Saudi Arabia has allotted a quota of 3,562 pilgrims to Tajikistan who will be able to perform the annual Hajj ritual this year, according to the Committee on Religious Affairs (CRA) under the Government of Tajikistan.

Haramain Sharifain, an English Social Blog, has published pilgrimage quotas allotted by Saudi Arabia for countries this year on its Facebook page. 

“We have seen the pilgrimage quota allotted to Tajikistan on Internet, but he have not yet received an official letter from Saudi Arabia,” Afshin Muqim, a spokesman for the CRA, told Asia-Plus today morning. 

However, the CRA is beginning preparations for sending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, Muqim added.   

This year, the Hajj will take place in July.  The cost of the Hajj for Tajik Muslims has not changed over the past decade and amounted to US$3,700 – US$3,720.  

Muqim had earlier said that there will be no new list of pilgrims this year.  “5,000 persons who were put on the list made in 2019 could not perform Hajj due to pandemic restrictions that forced two years of drastically pared-down pilgrimages.  They were supposed to perform the pilgrimage back in 2020, therefore, they will be sent first,” Muqim told Asia-Plus on April 19.  

As far as age restrictions are concerned, the CRA for the first time introduced age restrictions on those who want to perform the Hajj in 2010.  Only citizens aged 18 to 80 were able to perform the Hajj.

In April 2015, Tajik authorities introduced new age restrictions.  Citizens under the age of 35 were no longer allowed to perform the Hajj. 

In 2016, the new age restriction were instituted raising the age limit for 39 to 40. 

The aim of the decision to introduce new age restrictions is reportedly to give older people an opportunity to achieve their dream to perform the Hajj.

In 2011, the CRA designed a new Hajj uniform; men don two-piece suits, while women wear long-sleeved dresses complete with headscarves.  The Tajik Hajj uniform is embroidered with the country’s symbols.

Meanwhile, Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced in a statement on April 10 that the kingdom would host a million Hajj pilgrims this year while allowing people residing abroad to participate in the ritual as well, a sharp uptick after pandemic restrictions.  Usually, about 2.5 million people took part in this world's largest religious gathering.   

The pilgrimage, which will take place in July, will be limited to vaccinated Muslims under age 65, the statement said.

Those coming from outside Saudi Arabia, who must apply for hajj visas, will this year also be required to submit a negative Covid-19 PCR result from a test taken within 72 hours of travel.

Each year, Saudi Arabia welcomes millions of Muslims from abroad traveling on Umrah and Hajj.  Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, is a pilgrimage to Mecca which adult Muslims must make at least one in their lifetime, provided they are physically and financially able. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God.  The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar.  Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, the Gregorian date of the Hajj changes from year to year.