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Saudi Arabia allows women to register for hajj without male guardian

Women can register "along with other women" for the Islamic pilgrimage this year.
Syrians from the northwestern province of Idlib wait to board buses at Bab al-Hawa border crossing as they head to Turkey prior to traveling to Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj pilgrimage, Syria, Aug. 16, 2017.

Saudi Arabia will allow women to register for the hajj this year without a male guardian for the first time.

Registration for the annual Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca began June 12 and will be open until June 23. The hajj itself will take place July 17. Saudi authorities are allowing Saudi citizens and residents ages 18 to 65 to register this year. Pilgrims must either have been vaccinated against the coronavirus or have recovered from COVID-19, according to the Ministry of Hajj. Usually, Muslims from all over the world attend the hajj, which is a religious commandment, but Saudi Arabia has instituted restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Women will now be allowed to register for the Hajj this year without a "mahram,” or male guardian. A mahram refers to a Muslim woman may not marry, ie a brother or father, that can also serve as her guardian. Women can register “along with other women” this year, according to the ministry, which seems to indicate potential female attendees must register in groups if not with a man.

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