Saudi says will welcome Qatari pilgrims for Hajj

Saudi Arabia has closed land, air and sea links with Qatar since June 2017



Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has launched an online portal allowing Qatari pilgrims to register for the Hajj pilgrimage.

The system comes despite the closing of transport, diplomatic and trade links between Saudi Arabia and Qatar since June 2017 under a wider boycott led by the kingdom, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.

Last month, Saudi Arabia also said it would welcome Qataris wishing to perform the Umrah pilgrimage.

Read: Saudi says Qatari residents, citizens welcome for Umrah despite boycott

Qatari Hajj pilgrims can register on the https://qh.haj.gov.sa/ portal.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said they must arrive via King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, where a specialist hall is in place for pilgrim arrivals, and can use any airline other than Qatar Airways.

Qatari planes are restricted from Saudi airspace, meaning pilgrims will need to travel via Kuwait or Oman to reach Jeddah.

Pilgrims are able to book accommodation, transport and food for their stay in Makkah and Madinah through the online system.

The five-day Hajj ritual, expected to begin on August 19, is a once-in-a-lifetime religious duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. Pilgrims retrace the route Prophet Mohammad took 14 centuries ago in what is the largest annual gathering of Muslims.

Read: Muslims begin annual hajj pilgrimage in Makkah

The 2017 Hajj season saw more than 2.35 million pilgrims converge on Makkah including 1.75 million from outside Saudi Arabia.

Read: In pics: Hajj 2017 ends, more than 2.35m pilgrims take part

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have demanded Qatar cut links with Iran, end its alleged support of terror groups and close broadcaster Al Jazeera under their conditions to end their boycott of the country.