Every year, millions of Muslim pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam. Hajj for Muslims carries great importance and significance. Allah SWT has ordained Hajj compulsory on all Muslims with clear instructions to perform this Faridha (task) at least once in a lifetime. Hajj is not just physically demanding; it can also be a costly venture especially for Muslims who live in the western countries and travel from the far corners of the world to Saudi Arabia. That however has no adverse effect on Hajj pilgrims as the number of people performing Hajj continues to rise steadily every year.
Below we will look at a few important statistics for the 2012 Hajj season. They meant to encourage people to perform Hajj this year.
• According to the latest statistics released by Saudi Arabia, approximately 3.25 million pilgrims performed Hajj in 2012.
• This number was 4% less than compared to the year before however, analysts are expecting this number to increase ever further in 2013.
• In 2003, a little over 2 million people performed Hajj. 10 years later, in 2013, this number is expected to be more than 3.2 million. That’s an increase of more than 1 million new pilgrims in just a decade.
• 46% of these pilgrims were residents of Saudi Arabia. The other 54% represent other countries.
• Since we’re talking about countries, Muslim pilgrims performing Hajj in 2012 represented 190 different countries including Saudi Arabia.
• 93% of the pilgrims came by air. 6% by land and 1% by sea.
Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. More and more people are converting to Islam every day. What’s even more encouraging to see is that more and more Muslims are rediscovering their faith and re-establishing connection with Allah SWT. They are willing to perform Salah. They are eager to perform Sawm. They are diligent in paying Zakat and they are very keen on performing Hajj.
This year promises to be an even bigger year for Hajj pilgrims. As Eid-ul-Adha approaches, Muslims will either be busy getting things ready for Qurbani or they will be embarking on the most spiritual journey they will ever take. May Allah accept their Hajj and Qurbani. Ameen!