quotes Saudi Arabia’s central role in making Hajj a holy spiritual experience for millions of Muslims

17 June 2024
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Updated 16 June 2024

Saudi Arabia’s central role in making Hajj a holy spiritual experience for millions of Muslims

Saudi Arabia values serving the guests of God as an honorable dedication during which the Kingdom devotes immense financial and workforce resources to ensure that the annual pilgrimage is properly conducted.

This confirms Saudi Arabia’s commitment to the Islamic world and its tireless efforts to ensure the sacred rituals of Hajj and Umrah are correctly observed. For the world’s 2 billion Muslims, this faithfulness is strongly embraced in the Guests of God program, one of the essential elements of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

The program strives to enhance the good quality of the pilgrimage services and to render the pilgrims’ experience a noble and memorable one. It also highlights Saudi Arabia’s ranking as the leader of the Islamic world. The Guests of God program was inaugurated by King Salman in 2019.

It is a summons to all Muslims to share the divine journey of Hajj. Among its features are the invitations extended to thousands of pilgrims from all over the world to perform Hajj through the provision of all the basic needs and services that pilgrims request to be able to fulfill all Hajj orders and disciplines completely and thoroughly. It has scored maximum success as the reactions by the pilgrims are supportive and satisfactory. They all testify to the fact that obstacles and difficulties in performing Hajj are very minor, if they exist at all.

Mustafa Yusuf, secretary-general of the Islamic Society of Vietnam, praised the program’s success and its positive impact, saying: “It is no secret that the Kingdom is making great efforts for the comfort of the guests of God and meeting their needs. These are tangible efforts with an honorable history, extending beyond serving pilgrims to include comprehensive care for Makkah and Madinah.”

Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah stated clearly that political slogans have no place during the pilgrimage when outlining the preparations undertaken by the Saudi government to welcome approximately 1.8 million Muslims. “Hajj is for worship, not for any political slogans,” he said. This confirms the Saudi policy of rejecting any type of what he described as “sectarian slogans”.

The Guests of God program highlights Saudi Arabia’s ranking as the leader of the Islamic world.

In addition, the Guests of God program was created to enrich the cultural and spiritual experience of pilgrims. This is accomplished by providing pilgrims with access to excellent accommodation, transport and medical services. Pilgrims therefore are not distracted by any earthly inconvenience that could disrupt their religious activities and spiritual practices.

The program also uses the most advanced technologies to teach the pilgrims about the holy places. Also, many translation and other services are available to facilitate communication between the pilgrims and other Muslim faithful and the people they want to be in touch with during the pilgrimage season.

Through this program, pilgrims get glimpses from the history of the sacred sites of Makkah and Madinah, increasing this way their attachments to the foundations of Islam. Of utmost importance is the logistical care the Saudi government grants to pilgrims to help them return home safely and free from danger.

The historical conditions for making Hajj free of difficulties and hardships began during the time of King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia. Later, Saudi Arabia allowed non-government organizations and agencies to take part in the provision of services to pilgrims, adding to the good services offered to pilgrims.

The Pilgrim Experience Program is one of the executive programs of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. Many studies were done to assess its impact, all of which testified to the harmony between pilgrims and the Saudi people. Charity work is boosted when the Saudi government and the pilgrimage-serving associations collaborate with pilgrims from around the world to promote charity activities and work to distribute food and other assistance to needy Muslim communities.

The magnitude of the services is overwhelming. The most recent statistics reveal the electricity consumption in the latest pilgrimage season was more than 21,000 megawatts. There were 22,000 workers assigned to a range of duties, in addition to 500 temporary observers. There were 200,000 users of the translation services, while 14 seconds was the time a responder took to answer a question or inquiry from a pilgrim. There were 6,000 communication towers and 2,400 signs for guidance and instruction, while six airports received 7,700 flights and 17 trains operated 2,000 one-way trips.

Finally, a few days ago King Salman ordered that the country host 1,000 family members of Palestinians killed or wounded in Gaza. Moreover, 683 pilgrims from 66 countries arrived in Makkah as guests of the king, who chooses to make the holy pilgrimage an opportunity to display the generosity, kindness, hospitality and courage of Saudi Arabia to all Muslims regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender, or economic status.

King Salman and Saudi Arabia work hard for the welfare of all Muslims.

Faisal Al-Shammeri is a political analyst. X: @Mr_Alshammeri