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Increase in the number of pilgrims
Makkah, 23 February 2001
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ever since its foundation by the late King Abdul Aziz, has been serving the holy places and those who visit them, to facilitate performance of Hajj or Umrah (the minor pilgrimage).

In the era of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, the Two Holy Mosques, the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah, as well as the Holy Sites in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa, have been developed with modern amenities and facilities to receive visitors.

As a result of these massive efforts of expansion, development and enhancement, Hajj seasons have witnessed continual and successive increases in the number of pilgrims over more than 60 years.

A survey conducted by the Saudi Press Agency entitled: “The rising scale in the number of pilgrims coming from abroad during the years from 1350AH to 1421AH” has used information from the yearly statistics of the Passport Department.

In 1369 AH, the number of pilgrims was under 100,000. By 1374 AH, this figure had doubled. For a decade, the numbers fluctuated, until they began to increase again. By 1389 AH, the number of pilgrims exceeded 400,000 pilgrims, increasingd steadily until it reached 645,000 in 1392 AH.

In 1394 AH, there was a 51% jump in the number of pilgrims, bringing the total for that year to 918,000.

In the Hajj season of 1403 AH, the number of pilgrims coming from abroad (1,005,060) exceeded one million for the first time. In 1407 AH, the number of pilgrims from outside the Kingdom dropped to 960,386.

Because of the underlying trend of increase in the number of pilgrims, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz undertook to carry out an extensive expansion project in the Two Holy Mosques and to develop the two Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah and the holy sites in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa to their optimum level of capacity to house the growing number of pilgrims.

The growing number of pilgrims necessitated the issuing of a resolution in Amman, capital of Jordan, during the 17th session of the Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), from March 21-25, 1988, to specify a pilgrims quota for each country according to its population.

During the Hajj season in 1408AH, there were 762,755 pilgrims, which reached 872,236 in 1410AH. This number increased to 1,012,140 in 1412AH. In 1413AH, the number of pilgrims from abroad was 992,813.

Numbers of pilgrims for the period 1414 AH to 1420 AH were:

1414 AH 995, 611

1415 AH 1, 043, 374

1416 AH 1, 080, 465

1417 AH 1, 168, 591

1418 AH 1, 132, 344

1419 AH 1, 704, 852

1420 AH 1, 267, 555

This massive increase in the number of pilgrims from abroad has been the result of the tender care, generous hospitality, security and safety which the pilgrims enjoy while performing the fifth pillar of Islam - the Hajj.


SOURCE: SPA

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