Browsing 'hajj' News

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

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Residents who wish to perform Hajj this year from Qatar can apply for visas online starting tomorrow, government officials have announced.

The pilgrimage, which a Muslim is required to perform at least once in his or her lifetime, will take place at the end of August and beginning of September.

The registration process launches online here at 8:30am tomorrow.

It runs until 11:59pm on March 30, the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (Awqaf) said this week.

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

Pilgrims at Mt. Arafah during Hajj

Each year, people are chosen through an electronic drawing and informed via text message.

Last year, some 18,400 people in Qatar applied for 1,200 spots. Of those, 900 were reserved for nationals.

However, that might change. Saudi Arabia is expected to increase quotas for visitors starting this year, because construction work is winding down.

Requirements

According to QNA, Qataris who wish to go to Hajj should be at least 18 years old, or 16 if accompanied by an adult.

Expats must be 18 years or older. They should have lived in Qatar for at least three years and not performed Hajj in the past five years.

Females who are not traveling with close male relatives must be at least 45 years old, as per rules set by Saudi Hajj officials.

Jon Rawlinson/Flickr

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Qatar residents who aren’t approved to go to Hajj from Doha can still apply through their home countries, through the Saudi embassies there.

In this case, applicants would also have to travel to Saudi Arabia from their home country (not Qatar) and be part of a local Hajj company from that nation.

Anyone with Hajj-related questions in Qatar can call a special hotline at 132 during “business hours,” QNA reports.

Thoughts?

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After years of reducing Hajj visa numbers due to construction in Makkah, Saudi Arabia is now reportedly planning to increase quotas in the coming years.

According to Arab News, King Salman has approved a proposal to increase the number of pilgrims from inside and outside of Saudi Arabia during this year’s Hajj.

The move to restore quotas comes after years of construction work in the holy city winds down.

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

Pilgrims at Mt. Arafah during Hajj

It will likely come as good news for people around the world who have been frustrated with a scarcity of Hajj visas, including in Doha.

Last year, some 18,400 people in Qatar applied for 1,200 spots. Of those, 900 were reserved for nationals.

10-year low

The pilgrimage, which a Muslim is required to perform at least once in his or her lifetime, will take place at the end of August and beginning of September.

According to Arab News, the number of pilgrims hit a 10-year low in 2016, at 1.86 million. In 2007, it was reportedly at 2.4 million.

Before the quota was frozen at 1,200 people from Qatar a few years ago, thousands of visas were available to residents here, a local tour operator previously told Doha News.

Residents who are not approved to go to Hajj from Doha can still apply through their home countries, through the Saudi embassies there.

In this case, applicants would also have to travel to Saudi Arabia from their home country (not Qatar) and be part of a local Hajj company from that nation.

Thoughts?

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Al Jazeera English

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The first batch of Muslims from Qatar have made their journey to Makkah by land ahead of the start of Hajj, QNA reports.

Overall, some 1,200 people from Qatar will perform the pilgrimage this year. They are divided into 10 groups, nine of which will travel by air to Saudi Arabia on Monday.

This year, the five-day Hajj rituals begin on Sept. 10. And Eid Al Adha will be marked on the third day of Hajj, Sept. 12.

New app

Any Qatar pilgrims who need help can download the country’s Hajj Guide app for Android or iOs.

Features include information about Hajj-related rituals, prayers and important telephone numbers for hospitals operating in Arafat and Mina.

They can also contact officials through the app on 132 from Qatar or by calling 8003040444 from Saudi Arabia.

Thoughts?

Note: This story has been corrected to reflect the actual number of Hajj pilgrims is 1,200, not 12,000.