Hajj in Mecca is going high-tech this year

The Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia is now going high-tech this season.

Hajj in Mecca is going high-tech this year

The Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia is now going high-tech this season. Hajj is the largest annually occurring pilgrimage in the world and one of the five pillars of Islam, a religious duty to travel to Mecca and must be carried out by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so at least once in his or her lifetime.

The state of being physically and financially capable of performing the Hajj is called istita’ah and a Muslim who fulfills this condition is called a mustati. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah in the Arabic language).

Haj is also the largest travel & tourism event in the Muslim world and in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia will erect electronic gates at seven entry points to Makkah to screen for illegal pilgrims, according to Haj Minister Dr. Bandar Hajjar.

He said approval has been given for the electronic gates, which will be partially used during the coming Haj season.

Buses on Haj duty will be fitted with smart chips and pilgrims will be given wristbands. The electronic gates will detect the buses without the chips and also illegal pilgrims without the wristbands.

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Bids have been invited for the construction of these gates, said the minister.

Hajjar said that sleeping outdoors was still the biggest challenge for the authorities in Haj. However, the phenomenon has been reduced to a large extent thanks to the efforts of the Emir of Makkah region and the Minister of Interior.

The minister also announced the establishment of a 1.6-million-square-meter integrated city to serve visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque. The ministry is also studying the establishment of a similar city in Makkah.

He said Umrah companies or external agents for an Umrah companies have to mention the number of pilgrims, their arrival and departure dates, and country of origin.

The Kingdom has cut back the number of pilgrims that may perform Haj this year due to construction work at the Grand Mosque.

The authorities had decided to reduce by half the number of pilgrims coming from within Saudi Arabia, and by about 20 percent those from abroad.

The expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah would add 400,000 square meters (4.3 million square feet), raising its capacity to accommodate 2.2 million people at the same time.

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