JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia—When Lina Mokhtar and her two sisters noticed the information very last month that Saudi Arabia would for the 1st time officially permit ladies to execute the hajj without having a male guardian, the three of them right away put in their apps.

On Saturday, Ms. Mokhtar and just one of her sisters will be aspect of a minimal team of some sixty,000 worshipers to begin the pilgrimage—the 2nd time the Covid pandemic has led Saudi authorities to slice the numbers of those permitted to execute the ceremony, a once-in-a-life span obligation for all Muslims in a position to physically and economically in a position to make the journey. In ordinary several years additional than two million pilgrims get for the hajj.

Ms. Mokhtar was stunned by the go to do absent with the prerequisite that ladies pilgrims want a mahram, a near male relative, to accompany them, but hailed the selection.

“It is form of tough depending on an individual else or inquiring a mahram of yours, ‘Please enable us go to hajj,’” mentioned the Jeddah-centered market researcher in her late 40s. “You can make that selection by yourself.”

Several of her woman close friends also registered for the hajj this 12 months when they heard the information, seeking to seize the possibility. Whilst most of their apps weren’t accepted by the hajj ministry, the likelihood to determine on their have whether to implement or not was a welcome transform, she mentioned.