more important. To make this religious and sacred event successful, every Haji has to play his part.
If you are planning to go for Hajj this year, make sure that you abide by the rules and regulations strictly for yours as well for the benefit of other hajis.