Saudi Arabia: New Hajj Organization Worries Pilgrims

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. For the second year in a row, Saudi Arabia is setting up a reservation system for the pilgrimage to Mecca. With quotas falling and new rules put in place, many believers are worried.

Muslims pray at the Grand Mosque during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, August 8, 2019. © Waleed Ali / Reuters

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This is one of the pillars of Islam that every Muslim dreams of fulfilling. The hajj will take place from June 26 to July 1. This year, 7,300 French pilgrims are allowed to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca, compared to just over 9,000 in 2022.

Muslims from Europe, Canada and the United States wishing to make this religious trip must first register on a dedicated site, fully managed by the Saudi authorities, in order to obtain a visa for the pilgrimage. With a quota down, and the new rules put in place, the number of pilgrims will surely decrease. This decrease in quotas worries Hajj candidates.

Just like last year, administrative difficulties are also likely to be numerous for future pilgrims. Indeed, the faithful must register on a single platform called "Nusuk Hajj" to hope to obtain a reservation. Difficulties in connecting and going through the different stages of online booking, prices too high and payment terms too short, candidates complain of many dysfunctions preventing them from preparing serenely and spiritually for their pilgrimage.

This obligatory passage, set up in 2022 by the Saudi authorities, thus sets aside specialized agencies. The latter had previously organized all the formalities for the visa, travel, stay and religious journey of pilgrims once they arrived in Mecca. This organization is no longer possible since last year, which deplores tour operators and many candidates for the hajj.

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  • Saudi Arabia
  • Islam
  • Religion
  • France