Saudi Arabia to host over 1.4 million Hajis from abroad

Over 1.4 million foreign pilgrims, about one-fourth of whom are from the Indian sub-continent, will perform Haj this year, Saudi Arabia's Haj Minister said on Tuesday ahead of the world's largest annual gathering.

PTI| Updated: Sep 30, 2014, 18:12 PM IST

Mecca: Over 1.4 million foreign pilgrims, about one-fourth of whom are from the Indian sub-continent, will perform Haj this year, Saudi Arabia's Haj Minister said on Tuesday ahead of the world's largest annual gathering.

Just two days ahead of Haj, hundreds of thousands of Muslims continued to pour into the holy city of Mecca.

People dressed in ihram, a two-piece seamless garment of white cloth, filled the area around the Grand Mosque, which houses the Kaaba and is witnessing massive construction work for expansion of area.

The Directorate General of Passports has finished entry procedures for 13,80,796 pilgrims until 8:00 a m this morning.

The number of pilgrims who came by air was 1,308,130, by land 58,684 pilgrims and by sea 13,982 pilgrims.

Over two million are expected to perform Haj starting on Thursday.

More than 1.4 million foreign pilgrims are expected to perform Haj this year, Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar said.

Hajjar launched a major Haj seminar entitled 'Respecting the Signs of Allah' here yesterday and said it was a historic tradition to hold such seminars during the Haj season, with the participation of prominent scholars from around the world to exchange ideas for the benefit of the Ummah (Muslim community).

Meanwhile, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh commended the government's efforts to expand the Grand Mosque and the mataf, circumambulation area around the Holy Kaaba, saying it would help pilgrims perform their rituals easily and comfortably.

Nearly one-fourth of foreign pilgrims who have come to perform Haj this year are from the Indian sub-continent.

Pakistan tops with 1,43,368 pilgrims out of the total 3,78,200 from the Indian sub-continent that includes 1,36,020 pilgrims from India and the rest from Bangladesh, the Saudi Gazette reported.

The official delegation of Pakistan, led by Akram Ansari, member of the National Assembly, arrived in Madina on Sunday.