Limited Hajj Pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia
With the health crisis in full swing around the world, the Saudi government has announced that the famous Hajj pilgrimage will take place, but that it will be drastically limited. Explanations.
A thousand pilgrims allowed to travel to Mecca…
It was a decision awaited by all Islamic believers around the world. Because of the context, many of them were wondering about Hajj, this mythical pilgrimage, which was questioned because of the international health situation. The statements made by the Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Mohammed Saleh Benten, and the Minister of Health, Tawfiq Ben Fawzan Al-Rabiah, have received considerable attention in the Muslim world.
Saudi Arabia announced it will drastically limit the number of pilgrims to this year’s Hajj to prevent the spread of the coronavirus https://t.co/ywaxXo7hmb
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 23, 2020
The number of pilgrims allowed to make the famous annual pilgrimage to the holy places of Islam will be about a thousand, Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh Benten said on Tuesday at a press conference. It will also be exclusively reserved for people already within the Kingdom, but of “all nationalities”.
It will also be subject to two conditions: being under 65 years of age and not suffering from chronic illnesses, stated the Minister of Health during the same press conference. The selected pilgrims will be subject to rigorous health checks and will be placed in “domestic quarantine” at the end of the celebrations.
A decision praised worldwide
Many countries were expecting such a decision or even a total cancellation of the pilgrimage in question. As early as the end of March, several communications from the Saudi Government had made clear to the Muslim believers that they would probably have to postpone their preparations until they had more visibility on the situation.
At a time when the country fears an acceleration of the pandemic within its borders, the decision taken by the Saudi government has been welcomed throughout the world. The Cairo-based Al-Azhar institution said the decision was “wise and based on Islamic jurisprudence” while the Islamic Cooperation Organization appreciated “the extreme care given to the health and safety of pilgrims”.
— الأزهر الشريف (@AlAzhar) June 22, 2020
Usually performed by some 2.5 million international pilgrims, there is no doubt that this limited Hajj pilgrimage is an unprecedented event in more ways than one. Pilgrimage-seeking devotees will always be able to console themselves with the Umrah which, although suspended, for the time being, can be made throughout the year, unlike Hajj.