Representatives of the Committee on Religion, Regulation of Traditions, Celebrations, and Ceremonies (CRA) under the Government of Tajikistan note that the number of Tajikistanis performing the Hajj and the Umrah, which is also called the “minor pilgrimage”, has increased over the past five years. 

Thus, 7,000 Tajikistanis performed the Hajj and about 3,000 others performed the Umrah last year.

The Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims, located in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia. It can be undertaken at any time of the year, in contrast to the Ḥajj, which has specific dates according to the Islamic lunar calendar.

Based on observations and opinions of officials and experts, Asia-Plus has identified five reasons for an increase in the number of pilgrims among Tajikistan Muslims.


People began to live better

Tajikistanis’ incomes have increased in recent years and they had the opportunity to make pilgrimages more often.  

Elderly people say children who work in Russia help them with this.  They reportedly try by any means to send their parents to the Hajj.  


Saudi Arabia introduces e-vasa for Tajik nationals

Beginning in the 2000s many countries introduced e-visas and electronic travel authorizations (ETAs) as an alternative to traditional visas.

Saudi Arabia introduced e-visa for nationals of Tajikistan and seven other countries, including Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, in August last year.  

Now, nationals of Tajikistan may obtain tourist visa (with the possibility of multiple entry and stay up to 90 days) through an official website of Saudi Arabia’s e-visa for US$140.00 and perform the Umrah. 


Going on pilgrimage has become fashionable

The trend of making Hajj a fashion has given rise to concern for the president and the government of Tajikistan.   This is when the same person performs the Hajj several times. 


Tajik society is becoming more and more religious

Compared to the previous years, Tajik society has been becoming more and more religious.  Since Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam, people try to go on the Hajj pilgrimage.  


Performance of the “minor pilgrimage” has become cheaper

In recent years, the price of Umrah has decreased slightly, and it became possible to travel through Uzbekistan and Russia.  

Tajikistan companies now offer services on performing Umrah for 17,000 to 19,000 somonis per person.  Previously it cost from 20,000 somonis to 25,000 somonis.   

Traveling through Uzbekistan or Russia is even cheaper.  Thus, services offered by Uzbekistan companies cost from 10,500 somonis to 13,000 somonis per person. 


Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and is a pilgrimage every adult Muslim must make at least once in their lifetime if they have the means.

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.

Recall, Tajikistan’s CRA has introduced age restrictions on those who want to perform the Hajj.  For the first time, the CRA introduced age restrictions 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 restrictions 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.