MAKKAH – Every year hundreds of thousands of Muslims from around the world travel to the holy city of Makkah to perform the spiritual journey of Hajj.
“I’m so excited because many people dream of coming to this place,” 47-year-old Eni from Indonesia, her face framed in a sand-coloured veil trimmed with lace, told AFP on Monday, August 28.
“We feel more religious when we leave this place,” she said.
Millions apply from Muslim-majority countries but due to a quota system, not everyone is able to come as the Saudi authorities usually allocate 1,000 places for each million Muslim per country.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation, and it also provides the largest number of pilgrims for the hajj.
According to the Saudi Press Agency, as of 26th August 2017, 1,584,269 pilgrims have so far arrived to perform Hajj. 1,483,522 pilgrims arrived by air; 86,149 by land; and 14,598 by sea.
“This year we expect around two million pilgrims,” Abdelmajeed Mohammad Al-Afghani, director of hajj and umra (lesser pilgrimage) affairs, told AFP.
The following graphic shows the top 10 countries who have the highest numbers of Hajj pilgrims in 2017:
Indonesia – 221,000
Pakistan – 179,210
India – 170,000
Bangladesh – 127,198
Egypt – 108,000
Iran – 86,500
Nigeria – 79,000
Turkey – 79,000
Algeria – 36,000
Morocco – 31,000
Source: Al Jazeera
Muslims from around the world pour into Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.
Hajj consists of several rituals, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them.
Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.
Hajj is officially expected to fall this year between August 30 and September 4, with the climax falling on August 31 when the faithful descend the Mount `Arafat.