Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Mulls One-Day Hajj Package for Mecca Residents

Saudi Arabia is considering the introduction of a one-day package restricted to residents of the holy city of Mecca and allowing them to attend the Day of Arafat, which marks the peak of the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage, according to a Saudi media report.

The proposed low-cost package targets only expatriates with legal residency in Mecca and Saudi citizens, Al Watan newspaper said.

The pre-paid package does not entail accommodation in Arafat, southeast of Mecca, or Mina, two holy sites linked to the Hajj rites.

Instead, the beneficiaries would gather at assembly points, where they are transported to Arafat after the noon prayers. Those pilgrims would obtain a Hajj permit after proving they did not perform Hajj in the past and providing their residency addresses in Mecca.

According to the reported arrangement, they would remain inside buses while in Arafat before later in the day heading to Al Muzdalifah where they collect pebbles for the ritual devil-stoning in the valley of Mina, located east of Mecca, the following day.

They would spend the night in their houses in Mecca after several Muslim scholars have permitted this for Mecca residents who have no accommodation in Mina, the report said.

There was no comment from the Saudi Ministry of Hajj.

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Gulf News

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