The first group of Tajik Hajj pilgrims, totaling 165 people, departed for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, May 25.

The head of the Committee on Religious Affairs under the Government of Tajikistan, Sualimon Davlatzoda, and the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Tajikistan, Walid bin Abdulrahman Al-Rashidan, saw them off at the Dushanbe airport. 

According to the CRA, Saudi Arabia has allotted a quota of 7,000 pilgrims to Tajikistan who will be able to perform the annual Hajj ritual this year.  

Saudi Arabia in February this year warned visitors and residents against participating in the upcoming Hajj season 2024 without obtaining necessary permits.  To ensure the smooth operation of this system and to mitigate potential violations, stringent penalties were introduced.

Saudi authorities established severe consequences for individuals found to be violating Hajj regulations.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, in particular, stressed that performing Hajj without obtaining necessary permits is illegal and attracts a fine of 50,000 Saudi riyals.

Additionally, individuals caught transporting pilgrims without proper permits will also be slapped with a fine of up to SR 50,000.

In Tajikistan, only citizens aged 40 to 65 are able to perform the Hajj this year. 

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 restrictions were instituted raising the age limit from 35 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.

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.