MAKKAH – According to the General Authority for Statistics (GaStat) in Saudi Arabia, the total number of pilgrims visiting Makkah, Islam’s holiest city, in the last 25 years has reached 53,928,358, Saudi Gazette reported.
“Counting of pilgrims started in 1970 (1390H) in order to obtain accurate information to help all governmental entities to plan and develop the services provided to the pilgrims,” GaStat spokesman, Taiseer Al-Mofarrej, said.
However, the task has been performed for many years, with a lot of developments in the methods of counting and enumeration so that they can be applied in an accurate, comprehensive, and professional way.
Al-Mofarrej said the hajj statistics program helps plan the necessary services for pilgrims, whether social, health, security, food or transportation.
“It’s done by using a time series of accurate data on the numbers of pilgrims, the estimates of manpower needed to serve the pilgrims and to maintain their safety and comfort during the Hajj season of each year,” he informed.
The data and numbers of pilgrims are used by the entities concerned in studies to prepare facilities in Makkah and the holy site. In addition, it provides accurate information and data on hajj for researchers, students, beneficiaries, and those interested in this field.
Moreover, this data is also used for the evaluation of activities and events conducted by the entities concerned with serving the pilgrims, as well as to identify ways of the arrival of domestic pilgrims and the pilgrims coming from outside the Gulf Kingdom.
Remarkably, during the past 25 years, the number of pilgrims exceeded three million pilgrims per year only once, while their number exceeded two million pilgrims 12 times.
During the last ten years, the number of pilgrims was 23,834,151. Interestingly, the highest number of pilgrims was registered in 2011 (1433H) when 3,161,573 performed the annual pilgrimage.
On the other hand, during two seasons, their number fell below two million, with the lowest number of pilgrims recorded in 1995 (1415H) which brought 1,781,370 pilgrims.
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 Sunday, 19th of August 2018 and will continue till Friday, 24th of August 2018.