CAIRO, 11 October – Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah announced that mahram (blood relative) is no longer required to accompany a woman pilgrim, who wishes to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj or Umrah from any part of the world.
The minister brought to an end the lingering controversy about whether a mahram is required to accompany a woman pilgrim or not during a press conference at the Saudi Embassy in Cairo on Monday.
The minister said that the costs for the expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah have exceeded SR200 billion and that the largest-ever expansion in the history of the holy mosque is continuing.
Al-Rabiah said that there is no quota or ceiling for the number of Umrah visas to be issued for Muslims from all over the world. “Any Muslim coming to the Kingdom with any type of visa can perform Umrah,” he said.
Al-Rabiah affirmed Saudi Arabia’s keenness on reducing the costs of performing Hajj and Umrah, saying that the matter is related to a number of factors. The minister also referred to the efforts made by the Kingdom during the recent period regarding the introduction and use of modern technologies and digitization of the services provided by the ministry to those who wish to visit the Two Holy Mosques.
“These included using robots to provide some services to the pilgrims, as well as developing the Nusk platform, which makes available many facilities for the pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque. It is possible to book an Umrah permit through the platform within a short period of time, and after that, the visa can be obtained within 24 hours,” he added. — Saudi Gazette