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Number of Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia 1999-2018

Annual number of Hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia from 1999 to 2018

by Amna Puri-Mirza, last edited Aug 9, 2019
Number of Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia 1999-2018 The Hajj to Mecca in Saudi Arabia is considered the world’s largest human gathering with almost 2.4 million pilgrims in 2018. Like other religious pilgrimages, Hajj is considered an annual rite of passage to renew ones moral and spiritual connection. Approximately a quarter of the human population identify themselves as Muslims. According to their faith of Islam, it is one of their five religious duties to perform the Hajj at least once in their lifetime.  
Who are the pilgrims?

   According to Islamic tradition, any Muslim who has reached maturity is due to perform the Hajj. During the last Hajj season, about two thirds of the pilgrims to Mecca came from outside of the Saudi Arabian Kingdom. The government of Saudi Arabia issues each years’ Hajj visas on a country quota system, based on the size of the Muslim population.    

Financial aspects

    One main condition for a mature Muslim to qualify to perform the Hajj is to be free of debt and other financial and social obligations. Many Muslims around the world spend a significant amount of their life-savings to be able to make this spiritual journey. As an example, the cost of performing Hajj for a Malaysian Muslim was calculated at about 22.45 thousand Malaysian ringits. For first time Hajj pilgrims, the Malaysian government subsidizes more than half of that amount.

Some Muslims who can’t afford the financial or physical challenges of the Hajj sometimes perform the smaller Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca called Umrah, which can be attempted all year round.  
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Annual number of Hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia from 1999 to 2018

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