The Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. Able Muslims are obligated to perform once during their lives. The history of the Hajj goes back more than 4000 years to the time of the Prophet Abraham.
During early times, only a few thousand tribesmen from areas surrounding Makkah al-Mukarramah used to come to perform the Hajj. But, with the passage of time, and as more and more people accepted Islam, the number of pilgrims began to grow, although it did not exceed 100,000 pilgrims in any given year until around a century ago.
However, during the last few Hajj seasons, the number of pilgrims has reached nearly three million.
Along with improvements in the social, economic and security-related spheres on the local regional and international planes, the number of pilgrims gradually began to increase.
Another important element in this increase was the marked improvement in means of transportation between the countries of the pilgrims and Makkah al-Mukarramah, for, in the beginning, pilgrims used to travel to Makkah al-Mukarramah on foot and on
camels organized in Hajj caravans which used to journey to the Hijaz along pilgrim roads
Later on, pilgrims began to arrive at the port of Jiddah near Makkah al-Mukarramah on steamboats and other forms of maritime transportation.
As modern means of air transportation developed during the twentieth century, the role of maritime transportation in pilgrim movement decreased. In addition, the movement of pilgrims within Makkh al-Mukarramah itself and between the sacred sites has witnessed tremendous developments.
It is to be expected that developments in the social and economic spheres would affect pilgrim housing, which has been transformed from simple traditional dwellings to hotel accommodation on a variety of levels.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is keen to comprehensive health services to pilgrims wherever they may be in Makkah al-Mukarramah and its surroundings. Because safety and security are also among the most important needs of pilgrims, the Kingdom devotes great efforts to this aspect as well.
Moreover, vaccination and quarantine for the Pilgrims developing an epidemic have been in application over all the phases of Hajj journey.
The Holy Mosque and the sacred sites have seen numerous development projects which have contributed to increasing their capacity to accommodate millions of people who come to Hajj and Umrah enabling them to carry out their rituals with ease at all locations.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in all its sectors, works to implement the slogan, "Service to the pilgrim is an honor."