The governor of Makkah has brought into prominence that near about six million Muslims performed Umrah, the smaller Islamic pilgrimage during the first ten days of Ramadan. Furthermore, Saudi daily Al Eqtisadiya reported on Monday, Egyptians moved ahead the list of foreigners who arrived in Saudi Arabia for the Umrah accompanying 700,000, coming in sequence by Indonesians. Iranians were third with 331,000. Many Muslims choose rather than to perform Umrah in Ramadan, the month during which physically able adult men along with women cease from food and drink from sunrise until sunset. Prince Khalid Al Faisal expressed saying nearly 5.6 million people who came for the Umrah have left the country.
Interestingly Saudi authorities, under pressure linked to expansion work at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, have been engaged in compromises to meet increasing applications to perform Umrah, yet also guarantee there is no high-risk overcrowding. On Thursday, the authorities extended the deadline for Umrah visa applications from Ramadan 10 to 15. The decision was established with an intention to help a higher number of Muslims faithful perform the lesser pilgrimage during Ramadan.
Nevertheless, the authorities have also pushed for a limited stay in the religious city to accommodate the large numbers of locals and foreigners. Visitors have been told that they cannot stay more than two weeks and that they have to leave by the end of Ramadan. A major issue for the authorities has been the numbers of overstayers, precisely foreigners from Asia and Africa who made an effort to remain in Makkah for the longest time possible. Saudi Arabia beforehand this year said that it was reducing the numbers of pilgrims during the Haj season by 50 per cent among those living in the kingdom and by 20 per cent among those living abroad.
May God bless the humankind!