The work for which the Muslims of Iran were yearning for 9 years, that wish was fulfilled with a yes from Saudi.


Iran Umrah Pilgrims: Iran and Saudi Arabia restored their relations last year. After this agreement was made with the mediation of China, the Saudi Haj pilgrimage started from Iran. But the ban on Umrah was intact, now that too has been lifted. The first group has left for Umrah from Iran.

Muslims of Iran will also now be able to go to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah (religious pilgrimage like Hajj). This ban has been lifted between Tehran and Riyadh after a long ban that lasted for almost a decade. According to Iran's state news agency IRNA, "The first contingent of Umrah pilgrims has left Iran for Saudi Arabia from Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran."

Last year, both countries restored the relations that had ended in 2016 with Chinese mediation. This is the first Iranian group to go to Umrah after the agreement was agreed. People of Iran were allowed to go on the Hajj pilgrimage last year, but Umrah was banned for them till now.

Why did relations deteriorate?

There were cracks in the relations between the Shia Muslim country Iran and Sunni country Saudi Arabia in 2016. There were many protests against Saudi Arabia in Iran after the execution of Shia religious leader Nimr al-Nimr in Riyadh. Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran were attacked during the protests. After which relations were broken with Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia and Shia-dominated Iran in 2016.

How many people will go to Saudi this year?

Iranian state media had reported in recent months that Iranian pilgrims would be able to travel to Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca for Umrah but had blamed technical difficulties for repeated delays. Now IRNA said that a total of 5,720 Iranian Umrah pilgrims are planning to go to Saudi Arabia this year. When the first batch left for Umrah, the Saudi Ambassador to Tehran, Iran Abdullah bin Saud Al-Anaji was also present at the airport along with Iranian officials.

Why do Shia Muslims go to Iraq?

Shia Muslims going on Haj from India and many other countries often go to Karbala in Iraq after performing Haj. Najaf and Karbala are holy cities for Shia Muslims. Kaneez Fatima, a Shia scholar of Jamia Millia Islamia, says that there is no belief that the Hajj of a Shia Muslim is completed only by going to Iraq. Due to low expenses and the ability to visit both holy places at the same time, Shia Muslims often go to Iraq after Hajj and also visit Karbala and Najaf. But it is not necessary to go to Iraq to complete Haj.

Difference between Umrah and Hajj

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and is performed once a year in the month of Dul-Hijja (the last month of the Islamic calendar). Muslims can undertake Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca at any time of the year.