Saudi Arabia’s Ramadan rule: No permit for repeat Umrah

Saudi Arabia has announced a restriction on performing Umrah more than once during Ramadan. This move is part of efforts to avoid overcrowding during this sacred month.  The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah added that individuals will now be allowed to take only one Umrah pilgrimage during Ramadan to help manage the crowds at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the holiest site in Islam.

The Ministry’s decision is geared towards alleviating congestion, promoting fair access to Umrah for all, and efficiently managing the crowds during peak times. To implement this measure, the Nusuk platform, a Saudi government electronic portal for Umrah procedures, will notify users with an error message if they try to request a permit for a second Umrah. The message specifies that performing the minor pilgrimage more than once during Ramadan is prohibited to ensure others have the chance to partake in it. During Ramadan, Muslims from both within and outside Saudi Arabia flock to the Grand Mosque to perform Umrah and offer prayers. To accommodate the expected surge in visitors, Saudi authorities have implemented various measures to facilitate a smooth and comfortable experience for worshippers. Specific areas within the mosque, such as the circumambulation courtyard and ground floor, have been designated for Umrah pilgrims. Additionally, certain gates of the mosque have been assigned for the entry and exit of pilgrims to prevent overcrowding. In recent times, Saudi Arabia has introduced several amenities for foreign Muslims wishing to perform Umrah in the country. Individuals holding different types of entry visas, including personal, visit, and tourism visas, are permitted to perform Umrah and visit Al Rawda Al Sharifa, the location of the Prophet Mohammad’s tomb at the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, after scheduling an e-appointment. Furthermore, the Umrah visa duration has been extended from 30 days to 90 days to accommodate a longer stay for pilgrims. To obtain a permit for performing Umrah, individuals can use the Nusuk App. The ministry has also directed pilgrims to adhere strictly to the scheduled date and timing, as changes cannot be made in the system. Pilgrims seeking to make alterations must cancel their permit and reapply.
Additionally, for a healthy Umrah experience, it’s better if one wears medical socks to avoid walking barefoot for prolonged periods, using creams and moisturizers to prevent skin abrasions, and wearing masks to prevent respiratory infections. It’s also important that one adheres to guidelines and etiquette, cooperates and treats others respectfully and kindly during the pilgrimage.

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