Makkah and Madinah are the most famous cities for religious tourism in Saudi Arabia, as they have been home to the Islamic message since ancient times. In this article, we will learn about the most important religious tourism destinations in Saudi Arabia and how to obtain an entry visa to the country and perform Hajj and Umrah rituals.
Destinations for religious tourism in Saudi Arabia:
The Grand Mosque in Makkah:
The Holy Mosque is considered the greatest mosque in Islam and the first of the two qiblah is located in the heart of the city of Makkah Al-Mukarramah and in the middle of it is the honorable camp which is the first house placed for people on the face of the earth to worship their Creator according to the Islamic belief.
It’s features distinguish it from other sanctities, including: Multiplying good deeds and reward, since a prayer in it is equivalent to a hundred thousand prayers of others, according to the words of the Prophet Muhammad – may God bless him and grant him peace – “Do not travel except to three mosques: the Holy Mosque, and my two mosques (the Prophet’s Mosque), and Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The Prophet’s Mosque in Medina:
The Prophet’s Mosque is one of the largest mosques in Islam and the second of the two qiblahs after the Grand Mosque in Makkah Al-Mukarramah. It was built by the Prophet Muhammad – may peace and blessings be upon him – after his migration to Medina in the year 1 AH corresponding to 633 AD after he built the Quba Mosque.
The mosque went through several expansions throughout history, starting with the era of the Righteous Caliphs and then the Umayyad state, where Caliph Omar bin Abdul Aziz included the tomb of the Prophet – may peace and blessings be upon him – and his companions to the mosque, which is now known as the Noble Prophet’s Chamber located in the southeast corner of the mosque, passing through the Abbasid state.
Finally, its largest expansion took place in 1994 under the supervision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The mosque played a major role in the political and social life of the Islamic State, as it served as a social center, court, and religious school. It also held many war talks, planning the Islamic State and organizing its economic and social affairs during the time of the Prophet – may God bless him and grant him peace -.
It was often visited by pilgrims and Umrah performers after performing the rituals of Hajj. And Umrah, as it is indispensable to pray in the Green Garden inside the Prophet’s Mosque because of its great reward.
Quba Mosque in Medina:
Quba Mosque is the first mosque built in Islam and the largest mosque in Medina after the Prophet’s Mosque, as it has great merit. It was also reported in Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim that the Prophet PBUH used to come to the Quba Mosque every Saturday, walking and riding, and praying two rak’ahs there.
The Muslims were interested in expanding it, for it was renewed by Caliph Othman bin Affan, then Omar bin Abdulaziz, and the caliphs continued after him to expand and renew its construction until the expansion work ended in 1407 AH, and the mosque of the Quba Mosque reached 13,500 square meters with 4 minarets, and housing for imams, muezzins, and a library will be attached to it, and it will accommodate 20 thousand Chaplain.
The Holy Kaaba in Makkah:
The Holy Kaaba is considered the qibla of Muslims in prayer and Hajj, and it is the first house that was placed for people on the face of the earth according to the Islamic belief. That the people be permitted to perform the pilgrimage to it, because God Almighty says: “And as Abraham raises the staples from the house, and Ishmael our Lord, you accept from us.
Kaaba has been restored and rebuilt several times throughout history; Quraysh restored it in the pre-Islamic era, then Abdullah bin Al-Zubair, as well as Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf Al-Thaqafi, restored it during the era of the Ottoman Caliphate.
The Holy Kaaba is distinguished by its cube shape, its high construction, 15 meters high, and the length of the side with its gate about 12 meters, as well as the one opposite it. The side with the gutter and opposite it is about 10 meters long.
Al-Qiblatain Mosque in Medina:
This is the place that God Almighty commanded His Prophet Muhammad – PBUH- to change the direction of Qiblah to the Holy Kaaba, and this mosque dates back to 623 AD and has been restored and renewed several times throughout its history.
Mount Arafa is located on the road between Makkah and Taif, 22 km from Makkah, and its importance stems from the pilgrims performing one of the rituals of Hajj on it on the day of Arafah on the ninth day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, which precedes the Day of Sacrifice,
It is said that Mount Arafa is the place where Adam and Eve descended from Heaven to Earth . Mount Arafa reaches a height of 300 meters and is surrounded by an arc of mountains. It has many names, the most important of which are Jabal al-Rahma, Jabal al-Thabit, and Jebel Elal.
Al-Rahma Mosque in Jeddah:
Al-Rahma Mosque is located on the Corniche of Jeddah on the Red Sea coast and is distinguished by that it appears floating on the sea at high tide, and it was designed in the traditional Islamic architectural style with modern decors with a white shiny minaret with a turquoise dome, the ceiling is decorated with inscriptions, and a number of windows at ground level provide a panoramic view on the sea, which increases the feeling of the worshipers of the feeling that the mosque is floating on the sea.
Visa / religious tourism visa in Saudi Arabia:
Many Muslims apply for an electronic visa for religious tourism in Saudi Arabia, as it is available to a number of countries, including Britain, the European Union countries, Australia, South Korea, the United States of America, China, Singapore and Japan.
Visitors need to present a copy of the electronic visa upon arrival in Saudi Arabia with their passport valid for at least 6 months, and the passport details entered in the application form must match the passport completely, and if the information does not match, then in this case the electronic visa will not be Valid. You can apply for an electronic visa through the official website.
Income of religious tourism in Saudi Arabia:
Hajj and Umrah together add $ 12 billion to Saudi Arabia’s GDP annually, which is roughly 20% of the country’s non-oil GDP and 7% of GDP, and the Saudi government has shown ambitious plans to increase Hajj revenues to 150 billion Dollars by the year 2022 through an increase in the number of pilgrims and Umrah performers, and the increase in the number of accommodation in its hotels near religious landmarks.
Religious tourism in Saudi Arabia is one of the most important pillars of the country in the economy and tourism. Therefore, religious tourism in Saudi Arabia received great support from the Saudi government represented by the General Authority for Tourism and National Heritage. Hajj and Umrah rituals are considered one of the most important features of religious tourism in Saudi Arabia.