Hajj 2023: Saudi Arabia recently announced that women between 18 to 65 can now perform the Umrah pilgrimage without a male guardian or “mahram,” as long as they are part of a group.
This decision also applies to the Hajj 2023 pilgrimage, and women must have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and be free of any illnesses in order to use it.
Saudi citizens and residents inside the Kingdom who have not performed Hajj in the past five years are eligible to register for this year’s Hajj.
The new policy is part of the social reforms initiated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who aims to modernize the country’s economy, which relies heavily on oil.
The decision to allow women to travel without a male guardian and drive are among the many reforms that have been implemented since he became the crown prince.
The Umrah pilgrimage is also known as the “lesser pilgrimage” or the “minor pilgrimage” compared to the annual Hajj pilgrimage of Islam.
It involves a visit to the Grand Mosque in Mecca outside of the Hajj dates. The word “umrah” in Arabic means “to visit an important place.”
Out of a total of 184,000 applications received, 14,935 Hajj applicants have been allotted a spot, including 10,621 in the 70+ age category and 4,314 Ladies Without Mahram (LWM).
This year’s Hajj pilgrimage will feature the largest number of women travelling alone without a male guardian in India, with at least 150 women expected to join from Kashmir.
However, it is uncertain how many Pakistani women will be able to perform Hajj this year.
Hajj 2023 Non-Mahram Conditions
In Saudi Arabia, women aged 18 to 65 can perform the Umrah pilgrimage without a male guardian, known as a “mahram,” on the condition that they are part of a group.
This decision was announced by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah as part of social reforms introduced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to open up the Kingdom’s economy.
In addition, women who want to apply for Umrah or Hajj pilgrimage must be partially vaccinated (one dose) and free of any diseases.
Saudi citizens and residents from inside the Kingdom, who have not performed Hajj during the last five years, can register for this year’s Hajj.
Hajj 2023: 10 Must-Know Tips for an Easy & Spiritual Hajj
Hajj, a rewarding religious obligation, can also be a time-consuming, frustrating, and confusing experience. However, despite the challenges, it can be a truly enlightening journey. With over 3 million pilgrims attending Hajj in a confined space, it’s important to be aware of potential dangers and frustrations that may arise from long waits and unpreparedness.
To help make the process a bit smoother, here are 10 essential things to keep in mind before embarking on this beautiful journey.
- Make extra copies of important documents and keep them in different places.
- Check for obligatory vaccinations and keep the certificates with you.
- Exercise and keep fit before Hajj to perform religious obligations and enjoy the experience without exhaustion.
- Pack essentials like towels, a small backpack, tissues, slippers, plastic cups, travel toiletries, and comfortable abayas for sisters.
- Prepare a carry-on bag with snacks, an extra abaya and Ihram, hygienic products, water, fruits, and a pocket-sized dua book to maximize every moment.
- Bring a small, lightweight umbrella to protect yourself from the sun.
- Use comfortable and breathable shoes that can be easily removed for prayers.
- Bring a small flashlight for use during power outages or when walking in dimly lit areas.
- Keep your valuables close to you at all times and avoid carrying large sums of money.
- Familiarize yourself with the Hajj rituals before leaving to make the experience less confusing and more meaningful.
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