Saudi Arabia will keep the quota of Haj for Muslims from around the globe at a level that is 50% lower than the normal quota in 2015 due to the ongoing construction and renovation of the Grand Mosque in Makkah to expand it to hold 2.2 million pilgrims at a time. The $2.2 billion expansion project is expected to continue for many more years. Ministry of Haj has stressed that Saudi citizens and residents should observe the once in five years restriction on performing Haj.
Hatem Al-Qadi, spokesman for the Ministry of Haj confirmed the decision of reduction in the quota of Haj and Umrah on July 16, 2014.
Hatem Al-Qadi explained that the decision to keep quota at reduced level is to maintain the health and safety of the pilgrims. Al-Qadi said, “The decision was issued during the last meeting of the Ministry of Haj and aims to maintain the health and safety of pilgrims.”
“The expansions will also increase the capacity of the courtyards surrounding the Grand Mosque, and lessen the urban congestion around the area to the north, the west and northeast,” said Al-Qadi.
Al-Qadi said that the expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah will allow to accommodate 2.2 million pilgrims at a time. It will also doube the capacity at the Mataf from 48,000 per hour to more than 105,000 per hour. He further added that the expansions in the grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque were the largest in the history of the country at a cost of $2.2 billions.
The Haj Ministry spokesman once again reiterated that Saudi citizens and residents must adhere to the Ministry’s decision to perform Haj only once in a five years period.