Makkah/Madinah: A recent report issued by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah revealed a rise in the number of pilgrims this year with more than 03 million worshipers witnessing the final recitation of the Holy Qur’an (Khatmul Qur’an) on the last night of Ramadan at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
In Makkah, Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, imam of the Grand Mosque, led more than 2 million worshippers during Isha prayer and asked Allah for forgiveness and release from hell, and to keep Muslim countries from all evils.
In Madinah, more than 1 million worshipers performed Isha prayer at the Prophet’s Mosque. The Presidency of the Prophet Mosque Affairs prepared more than 16,000 prayer mats in all yards of the mosque while field guides undertook the organization of prayer lines and guided women to their designated areas.
The presidency prepared more than 15,000 zamzam water containers; opened more than 100 gates; operated electric stairs to allow worshipers to go to the roof; installed 250 umbrellas to protect prayers from the heat of the sun; and installed 436 water-spray fans in all yards of the mosque.
According to the report issued by the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, visas issued to pilgrims for the current year numbered about 6.75 million, compared with 6.39 million last year.
Minister of Haj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh bin Taher Benten said that this ongoing growth in the number of pilgrims and visitors comes in line with the objectives of Vision 2030.
Undersecretary of the Ministry of Haj and Umrah Mohammed bin Hamed Al-Klaiby confirmed the high occupancy rate of hotels during the current Umrah season, indicating an increase in occupancy rates in five-star hotels of 113 percent, while the occupancy rate in four-star hotels increased by 71.2 percent.
The report pointed out that economic and security conditions contributed to the decrease of Umrah performers from some countries. However, efforts exerted by the ministry to support the efforts of Umrah companies have compensated for the shortage of pilgrims coming from Egypt, Turkey and Jordan.
The increase in Umrah visas came from other countries such as the United States, Germany and Norway.
The report revealed that Pakistanis top the list of pilgrims, with the total number of pilgrims at 1,446,284, up 45 percent from the previous year.
Indonesians came second with an increase of 25 percent with 875,958 pilgrims, followed by Indians with 524,604 pilgrims.
Pilgrims from Bangladesh numbered 80,977, and 264,878 Umrah visas were issued to Iraqis, up 58 percent.