Saudi Arabia announced this year’s Hajj pilgrimage to be cancelled due to fears of the corona virus pandemic. Government says it will allow only about 1,000 pilgrims residing in the kingdom to perform the Hajj this year. Around two million people visit Mecca to perform the annual pilgrimage, which this year was set to begin in July, but cancelled as the kingdom has recorded 1,563 corona virus cases and 10 deaths. Like many countries, Saudi Arabia has enforced a lockdown and curfew in an attempt to stem the outbreak, and entry to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina has been severely restricted.
Sheikh Ismael Duwa who is president of Islamic supreme council of Zimbabwe and also advisor of Al Harmain Watch (Zimbabwe Chapter) said that as one of the five key pillars in Islam, Hajj is a requirement for all physically and financially able Muslims to perform at least once in their lifetime but Saudi Arabian government is interfering in this Islamic tradition by Banning the Pilgrimage.
Cheikh Abubacker Sidi Mbarick Mauritanian advisor of Al Harmain Watch lambasted on Saudi Arabian decision on Hajj limit. He said that this is the first time in Saudi Arabia’s nearly 90-year history that foreign visitors have been barred from performing Hajj, this is unfortunate and condemnable.
Sheikh Muhammad Bin Fall (Imam appointed by Mauritanian Government) Surprised over Saudi Arabia’s decision and said that now is the time to challenge Saudi’s monopoly on Haj pilgrimage. He also suggests that for the better and smooth management of Haj, it is necessary that an international committee should be formed and all the powers should be given to that committee instead of Saudi family.
Yahya Bachir a political activist of Tunisia said that it is a surprising decision to allow only one thousand pilgrims for performing the hajj. He said that at least one thousand pilgrims from each countries should have been allowed, who had better health.
Hajj occurs two months and 10 days after Ramadan ends, during the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah.
The height of Hajj corresponds with the major Islamic holy day Eid al-Adha, which commemorates Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son on Divine orders.
The pilgrimage, conducted over five days, includes numerous detailed rituals including wearing a special garment that symbolizes human equality and unity before God, a circular, counter-clockwise procession around the Kaaba, and the symbolic stoning of evil.